Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => Complete Silence => Topic started by: eastonp on July 11, 2012, 04:32:18 PM

Title: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: eastonp on July 11, 2012, 04:32:18 PM
My wife and two kids live in Skokie, IL. Though we are in Chicago's northern suburbs, it's actually a pretty diverse community. I'm a teacher, my wife is an out-of-work social worker, daughter is six, son is two, pretty typical white American family, quiet but friendly, not obnoxious in any way that I can tell.

When our new neighbors moved in--a couple in their late 30s / early 40s, we introduced ourselves, learned names, exchanged pleasantries. And then they shunned us. Serious shunning. The kind of shunning where you say, "Hi, how are you?" and wave, and he pretends we don't exist. Like I'm Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense shunning.

Now I don't mind it so terribly. Obviously something is wrong, he thinks I did something, or who the hell knows what. But he and his wife do it to our kids. And we are left answering questions like, "Daddy, why doesn't our neighbor look at me or hear me talking?"

And two other things: he will set up a 10 foot monitor right next to our back fence and blast music for hours on end on the weekend. Also, his friends who come over will talk to us, say hi, very cordial and polite. But he and his wife...nothing.

What would you do? I've considered everything from writing a note to ask what we've done, to bringing over cupcakes that my daughter and I made, to just calling the cops the next time the music is out of hand.

Advice?

Shunned in Skokie

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 04:36:56 PM
Does it matter that they're Haitian? Does it matter that you're white? Wouldn't their behavior be just as perplexing if they weren't, or you weren't?

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Twik on July 11, 2012, 04:39:15 PM
Ask them over for dinner?

If they're somehow angry with you, that might either persuade them you mean no harm, or provoke them to yell back "How could we accept your invitation when you ____________?" (Fill in blank with atrocious but unintentional offense.)

Do they socialize with anyone else in the neighborhood? Do you have a friend who could, while chatting, ask casually "So, what to you think of the eastonps?"
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 04:41:03 PM
Regarding your actual questions:

Regarding the "shunning":It's possible that they don't like you/don't like speaking to neighbors/have taken a vow of silence/whatever. Continue to be friendly and welcoming, but accept that you can't make people be friendly. Take the cupcakes over if you feel like it.

Regarding the loud music: You can ask them nicely to turn it down, or you can work with your local enforcement agencies to register a noise complaint.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Tilt Fairy on July 11, 2012, 04:41:29 PM
If the music is loud and continuous, I would politely knock on their door and just ask if they could keep the noise down - then go from there. The shunning is odd and unfriendly - especially since you say you and your family have made an effort to reach out to them.

If I were you, I'd give it one last chance to give them the benefit of the doubt. Bring them over cupcakes with a smile and give them a warm welcome to the neighbourhood when they open their door to you - and whilst you're at it, politely ask if they wouldn't mind turning the music down.

If they are still unfriendly and dismissive towards you after you have made countless friendly and warm gestures, I would forget making an effort with them. If they continue to play music that disturbs you a lot, ask them again more firmly or send them a written note, and if that still doesn't work, maybe calling the police. Try to go through the least extreme routes first like asking them politely before immediately calling the police. They may turn it down when you ask them.

***Also, was there any reason why you mentioned the race of your neighbours in your title? Does this make a difference to anything? Just asking in case you missed something out. Otherwise, their race and yours is irrelevant to mention.***
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Phoebe on July 11, 2012, 05:04:44 PM
Can't speak for the OP, but if this was my situation, I'd mention the facts of race/country of origin and ask if perhaps it was a cultural thing, i.e., not the proper kind of introduction or something.  Sometimes those facts *are* relevant.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Scuba_Dog on July 11, 2012, 05:11:48 PM
Can't speak for the OP, but if this was my situation, I'd mention the facts of race/country of origin and ask if perhaps it was a cultural thing, i.e., not the proper kind of introduction or something.  Sometimes those facts *are* relevant.

That's what I was thinking.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: hobish on July 11, 2012, 05:12:15 PM
Can't speak for the OP, but if this was my situation, I'd mention the facts of race/country of origin and ask if perhaps it was a cultural thing, i.e., not the proper kind of introduction or something.  Sometimes those facts *are* relevant.


You just beat me to it.
I've gotten some advice here letting me know why i had made a Hindi Indian friend uncomfortable; and it did make a difference. It's the OP's first post, can we give him just a tiny bit of a break?

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 05:13:18 PM
That's why we're asking if it matters. I'm absolutely willing to believe it's innocent, but I'd really like to hear back from the OP if possible.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: eastonp on July 11, 2012, 05:20:50 PM
That's why we're asking if it matters. I'm absolutely willing to believe it's innocent, but I'd really like to hear back from the OP if possible.

I include it because I am aware of the potential for racial tension, and cultural difference. Pretending that race doesn't exist is a tacit form of racism in and of itself. Race does matter, and ignoring it doesn't help matters. Besides, we moved here because of that diversity, not to avoid it.

As far as I'm concerned, what matters more is that he's being crazy rude from my perspective. Just allowing for any other possibility. And that's why I mention it.

By the way, on the other side of them, a new Chinese family moved in. So I don't think they have lived next to them long enough to have noticed anything? No one else in the neighborhood talks to them much. But then again, we're the only ones just next door, and thus the only one meeting them from across the back fence.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: demarco on July 11, 2012, 05:38:44 PM
OP this is a long shot but you mentioned that the neighbors' friends talk to you and are cordial.  Do you know any of the friends well enough to ask what's going on with them?

Other than that I've got nothing except to say that you have gone a lot further than I would under the circumstances.  Generally, I get snubbed once, that's it.  My efforts are over.

With regard to the loud music, I'd call the police if it's bad enough. How are you supposed to talk to the neighbors about this or anything if they won't talk to you? 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: CrochetFanatic on July 11, 2012, 05:39:08 PM
It's rude not to at least answer a hello with another hello, whether you want to be left alone or not.  I'm not a very social person and I like my privacy, but it's not hard to acknowledge the person speaking to you.  ???  The loud music is rude as well.  I would ask them nicely to please turn it down.  Even if they don't answer you, surely they would hear the request!  If that doesn't work, then I would consider filing a noise complaint with the police.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 05:51:32 PM
That's why we're asking if it matters. I'm absolutely willing to believe it's innocent, but I'd really like to hear back from the OP if possible.

I include it because I am aware of the potential for racial tension, and cultural difference. Pretending that race doesn't exist is a tacit form of racism in and of itself. Race does matter, and ignoring it doesn't help matters. Besides, we moved here because of that diversity, not to avoid it.

As far as I'm concerned, what matters more is that he's being crazy rude from my perspective. Just allowing for any other possibility. And that's why I mention it.

By the way, on the other side of them, a new Chinese family moved in. So I don't think they have lived next to them long enough to have noticed anything? No one else in the neighborhood talks to them much. But then again, we're the only ones just next door, and thus the only one meeting them from across the back fence.

I'm sure you didn't mean to, but your follow-up post sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me, and TiltFairy, of being racist by virtue of asking if race was relevant. Sometimes there are cultural factors at play, and sometimes there aren't. Usually, when someone is wondering if a person's actions could be culturally motivated, they mention it in their OP. You didn't, so we asked. It wasn't an attack, just a question :)
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Tilt Fairy on July 11, 2012, 06:08:25 PM
That's why we're asking if it matters. I'm absolutely willing to believe it's innocent, but I'd really like to hear back from the OP if possible.

I include it because I am aware of the potential for racial tension, and cultural difference. Pretending that race doesn't exist is a tacit form of racism in and of itself. Race does matter, and ignoring it doesn't help matters. Besides, we moved here because of that diversity, not to avoid it.

As far as I'm concerned, what matters more is that he's being crazy rude from my perspective. Just allowing for any other possibility. And that's why I mention it.

By the way, on the other side of them, a new Chinese family moved in. So I don't think they have lived next to them long enough to have noticed anything? No one else in the neighborhood talks to them much. But then again, we're the only ones just next door, and thus the only one meeting them from across the back fence.

I'm sure you didn't mean to, but your follow-up post sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me, and TiltFairy, of being racist by virtue of asking if race was relevant. Sometimes there are cultural factors at play, and sometimes there aren't. Usually, when someone is wondering if a person's actions could be culturally motivated, they mention it in their OP. You didn't, so we asked. It wasn't an attack, just a question :)

I agree. It would be like if I wrote a thread with the title: "Black co-worker ignored me because I didn't contribute to the office birthday fund. I'm white." or "gay neighbour is angry because my cat keeps straying onto his lawn. I'm straight".

Mentioning their race or sexual preference in those situations has not one iota to do with their behaviour. If I thought it may do, I would ask ehellions in my post something like: "I don't know much about the Haitian culture, but do any of you know any cultural reasons why they may be used to a different sort of welcome? - just so I can understand whether it's culture or whether they are just unfriendly". But you didn't which is why I was puzzled. There was no follow-up explanation telling us why you specifically mentioned their race. If you think their behaviour could be to do with their culture, race or religion which is why you mentioned it in the first place, then it needs to be said in the original post, otherwise no-one will have a clue why bringing up "they are black" and "we are white" has anything to do with the price of fish.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Zilla on July 11, 2012, 06:13:49 PM
Maybe you are guys are on opposing sides for politics or religion.  Maybe it was mentioned or you have a bumper sticker or wear a religious item that they are into the opposite side of.


Who knows?  I would simply ignore them, they are giving you the cut direct and clearly don't wish to engage in any conversation or relations with you.  It's hard to hear but I would respect that and make friends with the rest of the neighborhood. 



Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: wolfie on July 11, 2012, 06:31:13 PM
That's why we're asking if it matters. I'm absolutely willing to believe it's innocent, but I'd really like to hear back from the OP if possible.

I include it because I am aware of the potential for racial tension, and cultural difference. Pretending that race doesn't exist is a tacit form of racism in and of itself. Race does matter, and ignoring it doesn't help matters. Besides, we moved here because of that diversity, not to avoid it.

As far as I'm concerned, what matters more is that he's being crazy rude from my perspective. Just allowing for any other possibility. And that's why I mention it.

By the way, on the other side of them, a new Chinese family moved in. So I don't think they have lived next to them long enough to have noticed anything? No one else in the neighborhood talks to them much. But then again, we're the only ones just next door, and thus the only one meeting them from across the back fence.

I'm sure you didn't mean to, but your follow-up post sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me, and TiltFairy, of being racist by virtue of asking if race was relevant. Sometimes there are cultural factors at play, and sometimes there aren't. Usually, when someone is wondering if a person's actions could be culturally motivated, they mention it in their OP. You didn't, so we asked. It wasn't an attack, just a question :)

I agree. It would be like if I wrote a thread with the title: "Black co-worker ignored me because I didn't contribute to the office birthday fund. I'm white." or "gay neighbour is angry because my cat keeps straying onto his lawn. I'm straight".

Mentioning their race or sexual preference in those situations has not one iota to do with their behaviour. If I thought it may do, I would ask ehellions in my post something like: "I don't know much about the Haitian culture, but do any of you know any cultural reasons why they may be used to a different sort of welcome? - just so I can understand whether it's culture or whether they are just unfriendly". But you didn't which is why I was puzzled. There was no follow-up explanation telling us why you specifically mentioned their race. If you think their behaviour could be to do with their culture, race or religion which is why you mentioned it in the first place, then it needs to be said in the original post, otherwise no-one will have a clue why bringing up "they are black" and "we are white" has anything to do with the price of fish.

Actually I understood when reading his post that he was implicitly asking whether there might be  a cultural factor in play.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 06:31:52 PM
That doesn't negate the question, wolfie.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: wolfie on July 11, 2012, 06:37:08 PM
That doesn't negate the question, wolfie.

It does mean that your statement that noone will know why he added it is wrong. At least one person knows. And I would guess some other people knew too. This isn't an area I have any experience in so I have no advice for the OP. But I do think mentioning race here was more pertinent then any of the examples you mentioned. If he hadn't I bet someone would have asked if there could be a cultural issue and if they were from a different culture. 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 06:39:52 PM
That doesn't negate the question, wolfie.

It does mean that your statement that noone will know why he added it is wrong. At least one person knows. And I would guess some other people knew too. This isn't an area I have any experience in so I have no advice for the OP. But I do think mentioning race here was more pertinent then any of the examples you mentioned. If he hadn't I bet someone would have asked if there could be a cultural issue and if they were from a different culture.

I mentioned no examples, nor did I say no one will know why he added it.

This is what I posted "I'm sure you didn't mean to, but your follow-up post sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me, and TiltFairy, of being racist by virtue of asking if race was relevant. Sometimes there are cultural factors at play, and sometimes there aren't. Usually, when someone is wondering if a person's actions could be culturally motivated, they mention it in their OP. You didn't, so we asked. It wasn't an attack, just a question "
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Shoo on July 11, 2012, 06:49:30 PM
The OP has a legitimate question.  Can we please back off all the racist talk and get back to the issue here?

OP, maybe taking a plate of cupcakes over isn't a totally crazy idea.  It's an ice breaker, and if ever ice needed breaking, this is it. 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: kkl123 on July 11, 2012, 06:51:36 PM
OP, have you talked to any of your other neighbors to see if this is universal, or just your family that's getting ignored?  Is there a local Haitian community leader that you can speak to?

I live in a sort of rural subdivision; about a quarter of my neighbors are from another, extremely conservative, culture and the more conservative do their best not to mix with neighbors not of their faith.  Won't smile at "us", won't answer if addressed, etc.  Clothing choice is the only outward indication whether you are or aren't of this group.

I'm an anomaly -- I know the basics of the language, and greeted a couple of neighbors in it while we were all at the mailboxes.  After a few days of this, I started getting greeted back, very tentatively,
rarely with eye contact.  But greeted.  Then I blew it... walked down to the mailbox one day with our black lab and it was like I'd offered to commit mass murder.  Found out that in this particular faith, one of the disguises of the devil is as a black dog, and here I was bringing one to meet them.
Thanks to a more open neighbor, I understand what the issue is, and at least some of the more conservative ones who'd say "good morning" before are slowly going back to that, but it's been years.

It was all very puzzling until I found out what I'd done to trigger this.

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: bansidhe on July 11, 2012, 07:23:13 PM
I would simply ignore them, they are giving you the cut direct and clearly don't wish to engage in any conversation or relations with you.  It's hard to hear but I would respect that and make friends with the rest of the neighborhood.

I agree with this. OP did his part in attempting to be a good, friendly neighbor and for whatever reason, these folks don't want to reciprocate. As long as they're just ignoring OP, rather than being actively hostile, it's probably best to ignore them.

My husband and I are in the same boat with a couple down the road from us. Things seemed normal enough when we met them the first time, then they gave us the cut direct for no reason we can discern and they continue to ignore us eight years later. Who knows why. It's just kind of amusing now to watch them go out of their way to pretend we don't exist when we run across each other.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Yvaine on July 11, 2012, 07:29:26 PM
Found out that in this particular faith, one of the disguises of the devil is as a black dog, and here I was bringing one to meet them.

There's a religion that would not be a good fit for me.  >:D
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: eastonp on July 11, 2012, 07:33:18 PM
But you didn't which is why I was puzzled. There was no follow-up explanation telling us why you specifically mentioned their race.

Sorry to have been unclear. As someone mentioned, I am new to the forum, so perhaps not so familiar with expectations? But I did post a follow up explanation. You are quoting it, yes?

As to sexual preference, that is entirely different than race, and not a fair comparison. Because you can't tell that by just looking at a person.

Next time--if there is one--I will clarify with something akin to "my a#@!*&e neighbor (who happens to be Haitian) is shunning me...might I be ignorant of a cultural or ethnic cause related to his nation of origin?

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Moray on July 11, 2012, 07:42:52 PM
But you didn't which is why I was puzzled. There was no follow-up explanation telling us why you specifically mentioned their race.

Sorry to have been unclear. As someone mentioned, I am new to the forum, so perhaps not so familiar with expectations? But I did post a follow up explanation. You are quoting it, yes?

As to sexual preference, that is entirely different than race, and not a fair comparison. Because you can't tell that by just looking at a person.

Next time--if there is one--I will clarify with something akin to "my a#@!*&e neighbor (who happens to be Haitian) is shunning me...might I be ignorant of a cultural or ethnic cause related to his nation of origin?

It's the bolded bit that's important.

I really like your idea of bringing over cupcakes as a last-ditch effort to foster neighborly harmony. I'd go with that, and maybe ask them to turn down the music at the same time.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Tilt Fairy on July 11, 2012, 08:04:54 PM
That's perfect! Just the addition of that one sentence or the mention that the area has a history of racial tension takes out any need for automatic implication. It is an innocent question asking about whether someone's culture may have something to do with how they behave. Writing something in a way so people "know what you're getting at" is fine when it is blindingly obvious that race or culture may play a part in mannerisms e.g. not eating meat/drinking alcohol/sharing food - but race as the first reason of the inability of a neighbour to return a hello is not what most people would think of. I actually sincerely doubt that anyone would have asked you if your neighbours were being unfriendly because of their race (if you hadn't mentioned it) until about 20+ other possibilities were exhausted, if at all!. People write threads on here every day about pushy salesmen, annoying co-workers or rude in-laws and no-one ever (rarely) asks if their behaviour can be explained by their race or sexual orientation because the behaviour complained of is SO FAR away from anything where race would ever be relevant that it doesn't cross anyones mind. So if you think it may be relevant, you need to ask so we can take it into account. Your original post didn't talk about their lack of want to integrate with you or the community or culture-spqcific behaviours they have displayed, but about their shunning and unfriendliness towards you instead. In a lack of integration question, people may question race as a possibility but in a lack of saying hello to me, not many people would think racial differences would be the first factor. They'd think it was down to a nasty personality first and foremost so would be confused as to why the mention of their race matters.

My boss telling me "I've hired a new co-worker for the office. He's black. You're all white." would make me think "err....so?" Because race playing a factor in the ability or inability to integrate into an office makes about as much sense as race playing a factor in returning or not returning a friendly hello to a neighbour. I'd ask if the neighbour was senile or saw an offensive bumper sticker of yours as more sensical reasons to not return a hello before I'd even think about that it may be down to a cultural thing. However, with your update, you asked if culture or racial tensions could play a part which then made everything fall into place. Like algebra. It connected the two up and proved there was a valid reason why you mentioned race. Without it, everyone has to go into the dangerous territory of deducing what you meant by bringing it up and inferring without any background information when the behaviour is not one that is widely known to be down to race, sex or disability differences.

Anyway, I'm glad we've made up now. Like Shoo says... lets put this behind us and go forward with the talk of cupcakes. Welcome to the forum! :)
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Oh Joy on July 11, 2012, 09:10:40 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I found your description of the setting and demographics to be clear and objective, and your reasons for including them implied.  I was admittedly a bit surprised at the turn the thread took, especially with a new poster.

Back to your topic.  From how you describe the situation, no special circumstances jump out at me that you might not have thought of on your own.  If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't push with a note or a gift.  I'd likely continue to smile and wave in that standard midwestern way (Minnesota girl to the core here).  For the mumbledy-mumble music issue, if it's loud beyond your property as well, I'd call the city to handle it.

Best wishes.

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: wolfie on July 11, 2012, 09:32:45 PM
That's perfect! Just the addition of that one sentence or the mention that the area has a history of racial tension takes out any need for automatic implication. It is an innocent question asking about whether someone's culture may have something to do with how they behave. Writing something in a way so people "know what you're getting at" is fine when it is blindingly obvious that race or culture may play a part in mannerisms e.g. not eating meat/drinking alcohol/sharing food - but race as the first reason of the inability of a neighbour to return a hello is not what most people would think of. I actually sincerely doubt that anyone would have asked you if your neighbours were being unfriendly because of their race (if you hadn't mentioned it) until about 20+ other possibilities were exhausted, if at all!. People write threads on here every day about pushy salesmen, annoying co-workers or rude in-laws and no-one ever (rarely) asks if their behaviour can be explained by their race or sexual orientation because the behaviour complained of is SO FAR away from anything where race would ever be relevant that it doesn't cross anyones mind. So if you think it may be relevant, you need to ask so we can take it into account. Your original post didn't talk about their lack of want to integrate with you or the community or culture-spqcific behaviours they have displayed, but about their shunning and unfriendliness towards you instead. In a lack of integration question, people may question race as a possibility but in a lack of saying hello to me, not many people would think racial differences would be the first factor. They'd think it was down to a nasty personality first and foremost so would be confused as to why the mention of their race matters.

My boss telling me "I've hired a new co-worker for the office. He's black. You're all white." would make me think "err....so?" Because race playing a factor in the ability or inability to integrate into an office makes about as much sense as race playing a factor in returning or not returning a friendly hello to a neighbour. I'd ask if the neighbour was senile or saw an offensive bumper sticker of yours as more sensical reasons to not return a hello before I'd even think about that it may be down to a cultural thing. However, with your update, you asked if culture or racial tensions could play a part which then made everything fall into place. Like algebra. It connected the two up and proved there was a valid reason why you mentioned race. Without it, everyone has to go into the dangerous territory of deducing what you meant by bringing it up and inferring without any background information when the behaviour is not one that is widely known to be down to race, sex or disability differences.

Anyway, I'm glad we've made up now. Like Shoo says... lets put this behind us and go forward with the talk of cupcakes. Welcome to the forum! :)

The OP never mentioned the race of his neighbors. We do not know if they are black or white. What we do know is that they identify themselves as Haitians. I doubt anyone would have asked what race his neighbors were, but I am sure someone would have asked if there might be a cultural difference that could explain the actions.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: wolfie on July 11, 2012, 09:36:42 PM
That doesn't negate the question, wolfie.

It does mean that your statement that noone will know why he added it is wrong. At least one person knows. And I would guess some other people knew too. This isn't an area I have any experience in so I have no advice for the OP. But I do think mentioning race here was more pertinent then any of the examples you mentioned. If he hadn't I bet someone would have asked if there could be a cultural issue and if they were from a different culture.

I mentioned no examples, nor did I say no one will know why he added it.

This is what I posted "I'm sure you didn't mean to, but your follow-up post sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me, and TiltFairy, of being racist by virtue of asking if race was relevant. Sometimes there are cultural factors at play, and sometimes there aren't. Usually, when someone is wondering if a person's actions could be culturally motivated, they mention it in their OP. You didn't, so we asked. It wasn't an attack, just a question "

I apologize - I attributed Tilt Fairy's post to you.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: O'Dell on July 11, 2012, 09:47:29 PM
I think you should back off a bit. If they don't want anything to do with you, then I think you should respect that and stop saying hi. Maybe acknowledging them still is okay...smiling or a quick wave (the quick up and then down kind). Continue being friendly toward their friends who visit them and reciprocate your friendliness.

The noise is harder...I think it would be for me anyway. Ideally you would handle it the way you would any neighbor you don't know well. Address them politely and ask that they turn it down a few times and then start calling the cops if they are breaking noise laws. But that's really hard to do when they ignore you the way they are. Have you tried talking to them about the music? If you talk to them and they keep up with what seems to be a cut direct, then you'll have to skip asking them nicely.

Since their friends talk to you, I imagine that it's some personal issue of theirs. Explain that to your kids. Not everyone they meet will be friendly and sociable, it has nothing to do with the neighbors' nationality or race, and nothing to do with your family's nationality or race. And let them know they should still be respectful and polite, but leave them alone as much as possible. Almost as if the neighbors were the stereotype of the cranky older person that yells at the kids to get off their lawn...he/she may not like kids, you don't know why, be respectful as with anyone and leave them and their property alone.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Tilt Fairy on July 11, 2012, 10:05:45 PM
That's perfect! Just the addition of that one sentence or the mention that the area has a history of racial tension takes out any need for automatic implication. It is an innocent question asking about whether someone's culture may have something to do with how they behave. Writing something in a way so people "know what you're getting at" is fine when it is blindingly obvious that race or culture may play a part in mannerisms e.g. not eating meat/drinking alcohol/sharing food - but race as the first reason of the inability of a neighbour to return a hello is not what most people would think of. I actually sincerely doubt that anyone would have asked you if your neighbours were being unfriendly because of their race (if you hadn't mentioned it) until about 20+ other possibilities were exhausted, if at all!. People write threads on here every day about pushy salesmen, annoying co-workers or rude in-laws and no-one ever (rarely) asks if their behaviour can be explained by their race or sexual orientation because the behaviour complained of is SO FAR away from anything where race would ever be relevant that it doesn't cross anyones mind. So if you think it may be relevant, you need to ask so we can take it into account. Your original post didn't talk about their lack of want to integrate with you or the community or culture-spqcific behaviours they have displayed, but about their shunning and unfriendliness towards you instead. In a lack of integration question, people may question race as a possibility but in a lack of saying hello to me, not many people would think racial differences would be the first factor. They'd think it was down to a nasty personality first and foremost so would be confused as to why the mention of their race matters.

My boss telling me "I've hired a new co-worker for the office. He's black. You're all white." would make me think "err....so?" Because race playing a factor in the ability or inability to integrate into an office makes about as much sense as race playing a factor in returning or not returning a friendly hello to a neighbour. I'd ask if the neighbour was senile or saw an offensive bumper sticker of yours as more sensical reasons to not return a hello before I'd even think about that it may be down to a cultural thing. However, with your update, you asked if culture or racial tensions could play a part which then made everything fall into place. Like algebra. It connected the two up and proved there was a valid reason why you mentioned race. Without it, everyone has to go into the dangerous territory of deducing what you meant by bringing it up and inferring without any background information when the behaviour is not one that is widely known to be down to race, sex or disability differences.

Anyway, I'm glad we've made up now. Like Shoo says... lets put this behind us and go forward with the talk of cupcakes. Welcome to the forum! :)

The OP never mentioned the race of his neighbors. We do not know if they are black or white. What we do know is that they identify themselves as Haitians. I doubt anyone would have asked what race his neighbors were, but I am sure someone would have asked if there might be a cultural difference that could explain the actions.

That's true. But I reckon the first thing that would cross peoples minds would be that it was to do with their personality (or lack of), not a cultural or race difference. There's tonnes of threads everyday on obnoxious and unfriendly neighbours or co-workers or supermarket cashiers but I rarely any see replies from posters asking what their culture is - in case that could be a factor.

I just don't think one should ever IMPLY anything when it has to do with race, gender, sexual orientation etc... threads should be neutral and objective. Replace 'shunned by our Hatian neighbours for no reason with' 'shunned by my Ethiopian/Jewish/gay/Black co-worker for no-reason' and it's the same thing. Without any background information, would you understand why the OP mentioned a personal characteristic?

Why are people saying it's implied? Is it implied that someone of a different culture may be unfriendly to a neighbour and everyone should automatically get what the OP means? If so, I didn't get the implication. There is a massive difference between implied and 'a possibility'. It's a possibility that a neighbour of a different culture might shun the OP due to cultural differences but I definitely don't think it's implied - or should be implied by anyone. To imply means to strongly suggest the possibility of truth. If a poster wrote a thread titled "beaten up by a Mexican man today" without saying anything more on the matter...there would be some people out there who would say 'it was implied why his nationality was included' when the majority of us would surely be horrified that someone was implying it in the first place.

I really don't think it wise to start a debate about this again. We don't want to bother the moderators or get the thread locked - especially when everyone has been so polite and the OP so nice. After the OPs follow up, I completely agree that asking about cultural differences is a valid question. I'm with you there. He just gave no mention of it in his original post which is why I asked him if he was missing something... and he kindly followed up with it. I Understand 100% why he might think it be a 'possibility' but the truth is - like O'dell said, its most likely to do with them being unfriendly and unsociable than their culture.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: cass2591 on July 11, 2012, 10:35:41 PM
Move on or it will get locked. Also if anyone keeps belaboring the point they will be gagged.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Sharnita on July 11, 2012, 10:53:13 PM
Are they recently from Haiti?  Wild speculation but perhaps there was something traumatic there that happened that would make them afraid or suspicious of their neighbors?  I know thinkgs have never been good there but they have eebn even worse - peolpe being robbed, raped, etc. depnding on their experiences they might have a defensive attiftude toweard the people living around them.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Penguin_ar on July 12, 2012, 05:51:35 AM
Two thoughts: 
- you don't mention if they have kids?  Maybe they do not like kids (in general), and so want to keep their distance, or lost theirs in the earthquake and so try to avoid interacting with kids/ families with kids.
- Could it be that they are not shunning you, but just can't see/ hear you?  Maybe the loud music is because they are hard of hearing. I often get "accused" of not returning greetings when I am out with the dog because I am usually "in another world" thinking about stuff and don't see people waving at me.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Reason on July 12, 2012, 09:57:37 AM
Are they recently from Haiti?  Wild speculation but perhaps there was something traumatic there that happened that would make them afraid or suspicious of their neighbors?  I know thinkgs have never been good there but they have eebn even worse - peolpe being robbed, raped, etc. depnding on their experiences they might have a defensive attiftude toweard the people living around them.

That makes sense to me. But I would be careful about assuming anything about a violent past or traumatic experiences if you don't know them.

Regardless of the reasons that they are unwilling to play nice, I think backing off is the best option. Not everyone is meant to be friends and if they clearly want nothing to do with you then you have to respect that.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: bopper on July 12, 2012, 02:26:03 PM
To me there are two issues with the ways the neighbors are interacting with you:

1) Crimes of Omission....they aren't talking to you.  Who knows why, but they don't talk to you. Really there isn't anything you can do. Don't take it personally. Americans tend to be more friendly, but not every nationality/religious culture is like that.

2) Crimes of Commission....they play music too loud.   What would you do in a situation such as this?
A) Ask them to turn it down.  B) If that doesn't work, Consult your local police department on the non-emergency number and ask what to do in this situation.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: zyrs on July 12, 2012, 11:54:07 PM
I agree with the cupcakes.  Try those.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: kareng57 on July 13, 2012, 12:08:25 AM
I don't think that it's necessarily "shunning" - some people just don't feel as though getting to know the neighbours is a big priority.  It very likely has nothing to do with cultural or racial differences.

Why not just move on from this?
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Aeris on July 13, 2012, 02:43:30 AM
I don't think that it's necessarily "shunning" - some people just don't feel as though getting to know the neighbours is a big priority.  It very likely has nothing to do with cultural or racial differences.

Why not just move on from this?

The bolded would explain if they were just not reaching out, not going out of their way to have conversations with the OP, etc. But refusing to acknowledge when someone has said "good morning neighbor!" or the like is actively hostile. All it takes is eye contact and the barest nod of the head to qualify as 'not actively hostile'.

Though I can't disagree that just moving on and ignoring them is probably the best course.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: aloe on July 13, 2012, 02:56:16 AM
If it weren't for the loud music, I would say the right thing to do is ignore them.

My guess is that you did nothing wrong and didn't offend them, but they want distance.

The fact that they are snubbing you and at the same time blasting their music is confusing.  It is like they are "assaulting your senses"  while at the same time denying your existence.  It may be the definition of "passive- aggressive" on their part.



Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Thipu1 on July 13, 2012, 09:39:32 AM
For what it's worth, I've worked with people from just about every nation in the Caribbean.  For some reason, the Haitians seem to be considerably more reserved than others from the islands. 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Sharnita on July 14, 2012, 06:29:30 AM
Thaty is really interesting.  I've known people who have gone there on missions and the people they encountered were really outgoing but, of course, that is not your typical situation.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Sophia on July 14, 2012, 09:14:28 AM
I wonder if the two things are related?

The neighbors are people that play loud music outside, and they have likely done so when they lived other places.  In the past, they were friendly with the neighbors, and the neighbors felt free to complain about the music.  They didn't turn down the music.  Arguments ensued. 

Shunning the OP, so far, is working for them.  Instead of telling the neighbors to turn down their music.  OP is considering taking cupcakes to the neighbors.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Thipu1 on July 14, 2012, 09:37:19 AM
Thaty is really interesting.  I've known people who have gone there on missions and the people they encountered were really outgoing but, of course, that is not your typical situation.

My experience may have been atypical. Perhaps Haitians are more formal when away from their homeland.  After all, Haiti is the oldest independent nation in the Caribbean.  There's a certain pride in that.  There's also the French influence to consider. 

It may also be that the folks I met and the neighbors in the OP just aren't inclined to be social. 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: NyaChan on July 14, 2012, 11:30:36 AM
I wonder if the two things are related?

The neighbors are people that play loud music outside, and they have likely done so when they lived other places.  In the past, they were friendly with the neighbors, and the neighbors felt free to complain about the music.  They didn't turn down the music.  Arguments ensued. 

Shunning the OP, so far, is working for them.  Instead of telling the neighbors to turn down their music.  OP is considering taking cupcakes to the neighbors.

 ;D LOL good point Sophia
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Otterpop on July 20, 2012, 12:36:50 AM
That is a VERY good point Sophia.  Neighbors are being obnoxious.  Instead of being friendly and maybe risking the receipt of criticism, they install a barrier of cold hostility.  The OP responds by giving goodies.  That's a good racket. 
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: HenrysMom on July 21, 2012, 08:43:16 AM
I'm not sure bringing cupcakes is a good idea - you may end up wearing them.  The shunning and the loud music are hostile, so showing up on their doorstep may trigger an overt act.  I wouldn't try to be friendly and call the police when the music gets too loud.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: eastonp on August 05, 2012, 09:07:33 PM
Update on the "neighbors":

First, I think a couple of you make good points. Particularly the one who suggests that they are blasting music, and I'm thinking of bringing them baked goods, as well as the one about the possibility of loss in Haiti. And my thanks to the moderator for stifling the needless back and forth. On to the point of this blog: etiquette hell.

The extent to which they shun us is extreme. It's not just simple avoidant behavior. You know that cliché of a ball going over the fence, and the kid asking the neighbor to help by throwing the ball back, and he doesn't? That's happened. I had to ask if I could come over and get it, without any reply. So I came into his yard, via the alley, opening his chain link gate, retrieved the ball, and he never even acknowledged I existed.

I did finally have a break through moment. Friday around seven am, he was dragging a full keg up his sidewalk as I was walking to my car parked in front. Struck by the absurdity, I approached and said, "You know, I have a wheelbarrow in my back yard, if you need help." He looked at me and spoke! He said, "No, I got it."

Later that night, of course, they had a very loud party, seemingly for a child, as there was an inflatable bouncer/castle in their yard, and at one point an absurd children's party clown ala Bobcat Goldthwait's Shakes. The loud music (delivered by four, five-foot tall Marshall amps) started at two p.m., and only stopped for the party clown's karaoke and occasional announcements about photos of our neighbor and Snoop Dog being for sale.

Anyway, I fell asleep at eight after reading to my daughter. My wife told me the next morning that the music stopped suddenly at ten (otherwise she would have called the cops...again. Out town does have a sound nuisance law related to preventing the enjoyment of one's property, or something of the kind). Here's why:

The neighbor on the other side of our house, who always calls his cat in at night, couldn't find his cat, and knew his cat couldn't have heard him calling. So he went to see what the party was all about. As a joke, he said that they would have to turn the music down so his cat could hear him calling. His friends didn't get that he was joking, and turned the music down. About a half hour later, the obnoxious neighbor (who happens to be Haitian) did come over to apologize to him. He explained that he was joking, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot of understanding happening (my friendly neighbor's words...not mine).

Anyhow. From here on out I'm just calling the cops. I'm tired of having to explain to my six year old daughter why our neighbors don't like us. I'll be blunt from here on out.

Thanks everyone for your two cents. I'm chalking it up to their just being ********.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Zilla on August 06, 2012, 08:49:41 AM
It's actually a great lesson for your six year old to learn and a perfect age (school starting etc)


The lesson being that not everyone will like you and not everyone will be kind.  Best just to be civil and ignore.
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: aloe on August 08, 2012, 05:24:35 PM
Thanks for the update & best wishes!
Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: Kali on October 05, 2012, 04:40:43 PM
My wife and two kids live in Skokie, IL. Though we are in Chicago's northern suburbs, it's actually a pretty diverse community. I'm a teacher, my wife is an out-of-work social worker, daughter is six, son is two, pretty typical white American family, quiet but friendly, not obnoxious in any way that I can tell.

When our new neighbors moved in--a couple in their late 30s / early 40s, we introduced ourselves, learned names, exchanged pleasantries. And then they shunned us. Serious shunning. The kind of shunning where you say, "Hi, how are you?" and wave, and he pretends we don't exist. Like I'm Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense shunning.

Now I don't mind it so terribly. Obviously something is wrong, he thinks I did something, or who the hell knows what. But he and his wife do it to our kids. And we are left answering questions like, "Daddy, why doesn't our neighbor look at me or hear me talking?"

And two other things: he will set up a 10 foot monitor right next to our back fence and blast music for hours on end on the weekend. Also, his friends who come over will talk to us, say hi, very cordial and polite. But he and his wife...nothing.

What would you do? I've considered everything from writing a note to ask what we've done, to bringing over cupcakes that my daughter and I made, to just calling the cops the next time the music is out of hand.

Advice?

Shunned in Skokie

Is it possible you are doing something to annoy them, such as a barking dog? Or perhaps you have come off as "too friendly" and they simply don't want to take it to that level and are avoiding you. I had new neighbors move in across the street six months ago. I greeted them politely and said welcome to the neighborhood and basically left it at that. For a couple of weeks after that the kids were screaming "hi" from across the street and the parents and kids alike were noticing every time I pulled into my driveway. Completely annoying and I now just look the other way when they are out. After I stopped responding at all to the screams way across the street of "hi" they stopped.

Too friendly is no good either and feels like an invasion of privacy. The noise issue may be in response to a dog or something you are doing, or perhaps they are just inconsiderate.

Title: Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
Post by: VorFemme on October 05, 2012, 05:47:08 PM
We moved into a new house back in 1992.  The homeowners across the street came over to meet us after our moving van left. 

It seems that the day the preacher & his wife had moved in, one of the the four strippers living in the same house with their live-in boyfriends had had a huge fight, ending with one of the girls going through a glass storm door - ambulance, police, and more drama that most people want next door or across the street.  Especially the preacher who had bought his house only days before moving in, not realizing that the one across the street was rented out....we rented it next, some six or eight months after the dramatic introduction to the neighborhood.

Fortunately, with two cats, a cute nine year old red headed girl, and a spouse in the military - we did not end up causing anyone to put their house up for sale to get away from us!  The girl next door did not like our daughter - but that was for reasons not related to my being a stay at home mom (as far as I knew).  The rest of the neighbors were glad that no one was sunbathing topless in the backyard to avoid tan lines any more........no fights, no loud drunken parties after the strip clubs closed, and we kept the lawn mowed on a more regular basis (hired someone when I got pg a few months later). 

But I got the distinct impression that there had been some very worried homeowners on the block!

They just didn't do a lot of fraternization with people who hadn't bought the house at about the same time they had - say about twenty or thirty years earlier....it was an area heavily populated with retirees or people about ten years from retirement.