Author Topic: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason  (Read 23475 times)

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eastonp

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Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« on: July 11, 2012, 05:32:18 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

« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 05:34:05 PM by eastonp »

Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 05:36:56 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?

Utah

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2012, 05:39:15 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?"
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Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2012, 05:41:03 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.
Utah

Tilt Fairy

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2012, 05:41:29 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.***
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 05:52:01 PM by Tilt Fairy »

Phoebe

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2012, 06:04:44 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.

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 06:11:48 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.
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hobish

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2012, 06:12:15 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.


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Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2012, 06:13:18 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.
Utah

eastonp

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2012, 06:20:50 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.

demarco

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2012, 06:38:44 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? 

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2012, 06:39:08 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.

Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2012, 06:51:32 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 :)
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Tilt Fairy

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2012, 07:08:25 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.

Zilla

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2012, 07:13:49 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.