Author Topic: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason  (Read 23292 times)

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wolfie

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2012, 07:31:13 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.

Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2012, 07:31:52 PM »
That doesn't negate the question, wolfie.
Utah

wolfie

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2012, 07:37:08 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. 

Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2012, 07:39:52 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 "
Utah

Shoo

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2012, 07:49:30 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. 

kkl123

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2012, 07:51:36 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.


bansidhe

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2012, 08:23:13 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.
Esan ozenki!

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Yvaine

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2012, 08:29:26 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

eastonp

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2012, 08:33:18 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?


Moray

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2012, 08:42:52 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.
Utah

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2012, 09:04:54 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! :)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 09:18:41 PM by Tilt Fairy »

Oh Joy

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2012, 10:10:40 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.


wolfie

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2012, 10:32:45 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.

wolfie

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2012, 10:36:42 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.

O'Dell

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Re: Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2012, 10:47:29 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.
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