Dathis Dorancy, Rolande (2015-05). Haitian Immigrant Multifaceted Identity in Florida. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Immigration has played a significant role in the structure of American society. Different immigrant groups have different trajectories in the United States: some groups have assimilated quickly into the existing structure while other groups have not. The race and ethnicity of the immigrants are critical aspects of this trajectory. This research focuses on Haitian immigrants and their families. In particular, I ask how identities vary within the same family. I interview thirty-one Haitian immigrant families from three Florida counties: Dade, Broward, and Hillsborough. Family members discuss the everyday challenges they encounter in relation to school, work, encounters with the police, and organizations. There are obvious differences by generation. Those who grew up in Haiti carried Haitian identities that were strong; they emphasized Haitian definitions of race and talked about Haitian values. The children of immigrants, especially those who rarely visited Haiti, had different understandings and tended to identify as black and as American, although they also mentioned their heritage. All those interviewed were sensitive to the negative stereotypes of Haitians, and many belonged to organizations dedicated to developing and maintaining positive group identity and providing help for immigrants as well as those living in Haiti.

publication date

  • May 2015