Living In The Bahamas

1160 Words5 Pages
“We don’t like them, they need to go back to their own country, they taking over ours”, this is just one of the many comments offered when asked to describe the attitude towards Haitians or Haitian Bahamians in The Bahamas. Although the Bahamas has a huge populace of migrants, with Jamaicans, Chinese, Cubans, and Greeks being some of the nationalities that currently reside in the Bahamas, Haitians are the group of people who have become branded as the ‘other’ in Bahamian society. The main focus of this paper will be on how the stigma of being classified as Haitian; developed by William Fielding and his colleges in the paper The Stigma of Being ‘Haitian’ in the Bahamas, as well as how being defined as the ‘other’; a theory conceptualized by…show more content…
This difference has made it harder than ever to be a Haitian living in another country. According to the 2010 census report for The Bahamas, 17.3% of the people living in the Bahamas are citizens of another country. With just under 40,000 (64.4%) being from Haiti or of Haitian descent, 9.2% hail from Jamaica and the rest are a mixture of other races and nationality (see Fig. 1). From the 16 surveys responses that I have analyzed, my research shows that the majority of people, both Haitians, Haitian Bahamians and Bahamians realize that Bahamians do not display the same negative attitude towards people of other nationalities that are living in The Bahamas (see Fig. 2).
Fig. 1. Data Source: Department of Statistics, “Report of the 2010 census of population and
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The same general framework that Said has talked about in his text has become placed on the Haitians living in The Bahamas. It is the stigma of being the other that shapes the everyday lives of Haitian throughout the Bahamas. This prejudice attitude hinders them in society, creating the main challenge, mentioned in the survey responses as the long processing time for citizenship. According to the Department of Immigration, the citizenship process takes two to four weeks, however, one survey respondent said that they had waited two years before they were granted their citizenship papers. In his text, The Haitian Question in the Bahamas Sears suggests that “we must immediately regularize those persons who were born here or have some valid constitutional or legal claim to Bahamian citizenship and integrate them into Bahamian society” (Sears, 10). Other concerns mentioned were the limited jobs that they are able to receive, where one respondent wrote that though his cousin is certified as a doctor, no one would hire him to work in the hospital, they would only hire him to work their yards. Another respondent claimed that because of the lack of citizenship, education is very
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