“The Problem with the Haitians is their Language”: Language as Color-Blind Racism

This project explores the mechanisms of exclusion and oppression of a Haitian population in a rural community in South West Florida. The analytical approach taken is an analysis of the social field and habitus as dispositions and embodied culture. Language has been identified as a tool to marginalize the population in the general social order. Through this process, language operates as a form of color-blind racism which justifies the exclusion of the Haitian community but is insufficient in explaining their overall social outcomes.

Qualitative data were collected for this project in the form of unstructured interviews, focus groups, photographs of the local community, and observational field notes. Participants principally came from the Haitian population in the target community. Other community stakeholders, including elected county officials, were interviewed to obtain background and contextual information. Also consulted were county documents and demographic planning profiles.

Secondary data were used for the quantitative analysis portion of this project. These data were taken from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey. Both aggregated data from the American Factfinder website and individual-level data from the IPUMS repository were downloaded in the completion of the secondary data analysis.