James Larossierre

Antioch College
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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Segment Synopsis: Standard Introduction of interviewer and interviewee.

00:00:31 - Early Life

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Partial Transcript: " I thought everyone was Haitian"

Segment Synopsis: James discusses his birth and upbringing in Haitian community composed of an extended family, a Haitian church and Haitian run/owned stores

Keywords: English; Kreyol; language

00:04:09 - Mt Rainer to New York

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Segment Synopsis: James discusses his move as a child from Mt. Rainer, MD to NYC. He mentions that opportunity for his mother to become a registered nurse was a deciding factor in the decision to move as well as boom in technology and finance that seemed to signal opprortunity. He specifically mentions Wall Street and Apple

00:05:36 - Career, not a Job 00:06:52 - From MD to Florida

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Partial Transcript: "Talk about a culture shock", "I would put my right fist up [as if to say] I see you! We're here!

Segment Synopsis: Discusses living in MD in the school year of 89-90 and the decision being made for him to move to Florida. No Haitian community in Lantana, FL because it was then a white neighborhood. James talks about being in a space where being a Haitian was used as insult. He talks about feeling depressed in the process of adapting to a space where his identity is not valued and feeling hatred for FL for the first 3-4 years out of his 20 years there. No transit system. Dealing with racism in the South.

Keywords: family

00:16:53 - In High School

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Partial Transcript: "How'd you know?"

Segment Synopsis: He talks about being told that he was not Haitian by both Haitian and non-Haitian people in Florida. How language enabled him to do a sort black cultural passing. He talks about stereotypes and his ability to identify other Haitians while, in his experience, other Haitian people couldn't necessarily do the same.

Subjects: black passing

00:22:49 - Haitianness and Blackness

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Partial Transcript: "Haitianness helps out--It's a culture"

"Black first. Haitian second. American Third"

00:25:09 - Language and Culture

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Partial Transcript: "There are still words and terms and things that I only reference to in Kreyol"

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how language is a marker of Haitianness and how certain terms and responsibilities are uniquely Haitian. He goes on to say Haitianness is a segment of blackness.

00:26:47 - Going to Haiti

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Partial Transcript: That has been the one blight for me, that I have never been to Haiti

Segment Synopsis: He talks about the relationship to the land of Haiti and how he conceives of his Haitian identity

00:30:12 - Work and Role Models

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Partial Transcript: "We're Haitian, We work"

Segment Synopsis: How my grandfather (Emile Jules) was a role model for his aspirations in the work place. Talks about jobs on the path to a career paper route, Wendy's, Winn Dixie, McDonalds, Publix (FL). He talks about working and cleaning

00:37:58 - The Parties

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Partial Transcript: "House Jams and the Balls--maaan"

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how Haitian parties and celebrations and music were essential parts of his upbringing. Tabou Kombo, Skashah. Sweet Micky. Hot Hot Hot being originally a Haitian Soca song.

00:44:05 - Haitianness and Gender- What does it mean to be a Haitian man?

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Partial Transcript: "It's the women, the women are the backbone"
"What am I accustomed to but not what i require"

Segment Synopsis: Talks about traditions some of which included defined gender roles. He talks being in a matriarchal family structure. He talks about the man as a protector even in modern times when women are often breadwinner. He talks about his own self-sufficiency and

00:52:40 - Haitianness over Time

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Partial Transcript: "You adapt you don't assimilate"

Segment Synopsis: James discusses Haitianness as a constant in his life as well as choices that he has seen and made with regard to tradition. The negotiations that people go through other

00:57:54 - Haitianness and Religion and Spiritually

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about his own lack of adherence to a religion but a devoutness as a part of Haitian culture. Addresses Vodou and the diversity of religious and spiritual adherence. He talks about religion as a representation of his grandmother and his contemplation changing the crucifix to Heru. He speaks about different religious experiences

01:06:05 - Haitianness and Sexuality

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Segment Synopsis: Talks about an overall stigma with homosexuality and a tendency to ignore sexuality.

01:09:13 - Final Thoughts

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Segment Synopsis: Talks about the value of family and knowing that family is going out into the world and his love his Haitianness