Rhode Milord LeBlanc teaches English as a second language at a Haitian nonprofit in Mattapan Square — the heart of Greater Boston’s Haitian community. Her students are mostly Haitian, with a smattering of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
“Some people like me, I’m Haitian-American,” she says. “That means my family is from Haiti, but I was born here. I feel more Haitian than American because of the way I was raised.”
Then she turns to her class of adults. “Do you feel that you’re more Dominican or more American? Or more Haitian or more American?”
The students yell out their answers. The split in the room is remarkable. The Haitians have United States passports and have been here for years. But they say they are more Haitian than American. The Dominicans have been in the U.S. for less than a year, but they feel as American as Dominican.