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Christianity, Politics and a Lack of Social Activism: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas

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Abstract:

Drawing from ethnographic research and political conditions in the Bahamas, this paper looks at the Haitian Protestant community of New Providence to understand the relationship between the types of evangelical Protestantism they practice and a lack of Haitian Protestant social activism. I use an intellectualist lens to understand how Haitians make meaning out of Protestant Christianity in this context and suggest that Haitian Protestant culture prevents collective political reaction to societal marginalization. This meaning takes on new dimensions within the context of recent changes to Bahamian immigration laws; specifically migration policies that went into effect on November 1, 2014 requiring that all people living in the Bahamas have a passport of their country of nationality. These changes also require children to show proof of nationality to register in the public school system. Both policies adversely affect Haitian migrants and their progeny by removing adherents from the Bahamas and preventing children of Haitian descent from receiving an education.

I provide a discussion of the issues facing the Haitian diaspora through a brief history of Protestantism in Haiti, Haitian migration to the Bahamas, a discussion of the Bahamian context and Haitian Protestantism in New Providence. I also discuss the changes in Bahamian immigration policy and the responses from within the Haitian Protestant community. I suggest that their reactions reflect how 1) Haitian Protestantism, in general, tends to avoid conflict and direct engagement with state power and 2) displays a divide between Haitians and their progeny born in the Bahamas. I conclude with a discussion of the ways in which Haitian Protestantism’s focus on individualism and perfecting oneself reinforce the existing social hierarchy of the Bahamas and serves overall as an impediment to social change for Haitians.
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Association:
Name: 41st Annual National Council for Black Studies Conference
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http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1256506_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Louis, Bertin. "Christianity, Politics and a Lack of Social Activism: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 41st Annual National Council for Black Studies Conference, Hilton Houston Post Oak, Houston, TX, <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1256506_index.html>

APA Citation:

Louis, B. M. "Christianity, Politics and a Lack of Social Activism: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 41st Annual National Council for Black Studies Conference, Hilton Houston Post Oak, Houston, TX <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1256506_index.html

Publication Type: Panelist Abstract
Abstract: Drawing from ethnographic research and political conditions in the Bahamas, this paper looks at the Haitian Protestant community of New Providence to understand the relationship between the types of evangelical Protestantism they practice and a lack of Haitian Protestant social activism. I use an intellectualist lens to understand how Haitians make meaning out of Protestant Christianity in this context and suggest that Haitian Protestant culture prevents collective political reaction to societal marginalization. This meaning takes on new dimensions within the context of recent changes to Bahamian immigration laws; specifically migration policies that went into effect on November 1, 2014 requiring that all people living in the Bahamas have a passport of their country of nationality. These changes also require children to show proof of nationality to register in the public school system. Both policies adversely affect Haitian migrants and their progeny by removing adherents from the Bahamas and preventing children of Haitian descent from receiving an education.

I provide a discussion of the issues facing the Haitian diaspora through a brief history of Protestantism in Haiti, Haitian migration to the Bahamas, a discussion of the Bahamian context and Haitian Protestantism in New Providence. I also discuss the changes in Bahamian immigration policy and the responses from within the Haitian Protestant community. I suggest that their reactions reflect how 1) Haitian Protestantism, in general, tends to avoid conflict and direct engagement with state power and 2) displays a divide between Haitians and their progeny born in the Bahamas. I conclude with a discussion of the ways in which Haitian Protestantism’s focus on individualism and perfecting oneself reinforce the existing social hierarchy of the Bahamas and serves overall as an impediment to social change for Haitians.


Similar Titles:
Social movements and Trade Unions: the European crisis and the lack of political activism in Germany

Protestant or Christian: Symbolic Boundaries and Nationalism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas


 
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