Haiti may get some attention from U.S. media during the 2012 election season. Utah mayor and Brooklyn-born daughter of Haitian parents, Mia Love, is supposedly on track to become the first black Republican woman in Congress. I say, supposedly, because even if the media and some Republicans are excited by the novel rising star, Love’s up against a six-term Democrat who’s also a fiscal conservative. Caution is in order, and definitely more than the media will exercise for a black, Mormon Republican woman who has said she wants to take apart the Congressional Black Caucus from the inside-out. Love’s politics aside, what caught my attention a couple of months ago was the extent to which her Haitian immigrant identity is integral to how she sells herself to voters. She mentions her parents’ influence quite a bit, specifically their aversion to handouts.
“[My father] said: ‘Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society,’ ” she said with a stern smile. “ ‘You will give back.’ ”
I’m not taking a huge leap when I say that the subtext here is one with which Caribbean and African blacks are intimately familiar: “we” are not like black Americans.