“My country, Jean,” I said, “is one of uncertainty. When I say ‘my country’ to some Haitians, they think I mean the United States. When I say ‘my country’ to Americans, they think of Haiti.” (Create Dangerously, p. 49)
Feeling torn between two places and not fully able to identify with either is one of the many prevailing themes throughout Create Dangerously. In chapter three, “I Am Not a Journalist,” Edwidge Danticat writes thoughtfully about feeling that she can claim no one country as her own, and instead is part of a “floating” homeland—an ideological place shared by Haitians living outside of Haiti in the diaspora, but lacking any sort of common land or physical connection.
Though far more unites the 7 billion people that now share our world than divides us, Danticat illuminates in a compelling and conscientious manner the very real struggle for personal, political, and artistic identity that is shared by “exiles, émigrés, refugees, migrants, nomads, immigrants, naturalized citizens, half-generation, first-generation, American, Haitian, Haitian American, men, women, and children” (p. 51) who have their feet planted firmly in two different places.
Have you experienced similar feelings to Danticat? How is your experience of displacement or feeling torn between two places different, if at all? What did you take away from “I Am Not a Journalist?” Share your thoughts in the comments!
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