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25196: Hermantin (Reply) to Severe , Kathleen 25162: (fwd) eye contact
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is an issue that comes up regularly in Miami, when we conduct
sensitivity trainning sessions with agencies providing services to the
Haitian community. Lack of eye contact is always raised as an issue by
Americans who interpret it as a sign of dishonesty. Haitian kids are
confused by these conflicting messages. One boy once shared his
exasperation, he just did not know what to do. Mom, and Grandma expect him
to lower his gaze, a practice chastised by teachers, police officers etc.
I recently served on a panel reviewing business plans prepared by High
School students. All these budding entrepreneurs were expected to make oral
presentations. Again the issue of eye contact was raised specifically
regarding the performance of Haitian presenters. My experience here tells me
that this may be a tradition which transcends regional idiosyncracies .