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Us vs. Them  

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iguanabanana
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May 15, 2013 1:11 am  

Note: I have not attributed these quotes to the person who said them, allowing them anonymity, because that is the only reason I can figure that my original post (see below) and inquiry were DELETED from this "open" forum. I admit, there is a bit of sarcasm in my initial statement. However, in my opinion, the type of statements below are truly alienating to those of us newly relocated or considering relocation. Where do these numbers come from? Are there entry/exit polls done of those coming and going to the USVI? Do any of you really feel you have an adequate sampling of the thousands each year, coming and going, to make such sweeping statements? These assertions have an impact on many people and it is quite irresponsible to throw out such judgmental, and frankly, polarizing generalizations on such a regular basis.

In the very last quoted statement below, the OP talks about how much better off "we" would be without all these dysfunctional transplants and then goes on to eschew the "us vs. them" mentality such transplants bring. The irony was too much for me and I had to post.

This is a serious topic and I do not want to see it deleted again.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

It looks like [ anonymous forum regular ] has done some serious social research.
Do others who have lived here for a while agree with this assessment?
Are there some actual studies out there that document why people come here, at what age, how long they stay, and why they leave?

IMO, the Vi "self selects" for transplants with big-time baggage (substance issues, emotional instability, occupational challenges like poor education and inability to hold a job, relationship problems). I think about half the folks (50%) who move here do so because they are running away from Issues which they cause themselves. ....... Additionally, about half the transplants arrive with minimal amount of resources (no job, no career training, no money in the bank, no prospects).

The Vi also attracts a certain segment (10%) of adventurous folks who decide that time is right to "follow a dream" or" try something different". Normally these people are in stage of transition in their career and/or personal lives. (i.e. recent retirees, 20 somethings exploring life choices). These people view the Vi as pit-stop in the overall life journey. Most young retirees or "kids" I meet are planning to stay for 1-10 years.

Some people make a more calculated move and factor things like life-style and career variables. (5%)

A large portion transplants (35%) come to the Vi from outside the US for economic opportunity. This segment has the most persistent longevity. Many will do what ever it takes to carve out a life for themselves in the USA. And if/when they fail, no other country provides immigrants with a social benefit safety ntet like the USA, (food stamps, subsidized housing, education, health care, black market employment etc.).

IMO, the island would better off with out all the left over "transplants with baggage" and "benefit sucker". THese are the people who keep us from moving forward by fueling the us .v them menatility, rather then bringing creative resourses and talent into the mix. Welcome.

I left this final quote in, [ anonymous forum regular ], because it reflects a quite defined us vs. them mentality... I have seen you make this particular rant repeatedly and just have to say it is one of the most UNWELCOMING things I have seen on this forum.


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Karoserri
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May 15, 2013 3:37 am  

I have to admit, when I read it in it's initial form it did seem "Discouraging" I guess when you find something really good, you don't want too many people to share it with...


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Islander
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May 15, 2013 5:57 am  

While the quotes may be debatable by some, polarizing or discouraging to others, might be based on observations others share or don’t share… they are opinions and the poster starts off by saying IMO (In my opinion).

I am not aware of VI migration studies, aside from one concerning Virgin Islanders that live in the states.

Here is an alternate perspective on the opinions shared in the quotes.

Yes some transplants have baggage. Some locals have baggage too.

Regarding substance abuse – I would note that I have been told on numerous occasions by both continental transplants and by locals that the level of drinking alcohol here in St. Thomas exceeds how much they drank wherever they came from and for the locals wherever they went to college in the states or wherever they might have lived in the states before returning to St. Thomas.

As for how many move without resources (no job, career, money, prospects). If looking at just continentals… I’d have to say in my opinion; I disagree with the opinion shared in the quotes. Most of the continentals I have met over the years have a job and/or a career, make money or have money to stay afloat. I have met a few that were flying by the seat of their pants – the one that stands out the most being a guy that told me he came down with very little, was sleeping on a beach on St. John, and couch surfing once and a while when he found people that would allow him in for a few days or weeks.

The VI does have its share of adventurous folks that move to follow a dream… there are some that came on vacation and stayed! Not sure what percentage this group includes.

There are some that research, plan, make a calculated move. Again don’t know the percentage.

There are a lot of transplants from outside the U.S. Mainly other Caribbean islands. Their motivation is generally economic opportunity as the quote stated. The percentage of transplants from other islands could possibly be ascertained by looking at the census. As for the implied connection between immigrants using government assistance programs; studies and reports on this topic are likely available online.

The last quote – well that is all opinion. And I don’t understand the ‘us vs them’ comment.


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jostvandog
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May 15, 2013 11:26 am  

If we all live here (USVI) then arent we all locals? No matter where you are from you are here now.


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Jamison
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May 15, 2013 2:13 pm  

I love the diversity here. I've certainly got my issues and baggage, but I generally pull my weight for the community IMO. It's extremely hard to pick up and move to a tiny island and some people need a little push, even if it's done by a troubled past, it might be enough to change somebodies life for the better. I find STX to be a magical healing place and I've been fortunate to share it with a lot of friends who've come to visit.


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terry
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May 15, 2013 2:20 pm  

If we all live here (USVI) then arent we all locals? No matter where you are from you are here now.

Most ( all?) of the born here locals will never consider someone who was not a local even though they have lived there for decades

I have a friend who can trace his family back to Judith of Judith's Fancy (6 generations or so ) says he is treated by many West Indians as an outsider / non-local. Think people like Chucky.


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LiquidFluoride
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May 15, 2013 2:23 pm  

I'm a part of the 5% (in his opinion), time to celebrate!

FYI, I have yet to see a single strung out meth user on this island, something that is quite common in a lot of area's of the US... we should count our self’s lucky for that, whatever substance abuse issues there are Meth & Heroin are far worse and where I came from (Alaska) those two things were tearing communities apart & destroying families either due to addiction or police actions.

My mom moved down here & she used to do substance abuse counseling in the states; she's retired & doesn't need to work but made some inquiries on the local programs & it doesn't seem "too bad" down here from that perspective.

so.. IT COULD BE A LOT WORSE!


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Alana33
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May 15, 2013 2:30 pm  

It's no different really from many other places (IMO) that one might be a newcomer to and have "locals" not consider the newcomer as a local even after 20 yrs. I have friends in Maine, having lived there 16 yrs., still be considered tourists/outsiders.

Just enjoy the island lifestyle, treat people right and be a productive member of the community whether you are considered "local" or not.;)


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LiquidFluoride
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May 15, 2013 3:06 pm  

It's no different really from many other places (IMO) that one might be a newcomer to and have "locals" not consider the newcomer as a local even after 20 yrs. I have friends in Maine, having lived there 16 yrs., still be considered tourists/outsiders.

Just enjoy the island lifestyle, treat people right and be a productive member of the community whether you are considered "local" or not.;)

I find labels and the elitist attitude that puts importance on them too much of a petty distraction to bother with.

I agree with Alana on this one, just do your thing & don't let the trifling people get you down; at times it can be hard to be the "bigger person" but always rewarding.


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fdr
 fdr
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May 15, 2013 5:35 pm  

My mom moved down here & she used to do substance abuse counseling in the states; she's retired & doesn't need to work but made some inquiries on the local programs & it doesn't seem "too bad" down here from that perspective.

I know several people in that profession, and the unanimous opinion is that we have an extremely high percentage of addicts and alcoholics who are simply not interested in seeking help when their geographic cure attempt fails them. Usually they just try another geographic cure, or die.


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Islander
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May 15, 2013 5:48 pm  

Here is a short list of some of the more common terms that might be heard in St. Thomas: Locals, Native, born here, from here, long time resident, continental, statesider, from the states, downislander, from Tortola, Frenchie, Spanish, Puerto Rican, white, black, St. Thomian, Crucian, St. Johnian…

They can all be used as “labels” or “a description” depending on the context and intent.

When learning about the dynamics of the population in a new place, the Virgin Islands in this case; it is worth looking at the terms used as “descriptions” and “labels”. And also look at the stereotypes that are tied to the term being used as a “label”; and try to understand how and why they exist. Rather than accepting or just ignoring the labels and descriptions, why not dig into it for an understanding.

“Us vs Them” and using “labels” isn’t exclusive to the Virgin Islands. It’s something we can all work on wherever we live.

Here is a quote from an article:

“Why do we resort to or accept the labeling of others? Here are some reasons. a) It is easier and requires less effort to assume something is true than to look up the facts. b) If we’re uncertain of the facts, we’d rather go along with others than admit our ignorance. c) It may be a hollow attempt to raise our stature by trivializing, ridiculing, and demonizing others. d) It may be due to carelessness and bad habits. e) We may fear and be suspicious of others. f) We may lack critical thinking skills. g) We may have been brought up with prejudice. h) We may use labels to control others. i) Whether we agree with them or not, we may accept labels to remain part of the ‘in’ crowd. j) We may not be assertive enough to come to the defense of others.

Once we understand why we do so, we can work on eliminating the habit of labeling others. We can overcome it by cultivating unconditional acceptance, compassion, and understanding. We can learn to observe and experience the world without judgment. We can remain detached from expectations and demands. We can learn to accept what is and people as they are. We can grow in humility.”

The full article can be read at: http://www.personal-development.com/chuck/labels.htm

The article also gets into the power of words and includes a good example from the author's experience in writing. I am mentioning this part of the article because that seems to be the point the original poster was trying to bring to light. That the broad generalizations, in addition to the choice of words, made in the quotes and perhaps used elsewhere on the forum or in day to day interactions can be hurtful and polarizing.


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LiquidFluoride
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May 15, 2013 5:53 pm  

My mom moved down here & she used to do substance abuse counseling in the states; she's retired & doesn't need to work but made some inquiries on the local programs & it doesn't seem "too bad" down here from that perspective.

I know several people in that profession, and the unanimous opinion is that we have an extremely high percentage of addicts and alcoholics who are simply not interested in seeking help when their geographic cure attempt fails them. Usually they just try another geographic cure, or die.

I agree, addiction is addiction regardless of the substance, there are TV addicts, sugar addicts etc etc..

My comment was that some of the more devastating addictions do not seem to exist here, I did not mean to downplay the ones that do.


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fdr
 fdr
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May 15, 2013 6:34 pm  

Gotcha. Yeah, there are so many cheap and easy options for addiction here already.


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iguanabanana
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May 15, 2013 7:45 pm  

Thank you, Islander. In my opinion, you hit the nail on the head with your thoughtful comments. I know we are all guilty of labeling others from time to time... heck, I called rotohead a d*****bag on one thread (then apologized later). However, we all have to work on it and call it out when we see it (in my opinion). I think the fact that the post in question put actual percentages (totaling 100%, mind you) with these labels/generalizations really got under my skin. Complete fabrication... so I called it out. Thanks for the forum to do so. /rant

“Why do we resort to or accept the labeling of others? Here are some reasons.
a) It is easier and requires less effort to assume something is true than to look up the facts.
b) If we’re uncertain of the facts, we’d rather go along with others than admit our ignorance.
c) It may be a hollow attempt to raise our stature by trivializing, ridiculing, and demonizing others.
d) It may be due to carelessness and bad habits.
e) We may fear and be suspicious of others.
f) We may lack critical thinking skills.
g) We may have been brought up with prejudice.
h) We may use labels to control others.
i) Whether we agree with them or not, we may accept labels to remain part of the ‘in’ crowd.
j) We may not be assertive enough to come to the defense of others.

Once we understand why we do so, we can work on eliminating the habit of labeling others. We can overcome it by cultivating unconditional acceptance, compassion, and understanding. We can learn to observe and experience the world without judgment. We can remain detached from expectations and demands. We can learn to accept what is and people as they are. We can grow in humility.”

The article also gets into the power of words and includes a good example from the author's experience in writing. I am mentioning this part of the article because that seems to be the point the original poster was trying to bring to light. That the broad generalizations, in addition to the choice of words, made in the quotes and perhaps used elsewhere on the forum or in day to day interactions can be hurtful and polarizing.


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blu4u
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May 15, 2013 8:36 pm  

Hey there.

I'm the "anonymous" a-hole mentioned in the first post. What was not mentioned in the First post is that my comments were in response to speculation by another poster that most transplants only lasted on 6 months. For the sake of "comments" on a message broad (as opposed to a scholarly ethnographic paper), I highlighted three broad, non-mutually exclusive categories. I do realize that pigeon holing individuals is unfair. That was not my intent. My comments were offered to illuminate some of the chief demographic factors (IMO) contributing to the high attrition rate.

What's concerning is the OP's quickness to label me as "unwelcoming" and infer that I am some sort of bigot or "label maker". Generally I am a bit more "encouraging" than the typical VI NOW regular, when it comes to offering relocation and career advise. I feel that the VI needs more folks with ambition, solid training, proven track records and smart techies and have stated so repeatedly on various threads. https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,202160,202353#msg-202353 I am not a "hater of the poor or disadvantaged or westindian or continetial or successful". Quite the contrary, my late (college educated) husband grew-up in housing project on neighboring island and I gave birth to his two mixed race off spring. So, I've witnessed, first hand, what it's like to flourish despite the stigma of abritary bigotry.

I should have been more clear on the Us v. Them comment. Frankly, I am little tired of ridiculous statements like "you have to know somebody to get job here", or "that will never work here", "you need to do three month PMV and spend $20,000 and wait on line at the bank befor relocating" which (again in my opinion) is total cop-out BS. IMO, Transplants (continetial or otherwise) ability to make it depends more on their unique skill set (emotional stability, logistical flexibility, career choice, capitalization) then on the VI's pement population. I fail to see where the VI is that much different than San Diego or Raliegh or Bangor.

So take it for what it is: an opinion. Yours may be different.


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Alana33
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May 15, 2013 9:37 pm  

Congrats Blu! Only 8 misspellings and only edited 7 times.
Must be a new record. You do know the spell-check works?
Sorry. Couldn't resist.:P


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blu4u
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May 15, 2013 9:49 pm  

Congrats Blu! Only 8 misspellings and only edited 7 times.
Must be a new record. You do know the spell-check works?
Sorry. Couldn't resist.:P

Eviidently not well enough!


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BeachcomberStt
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May 16, 2013 2:08 am  

.


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PeteyToo
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May 16, 2013 4:14 am  

What's the percentage of "Trust Fund, Inheritance Babies"?


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Bombi
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May 16, 2013 10:00 am  

Trustafarians


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Rowdy802
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May 16, 2013 12:18 pm  

...Frankly, I am little tired of ridiculous statements like "you have to know somebody to get job here", or "that will never work here", "you need to do three month PMV and spend $20,000 and wait on line at the bank befor relocating" which (again in my opinion) is total cop-out BS....

Why would you be "a little tired" about those statements? I've had to relocate 4 times in the last 6 years and those statements are common EVERYWHERE... And, I am sure you do understand that any place will have limitations (specially if it is a small island) and advantages... I see those questions/ statements as just a way to find out what works and what doesn't work and not directed at a particular characteristic of the residents and/ or location...

Maybe I am an alien from another planet but, none of this things bother me... I see a local as somebody who embraces and contributes to that society... Someone who cares about that community and is willing to make it better...

As for the label, I only see that as a way of proudly saying where I am from... That is where it ends... If someone wants to be put in any particular context, well, so be it... It is their hang up, not mine...

P.S. Just like life, your home is what you make of it.... 🙂


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BeachcomberStt
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May 16, 2013 1:21 pm  

Re: Attention all "loosers", "drunks" & "phsycos" & "teen welfare mothers"

blu4u, why did you change the topic in the middle of the thread and make it so another member that posts after you has to change the topic back to the orginal topic -"Us vs. Them"? Depending if they use the reply or quote link.


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East Ender
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May 16, 2013 10:25 pm  

Islander: You forgot "navel string buried here." 😀


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Iris Tramm
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May 17, 2013 12:15 am  

One of the very first things someone said to me over a decade ago when I first moved to STX (a long-time transplant who had worked for HOVENSA for decades) was:

"Everyone who moves here is running from something."

I don't have statistics, but anecdotally over ten years? I'm not gonna argue a counterpoint.

Oh, and the other thing I was told was that: "It'll be expensive to feed yourself, but you and drink and smoke yourself to death on next to nothing!"

Take from it whatever you want.


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JohnLPC
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May 17, 2013 1:16 am  

Here's a sincere contribution that I hope will be gently received. Nothing new, nothing original, yet they are sometimes helpful perspectives to re-member when it feels like ideas and strong beliefs seem to pull community apart. To begin, a few axioms that may be helpful when navigating discussions similar to this thread:

- Homeostasis / Balance: any perfectly good thing, if taken to an extreme, gets screwed up.
- Common Ground: what is most personal, is also most universal.
- Perception / Interpretation: we don't "see" things as "they are" ... we "see" things as "we are."

Here are some suggestions I offer to people - individuals, groups, couples and organizations - seeking to discuss divergent world views (biases). The intent is to facilitate dialogue, find common ground and lessen dualistic perceptions ("us vs them"). It's been helpful in my work over the years ... so here goes:

1. Skill of Self Reflection
•Each person has the right to define him/herself without being labeled by others.
•Each person also has the responsibility to question his/her own assumptions about "the other."

2. Skill of Sensitivity
•Each person has the right to express his/her beliefs, ideas and feelings.
•Each person has the responsibility to allow others the same right of self-expression that s/he expects for him/herself.

3. Skill of Response
•Each person has the right to ask questions that help him/her understand what someone else has said.
•Each person has the responsibility to respect the others right of self-definition, even in times of disagreement. Partners in the dialogue, and acknowledge the dignity of another culture of tradition.

4. Skill of Mutual Trust
•Each person has the right to expect that what is said will be held in confidence.
•Each person must agree to hold what others say in confidence.

Ponder, dismiss, or question well.

As always, "your mileage may vary" (meaning, some may find this post more beneficial than others, and that's just fine.) 🙂


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