Chesline Pierre-Paul is an award-winning holistic life, creativity, and language coach, media and language activist, and the co-founder of the Decolonial Perspectives and Practices Hub.
Growing up in Canada and of Haitian, Creole descent, Chesline experienced firsthand the power and politics of language, an experience which led to her anti-colonial resistance work and starting a business that focuses on self-determination and anti-colonial healing through language.
Through her inspired and unique language coaching practice, she now works with QTIBPOC+ Queero, S/hero, and ally of multicultural heritage, helping them to reclaim their identity by learning the lost native (Indigenous) languages of their biological ancestral lineage. After teaching herself Haitian Creole and going through her own transformation, Chesline experienced the healing power of language and is now on a mission to bring this healing to others.
- The power and politics of language
- Why learning a second language can be hard. The rarely discussed reasons
- How to learn languages in a way that fits with your identity
- Systemic Language bias
- What it means to be a kid of the third culture
- How to overcome mental blocks and free your creativity
- How to be the most powerful person in any room and not be denied
I was born and raised here in Canada, my parents are from Haiti, they’re political refugees. I was born into a country where we were minoritized and rationalized and for my own protection internally in the family people did not particularly want us, our generation to speak Haitian Creole. You already look a certain way we don’t want you t have an accent. . it was done well intentionally but the result of it is that there is a loss of your own cultural heritage.
On identity and belonging
There’s something to be said about being a kid of the third culture, you belong to many spaces but to no one in particular. I am a westerner, I am a Canadian, a Quebecer, a Montrealer, I am a Haitian person. I am so many different things. And so it makes me unrecognizable to a form of blackness that prioritizes a white-dominated agenda in the same way that it makes me unrecognizable to the profile of Canadian- ness
On being multi-passionate
We are full beings, we’re multi-passionate and we’re told time and time again how it’s not sustainable, you cannot have it all, you have to choose and I dare say you are everything they said you could never be and you don’t have to choose. You simply have to re-think how creative you’re going to be about getting those goals and about achieving them and what’s your timeline.
On language and colonialism
I did Italian and Arabic and In all those courses 99 percent of the student population, were heritage speakers. so they are culturally and ethnically recognized as part of that culture and identity and yet they don’t speak the language and I realized there was a problem here.
We are forced into institutions where we learn the colonial language, colonial power of reality, and hierarchy in ways that make illegitimate the potentiality to be anything but that model, and so you’re paying people who are not from your community to teach you about your own culture more often than not. And when you’re black or any form of racialized person then there’s no representation. I’m 26 years young and the only black professor I’ve ever had was in 2020. … Even to teach about our own culture we are excluded.
I saw through a moment of reckoning that we’re paying those institutions to colonize us through language.
Language is something we do every day, it’s easy to fool ourselves that it’s neutral.
On learning languages
The issue becomes the frustration that we’re trying to have the same level of sophistication when learning a second language. We don’t really honor the process of growing into it and we want to jump the gun.
On standing in your power
Acknowledge the power within. Recognize how you’re powerful because when you don’t know that, you won’t be able to project it.
Don’t use week language
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LinkedIn: Chesline Pierre-Paul