Monday, December 26, 2005

Race/Class in the Dominican Republic

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

As an African-American living in the Dominican Republic I guess I have a different take on the race issue here. As someone who has come to grips with the issue a few years ago, it disheartens me when I hear Dominicans of a "moreno" persuasion who feel they are less than there lighter Dominican brothers and sisters. But, I guess if I grew up here I could understand why. People with dark skin in this country are not considered beautiful. Dark skin is equated with the hated "Haitians," or even the dreaded Africa. I remember 2 draq queens arguing one night, and the whole thing was on color, the light drag queen was telling the darker one she was BLACK, ugly and dirty.

The elite and educated in this country are overwhelmingly light and of European (Spanish) ancestry, and that is how most of them want to keep it. If you read the society pages (as I do) of the Listin Diario, you wouldn't think there are any prominent people of color in this country. The amazing thing I find about this country (and most other Latin American countries with brown populations) is that people have been brainwashed to think there is absolutely no discrimination. When you speak with people privately they will most often than not tell you there is discrimination here, but nothing like in the States.

They just crowned a new Miss Dominican Republic, and true to form, she is a "white Dominican." There is nothing wrong with that, if that weren't seen as the ONLY form of true Dominican beauty. There has been but ONE brown Miss Dominican Republic, Ruth Ocumares. Same thing in Brazil, if you see there lineup of contestants you wouldn't know that there were brown people, indians and others in the country. I didn't know until a few years ago that 25% of the population of Colombia was of African descent. Living in NYC I thought all Colombians were Anglo and Indian, who knew.

The difference between the U.S. and most Latin American countries is that through education and determination you can be Oprah Winfrey, Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell. In most Latin countries, including the DR, you can be the most educated and brilliant at your profession, but it is all about who you know.

I do see change. In the years that I have been coming here I'm meeting more and more educated folk coming back from the States with a different perspective. Not that what is going on in the States is healthy with regard to race relations, but at least you know where you stand. A few years ago the New York Times did a series of article (for which they won the Pulitzer Prize) called "How Race is Lived in America." There is one story that stood out in my mind about 2 friends from Cuba. Both make it to Miami, but once there they get separated by the color line. The friends' story was followed for a couple of years. The Afro-Cuban thought they were great friends in Cuba, but didn't feel welcome around his Anglo-Cuban friends and family in Miami. And as he thought back to how he was treated by Anglo-Cubans in Cuba, it wasn't the racial uptopia he thought it was.

Unfortunately, this is NOT a situation that is unique to the Dominican Republic. This type of thinking infests most places in the world, even countries with predominantly brown populations. The lighter the skin, the better. I don't know what my point is, but it had been on my mind. This is just my arm-chair analysis of the situation. As always, KNOWLEDGE is power.

35 comments:

Mr. Washington said...

Anthony, as always you are right on point. Thanks for putting this info out there. I have been wanting to address the issue in my blog as well. As you know, I have several friends there, Dominican and American. It is always interesting to hear, and see, how the issues of race and color affect those who live there.

Anonymous said...

The Issue of race in the dominican republic is way to complicated to sum up. Being dominican and of mixed heritage my mother being mostly pure white and my dad being of arabic haitian and spanish desent i have always been tought to see the white in me as the more beautiful part of me not because i want to but because that is that way that my society is. it puts an emphasis on having green eyes "good" hair. I think that the most important part to understand about dominican racism is that it is mainly a defense mechanism. it has been established to protect us from asimilation into haitian culture, and to keep our national soveirgnty, let it not be forgoton that we gained independence from the republic of haiti not spain. to emphasise our white(spanish) heritage is to distinguish ourselves from them. it is not right, but i also know for a fact that the dominican republic is the least discrimanatory country towards blacks in latin america....for in puerto rico they are tought they are of three races one of which no longer exist and that is the amerindian part. to say you are another race and be taught you are another race is the worst form of discrimination.

John K said...

Anthony, a great post. When I get a free moment I plan to link to your post and add my own thoughts. To the anonymous poster, I 'd just add that there is no such thing as "pure" whiteness--that is a myth. The Spaniards were already mixed by the time they got to the New World, as Simon Bolívar tartly noted; their ancestry includes the Celts, Romans, Arabs, Jews, Berbers, Basques, and other groups, including some sub-Saharan African presence (since there were Black Africans in the Muslim court and regions before the expulsion in 1492). In fact, many of these predecessors to the Spanish--and Portuguese and French, etc.--the Romans, Arabs, Jews, etc. were already racially mixed.

Also, the Dominican Republic secured its freedom not only from Haiti (in 1844), but then was annexed by Spain and so had to again gain its freedom (with Haitian help, no less) in 1865. One of the leaders of the liberation was a Black Dominican whose name graces streets across the DR and whose face appears on Dominican money, General Luperón, but he's not the only major Black figure in the country's history. In fact, dark-skinned Blacks have played in part in Dominican history from the country's earliest days.

Anthony, you put it so well when you talk about what is essentially a mythology of national unity and lack of racism. This has been used, along with anti-Haitianism and Balaguer's obsession with "Hispanidad," another, very clever form of White supremacy that appeals to "tradition" and "ancestry," to tranquilize and unify the "nation" and paper over the racial and color hierarchy. The DR never legislated state-mandated racial apartheid as in the US, but then the Spanish practiced their racism, like the French and Portuguese, a bit differently from the British. The British wanted outright racial separation and segregation, often at the penalty of death, whereas the Latin countries took a different tack. But the ultimate results are similar. As in most countries in the Americas, who is at the bottom of the social and economic ladder? It ain't the "White" people!

One difference in the DR that I see is that there are more brown-skinned people holding office--if not high positions in the social and business worlds--and the country has a president who, in many countries, would be identified as Black or at least as mixed-race.

I'll end there....

Anonymous said...

Being a frequent traveler to DR, a world traveler, an educated, successful black man, it is incredible to me that the beautiful black and brown people of DR consider themselves anything other than BEAUTIFUL!

I can understand the historical perspective, the media images of whiteness and blondeness and symbols of what white dominicans believe to be beautiful and the powerful effect it has on one's own esteem. But at the end of the day, It ain't the white dominicans visitors are clamoring over. How did Edina describe how the spanish look.. "potato faces with brillo hair". Who on earth wants that laying next to them at night
Anthony, not too sure what my point is either, but i feel ya.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony, Good issue to discuss. Like you said, the race issue isn't limited to the DR. If you watch Mexican commercials and "telenovelas" you would get the idea that there are no Mexicans with brown skin; only white. Who are the most famous PR entertainers? Ricky Martin and Jennifer López. They represent the white Carribean; not the majority population "of color". Speaking of PR, I met a boricua once who did not under any circumstances want me to refer to him as "moreno". He told me "Un moreno es negro". Yo soy trigueño porque no soy negro."

Shitzz & Grins said...

In the United States, amongst the high school and young adult (college) population, it's hip and cool to be black. For the last 10 years or so the hip hop culture is where it's at. The so called white kids idolize the black kids. They dress hip hop, dance hip hop, listen to rap music, wear bling, and sign. In the USA there is no "white" anymore, so much racial mixing that there really isn't any specific heritage to cling to. They are fascinated by the strong culture and heritage of the blacks. I am a perfect example of this. My Grandfather came over from Spain, married my Grandmother who came over from Mexico, my mother married a man of German decent, I married an Italian man. What real culture will our daughters know? Are they white???

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the conversation.

Monaga said...

Clarification: I want to make sure that everyone understands that I didn't write this with the intention that the DR is the only place that this occurs. I have gotten several emails asking about the race/class situation and I was just adding my thoughts to the mix. As always John, you are right on point. Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Anthony

John in D.C. said...

Anthony, I was one who asked you for the topic of race and culture in the DR. Thank you for your perspective and dialoge on this topic. You are absolutly correct that the DR is not unique in this regard. My father was born and raised in Guatemala and often shared his expericencs as a darker skinned Mayan and the difficulties he experienced even from his own family. There is an African settlement north of my fathers home called Livingston and it remains a strong and thriving Aficano community. I have a Puerto Rican friend that is as white looking as they come, but identifies as black because he says, he knows his PR roots. Another PR friend is as some may call "blue black", would be offended if called "black". And yet another friend whos grandmother(abuela)was considered white and grandfather(abuelo)dark and black. It is amazing, but true that all of the beautiful children and grand-children of that couple acknowlege and accept covertly this fact but choose to identify according to the stratification of their various complexions (e.g. black, white, Puerto Rican, mixed, or other). These are several examples good, bad or otherwise that exemplify the reality and complexity of this topic.

A good friend in Santo Domingo told me once that I was not black and I paused and responded back that I am. In a half joking manner he said, "I like black people, no (fechar)date or sleep(tronco)with". "You no black" (Tu no Negro)". In conclusion one must not generalize an entire population, but understand that issues of race and class are very real still. It's a difficult subject and one that needs to be addressed as constructively as possible.

nubian said...

ys world....yeah white kids wanna act black and dres black and talk black, but if they started hanging us from trees again, those white kids will be the first to "turn" white again. everyone wants to be black, but no one really wants to be black...

Mario Sessions said...

Anthony, that word "moreno" meaning "blackie or Dark one" gets under my skin when ever I here it in the DR its like us American saying the word "Nigga" in some way and the Domincan dark color people don't mind being called that at all I was taken back.

Thanks again for the true insite of this subject

Anonymous said...

blacks are not the only people who have suffered from discrimination in the dominican republic, like i said earlier i am part arab, and i know for a fact that my grandfather and great grandfather went through a whole lot of stuff when they first emmigrated to the dr, hence they so quickly lost their arabic culuture. I also want to state that the dominican republic is by far the least racist against blacks i am making no justifications for this but people in the dr really try hard not to discriminate. from my experiance there is more racism in the white part of the country "the cibao" than in the rest. the cibao being an area where the white population percentage reaches 50% and in some towns like janico and sabana igleasia 90%. and to the word moreno being derogatory, that is completly untrue, it used to be that that word wasnt even used because people prefered to be called "indio" now it is accepted and i think that is a sign of a changing time

Anonymous said...

I've been admiring your wonderful, wonderful work to connect African-American same gender loving males with their Dominican counterparts for several years now. THANK YOU, Anthony!

There is a website TOTALLY DEDICATED to promoting Black Pride and Black Consciousness among Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and all "people of color" in Latin America. I find it very informative. It is NOT a Gay site, and no one has "come out" and announced their love for their same gender---yet. (Smile). Maybe some of the readers of this blog will begin a dialogue about the Dominican, Rican, and African-American Gay experience. :-)

Anyway, the site is http://www.afrolatino.com

Anonymous said...

Regarding Mario Sessions comments about being or being called "Moreno". Being a hispanic man myself, I don't recall this word being offensive to anybody. Why do you think or assume that the DR people are offending one another by saying or describing themselves as "Moreno"!!!

Anonymous said...

Anthony, this was a very interesting topic. Out of the times that I have visited the DR, I would not have thought that there were any race issues. I guess just being from hispanic descent myself, I only thought that there were racial issues in other hispanic populated countries and would not have thought so of the DR. Thanks for the information.

David (Oakland) said...

There is so much to say about this subject.
What brought this issue home to me in the Domincan Republic was the Presidential election there in May 2004. I noticed that in his campaign posters, Lionel Fernandez (the winner) looked noticeably lighter in his posters than he did on T.V.

Anonymous said...

Talking about race in the DR is fine and good, so now we know a little more than we did before. But change should come from the Dominican people who are affected. As I travel thru the barrios, I see just as many white looking poor people as I do brown and dark brown skin people. The country is overwhelmingly poor and the color line seems to have included the entire rainbow of colors. It is 100% true that the rich are the white looking ones. We all are visitors to this land, so while it is good to talk about the subject of race, we should not presume to be experts on the subject in this country. Hell, the 400-500 years of slavery and oppression in the US and the struggles of the rainbow of "colored people" to be equal and free, continues into today and even the factions of "colored people" can't even agree on which direction should be taken to resolve the race problem in the US. So lets not get too close to the "flame" of race relations in the DR for fear of being burned. Our reputation of the hateful, rude, know it all, my way or the highway Americans, precides us. If the "colored people" of the DR want our help in overcoming their race problems, then I guess they will ask for that help. But lets not impose our views on these people. We should be working to resolve our race problems at home before talking about someone else. Just some food for thought or some gas on the fire.

Anonymous said...

I am a 50% American Indian and 50% Scottish. One of the things I enjoy most is sitting outdoors at Paco's in Santo Domingo and watching all the different colors and facial features of the beautiful people of the DR. I find the black and caramel skinned races the most exotic and beautiful. The white looking ones are not really a turn on unless I get to know them and find that I really like their personality. At first glance the "opposite" of my white skin is such a physical attraction to me. Are there other whites who desire the exotic colors and features of the Dominican People?

Anonymous said...

Anthony, it seems that you have focused on a topic that, although few people mention, is alive and well in the Dominican Republic: racism. I have been visiting this country since 1974, so this is nothing new to me. Lighter-skinned Dominicans will and do put darker-skinned Dominicans down. And don't even think of calling a dark-skinned Dominican 'Black' if you value his/her friendship! It takes some time to figure all this out and like someone posted it's too long to discuss here. And to the other person who wrote, "But let's not impose our views on these people." I think that Anthony's message was simply informative and not meant to start a formal campaign against racism in the Dominican Republic.
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

Well said Rafael, well said.....

Anonymous said...

to comment on racism in the dominican republic in an american way is totally wrong... what americans see as racism is not in the dominican republic, this is a country where there are way more politicians of color than in the us and for that matter in most other latin american countries...i say this from experiance because my uncle is a diputado and my father ran for sindico they are both of black white and arab backrounds but look mostly black i have posted twice before on this blog. to the person who commented that they had been visiting the dominican republic and had noticed the racism what type of racism have you noticed the type in which people of color cant sit on the same side of the bus? the type where people of color have not been able to stay in the same hotel as you? no. black is not seen as beautiful anywhere in the world in the united states how many black ms americas have their been? is this right definately not. the only outright racism that i have seen in the dominican republic is toward the chinese...mainly because their different work ethic. i think i will have to post more on this blog lol...this is fun

Anonymous said...

To the comment above you say that the only "outright racism you see is against the chinese, because of their work ethics". Strange, but if that is the case, it would be discrimination and not racism. Either way discrimination based on race, class, work ethic, ect. does exist as sad and ingnorant as it is be it in the U.S., DR, China...a pig is still a pig, even if you put a dress on it

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I wish people would add their names to their posts, it would make communication so much easier. To the poster who wrote that, "black is not seen as beautiful anywhere in the world" I would like to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I would also like to add some other comments, but it's 9:00am and I have a plane to catch in a few hours for Santo Domingo where I plan to do an in depth study of white, brown, and black Dominican men...purely scientific, of course. Have a Happy New Year, I know I will!
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent caucasian visitor to Santo Domingo and frequently hear comments re the depth of skin tone by Dominicans. A good friend that I work with wanted to buy some small porcelain figurines with black or brown faces for her collection. I said that would be no problem then I started looking here. I found none except for an occasional cartoon type stereotype. It was amazing.

New Wave Black Man said...

Well what can I say. An amazing sensitive entry Anthony. I called some book publishers about you. You have to start getting paid for all this wisdom. I am so glad to see from the number of posts that people read you for more than just the beautiful men and the "dirt." Keep telling it like it is.

Anonymous said...

Race and colors are issues that are going to be discussed and debated until the end of time OR we are all mixed race and look alike. While I do feel there is racism towards darker skinned individuals, I do feel it is up to parents, friends, family, lovers and most importantly BLACK, DARK, BLUE-BLACK OR OVERLY TANNED individuals to EMBRASSS, LOVE, NURTURE what can not BE changed...our colors, there will always be some issues even if it is NOT color, than it will be nose, or butt, or legs...Lets all face is...People are going to JUDGE, DISCRIMINATE, HATE, whatever based on their OWN insecurities. Show me a person who trips or is affended and Ill show you a person who has not LEARNED to love, accept and appreciate what god has blessed them with. Im a young Jam-Afro-American male who is dark and LOVE IT as well as myself. I realize people do have preferences to what they like and are sometimes just ignorant to feel that this or that may be better but I LOVE all colors-butter, black, red, pink, tan...all hues ESPECIALLY those who love themselves and can ACCEPT who they are and what they are...More than just a COLOR...

Being lighter/mixed race does not equal success or an easier road-It sometimes leads to self hatred or loath being unable to identify with one race

Being dark does not equal poverty or no opportunities...

FYI-MORENO is a COLOR!!!

Great top...Hopefully there will be more to come this controversial...

BADBOY in ATL

Anonymous said...

I have a friend here in Miami, who is Dominican who has made not a few negative comments about Haitians here in the States. It was really surprising to me because as I explained to him, everything that he said about Haitians were exactly the things that were being said by the Puerto Ricans in putting down the Dominicans.
In the hierarchy of being, with respect to latin american countries, many view dominicans as being at or very near the bottom. So it is particularly interesting that the Dominicans have found justification in the degradation of Hatians. One would think that the Dominicans who have immigrated to the US and have felt the sting or racism would perhaps rethink their views on race issues. I have noticed, however, that Dominicans are more likely to move into black neighborhoods than are, for example, cubans, colombians or venezuelans.

There was an excellent article in the Miami Herald about how there is a movement by some Dominican scholars and antrhopoligists to focus on their african ancestry. A museum was built which paid tribute to the nation's african heritage, and folks were none too thrilled about it, chosing rather to focus on their Spanish ancestry. I think the museum eventually closed due to public objection. Anthony is correct that this sort of skin complexion hierarchy does not only exist in the Dominican Republic. In practically EVERY modern society, lighter skinned people exercise more socieconomic and political power than the darker skinned people, whether it be India, the Philippines, or South Africa. What we see here in the western hemisphere is primarily a vestige of Anglo European imperialism. It's sad that we won't let it die.

As for the writer who says that the only discrimination that he has seen in the DR is toward chinese, I find that a little difficult to believe. I think if you spoke to the haitians in the Dominican Republic, you might be enlightened. Also if you are not dark then you might not be privvy to what's going on.

And finally to "YS" and "nubian". White folks in the United States (and all over the world actually) have always been enthralled by black entertainers. Black music has always been an integral part of their lives. Remember that in the 1920s up through the 1960s, black entertainers would play to sold out audiences at all white venues, because blacks were not allowed. These entertainers had to come through the back entrance because, notwithstanding the fact that they were the reasons that whites were coming to see the show, their black skin walking through the "front" door was a sight to difficult to bear. And don't forget how black artists would have their music remade by white artists, only to have the record companies promote the "white" version while the black artists had to sell their product in underground outlets.

While I am not fan of American society or culture, I have to say that a fundamental difference between American racism and racism in latin america is that Americans finally ADMITTED that there were race issues that needed to be addressed. Of course, as in modern day France and Israel, it took riots and destruction of property to wake them up, as a result, the principals of equality have been accepted by the masses and the laws reflect a significant change in attitudes. In latin America, the problem is that no one wants to admit that the problem exists. It seems that even the blacks and idigenous people don't want to face the fact that they are being discriminated agains. It appears that no one wants to admit that there is a problem. They would rather point to the long gone Jim Crow era of blatant de jure segregation here in the US as a justification for telling Americans that we have no place talking about racism in other countries. That attitude precludes an open dialogue on the issues that exist, and thus the racism is perpetuated.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had something halfway intelligent to add to this thread, but right now I am sooo hung over that I can not even see the keyboard very well. The party continues... You should all be here and not there!
Now in Santo Domingo,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

As an Asian of Chinese roots who visited the DR last March, let me say that it was both a wonderful visit and also a somewhat stressful one. The stressfulness came from trying to deal with the constant "Chino, chino" being directed at me, ranging from little kids to adults. Although I have gone to other Latin American countries where I faced similar comments, the intensitive in the DR was much higher.

There are times that I knew that a Dominican was calling me "Chino" as a term of endearment (in the same way they called others "moreno" etc). But there were times when I knew that I was being called that as a slur. You could actually notice the anger behind it. I also noticed that some Dominican TV stations had comedy shows that portrayed Chinese characters in what I would have considered quite offensive, and would certainly would have subject the TV station to a discrimination lawsuit here in the U.S.

I do know a couple of Dominican friends and have asked them about the relationship that Dominicans have towards the Chinese. I believe a lot centers with the lack of intereaction between the recent Chinese immigrants and the native population. It seems that during the 80s, the Dominican Republic encouraged Chinese immigration, specially from Hong Kong. At time, it was unclear what the future of Hong Kong would be and people were looking at other countries to live in.

What resulted was a small migration of Chinese people to the DR. Obviously, once they were there they had to find a way to live. Given that most of them are adults and learning Spanish was tough, they started small businesses, such as jewery stores and (surprise to me) nail beauty stores.

From most of the DR friends and strangers that I spoke, I got the sense that the Chinese got themselves into being part of an insular community. They are viewed as the model minority (again) that is somewhat well-off and standoffish. Native DR people who have Chinese friends know what the real situation is and tell me they are such wonderful people. Those who don't, have opinions that may not be based on reality but are based on a hotpotch of mass-media images and the fear of what you don't know. I have had the chance of talking to a few DR guys and gals who were total strangers. It was amazing how much misquided information they had about my ethnicity. One of the most memorables was while in a bus, a woman truthfully thought that all Chinese women had at least seven kids. Most thought I was related to Bruce Lee (I guess it is good and bad at the same time). But I think they liked me a bit after I willingly talked to them in Spanish.

So, my friends, I believe that sometimes race relationships (or ethinic relationships) have to do with what we perceive as the unknown, or what misconceptions we have about other groups. It is true that shades of "whiteness" color our perception of each other, and in some groups, it is the key to economic well-being. It is also true that the lack of knowledge of each other color our fears of each other.

Will I return to the DR for another visit? Maybe. I met wonderful people and had a wonderful adventure. But sometimes I feel that I don't want to be the ambassador again.

Oh, Anthony, thanks for this blog. It certainly brings a lot of information about the DR.

Dave

NUYORICANO said...

Anthony, first of all what a great post. I'm a Dominican York, or what I prefer -Nuyoricano- , and I agree with a lot of what you've said. In my own family, there is a mixture that runs the rainbow, and yet I remember the self-consciousness associated with having darker skin (i.e. on vacations to DR, I couldn't wait to get great tan, but I remember being discouraged to do so by other family members, who themselves were dark- skinned). And don't get me started about media portrayals of race. However, I do see signs of progress and thankfully discussions like these help.

Here's an article on Brazils first black TV channel that I thought was relevant:
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/entertainment/columnists/bob_downing/13385527.htm

P.S. I don't consider the word "moreno/a" to be derogatory. In my experience, when the word is used to refer to a person, it is used descriptively and affectionately (i.e. many spanish songs refer to "morena" as a lover). Literally translated moreno=brown or dark-brown.

A word with a derogatory connotation (similar to the n-word in English) would be "prieto/a"

-esyprtu@yahoo.com

Mela said...

Hi there,
I'm a 23 year old women from Africa (Gabon).This myth that bout the lighter you are the better is something i see in my own family.On my mothers side the mixing of races goes back to my great-grandparents, bc my mothers tribe where the first to come into contact with the Europeans. This has left as community that is called the "Whites" of the country. I've been here since i was 7 yrs old, which i think has a lot to do with me being content with my brown skin, and also being proud and amazed of how brown people of Latin America have kept their african traditions even though i meet people who are noticely dark from DR, PR,and Haiti who claim to be indian and not black, the same people who tell me that i shouldn't call myself african bc i an not dark(as what they believe to be african) It just saddens me to think that they would deny a part of them from people who were snatched away from their families,and never asked to be sold off like animals. I 'm also sadden by the fact that some lightet skinned africans prefer to label themsevels as anything but black. When i first told my grandmother about the man i an now married to, she was happy, but i think it had to do with the fact that he is colombian but i saw the dissapointment in her eyes when she met him and saw that he was black. She told me that my ex Ricardo a Salvadorian was better i'm guessing bc he wasn't black..

Anonymous said...

First off, I think it is unfair to comment on the racial and social conditions of the Dominican republic if you have not grown up or have been exposed to that sort of living condition. Second of all, it is important to emphasize the large number of darker dominicans that hold positions in the government. There also needs to be an understanding that a main component of the discrimination that exist in the Dominican Republic deals with issues of class not race. There are many "white" dominicans that are just as equally mistreated as "black" Dominicans because of issues of class. Another important thing to keep in mind is that while the majority of the elite Dominicans do happen to be White, the reason they are financially well off is because of "old" money. There is also a misconception of the relationship between black and white dominicans; a belief that they do not coexist in the dominican republic. This is false, like I said before, the underlying issue is class not race.

Anonymous said...

I am of Dominican descent and I can tell you for certain that skin color is an issue. Our people come in so many shades, that I've noticed what one person considers "black" or "white" differs from one person to the next. For instance, I am light but my grandmother is very white. I have had other hispanics refer to me as "morena" when comparing me to my white grandmother, even though I am clearly not brown. It just seems that even within the "white" color spectrum there are different levels of whiteness. The same goes for Dominicans who may be brown versus very dark. Even within whites and blacks there is racism. I hear and I see it all the time...people want to be considered lighter than what they really are as if that makes them better. People actually argue about where they fall in the color spectrum.....pale, white, light, tan, semi-tan, caramel, light brown, brown, black....why does it matter?

Anonymous said...

one thing i hate is that some people think that all doinicans are black or brown but were i come from santiago most people are white or very light that dosen't makes santiageros or cibaenos better then any other dominicans but some people have to know that not all dominicans have dark skin.

Anonymous said...

I am from Dominican Republic, and there is so much to say one post will not do the job. First I have battled with ignorance from many people, there is a small jewish community in Dom. Rep. I am jewish 100%, my greatgrandparents were from Spain, and both my father and mother were born in Dom. Rep. and both are jewish.People do not believe me when I say I`m jewish, though I have a jewish last name, just because I am from Dom. Rep. everytime i say I`m from Dom. Rep. they tell me I am lying because I am white, my family go through the same dilemas. I easily get upset because I find that people are very ignorant when it comes to Dominicans and the country as well.