Thursday, June 14, 2007

Odds and Ends

The Miami Herald newspaper has an extraordinary series they're doing on growing influence of Afro-Latin Americans. The first two installments are out. There is an article on Dominicans entitled, "Black Denial." There is a video link. Very interesting series, indeed. There are two more articles to come, which will cover Brazil and Cuba. I think I smell a Pulitzer Prize for this series. There is a great graphic of the route and the number of slaves brought from Africa, and to which countries they were taken. (Link for the article en Espanol.)

Carrying the theme for a bit longer. I recently ran across the website for Ruth Ocumarez. She is the first woman of predominantly African heritage (her words) to win the Miss Dominican Republic title. Where as the issue above is "black denial," Ms. Ocumarez is known as the Ebony Goddess. As I was just really exploring the DR, I was shocked that there had been no one like her before (or since). Things are changing, not fast enough for some, but they are changing.

Listin Diario, the well-respected newspaper of the Dominican Republic, came out with an editorial against Gays frolicking about on TV. They just find it unseemly, especially with children of impressionable ages watching. Very interesting, because it does seem to be a lot of gay people on TV. At least, they seem Gay to me. I'm not quite sure how they would classify themselves, but ...

The next time you are driving in the DR, you should make sure to NOT run a red-light. But to show the seriousness of government, they are detaining some people for 6 hours for them to attend some type of class. I'm not sure how this will pertain to foreigners. But hey, just don't go through red lights and all should be fine.

For those who have been looking for information on Dominican artists, check out this link: Great source of information.

As ever,
The Monaga Blogger


Anonymous said...

Excellent Post. I read the "Black Denial" piece and will read the additional 4 but I agree with your opinion. It should win the Pulitzer is indeed within reach. Excellent reading. I actually experienced some of the same taunting by Dominicans that look just like me. During one of my many trips I stayed out at Boca Chica without sunblock and burned. A very good Dominican friend (Who was my complextion) kept saying "Look at you... you are "Black" and understanding their culture, I didn't try to correct him. The way he said "Black" was if it was cruel and hurtful. Had I not been familiar with the Country's history, I probably would have made him elaborate. -FH

Anonymous said...

I'm a dominican and I lived most of my life in the Dom. Rep. Reading the article makes me wonder if I'm still in denial or if the article goes a little too far. I never saw anybody sticking combs on anybody's hair ON A PUBLIC BUS, just because of his/her "bad hair". Never saw all the retail stores with aisles full of "skin whiteners". I knew they existed but it is not as widespread as the article claims.
I do admit that dominicans can't accept ourselves as black, and while we do not know anything about our african ancestors -because of our self induced amnesia- we do know pretty well that the great-grandmother was brought from Spain by Trujillo, but I just never saw any of those "extreme" racist behaviours I hear other people talking about.

Anonymous said...

I will not deny this was an interesting read, but as an American born Dominican(you figure that out), I do feel this article goes far beyond our reality and the intensity of our racism. I've NEVER felt or experienced such feelings in DR. Our culture, like any other Latino culture, or Black culture by that matter, derived from colonization. I feel if anything, we are an example to follow rather than one to frown on, and the fact that this article is written by an American...just makes it almost ridiculous, with the kind of racism that STILL exists in the US today. As far as skin whiteners, WHERE???? Our standards of beauty as well as the rest of our culture are mixed. We like "good" hair, wit a big ass, DARK skin, with European features, we can do that. Lastly, as much as the article claims Dominicans have no connection with our African heritage, we don't exactly go around saying we are European either. We are well aware of our ancestry, we are just not Afrocentric NOR Eurocentric. DOMINICANO HASTA LA TAMBORA. just my 2 cents. Thank you.

Monaga said...

I have to admit, I too think the article is a little biased. Though I think there is a problem with most Dominicans embracing their "African" side, I have never seen or heard about people being chased down with a comb.

Interesting article. At least it gets a conversation started.