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View Poll Results: How do you view Dominicans?
Strictly Latin American. 40 33.61%
Afro-Latino 65 54.62%
Strictly Afro-Caribbean. 14 11.76%
Voters: 119. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-06-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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For people who live in the Caribbean the concept of black will not be at all similar to what an American sees it as. For example noone would consider soca or calypso to be "black" music or even necessarily Afro Caribbean for that matter.Its origins may be Afro Caribbean but it is extremely mainstream and is therefore everyone's music. Another good example is steupsing or sucking one's teeth. This was also brought across by African ancestors but EVERYBODY does it to the point I don't think most people are even aware of its origins (until they meet West or Central Africans lol) That's why I maintain that the Caribbean while racially diverse is more or less a mono culture in any given island. Meaning the different racial groups have contributed to form a blended definable Caribbean culture. Unlike a society like the US where race trumps culture.

In light of that when a Afro Caribbean person migrates or visits the US and has the label "black" put on them (which in America means African American..a distinct culture specific to the United States ) I can't fault them for not taking to such an identifier. Not because African American culture is worse than Caribbean culture just because it simply is a different culture. So a Dominican who does not want to be seen as "black" could probably have something to do with the restrictive definition of race in America where race connotes culture. Of course I am not denying that some Dominicans who live in the DR can't be extremely colour conscious and denying of African heritage (but not African culture because remember in the Caribbean, culture trumps race).

 
Old 01-06-2013, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caribdoll View Post
Hmmmm. Not sure I really see an issue with her reasoning. It's true. There is not the option for her to choose both "black" and "hispanic" because usually it states black (non-hispanic). Perhaps she is and was raised to see herself as mixed, regardless of how she may appear to many others. U.S. categorization is backwards. It's somewhat like went West Indians of African descent choose "other" because "Black and African-American" are used interchangeably, when it is not for them and many others.
There's a certain context to the answer she gave. This is the only "straight" answer I've ever gotten from her in over ten years. The specific answer she gave was not so much the problem as her general avoidance of the question of racial identity when confronted with it. It's not that I care much about what she calls herself, but I've always found it interesting that she always seemed slightly uncomfortable addressing the issue.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
There's a certain context to the answer she gave. This is the only "straight" answer I've ever gotten from her in over ten years. The specific answer she gave was not so much the problem as her general avoidance of the question of racial identity when confronted with it. It's not that I care much about what she calls herself, but I've always found it interesting that she always seemed slightly uncomfortable addressing the issue.
I guess I agree with Caribdoll. One of my parents is Black-Costa Rican and the other is West-Indian and I hate the fact that I'm force to choose between African-American (not of Hispanic descent) or Hispanic. Clearly I'm both and there is rarely a 'Two or more races' bubble. Perhaps she has a hard time aligning to one of these divided races as she is pretty much playing for multiple teams. Much like West-Indians will say they are Black but emphasize not be Black Americans, she does not want to exclude what she identifies with culturally. I grew up in southern culture and identify with Black Americans. However, I make it a fact to mention that it is not ALL that makes me me.

This video went viral with some of my Black and Latino friends a while back

Black and Latino - YouTube
 
Old 01-06-2013, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
For people who live in the Caribbean the concept of black will not be at all similar to what an American sees it as.
I think the concept is pretty much the same, actually, but black West Indians aren't forced to constantly be aware of their blackness the way black Americans are. In the States, CNN will run specials like "Black In America: Part VII," the media constantly refers to Barack Obama as the first "African American President," there are always conversations about affirmative action, which generally invokes images of black faces rather than Hispanic ones. Blacks in America are either the favorite political punching bag of conservatives or the great social experiment of liberals. Blacks in the West Indies, as the majority on many islands, don't find themselves in this constant defensive posture so there's not as much discussion of race. But there's still very much a concept of black inferiority. For the most part, everyone knows that there's a general hierarchy in terms of what's perceived as "good" and "bad," and blacks are at the bottom of that hierarchy just as they are in America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
That's why I maintain that the Caribbean while racially diverse is more or less a mono culture in any given island. Meaning the different racial groups have contributed to form a blended definable Caribbean culture. Unlike a society like the US where race trumps culture.
Well, I would say that Trini is the closest to a "mono culture." But even Trini has some substantial cultural divisions among different groups. How many Afro-Trinidadians, for example, do you think take part in Diwali celebrations every year?

Overall, however, I would agree that there's more of a "mono culture" than there is in the States, at least on certain islands. When I was in Port-au-Spain over the holidays, I saw black, Indian, Chinese and Lebanese vendors all selling roti. And roti is prepared and eaten in households of all racial backgrounds, not just Indian ones. Compare this to Southern California where black people may enjoy Mexican food, but you won't find too many grandmothers integrating Mexican cuisine into Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. They're more likely to stick with traditional AA foods like collards, yams, and sweet potato pie, which shows that there's not really as much cultural integration as there is in TNT.

And there's obviously more race-mixing down there.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by Deeman804 View Post
I guess I agree with Caribdoll. One of my parents is Black-Costa Rican and the other is West-Indian and I hate the fact that I'm force to choose between African-American (not of Hispanic descent) or Hispanic. Clearly I'm both and there is rarely a 'Two or more races' bubble. Perhaps she has a hard time aligning to one of these divided races as she is pretty much playing for multiple teams. Much like West-Indians will say they are Black but emphasize not be Black Americans, she does not want to exclude what she identifies with culturally. I grew up in southern culture and identify with Black Americans. However, I make it a fact to mention that it is not ALL that makes me me.
It's not about choosing one or the other. It's about recognizing that you have African heritage. And that's what I've found many Dominicans have trouble with. There's nothing wrong with saying you're Black and Chinese, or Black and Jewish or Black and Portuguese. But some Dominicans will not admit they have any blackness at all. And this is something that has been well-documented.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
It's not about choosing one or the other. It's about recognizing that you have African heritage. And that's what I've found many Dominicans have trouble with. There's nothing wrong with saying you're Black and Chinese, or Black and Jewish or Black and Portuguese. But some Dominicans will not admit they have any blackness at all. And this is something that has been well-documented.
That's true, but being optimistic I was suggesting that maybe that is why you don't get a straight answer (as opposed to an outright denial). Some people feel, the moment you claim one (usually the race they closest associate with), they will never look at you as being the other.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I think the concept is pretty much the same, actually, but black West Indians aren't forced to constantly be aware of their blackness the way black Americans are. In the States, CNN will run specials like "Black In America: Part VII," the media constantly refers to Barack Obama as the first "African American President," there are always conversations about affirmative action, which generally invokes images of black faces rather than Hispanic ones. Blacks in America are either the favorite political punching bag of conservatives or the great social experiment of liberals. Blacks in the West Indies, as the majority on many islands, don't find themselves in this constant defensive posture so there's not as much discussion of race. But there's still very much a concept of black inferiority. For the most part, everyone knows that there's a general hierarchy in terms of what's perceived as "good" and "bad," and blacks are at the bottom of that hierarchy just as they are in America.



Well, I would say that Trini is the closest to a "mono culture." But even Trini has some substantial cultural divisions among different groups. How many Afro-Trinidadians, for example, do you think take part in Diwali celebrations every year?

Overall, however, I would agree that there's more of a "mono culture" than there is in the States, at least on certain islands. When I was in Port-au-Spain over the holidays, I saw black, Indian, Chinese and Lebanese vendors all selling roti. And roti is prepared and eaten in households of all racial backgrounds, not just Indian ones. Compare this to Southern California where black people may enjoy Mexican food, but you won't find too many grandmothers integrating Mexican cuisine into Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. They're more likely to stick with traditional AA foods like collards, yams, and sweet potato pie, which shows that there's not really as much cultural integration as there is in TNT.

And there's obviously more race-mixing down there.
I'd disagree about the concept of blackness being the same. Firstly, mixed race is a perfectly acceptable racial definition in the Caribbean. Unlike the US where Barack Obama, Lolo Jones and Isiah Washington are all seen as the same in American society.
Secondly you gave an example of your Dominican friend being involved in black culture in the US. To summarize your own post one can infer that a few of the elements of black culture in America would be HBCUs, black fraternities and sororities, r&b and hiphop. In contrast blackness in a Caribbean context is less defineable, sort of similar to whiteness in America. Contributions of African heritage are a HUGE part of mainstream society and it would sound ridiculous if I said a white Caribbean person who loves soca, dancehall, callalloo and steel pan was into Afro Caribbean culture. That's just mainstream Caribbean culture which happens to have Afro Caribbean roots.

And about Divali specifically....Divali is a Hindu celebration so you won't find Indian Muslims or Christians taking part in it either...at least not the religious aspects. But you can be sure many non Hindus will take part in the more secular parts of the festivities such as lighting deyas, visiting Hindu friends and partaking in food and fun with them after the fasting is done.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 04:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by allenk893 View Post
I always viewed them as Latin until I read about the history. They are Afro-Latinos. Although it's such a shame that so many Dominicans deny their African heritage.
Here we go again. No one denies anything. Why is it so hard to understand for an American that someone might be defined by their nationality as opposed to Jim Crow racial obsessions? Hispanic countries (as well as Caribbean countries in general) tend to be more of a melting pot as opposed to the American ghetto mentality, which goes as far as building neighborhoods for the old. People eat the same food and listen to the same music. People should remove their bars-and-stripes glasses.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Boston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography Freak View Post
Here we go again. No one denies anything. Why is it so hard to understand for an American that someone might be defined by their nationality as opposed to Jim Crow racial obsessions? Hispanic countries (as well as Caribbean countries in general) tend to be more of a melting pot as opposed to the American ghetto mentality, which goes as far as building neighborhoods for the old. People eat the same food and listen to the same music. People should remove their bars-and-stripes glasses.
In your experience, maybe. My own great-grandmother has even admitted to marrying a white man because of the treatment she received for being the darkest member of her family and passed on being colorstruck to some of my family members who have actively married inter-racially with the intent of erasing their African ancestry. They were taught that being black was ugly. Some listened, others didn't.

From my own family to other Dominicans I've met growing up, I have to agree in that issues with their African heritage is still alive and well.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,237,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
I'd disagree about the concept of blackness being the same. Firstly, mixed race is a perfectly acceptable racial definition in the Caribbean.
It's a perfectly acceptable racial definition in the United States as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
Unlike the US where Barack Obama, Lolo Jones and Isiah Washington are all seen as the same in American society.
This is not a uniquely American phenomenon. Whites in England, Barbados and Jamaica would also consider Barack Obama, Lolo Jones and Isiah Washington to be "black." Most white people in Barbados would call Tiger Woods "black." Everyone else there would refer to him as either black or mixed. Blacks and other minorities are always quicker to acknowledge someone as mixed-race than whites. And whites almost always refer to anyone with any African ancestry as "black." That's true in the United States and also true in the Caribbean and England.
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