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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 01-07-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
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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.
There is BIG TIME denial going on here. Dominicans will be quick to claim Spanish or Taino, but will be reluctant to acknowledge any African ancestry.

While it is true that the Caribbean has more racial mixing than the United States, the same racial dynamic is still present, which is namely that "black" is viewed as inferior and white or anything other than black as superior. Part of the higher use of the designation "mixed race" in Jamaica or Trinidad is partly because there's a higher proportion of genuinely multi-racial people than there is here in the States. But there are also a fair number of people who use that designation because they seek to distance themselves from "blackness" and all of the negative connotations of that label.

 
Old 01-07-2013, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
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Apparently there is at least one black Dominican woman on the face of the planet. And her name is Zoe Saldana. You may have heard of her...

Quote:
“When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, “¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?” (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don’t understand it, and it’s the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, “Yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.”) [They go,] “Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita.” (“Oh no, you are ‘dark skinned’”) I’m like, “No! Let’s get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman).”
Zoe Saldana "Get It Straight, I AM A Black Woman" - -
 
Old 01-07-2013, 09:34 AM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 13 days ago)
 
5,174 posts, read 8,022,345 times
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I find it rather easy in understanding Dominican categorizations. From my trips there and studying their culture, it appears that it goes likes this:

Blacks:








Mulattoes (they have different names for this, depeding on skin color, hair texture and facial features, which can combine in crazy ways; the first photo is Zoe Saldana):








White (as people will notice, there are some people that are considered white that may not be considered white in some other countries):








They also have other categories. For example, anyone that looks like east Asians are called chinos (Chinese), regardless if they are from Japan, Korea or Thailand.

Anyone that looks Indian/Pakistani/Sri Lankan will be referred to as Hindu, even if they are Christians or Muslims or even if their appearance is due to racial mixing with races that have nothing to do with Indians/Pakistanis/Sri Lankans.

Another thing that I have noticed is that in most sources, racial composition for the country categorizes roughly 11% of the population as black and those data are from self-identified census. I always wonder why people claim no Dominican claims to be black, when obviously at least 1.1 million of them say they have a black color (and that is what is important to them, it really is about color and not race as understood in the USA.) Also, it doesn't matter from what year the source is, there is always a category for blacks and it has always been a double digit percentage point.

From what I can tell, practically all Dominicans share the same culture (which is a mix of European, African and Indigenous influences.) They all eat the same food, listen to the same music, pretty much act the same, regardless of appearance.

I guess that is where they get their strong sense of identity and feel very uneasy when Americans try to break them down based on racial differences, and this uneasiness is normal in multiracial countries in Latin America, where identity is based on culture and not on race.

In fact, it could even be said that the concept of race as it exist in the United States simply doesn't exist in Latin America and its this difference that causes much of the misunderstandings many Americans have of Latin American identity. It took me a long time and many trips to various countries in Latin America to fully understand this difference. But its very hard to stop looking at the world through an American filter when that is the way one was taught and we usually think that not only is it the only way, but its the right way of seeing things. In reality, there are no right way, just different ways of interpreting reality.

Last edited by AntonioR; 01-07-2013 at 09:43 AM..
 
Old 01-07-2013, 09:50 AM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 13 days ago)
 
5,174 posts, read 8,022,345 times
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Zoe Saldana was born in New Jersey and raised in New York, so there is a likelihood that she has been influenced by American racial categorizations and the one-drop-rule. This probably explains her friction, and possibly misunderstanding, with Dominican categorizations.

In fact, there is no maybe, she is much more American than Dominican in her expressions and ways of seeing the world. She can be considered an American of Dominican descent or a Dominican-American, but not simply Dominican, imo.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
Zoe Saldana was born in New Jersey and raised in New York, so there is a likelihood that she has been influenced by American racial categorizations and the one-drop-rule. This probably explains her friction, and possibly misunderstanding, with Dominican categorizations.
Zoe Saldana spent the bulk of her formative years in the DR. According to Wiki, she didn't even move back to the States until she was 16. When she corrected the reporter and said, "No, I am a black woman," I'm sure she understood exactly what she was saying. Given the context of her statement, where she says the reporter insisted that she was something other than black, it's evident that she wanted to make it clear that she embraces an African heritage (which she does have).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
In fact, there is no maybe, she is much more American than Dominican in her expressions and ways of seeing the world. She can be considered an American of Dominican descent or a Dominican-American, but not simply Dominican, imo.
Here's another theory:

Perhaps after living in the States for some time she began to realize how f*cked in the head a lot of Dominicans are and saw no point in perpetuating and reinforcing an international racist caste system by distancing herself from any African heritage when given the chance.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
Another thing that I have noticed is that in most sources, racial composition for the country categorizes roughly 11% of the population as black and those data are from self-identified census. I always wonder why people claim no Dominican claims to be black, when obviously at least 1.1 million of them say they have a black color (and that is what is important to them, it really is about color and not race as understood in the USA.) Also, it doesn't matter from what year the source is, there is always a category for blacks and it has always been a double digit percentage point.
Nobody says that no one in the DR self-identifies as black. The issue for many people is no recognition of black ancestry, period, and little to any recognition of Africanness in Dominican culture. Those are things that get completely ignored while simultaneously emphasizing a Taino or Spanish ancestry and culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
I guess that is where they get their strong sense of identity and feel very uneasy when Americans try to break them down based on racial differences, and this uneasiness is normal in multiracial countries in Latin America, where identity is based on culture and not on race.
I don't know why people have such a pollyanish view of race in the Caribbean. It's not as different from the States as some people would have you believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
In fact, it could even be said that the concept of race as it exist in the United States simply doesn't exist in Latin America and its this difference that causes much of the misunderstandings many Americans have of Latin American identity. It took me a long time and many trips to various countries in Latin America to fully understand this difference. But its very hard to stop looking at the world through an American filter when that is the way one was taught and we usually think that not only is it the only way, but its the right way of seeing things. In reality, there are no right way, just different ways of interpreting reality.
I don't think there's really a "concept of race as it exists in the United States." I think that views on race are pretty universal:

White: Dominant, "master race," smart, superior, beautiful, good, brave, courageous, hardworking, etc.
Black: Impotent, uncivilized, dumb, lazy, inferior, bad, crime prone, etc., etc.

Everything else is between those two polar opposites and is considered lower than white but higher than black. And thus we have a global racial caste system where people from Japan to India to Africa to America try to get as close to "white" as possible and as far away from "black" as possible. Race in the Caribbean is not so hard to understand if you're willing to be honest about it. It's the same story that's played out all over the globe.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11716
Uncle Ruckus could very well be a Jamaican, West African, or Dominican. The mindset you find in some of them is similar.

"Oh, no, no, no, Lord, it can't be! The test says I'm 102 percent African with a 2 percent margin of error. Why, Lord? Whyyyyyy?!?!?"

"How dare you mistakenly inform a man of his blackness!"


Ruckus turns Black - YouTube
 
Old 01-07-2013, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Caribbean
7,558 posts, read 2,428,887 times
Reputation: 2738
BajanYankee...the Caribbean varies. Plenty "whites"!in the Caribbean do in fact refer to mixed people as mixed especially as many of them have mixed children and/or grandchildren.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,258 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11716
Quote:
Originally Posted by caribdoll View Post
BajanYankee...the Caribbean varies. Plenty "whites"!in the Caribbean do in fact refer to mixed people as mixed especially as many of them have mixed children and/or grandchildren.
And the same could be said for the United States. Many whites would call Alicia Keys, Paula Patton or Jessica Ennis "bi-racial."

But by and large, most people in the U.S., Barbados, England and Jamaica are going to call a bi-racial person (half black and half white, that is) "black," particularly if their black features are self-evident. And people in the Caribbean (and the U.S. for that matter) will typically affix a label to you based on your phenotype. In other words, if you look black to them, they're going to say you're black. Nobody's going to go out of their way to find out how you racially categorize yourself in order to assuage your ego.
 
Old 01-07-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Caribbean
7,558 posts, read 2,428,887 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
And the same could be said for the United States. Many whites would call Alicia Keys, Paula Patton or Jessica Ennis "bi-racial."

But by and large, most people in the U.S., Barbados, England and Jamaica are going to call a bi-racial person (half black and half white, that is) "black," particularly if their black features are self-evident. And people in the Caribbean (and the U.S. for that matter) will typically affix a label to you based on your phenotype. In other words, if you look black to them, they're going to say you're black. Nobody's going to go out of their way to find out how you racially categorize yourself in order to assuage your ego.
Maybe in those countries you specifically mentioned but it doesnt necessarily always work that way. It doesnt surprise me that they subscribe to the one-drop rule. Either way, phenotypes are seen differently in different places. In some islands, a mixed person is more likely to be seem as such. Even if you make not look the part, if they know your family, they will call you accordingly. It's not about ego, it's about heritage.
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