The Dominican Republic Constitutional Court recently passed a ruling that will strip the citizenship of thousands of children of migrant workers. The ruling will affect those born to immigrants without a residency permit since 1929.
The people most affected by this ruling are Haitians, including Haitians who may not have Haitian citizenship, Haitians who may not speak Creole, Haitians who consider themselves Dominicans and Haitians who work and contribute to the island of Hispaniola like any other normal citizen.
Sound familiar? It’s exactly the way the children of immigrants, especially Mexicans are treated in the United States: no humanity and reasoning solely based on racism.
As a Dominican immigrant who has experienced first-hand the prejudice and harsh reality of migrating to the United States, I am disgusted. It’s embarrassing to the work of countless people who have attempted to bring fairness into the immigration system in the states.
Latinos apparently cannot get along. By oppressing one another, Latinos often behave the way the white system wants them to. White racists no longer need to work hard. We do the work for them, and the Dominican Republic is a perfect example of this.
Dominican and Haitian conflict is old news, but one thing that has always fueled the conflict is race. Dominicans constantly deny their African roots. Since we speak Spanish, it is easy for us to identify with the “beautiful” Spanish Conquistadors (or murderers). Most Dominicans find it easy to agree with what the rest of the world is telling us: black is ugly, black is worthless. It’ i harder to fight this notion, I guess.
Growing up on the island, I was surrounded by racist adults who refused to admit that to the rest of the world they are not white. Because black is so ugly, they call themselves “Indio” or “India.” They talk about “bettering the race” by encouraging their children to stay away from Haitians and Indio Dominicans.
At a young age, I noticed that I was treated differently, because to Dominican standards, I am “light-skinned” and my hair is not nappy. I can recall my first years in Brooklyn and the surprise that I got when I met successful Haitians. As a child, I had grown to believe that Haitians are dangerous and disgusting, much like the way white children are taught to cross the street and clutch their purses when they see African Americans walk down the block.
But like most Dominicans, I am black. It is not the same black as African-Americans, and it is not the same black as African immigrants. It is a wonderful mix of African slaves, Taino natives and Spaniards.
African roots are prevalent all over Dominican culture and all over Latin culture at that. From our famous plantain dish, Mangú (it has West African roots) to our music (palos anyone?), all of the aspects that make us proud of our small island have an African touch. So why do we look across our island and abuse our Haitian brothers and sisters? We want to be treated like human beings in the States, but we maltreat our neighbors.
This is due to a lack of education, the Americanization of our culture and the lack of a good mirror. If you’re Dominican, if you’re Latino, stop making a fool of us. You are black. Get over it.