Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora

Posted in Anthologies, Autobiography, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Poetry, Women on 2016-01-17 01:22Z by Steven

Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora

Arte Público Press
248 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55885-746-9

Edited by: Marta Moreno Vega, Alba Marinieves and Yvette Modestin

Afro-Latina women relate their personal stories and advocacy for racial equality

“My housewife mother turned into a raging warrior woman when the principal of my elementary school questioned whether her daughter and the children of my public school had the intelligence to pass a citywide test,” Marta Moreno Vega writes in her essay. She knew then she was loved and valued, and she learned that to be an Afro-Puerto Rican woman meant activism was her birth right.

Hers is one of eleven essays and four poems included in this volume in which Latina women of African descent share their stories. The authors included are from all over Latin America—Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela—and they write about the African diaspora and issues such as colonialism, oppression and disenfranchisement. Diva Moreira, a black Brazilian, writes that she experienced racism and humiliation at a very young age. The worst experience, she remembers, was when her mother’s bosses told her she didn’t need to go to school after the fourth grade, “because blacks don’t need to study more than that.”

The contributors span a range of professions, from artists to grass-roots activists, scholars and elected officials. Each is deeply engaged in her community, and they all use their positions to advocate for justice, racial equality and cultural equity. In their introduction, the editors write that these stories provide insight into the conditions that have led Afro-Latinas to challenge systems of inequality, including the machismo that is still prominent in Spanish-speaking cultures.

A fascinating look at the legacy of more than 400 years of African enslavement in the Americas, this collection of personal stories is a must-read for anyone interested in the African diaspora and issues of inequality and racism.

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At a Santo Domingo Hair Salon, Rethinking an Ideal Look

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-01-05 19:00Z by Steven

At a Santo Domingo Hair Salon, Rethinking an Ideal Look

The New York Times

Sandra E. Garcia

On my first trip back to the Dominican Republic in 10 years, as I wandered down the streets of La Zona Colonial, I noticed how their names were weighted with history. Calle de las Damas, a street made specifically for the wives and daughters of noblemen from colonial times to walk down. Calle José Gabriel García, named for a Dominican historian and journalist, among other things, who shares a first and last name with my father and made me think of him while I was there. Calle Isabel La Católica where I felt a connection to my paternal grandmother, Isabel Mireya Garcia. Born in Bani, she lived and died on the right side of Hispaniola and raised my father in Santo Domingo.

During my trip I would text my father pictures of the streets, and he would always text me back a story from his youth that occurred close to or near the street I was on.

“That’s the street where I shook Pope John Paul II’s hand in 1979,” he texted me, referring to Calle Padre Billini.

He likened La Zona Colonial to Times Square, but to me it resembled too much of the Old World.

The cobblestones, the colonial-style houses that were more like haciendas, Christopher and Diego Columbus’s house-turned museum — this all reminded me of the Spanish who once lived here and the continuing reverence for their influence in a country whose residents have African, European and Asian ancestry.

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the Miss Rizos Salon on Calle Isabel La Católica. This was a departure from that reverence.

Long hair that hangs down your back has so long been the prevalent beauty ideal in the Dominican Republic that many residents who mastered hair-straightening on the island emigrated to the United States and opened successful salons throughout the country…

Read the entire article here.

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Dominicans, just like any other people of the world, have the right to come up with their own identifiers without judgment or interference as long as they aren’t subjugating any group of people.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-12-30 23:18Z by Steven

Dominicans, just like any other people of the world, have the right to come up with their own identifiers without judgment or interference as long as they aren’t subjugating any group of people. Wanting equality is a universal human trait, and being that the Dominican Republic has also been colonized by white supremacy, racism and colorism is prevalent, to an extent. Although, it shouldn’t be enough to hold anti-Dominican sentiments like most people have in the States when discussing the dire situation of Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born descendants. Because that hate ricochets to most innocent Dominicans who have absolutely no power to be racist, and it trickles down to those even more powerless than them; Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born descendants themselves.

César Vargas, “Black in a Foreign Land: In Defense of Dominican Identity,” The Huffington Post, Latino Voices, December 17, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/casar-vargas/black-in-a-foreign-land-i_b_8807772.html.

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Black in a Foreign Land: In Defense of Dominican Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-12-28 02:14Z by Steven

Black in a Foreign Land: In Defense of Dominican Identity

The Huffington Post

César Vargas

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until I was two months shy of turning 13. The Dominican Republic has a peculiar color metric system–not necessarily on race. So it should go without saying that I wasn’t exposed to the clear cut Americentric, and very binary, concept of race in America until I set foot in the United States.

Since a very young age, I was aware of how both colorism and classism were prevalent back in the island. I noticed how people were treated and often saw how the socioeconomic standing of an individual trumped their color–up to a point if we’re to test folks by the brown paper bag. I’ve said once or twice that a Black man with money is more white than a white poor man. In a third world country where the majority of people are mulattoes, and most of the darker population would be of Haitian descent, you’d be hard pressed not to find people of most shades within families. Some of those family members were better off than others, and often, I’ve found, they could be of any shade.

Of course, like any nation of the world colonized by Europeans, power and wealth is usually concentrated with their descendants, but it would be dishonest to say that most of the power and wealth in the Dominican Republic is owned and controlled solely by its small white population. There are people of color (and visibly so), in most power and entertainment structures. A lot more, I dare say, than most Latin American countries. If we go by the one drop rule, there have been Black public figures, Black businesspeople, Black athletes, Black entertainers, Black generals, Black presidents, and so on. If you put them next to most African Americans, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference…

Read the entire article here.

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Stateless in the Dominican Republic

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-19 03:50Z by Steven

Stateless in the Dominican Republic

Columbia Law School

Media Contact: Public Affairs, 212-854-2650 or publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

Human Rights Lawyers Champion the Rights of Disenfranchised Dominicans of Haitian Descent, in a Talk at Columbia Law School

New York, December 15, 2015—The plight of more than 200,000 people in the Dominican Republic who were stripped of their citizenship two years ago by that nation’s highest court was discussed by two human rights attorneys at Columbia Law School. The newly stateless people were Dominican-born to undocumented Haitian immigrant parents or grandparents, and they now face the threat of forced deportation, leading the lawyers to draw parallels to the current debate in the United States over birthright citizenship.

The Nov. 19 event—“Immigration and Black Lives: Haitian Deportations in the Dominican Republic”—was sponsored by Columbia Law School’s Latino/a Law Students Association and Black Law Students Association, and cosponsored by Social Justice Initiatives, the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, and the Human Rights Institute. It was organized by Daily Guerrero ’17, who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was six years old.

Cassandre Théano, an associate legal officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, explained that in 2013, the Dominican Republic’s highest court denied the daughter of Haitian migrants her “cédula”—or identity papers—confiscated her birth certificate, and applied the decision to anyone born after 1929, revoking the citizenship of Haitian descendants who had been living in the Dominican Republic for generations. “Pretty much every international organization was shocked, and there was a lot of uproar,” Théano said…

“This is really a racial justice issue,” said Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, president of the National Lawyers Guild and an associate counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, which works with low-wage Latina immigrant workers in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of the Dominican Republic’s population is made up of people of mixed-race heritage, while 95 percent of the Haitian population is black. A language difference also exists, as most Dominicans speak Spanish and Haitians Haitian Creole. “These policies are targeting black and brown people,” Bannan said…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Lives Matter in the Dominican Republic

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2015-11-30 01:28Z by Steven

Black Lives Matter in the Dominican Republic


Auset Marian Lewis

Racial profiling is not just happening in the U.S., Haitians in the Dominican Republic suffer the same discrimination.

Black lives matter” is a resounding cry heard around the world. The UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent said as much in a recent news release regarding the deportation of Haitian residents and migrant workers in the Dominican Republic. Mirelle Fanon Mendes France, head of the U.N. group stated, “The Dominican Republic does not recognize the existence of a structural problem of racism and xenophobia, but it must address these issues as a matter of priority so the country can live free from tension and fear.”

Since June 21 some 19,000 Haitians have fled the Dominican Republic for Haiti fearing the unfair deportation policies that make it difficult for legal residents to comply with demands, which not only disregard the Dominican Constitution but also violate international norms.

In 2013, the constitutional court of the Dominican Republic ruled that offspring of undocumented immigrants would become illegal retroactive to 1929. This immediately invalidated the legal status of an estimated 200,000 Dominican citizens. Of the 450,000 Haitian migrant workers in the country, 290,000 met a filing deadline for legal status. Of those who filed, the government ruled that only 2 percent were legal.

The clash between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola has a strained history beyond the obvious racial differences. Haitians are the dark progeny of the French African slave trade while Dominican Republicans are mulattoes of Spanish descent. The enmity between the two countries is not only racial, but also cultural and historical. However, just as the world witnesses how little Black lives matter in American extrajudicial killings, the mistreatment of dark Haitians could well inspire a #Haitian Lives Matter twitter campaign…

Read the entire article here.

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Caribbean Racisms: Connections and Complexities in the Racialization of the Caribbean Region

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2015-10-25 22:40Z by Steven

Caribbean Racisms: Connections and Complexities in the Racialization of the Caribbean Region

Palgrave Macmillan
May 2015
216 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781137287274
Ebook (EPUB) ISBN: 9781137287298
Ebook (PDF) ISBN: 9781137287281

Shirley Anne Tate, Professor of Sociology
Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom

Ian Law, Professor of Racism and Ethnicity Studies
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds, United Kingdom

This book identifies and engages with an analysis of racism in the Caribbean region, providing an empirically-based theoretical re-framing of both the racialisation of the globe and evaluation of the prospects for anti-racism and the post-racial.

The thirty contemporary territories of the Caribbean and their differing colonial and post-colonial contexts provide a highly dynamic setting urging a re-assessment of the ways in which contemporary processes of racialisation are working. This book seeks to develop a new account of racialisation in this region, challenging established arguments, propositions and narratives of racial Caribbeanisation.

With new insights into contemporary forms of racialisation in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, this will be essential reading for scholars of Race and Ethnicity.


  • Acknowledgements
  • About the Authors
  • 1 Racial Caribbeanization: Origins and Development
  • 2 Racial States in the Post-Emancipation Caribbean
  • 3 Mixing, Métissage and Mestizaje
  • 4 Whiteness and the Contemporary Caribbean
  • 5 The ‘Post-Race Contemporary’ and the Caribbean
  • 6 Polyracial Neoliberalism
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index 
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Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2015-08-02 00:58Z by Steven

Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation

2015-05-08 (orginally published in 1969)
122 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781138785007
Hardback ISBN: 9781138784994

Franklin J. Franco (1936-2013)

Introduction by:

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Dean’s Professor in the Humanities
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation is the first English translation of the classic text Los negros, los mulatos y la nación dominicana by esteemed Dominican scholar Franklin J. Franco. Published in 1969, this book was the first systematic work on the role of Afro-descendants in Dominican society, the first society of the modern Americas where a Black-Mulatto population majority developed during the 16th century. Franco’s work, a foundational text for Dominican ethnic studies, constituted a paradigm shift, breaking with the distortions of traditional histories that focused on the colonial elite to place Afro-descendants, slavery, and race relations at the center of Dominican history.

This translation includes a new introduction by Silvio Torres-Saillant (Syracuse University) which contextualizes Franco’s work, explaining the milieu in which he was writing, and bringing the historiography of race, slavery, and the Dominican Republic up to the present. Making this pioneering work accessible to an English-speaking audience for the first time, this is a must-have for anyone interested in the lasting effects of African slavery on the Dominican population and Caribbean societies.

Table of Contents

  • Series Editor’s Introduction
  • Introduction to Franklin Franco’s Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation Silvio Torres-Saillant
  • Prologue Juan I. Jiménez Grullón
  • 1. The Black Population
  • 2. The Black Population and the National Consciousness
  • 3. The Constitution of 1801
  • 4. The Other Face of the Reconquest
  • 5. “Foolish Spain” and “Rebellious Africa”
  • 6. Complete Unity and National Unity
  • Bibliography
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Hiding Black Behind the Ears: On Dominicans, Blackness, and Haiti

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-26 22:07Z by Steven

Hiding Black Behind the Ears: On Dominicans, Blackness, and Haiti


Roberto C. Garcia

The first friend I made in Elizabeth, New Jersey was a white kid named Billy. As a New York transplant my Dominicano look wasn’t too popular with Jersey folk. I had an afro, wore dress pants, a collared shirt, and black leather shoes with little gold buckles. Most of the kids just wanted to know what my thing was. Billy and I couldn’t have been more different, but we got close pretty quickly. Despite the fact that Billy’s parents wouldn’t allow him over my house, my grandmother allowed me over his. She took one look at Billy’s blonde hair and blue eyes, and at his mother’s middle class American manners, and pronounced their household safe. “Where are you from?” Billy’s mother asked, referring to my grandmother’s heavy accent. “I thought you were black.” On that day I couldn’t have imagined how many times I’d have to answer that question in my lifetime. “We’re Dominican.”

A couple years later, when the neighborhood became predominantly Cuban, African American, and Haitian, Billy and his family moved away. My new best friend was black, and his mother wouldn’t let him over my house either, on account of us being “Puerto Rican.” You can imagine our surprise when I returned with a similar story. My grandmother didn’t want me over his house because they were black. We looked each other over. Two skinny round-headed, chocolate brown boys wondering what the hell each other’s families were talking about. As far as we knew, we looked the same. My grandmother was just as black as Tyshaun’s mother and I told her as much every time she chided me about playing with him. What was I missing?…

Read the entire article here.

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CUNY Exhibition Documents Lives of Black Africans in Early Dominican Republic

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-14 20:42Z by Steven

CUNY Exhibition Documents Lives of Black Africans in Early Dominican Republic

The New York Times

Sandra E. Garcia

Scholars at the City University of New York are using clues left in 16th-century manuscripts and Spanish records to track the lives of the earliest black Africans in the Dominican Republic.

An exhibition now on view of letters and other documents from the archives of CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute and the General Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, provides a window onto the lives of the often ignored black Africans of La Española, the island of Hispaniola.

In the exhibition, “16th-Century La Española: Glimpses of the First Blacks in the Early Colonial Americas,” 25 panels display photos of an original letter or record, along with an English translation, that explain or question situations involving formerly enslaved Africans on the island.

When searching the archives, Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, the assistant director of the Dominican Studies Institute, focused on keywords like “mulatto,” “negro” and “negra,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

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