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Full Episode: Haiti & the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided

In the Dominican Republic, Professor Gates explores how race has been socially constructed in a society whose people reflect centuries of inter-marriage, and how the country’s troubled history with Haiti informs notions about racial classification. In Haiti, Professor Gates tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves’s hard fight for liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword.

**Thank you to those people who have pointed out that the film opens with a guaguancó, rather than merengue, and many apologies for this error. The producers commissioned several merengue pieces from Grupo Bonyé and were assured that they were of this genre. The online version has been updated and this corrected version will be used for subsequent television broadcasts of the series.

  • Rey

    Dear Dr. Gates,
    It is quite evident that you struck a raw nerve with many Latinos. Please do not let this discourage you. Comments by Myra and many others are examples of the ignorance and denial that still exists in our Latino community. It is not a big deal what we may prefer to call ourselves, but it is a big deal when we ignore, deny and are never taught of the contributions of Los Africanos!!! Many of our great artists, poets, and political heroes are sons and daughters of Africa. Yet, we were never ever taught of their contributions unless we searched it out ourselves. Your documentary just provided the right platform. Please continue this important work. You have caused no damage but maybe embarrassed some by exposing the truth. Dios Lo Bendiga

  • Frank X Moya

    Dr. Gates,

    I enjoyed very much your series as the subject is one dear to my heart. It raises valid questions at issues passionately denied, swept under carpets, locked in back rooms and finally buried deep in un-ceremonial graves in spite of impertinent proof to the contrary. Like many Antillanos, I stand challenged when forced to define my own racial identity, let alone my cultural one – not out of shame or inferiority, but pridefully perplexed of the choices that run through my blood [Although, last time I checked, it still remains deeply red!]. Yet many here in the US are surprised of my cultural heritage as I look quite European, and more surprised when I mention my racial make-up.

    Quite frankly, I find the preoccupation with strict racial identity an exclusionary conceit betraying a tribal sense of fear and insecurity – typically one meant to seek solace by defining and denigrating “the other”, claiming a divinely ordained burden of superior stewardship and providence. Nevertheless, understanding and truthfully accepting our racial and cultural make-up provides the next step of our evolution.

    Born in Puerto Rico from a family rich in full racial tonalities, my upbringing reflects a wide cultural heritage manifested through a Dominican paternal grandfather [a revolutionary of noted descent, who died back in 1915] married in exile to a Puerto Rican woman with the appellative of “Moreno” [who then settled in NYC later in 1918] to maternal grandparents long in PR by way from the Canary Islands and finally a Corsican step-father [another history professor] with deep family roots in the Island as well. In my youth, I had the privileged opportunity to travel widely between Haití, the Dominican Republic and of course Puerto Rico and the States. For obvious reasons I missed my chance to go to Cuba, so I vicariously enjoyed yours. I also witnessed the anguish of the Duvalier and Trujillo/Balaguer regimes [and their very active suppression apparatus abroad] as well as the broken hopes and interruptions of subsequent democratic administrations. All of which may help to shed some light to that “raw nerve” which afflicts our present cultures:

    1- The Arawak [Taino] name for the island of La Española is Ayití, hence the name Haití. Cuba is Cuba and PR is Borikén [sp?]. “Quisqueya” has been found to be a Dominican construct to claim a separate indigenous heritage. No such word has been recorded historically as part of the Arawak language or from the present societies that still exist in South America. DNA evidence speaks for itself – it is pervasive, testament to the lonely conquistadors. But culturally, not enough to pass for a Native-American tribe.

    2- European Latin societies where historically more concerned with weeding out Moorish and Jewish blood – that was the founding basis of the Inquisition. Racial miscegenation was neither discouraged nor condemned.

    3- Among the great crimes of the Trujillo regime one has to include the cultural genocide of historical revisionism inflicted during the 30-year “Era de Trujillo” and the later “12 Años”. After two generations, the stain of propaganda is almost indelible. Dominicans have until recent being able to fully explore their rich culture and re-discover the real history struck out in blank pages by the regime. Accomplice to this regretful practice was the indoctrination of a racial mythology devoid of the obvious African traces.

    4- I am sorry you missed one of the English-speaking towns in the DR. Spanish colonial law encouraged escaped slaves from English colonies to settle as free-men under Spanish rule. Many of these Cimarrones were ardent defenders of their freedom. In Puerto Rico these former English slaves, armed only with machetes and spikes, defeated a massive British invasion at the end of the 18th c.

    5- One cannot deny the unspoken influence of the American view on race and its effects in the Caribbean. All three major Antillean islands have been occupied by the US – even to this day. The 19th c. Dominican Republic’s bid for statehood failed ratification in the US Senate on account of Washington’s perception of this being a mulatto society. A lesson later rectified during the acquisition of Puerto Rico by portraying the island’s society essentially as a Criolla one [whites with tans – see archival movies on-line as well as period literature].

    6- The posthumous “blanching” and rhinoplasty epidemic of notable figures afflicted a vast monumental legacy of many notable cities in Cuba, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico. My own grandfather’s textbook photo during the Ciudad Trujillo days shows a sternly Teutonic profile on the poor fellow’s otherwise jovial rounded composure evidenced in recently released pictures.

    7- Surprisingly, a majority of Puerto Ricans in the island categorized themselves in the census as “white”!!! In PR, race is an extremely nuanced, complicated issue not helped in the least by American norms. Partially the result of the historical pollination of the Island’s traditional Hispanic view, which allow for generational blanching to accommodate established wealth and influence, with the absolute race notions of the new Anglo-Saxon overseers, UPR anthropologist Jorge Duany has identified quite an extensive racial scale based on every-day terminology used to avoid any degree of “black”.

    8- In spite of anyone’s insistence to the contrary, the very defining nature of Caribbean culture is our African heritage. It is the essence of what distinguishes us from the rest of Latin America. We may share the continents’ Franco-Iberian heritage and faith – that which defines us as Latins – but it is out of the strain of slavery [for both masters and slaves] that shaped who we are physically and psychologically.

    I leave you with a poem that best helps describe us:

    “Vejigante de muchos colores,
    Antillana es tu alma,
    La que madre África llama
    En matices criollos
    Y otros olores…”

  • Frank X Moya

    Dr. Gates,

    I enjoyed very much your series as the subject is one dear to my heart. It raises valid questions at issues passionately denied, swept under carpets, locked in back rooms and finally buried deep in un-ceremonial graves in spite of impertinent proof to the contrary. Like many Antillanos, I stand challenged when forced to define my own racial identity, let alone my cultural one – not out of shame or inferiority, but pridefully perplexed of the choices that run through my blood [Although, last time I checked, it still remains deeply red!]. Yet many here in the US are surprised of my cultural heritage as I look quite European, and more surprised when I mention my racial make-up.

    Quite frankly, I find the preoccupation with strict racial identity an exclusionary conceit betraying a tribal sense of fear and insecurity – typically one meant to seek solace by defining and denigrating “the other”, claiming a divinely ordained burden of superior stewardship and providence. Nevertheless, understanding and truthfully accepting our racial and cultural make-up provides the next step of our evolution.

    Born in Puerto Rico from a family rich in full racial tonalities, my upbringing reflects a wide cultural heritage manifested through a Dominican paternal grandfather [a revolutionary of noted descent, who died back in 1915] married in exile to a Puerto Rican woman with the appellative of “Moreno” [who then settled in NYC later in 1918] to maternal grandparents long in PR by way from the Canary Islands and finally a Corsican step-father [another history professor] with deep family roots in the Island as well. In my youth, I had the privileged opportunity to travel widely between Haití, the Dominican Republic and of course Puerto Rico and the States. For obvious reasons I missed my chance to go to Cuba, so I vicariously enjoyed yours. I also witnessed the anguish of the Duvalier and Trujillo/Balaguer regimes [and their very active suppression apparatus abroad] as well as the broken hopes and interruptions of subsequent democratic administrations. All of which may help to shed some light to that “raw nerve” which afflicts our present cultures:

    1- The Arawak [Taino] name for the island of La Española is Ayití, hence the name Haití. Cuba is Cuba and PR is Borikén [sp?]. “Quisqueya” has been found to be a Dominican construct to claim a separate indigenous heritage. No such word has been recorded historically as part of the Arawak language or from the present societies that still exist in South America. DNA evidence speaks for itself – it is pervasive, testament to the lonely conquistadors. But culturally, not enough to pass for a Native-American tribe.

    2- European Latin societies where historically more concerned with weeding out Moorish and Jewish blood – that was the founding basis of the Inquisition. Racial miscegenation was neither discouraged nor condemned.

    3- Among the great crimes of the Trujillo regime one has to include the cultural genocide of historical revisionism inflicted during the 30-year “Era de Trujillo” and the later “12 Años”. After two generations, the stain of propaganda is almost indelible. Dominicans have until recent being able to fully explore their rich culture and re-discover the real history struck out in blank pages by the regime. Accomplice to this regretful practice was the indoctrination of a racial mythology devoid of the obvious African traces.

    4- I am sorry you missed one of the English-speaking towns in the DR. Spanish colonial law encouraged escaped slaves from English colonies to settle as free-men under Spanish rule. Many of these Cimarrones were ardent defenders of their freedom. In Puerto Rico these former English slaves, armed only with machetes and spikes, defeated a massive British invasion at the end of the 18th c.

    5- One cannot deny the unspoken influence of the American view on race and its effects in the Caribbean. All three major Antillean islands have been occupied by the US – even to this day. The 19th c. Dominican Republic’s bid for statehood failed ratification in the US Senate on account of Washington’s perception as this being a mulatto society. A lesson later rectified during the acquisition of Puerto Rico by portraying the island’s society essentially as a Criolla one [whites with tans – see archival movies on-line as well as period literature].

    6- The posthumous “blanching” and rhinoplasty epidemic of notable figures afflicted a vast monumental legacy of many notable cities in Cuba, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico. My own grandfather’s textbook photo during the Ciudad Trujillo days shows a sternly Teutonic profile on the poor fellow’s otherwise jovial rounded composure evidenced in recently released pictures.

    7- Surprisingly, a majority of Puerto Ricans in the island categorized themselves in the census as “white”!!! In PR, race is an extremely nuanced, complicated issue not helped in the least by American norms. Partially the result of the historical pollination of the Island’s traditional Hispanic view, which allow for generational blanching to accommodate established wealth and influence, with the absolute race notions of the new Anglo-Saxon overseers, UPR anthropologist Jorge Duany has identified quite an extensive racial scale based on every-day terminology used to avoid any degree of “black”.

    8- In spite of anyone’s insistence to the contrary, the very defining nature of Caribbean culture is our African heritage. It is the essence of what distinguishes us from the rest of Latin America. We may share the continents’ Franco-Iberian heritage and faith – that which defines us as Latins – but it is out of the strain of slavery [for both masters and slaves] that shaped who we are physically and psychologically.

    I leave you with a poem that best helps describe us:

    “Vejigante de muchos colores,
    Antillana es tu alma,
    La que madre África llama
    En matices criollos
    Y otros olores…”

  • Jose

    Dr. Gates documentary demonstrates pure ignorance for a culture he does not understand. It really does not matter to me how many “Harvard” degrees he has or how much research he had done. The only people that know what it is to be Dominican are Dominicans themselves. As I have told many people in the world, Dominicans have some of the most accepting cultures in the entire world. You can ask Blacks in Harlem, ask Jay-Z, ask Al Sharpton. The fact that we do not judge people by their skin color shows that we are very much ahead of the United States because in the U.S. people say they are either Black or White.Isn’t better to judge people by their character like Dr. King said?

    Secondly, notice his body language when he is in the Dominican Republic, it is very stiff and sort of disdainful. Then, when he is in Haiti he is very blissful. I believe this mere tactic is utilized to create some sort of confusion
    and distaste for our culture. Then, when he is in the museum with the hard working Dominican lady, he acknowledges one of the founding fathers as a “brother” and another as not a brother indirectly. What he is talking about here? Please people tell me if this is real?

    A Latino is a person this is of mixed races. We have Blacks, White, Arabs, and Taino’s mixed into one. We are Latino and that transcends whatever color one maybe. I understand people can say how can it? But believe me it simply does, and we Dominicans are together because of that. What he wants me to pick Black, White? Sorry, all that hate for other people is only going to lie within Dr.Gates.

    Oh, and he says we do not embrace our African heritage. Then just tell me what the “Palos” are Dr.Gates? You left that out didn’t you? The Palos is music that comes from Africa people. If he mentioned the PALOS then his documentary would have been destroyed.

    The fact remains that Dr. Gates views have evolved in an American country where Blacks ’til this day are continually persecuted unjustly. This is brought upon a government that enacts white privilege. There is absolutely no way that he can understand what it means to be Dominican. If one has traveled outside of their home, one knows that every country has their own way of thinking because of “culture”. Due to the U.S.’s not so clean history, the culture here has evolved to the point that people are not unified and do not identify each other as equal. In the Dominican Republic, people do treat each other the same no matter how different their skin tone is. How do I know? Well my family comes in all colors. Some are pretty light, some are darker. But God in heaven knows we do not see each other any different in the other for there is love.

    Moving along, do people notice that when Malcolm X traveled to Mecca he was shockingly surprised to see people of all color living civilly and happily as one without have to sick dogs on each other. Yes, my friends, people of all color bonded together by a “culture” that he could not have understood unless he left the U.S. Now, this is the same as the Dominican culture–you might have people with green or blue eyes, and others with brown or black hair, the point is that we all treat each other as the same. I believe this is what Dr. Gates does not understand.

    Lastly, I see this as a hidden agenda to create separation from each other. If one starts seeing the color difference in our countries, then people will not feel the unity anymore. And having that perspective where color does not matter is what makes the Latino and Dominican culture, one of the strongest cultures in the world. United we stand, divided we fall.

    It is such a great shame that a person with this much influence is coming into a country to divide people. But, we leave that up to God. Dominicans have one of the most accepting cultures in the entire world. Everywhere we go we make people laugh, smile, and jump for joy. We are hard working, honorable, and faithful. Just ask ya man , Jay Z, when in Empire State of Mind he shouts us out saying, “All of my Dominicanos right there up on Broadway”. Because Jay-Z grew up with Dominicans around he know that we are people of respect and courage, no Dr.Gates grew up as a preppy, snobby little boy in the Ivy League schools with no Dominicans around and absolutely no type of understanding of true culture as he was in an rich, affluent environment where the likes of only less than 1% of the world ever enjoys.

    Dominicans always be proud of who we are. Never let anyone taint our hearts, happiness, and cultures because of pure ignorance. We are people of great courage, humility, and compassion. I have been around the world and everywhere we go people love us and respect us. Always be proud of your culture Dominicans, because we can never forget the valuable lessons that our grandparents and parents have instilled in us. To a certain point, people almost, in a friendly way, envy our culture because everything we do we do with love. I have traveled extensively throughout the world and when I say I am Dominican people smile and love. So, Dr.Gates you can try to taint our image, but if people have not succeeded in doing so in hundreds of years, so will you. In my family I have people of all colors, and thank God my parents taught me to love people no matter what there skin color is because I do not know where I would be today. Dominicano hasta la tambora y no te quiile. Shouts to all Black people in in the world. And, most of all, shout out to all my Dominicans and Latinos! La perseverencia de Duarte, Mejia, y Sanchez siempre estara con nosotros. Thank God for our culture!

    Thanks Jessy Andres Torbicio and El gringo Cubano, who did not let this cowardly man try to taint our image. (Click find and type their names to read their comments)

  • david

    I love this documentary very educational. The title is “BLACK ( negro) IN LATIN AMERICA ” if people want to know about the TAINOS make a doc. about them dam get of his back

  • Sherly

    If you are doubting the truth about Dominicans rejecting their identity just read the comments of those asking about Tainos (hilarious). The indigenous people were all over the Island so haitians could say the same thing! PLEASE TAKE THE BLINDS OFF!

  • Torie

    In response to Ray

    Dr. Gates has opened up a can of worms and struck a raw nerve with many Latinos. I am black British form west African descendent and I see myself as being cultural British but my identity is black. I have watched almost all the episodes and and I am shocked, sadden and disappointed that so many people of African descent in Latin America do not consider themselves black or downplay their black ancestral heritage , however, they share the racial characteristics and phenotype of people from west Africa. It seems that they are ready to claim their white European and Indian heritage but bulk at claiming their black African heritage even though their west African heritage is clearly visible.

    And to those that claim that he did’t focus on the Indian influence, shame on you. The clue is in the title of the series ‘ Black in Latin America’. It does what it says on the tin.

    Great series Dr. Gates. It has really opened my eyes to the black experience in other parts of Latin America a part from Cuba and Brazil. Most of us know of the black experience in America, so this is wonderful to get the other side of the black experience.

  • luz

    THIS DOCUMENT SHOULD ban PROMOTES HATE, RACISM AND THE UNITED STATES ANTIDOMINICANISMO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP IN AMERICA HAVE NOT RAISED HIS VOICE ALARM AGAINST THIS DOCUMENT, WHICH victimizes HAITIAN AND DOMINICAN demonizes MANY COMPLAIN THAT DOMINICAN AFTER THIS VIDEO IS ATTACKED BY GROUP OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN DIFFERENT STATES.

  • Smith Georges

    As a Haitian-Americann, I am really amazed by the way this documentary is put together with such an accuracy and the way it reflects and captures history and the essence of the reality of today Haiti’s and Dominican Republic – and how each side sees itself. One side admires its liberators and the other side its colonizers. One island, but two differents mentalites. Excellent job Prof. Gates! Wow!

  • Yahya

    For the record, Dr. Gates is now presenting a new series on PBS called “Finding Your Roots” where, on one episode, he conducted an autosomal dna test on the men in an inner city barbershop (mostly African-American males and one Dominican man was also present). Dr. Gates had them all GUESS how much of a percentage each of them had for different ethnicities (African, Indigenous Indian, European)…almost ALL of them got it WRONG when trying to guess how much Indigenous Indian dna they carry. Although the Dominican did have traces of Indigenous Indian dna…it was 8%.

    Now no one is saying that Dominicans should denounce their Indigenous heritage, neither should they denounce their Spanish heritage…just don’t totally ignore your African heritage either. It would even be more accurate to say that you’re multiracial or tri-racial if you must be exact. And don’t get upset with African-Americans for simply mentioning that one common denominator that connects us from ALL of the Americas & the Caribbean…that same African heritage. There should be absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to our brothers and sisters of the African Diaspora with good intentions. Its rather absurd at how upset others get when we try to do that. It increases division amongst us. We can still have evolved into different cultures, languages, traditions, etc. but are still of some of the same ancestors.

    Also, yes…I must reiterate for those who are a bit perturbed at the fact that Dr. Gates did not delve deeper into the history of the Taino people (though they WERE mentioned quite briefly at the beginning). I would LOVE to learn more about ALL of the Indigenous groups that inhabited the Western Hemisphere before any of us…but that’s not what this documentary was supposed to be about. He named it “BLACK in Latin America” for a reason, people. Just wondering why or when is he going to do one for P.R. It would be great to see him go into the South Pacific realm as well, perhaps to even delve into Aborigine culture. All of this I hope to study and help bring to light one day just as Dr. Gates is doing. This knowledge is long overdue and needed. Once you’ve gained knowledge, it does no good to keep it for self. You must pass it along. Great job Professor!

  • Karina

    Dear Dr. Gates,
    Thank you for this much needed documentary about the politics of identity in Hispaniola. This is a complicated issue that exposes, in relations to identity, behaviors of denial, rejection, power struggle, and possessiveness, etc. I really don’t think you need to apologize for the “Guaguancó versus Merengue” issue some of the bloggers have created. I am particularly speaking about the insisting claim that the opening musical piece of the documentary is a “guaguancó”.

    To continue having an informed conversation about the documentary and everything discussed and showed in it, bloggers should substantiate their claims. I invite you, Dr. Gates, to listen to the Merengue from the Trujillo era (particularly from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s). You will hear a great similarity between the sound of the Merengue produced then and the merengue played at the beginning of the documentary. For those who may be interested, Youtube is a great way to quickly compare different kinds of music and dancing genre… Having said that, it is perhaps also important to add that many of the dancers in the documentary (particularly those of an older generation) are dancing to the ‘introductory Merengue’ with steps from the Cuban ‘Son’. The ‘Son’ is the main Cuban dance/musical genre that Dominicans have embraced as their own perhaps because the its movements and the close proximity of the dancers are similar to that required in Merengue dancing.

    I really think we should all keep in mind that hybridity in the Caribbean is a powerful force that alters everything in its path… Guaguancó, Merengue or Son.

  • Hawk

    All Descendants of Africa in the Western Hemisphere need to wake up. The only difference in us is where the Boat landed. Folks need to get real. Thanks!

  • Hawk

    Just a thought if so many Dominicans don’t think they are black then why did Jheri Curl products sell so well in the Country back in the 80s. Go back and pull up most of the Domincan baseball players of that era. They all had the drippy curl. But anyway! Just a thought not trying to be disrespectful. But the identity issue isn’t just exclusive to them. I will never forget a discussion I had with a Puerto Rican woman at my job back in the 90s when I was in College. She had a poster of famous latinos and many of the people were black. Another guy was trying to be funny and said to her why you don’t have any Brothers on your wall (ie. Do The Right Thing). Myself being an educated Brother who knew history was aware of many of the people on the poster. Some played in the Negro Leagues and one even danced with Alvin Ailey. So I told the guy hey Man I say alot of black people on the poster. This woman who we thought was cool jumped out of her seat and said to me “They are not black they are my people”. I just stared at her in shock. It was my first introduction into the diseased mindedness of the Latino Culture. I was in total shock and thinking back I should have told her that in no way could she tell me as a black person who is and isn’t my Brother or Sister. But again I was young and honestly in shock. I never said another thing to that Woman. Fast forward to today I have a job that requires me to see fingerprint cards. Today, its not even about being Latino anymore you have people from Puerto Rico, D.R., Panama and other latin countries who are now saying they are white on their fingerprint cards. I often see their pictures. I will say that not a single one of them has been white. In fact, I just saw an obviously black guy from Panama list himself as white. Its the craziest thing I have ever seen. It gets worse I know a young lady who’s father was Puerto Rican and Mother is Black. She totally denies her black heritage but is married to a black man and feels the need to let everyone know that she is not black despite her obvious black appearance. In fact, she goes out of her way to talk down on black people. But the sad thing she doesn’t realize is that in dissing us all she is doing is dissing herself. Like Paul Mooney recently said, “What we should be most proud of too often we are ashamed of.” I pray for the day that all the descendants of Africa can be proud of who and what they are.

  • scarlet

    I was surprised to see a documentary on Dominican Republic and Haiti done by Dr. Gates. I gotta say i find that the documentary was informative, but one sided. Dr. Gates did a limited amount of research on the Dominican Republic and did a lot more on Haiti. We as Dominicans know that we are mixed, and accept it. There is no conspiracy theory to keep our “blackness” hidden from the public. He failed to mention why Dominican Republic revolted against Haitian rule. Dominicans are triracial, and even though Tainos were wiped out, their legacy lives in our blood, and is seen everyday in our language, food, and culture as is African and Spaniard culture. I feel like his documentary presented some kind of favoritism towards Haiti, and was actually putting down Dominican Republic in everything from culture to historical information( which some crucial facts were omitted) Dominicans are a mixture of every race, and i feel like Dr. Gates should of done more in depth research, such as he did for the Haitian part of the documentary. I personally would give this documentary a “C” because of lack of information, and a lot of one sided views from Dr. Gates… it was disappointing that the Dominican Republic was in a sense demonized, and viewed as a country that was ashamed of their roots, and deeply racist. It truly did not show the true beauty of this noble country full of wonderful and welcoming people.

  • Frederica Janes

    There’s something to be learned here, if taken with a grain of salt, but it came across as more of a travelogue for Americans than a genuine report on the ground. The video also seemed inappropriately self-referential on the part of the reporter. Why was it important to focus so much on him? There’s a moment when he’s immersed in conversation with one of his elite intelligentsia sources, when the camera focuses momentarily on a black domestic in a doorway. Gone. The instant is never followed up. Perhaps this is a hybrid genre for PBS, and I was expecting something different. But if you continue to work with this narrator, in this format, I would suggest that the narcissism of the academic world has no place in journalism, except on the other end of the camera.

  • Maluca

    I agree with many of you. Dr. Gates is a “come mierda”! Trying to snatch our roots from us! He’s obviously bias, and bitter. He probably has his own resentments about his culture or lack there of. Not once was mention of the Taino Indians in the beginning, which i feel is disrespectful. If ANYONE were to google the Dominican Republic one of the first words you will see is TAINO. In my opinion this was obviously done on purpose.YEs, many Dominican’s have an issue with acknowledging their African heritage, this is true and sad, but that doesnt mean one would purposely leave out an INTEGRAL part of our existence; the TAINOS. Dr. Gates is saying when Dominicans say “Indios”, we are trying to negate our African Ancestry , when in fact some of us do look “Indio” and some us are more “Africano” … etc I cant believe a man of his caliber and that of PBS would not FACT CHECK! I feel that I and we as a people are learning to embrace all of the many cultures that now makes us Dominican!!
    taino ti natiao

  • Maluca

    Dear Rey

    He struck a cord with many of us because of lack of information. This is poor journalism on his part. If he wanted to discuss the stigma many Dominicans have with their African Roots maybe he should have titled the as such. But if your are reporting on the History than one must incude ALL of the history ALL of the Facts.

  • Pablo

    This documentary is particularly one sided in regards to mentioning Hispaniola’s rich diversity. It is more rich then simply white Europeans and black Africans. I know the documentary only focuses on the “Black” aspect of the the island, but in doing so it just paints a very narrow view of the Dom.Rep in general.

    Also, it’s easy to paint the other side as the bad guys in this instance Dominicans, but Haitian’s have been brutal to their own people as well. You can’t keep blaming the Europeans or whites, Americans or Dominicans for the state they are in. What I am afraid of is that the Dominican Republic will cease to be and become Haiti in it’s economical and dire state, and before that happens I would rather Haiti lose it’s independence and become part of the Dominican Rep country. I know this sounds radical but what other options do they have? A government run by donations? How many more times must it collapse before someone takes control??

  • Lloyd

    I visited Dominican Republic a couple of times and experienced disgusting levels of Racism every time. I am a British third generation black male of west Indian descent so i look very much like Haitians. The thing that struck me so profoundly is that they all seem to have really colonized minds and still love the Spanish even though it is evident that Spanish still see them as little more than cheap slaves – I mean look at the state of the country – why would they think Spain cares about them when so many people live in shacks and the country clearly holds third world status.

    Anyway, I had people coming up to me on the beach asking if I wanted a massage and they didnt mind that I was black etc – hilarious really as they clearly had no money and couldn’t see past their racism enough to make money…which I actually think is one of the reasons the country will remain broken – they cling to their colonial past as though it is something to be proud of.

    Have to admit I have little love for the place or it’s people despite the fact that there are probably some normal people there (I did meet one or two people that were nice to us but on the whole people seemed shocked and disgusted that two people that look like Hatians could afford to stay in a “top” hotel).

    As for people on here calling Spain the motherland – why don’t you go over there and see how much they mother you.

  • Eduardo Gonzalez

    There is a clear distinction with the arguments being placed by all sides. First & foremost the facts are that the French & Spanish colonised the island. The island did have native people living on it. They both brought slaves from Africa. They both killed, raped & brutalised the natives & Africans. The Africans rebelled against the French & the Spanish. This led to a free island. The Africans wanted to make sure that those that enslaved ALL did not return to power. The French put sanctions upon Haiti/Hispaniola for their deemed loss for not being able to exploit the people & the land. It is quite clear that there is more mixing in DR than in Haiti by the skin tones of the people. What is also clear to most EDUCATED people is that through research it has been proven that the first race on Earth were people who were of African appearance. This means that at the beginning of time ALL people around the world would have looked pretty much the same. If Black became a power dynamic in future history like it once was, then this divided opinion would again change. The majority of negativity towards Blacks is generated by the White power dynamic. So?, tell me?. If I had a tub of dark brown paint & I mixed it with a tub of white paint what paint would I have?. I would end up with beige, which is a shade of brown. Brown being the dominant colour takes precedence. FACT. The dominant takes precedent over the recessive & the same applies to genes. Curly Afro hair is exclusive to those who have African blood. That means that the dominant gene pool for the DR is African. This basically means that whilst DR people have mixed blood, the dominant gene in them is AFRICAN. Whilst some later immigrants to DR did not mix, i.e. Spanish, Jewish, German etc, the vast majority are & do have Black features & Black genes. This does not negate their native genealogy but merely points out what is the DOMINANT gene flowing through the blood of DR people. Those who wish to remain ignorant do so because of the White power dynamic. They are quickly brought crashing back down to Earth when they travel to the US, Canada, Europe or white western countries only to be looked at as what by genealogy you are which is of African descent, by the majority of your features & make up. A fool sometimes doesn’t want to be EDUCATED. Fine. Leave the fool where you find him or her. If however you want to be educated, then EDUCATE yourself. You cannot make 2 plus 2= 3 just because you do not like the number 4. This is sheer IGNORANCE. To all Dominicans, please LEARN about dominant & recessive genes. This will give you a MASSIVE help in getting over the ignorance ENFORCED by the white man onto you to stop you from siding with Haitians whom you have PLENTY in common with. PEACE ALL HISPANIOLA PEOPLE!.

  • Ron Hustleman Harris

    Wow….facinating and sad.Wherever they bring the Bible….self hate follows.

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