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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.

  • Luis Garrido

    I should have stopped watching this documental, when I saw and listened to guaguanco being played as merengue. This documentary is clearly another Dominican bashing, which is common these days, so it seems. Why glorify Haiti and Haitians at the expense of the Dominicans?

    The title of the piece is misguided, as there was clearly more time and effort spent on Haiti and how ungrateful the Dominicans have been to “Mother Africa.” Does the color of the skin define a culture? We Dominicans are a sancocho of cultures and races. Why should we have the African culture be pushed down our throat? I enjoy flamenco music as much as Palos and Salve. Who is to tell me not to do so?

    Clearly professor Gates did not bother to look into his own bias before he produced this documentary. Maybe he should ask himself, “Why did I concentrate most of my effort on presenting the Dominican Republic viewed from the Haitian perspective?” He obviously did not present Haiti as viewed from the Dominican eye. Did he once talk about the whites in Haiti? Are there no whites in Haiti?

  • penny

    they do not mention tainos because this series is called BLACK in latin america. besides most of the indigenous/natives in the carribean countries were killed off by the europeans, their population is less than 1% in comparison to central or south america.

  • marci

    Its strange that the dominicans are so adamant about their taino admixture, when Taino’s were wiped out centuries ago. The black slaves on the island were most recent, and have occupied the island of hipanola longer and in greater numbers than the taino’s ever did, but yet they reject the black bloodline and cling to the tainos. The funny thing is that virtually all islands of the caribbean were occupied by indigineous indians be it carib, arawaks, tainos but you don’t see the other people from the other caribbean islands keep bringing up their indigenous or taino blood. Its there, but so is the african blood, so why be so proud of one and ashamed of the other?

  • Gigi

    please.. if we are going to talk about the haitian prostitutes in the d.r. please let us go back to a time when Haiti was so prosperous that there were d.r. prostitutes, as someone stated in a previous comment. Being of Cuban,French,Dominican, and Haitian ancestry, I would rather boast about my Haitian ancestry than talk about my Dominican ancestry. My grandmother was a BLACK dominican, my maternal grandfather was a Haitian marabou (of Taino blood, European, and Black ancestry), and despite him looking exactly like an Indian, he said he was BLACK. I’ve met too many dominicans that will perm their hair to make it straight than claim Taino blood, but let you throw any kind of water at them and they will run away simply because they dont want their hair to curl and show any bit of African in them. I am tired of them also showing just the bad parts of Haiti, why not show the Labadi beach or Petionville.. sheesh, I love my Dominican roots but until some dominicans acknowledge their African roots and even some of their Haitian roots, I’ll pass on being called a “dominican”. Haiti isnt even “considered” by many as being part of Latin America, when if anything they should be considered afro-latin country. Learn your history people, and not the biased version of it.

  • Joelito De Quisqueya

    As one who was born in one island and spend most of my teenage year in the other, i get two speak both languages and experience both culture. No matter where you go in Hispaniola or Quesqueya, the blacks always have it worst and if you read “the making of haiti, the black napoleon and the avengers of the new world” you might have some ideas why but if you come up here and start quoting Dominican History like Torbicio did, you miss the point of this program. The island was divided for a reason and it was divided before France took the Haitian part.
    If you’re black from anywhere you should and MUST watch this program, I thank PBS and Prof Gates for this blessing. I know it pissed of a few Mexicans and the Dominicans are enranged but it the truth and it shall set them free.

  • Abigail acevedo

    Hi I think this documentary as a whole is essential for Black awareness in Latin America so I really enjoyed the episodes, especially on Cuba and Mexico for example, Telemundo and Univision loves to hide The Black Abuela in the closet you will never see black people as the main characters in telenovelas, however the piece on the Dominican Republic was not fair, it was one-dimensional and it gave a very distorted image of Dominicans as racist and in denial of who they are, since Dr. Gates only dedicated 23 minutes on DR history, of the three Latin Caribbean Islands, the Dominican cooking/Cuisine has the most pronounced African elements, case in point “Sancocho” which is a combination of beef,chicken, and pork and chunks of west African Yam, “Yautia” and “Yuca”. Also please remember Dr. Gates that Trujillo was the Hitler of the Dominican republic and your glib discussion or research on this Caudillo was obviously superficial.

  • Nadime Nader

    Dear proffesor Gates ,it was nice your program about the dominican republic and haiti.BLACK IN LATIN AMERICAN “..On reference to the dominican republic I felt it was very weak,you only remarked the negativity of many dominicans toward our African heritage.. that racism exist even today in our country and many dominicans dont want to accept it, but all of us have “el negro ahi ,ahi ahi ahi e que me guta a mi “.In my opinion domincans have thre cultures or currents :taino indian,spanish, and african.I was waiting to see the representacion of a gaga ritual,(afro/dominican dance ), music from los palos de peravia,and dominican voudou ceremonies from Samana ,san juan de la maguana,miches,and other cultural expressions with african flavor such as el carnaval dominicano where we can apreciate colorful african influences IN THE MUSIC /DANCE/COSTUMES …. .We,dominicans are a rainbow of races: Taino,Spanish and African, as these cultures mixes with blood ,pain ,and sugarcane, these create the dominican diaspora, this diaspora is full of religious cincretism with a very rich cultural heritage and the african culture is the most pOwerful in that ….i wanted to see more popular culture ?….. some dominicans are cafe con leche ,others dulce de leche ,others plain black sweet coffe ..its in our blood ,in our music ,in our costumes and in our culture . I was sad to see that if the tittle of the piece was black in latin america you forgot to search for the real folklore in the dominican republic spiced by our african influences ,you forgot to look for Fredique Lizardo a dominican proffesor that knows dominican culture , you forgot to go to the museum of el hombre dominicano ,you forgot to search for african influence in our” palos”,” bachata”,perico ripiao” and “el merengue tipico…… ” waw a guaguanco as dominican merengue ? you shall check first before the editing of the program ?…I felt sad of how the cultural material was handled… yes some dominican are racist , they dont want to admit that we dominicans have 77 % of african blood ?,,,but this documentaruy was not about” DOMINICAN RACISM “it was about the richness of the african heritage in the culture of the dominican republic ,,I wish to see a new dominican/haiti program on black in latin america with a more serious look on the power of the african heritage in both countries …..Since 1972 I do cultural programs in new york city based on the african influence in the music , dance costumes customs of the dominican republic ,haiti, puerto rico and cuba,,, we also cover the garifunas of central america.. you forgot to cover then too they have a very complex rituals with strong african heritage …… please do another program on the dominican republic and haiti ….”.this was just a soft brush over the painful cut” … thank you very much , nadima.

    i had been doing cultural performances in new york city based of the african influence in the cultures of the dominican republic . puerto rico ,haiti and cuba ….

  • don martin

    professor ,
    i enjoyed your epsiodes of black in latin america
    i myself am a african america from chicago
    my wife is from guatemala
    my wife family is garifuna
    garifuna a people of african decesnt who settled in belize, guatemal, hondoras
    i discuss with my wife the african experience in united states.
    i ask my wife for her experince in central america
    to my suprises , my did not know much about slavery in the americas
    in guatemala , slavery is not a subject discuss in school
    in guatemala, the african history is not discussed much in school
    my wife family garifuna language and tradition sounds african
    you should explore the black history in centro american

  • DT Torres

    No series concerning African roots in Latin America can ever be complete without uing Puerto Rico as an example. This series, although told via Gates’ liberal prism, is important as a launching point for further discussion on the topic of race and racial indentity in Latin American. Too racial and ethnic melting pot of our southern neighbors has been misunderstood by the mainstream for far too long. Thank you for the series, but please enlist a future Puerto Rico segment.

  • Victor

    i would like to say that Mr. Jessy Andres Torbicio has put the TRUTH on each of his words…the Domican Republic is NOT the USA, we do not use and have NEVER used the one drop Rule…

    For those who Ignore the domincan culture, and have never been on DR and then want to cruficy us for not doing what they think we should do i would suggest to Google:

    – Gregorio Luperon
    – Lemba
    -Ulises “lilis” Heraux
    – Jose Francisco Pena gomez

    After you do, as yourself a question, specially for the last name, HOW can a “racist black denial” nation could have made him the greatest Mass leader on the DR history

  • Pedro Cespedes Rodriguez

    This documentary was made to make Dominicans look racist animals and making Haiti look good

    Well I’m sorry to tell you Dominican republic is not just African ancestry

    It has a lot of Taino ancestry his whole documentary made me sick to my stomach

    I can’t believe Pbs would do somthing like this

    Why didn’t they point out all the robbing and raping that haitians are doing in the Dominican Republic

    And these so called experts have no idea what they are talking about

    Horrible documentary needs to be taken off from the website and the dvd should not be sold

  • Joel Ramirez

    I think, the documentary was interesting but too one sided and also viewed from the point of view of the USA where you are either Black or white, Racism was used and is still use to divide the nation, in the USA people still talk of ” black or white music, black or white food and so on” . which is different from the point of view of Latin Americans, when it come to races, In Latin America you will never hear , ” this is black music or white music”. In the US, if you ask a Black person .What are you? the first thing that come to their mind is..”I,m black” . In DR, if you ask the same question to a black Dominican, we will say..” I am Dominican and Latin American”. Which is NOT DENYING our African heritage like this Episode want to tell the world, and at the same time showing the Haitian so proud of their African heritage, and showing us Dominicans as Ignorants . The process in which Black Dominican and Mulatos started to see themselves as LATINOS instead of a Color, is the same process that changed the White minority in DR, White Dominicans do not see themselves as Spanish, If you ask them ,they will say..” I am Dominican and a Latin American” Just like Black and Mulatos in the DR don’t have a map of Africa in their bedroom like many Black Americans and blacks from other Islands , the same thing for whites in the DR ,they don’t have a map of Spain. Becoming LATINOS AND DOMINICANS OF MIXED RACES is what make DR what we are . I think you are way off, our African heritage is alive in our music, culture, faces, food, color,music, But we have become LATIN AMERICANS our language is Spanish . In the Dr we don’t have an African language mixed with Spanish, like Haiti does with the French, Haiti and DR are two different nations with different points of views and history and somehow your documentary want to imply that we are not proud of who we are , and Sir ,you are so wrong about that!!!!. We love being who we are , its what make us who we are, its what saved our nation from many invasions and war, our Latin American identity regardless of the colors. And the same process took place in Cuba, Colombia , Venezuela and other place where there are blacks in Latin America, we are Latinos first and colors come second,

  • Jose

    This documentary was the point of view of an American man , which is totally different from Latin Americans, Dr Gate point of view is that if a Black Latino or Dominican in this case doesn’t see himself as black first like the Haitians do, them they are denying their African heritage, Which wrong, the people in Latin America have created a sense of unity and nationality by becoming Latin first and color second, Unlike the US where the whole country was design with separation in mind, to keep the black citizens ” African Americans” forever even after 200 years, NOT AMERICANS LIKE THE WHITES , just Africans , different and second, which also created equal racism, and division, like Black and white foods , styles and even way of talking, such as Ebonics . The opposite happended in the Dominican republic, mixing and creating a sense of ” we are Dominican and Latino first”.. kept us together as a nation. We are proud , we know our heritage and we are proud of it, its just too bad that Dr Gates does not want to understand it and in a way try to make us look bad because our ways are different.

  • Victoria

    Incredible the number of anti-Dominican comments in this website, simply because Dominicans see themselves first as Latino ,instead of a color like they do in the US.and haiti. Most of them have no idea of the history of DR, how it was during the spanish colonial times and the horrors of the haitian invasion, Some even say the haitian came over to ” liberate” the slave, and leave out by “accident” the details of the crimes, rapes, murders, exile of thousands, and even the prohibition of our language ” spanish”. The same Haitian army that murder thousands of white and mulatto haitians was the army that invaded us, and these people are saying that those haitians came to help us, are they dreaming???. Dominicans are very proud of our heritage, our color, our african influence in music ,culture and everything, but we mixed and accepted being latin Americans, Something that haitians are not because they were not a spanish colony.This documentary is biased, talk about the government trying to cover our African heritage,which is bull, DR is a country where regarless of color or even haitian nationality ,people can move forward in life, and if you do no believe me , just ask the more than 2,000,000 ilegal haitians living , working , studying, and giving birth in the DR, ask them where would they rather be , Haiti or DR. Our country is not the racist country and in denial. We are latino first and color come second, just accept that, instead of trying to get everybody to see being black the same way they do in the US.

  • Johnny Rivera

    Wow!!! I guess now is bad to be a proud Dominican and feel very Latino, I guess from now on to make the haitians and the black american community happy ,us Dominicans will have to get our very own map of Africa in each Dominican home, a Picture of Bob Marley or Malcom X. Why can’t people undestand that Dominicans are happy feeling Latin American, 70% mulato, the rest blacks and a minority of whites and other races and nationalities, We are mixed, Just because Prof.gate interviewed some people that agreed with his point of view , that is not a complete picture of Dominicans, I am the regular mulato ,I love my culture, my color, my afro-music merengue and bachata, everything, But beside our color, we don’t have some ” creol” mixed between African languages and Spanish, We speak spanish , we became Latinos and thats how we see ourselves, its not racism or denial. It was sad, and even funny how this documentary present Dominicans as ignorants and the haitians as so proud of being black. Prof. Gate you have your own agenda and point of view, remember that the world does not alway have to turn the way you Americans want it to turn, The American point of view of races is not the point of view of us Dominican, In the USA if a person is born of a white father and black mother that child is BLACK, if the father is white and marry a mulato woman that child is still BLACK. Not in my country , we believe in MIXED PEOPLE OR MULATOS, cause thats what we are.

  • Joel Ramirez

    Prof. Gates, I believe that your portrait of Dominican culture in this Documentary is totally wrong, We are a mixed nation, to be Mulatto you need to have a BLACK and a WHITE parent, and that’s what we are, Spain and Africa, In my 40 years I have never seen a Mixed Dominican or White minority, Celebrating Running of the bulls or celebration Spain day, So why do we also have to be running around trying to celebrate Africa, We know who we are. We are proud of our African heritage, we are proud to have been a Spanish colony and have their language, Africa is in our culture, celebrations, food, music, our color, But we have become LATIN AMERICANS, We do not see ourselves as a COLOR but as one united nation, regardless of the color , Every group of Immigrant, that have settle in DR have gone through the process of DOMINICANIZATION, or in other words ,became Latins from the DR, Arabs, whites, blacks from other Islands, Asians and other Latinos, The only people that refuse to become part of the Dominican nation are the Millions of Haitians living in the DR, that still believe that the whole island belong to them and they have all God’s given rights to be there, That attitude and our violent history of Haitian invasions, murder, rape, exile of thousands of Dominicans, the destruction of our resources to pay off the debt to France and the PROHIBITION of our language Spanish in an attempt to erase us from the Map have made the relations between Dominicans and Haitians what it is today. We are not the same, Both are proud people, with our own history, our own views and culture, This attempt to make us look the same, only work on people that have to knowledge of either countries.
    Mr Gate, you show a picture of Dominicans in denial , ignorant and racists , which is not true, we are proud of who we are , Our color and culture, We accept and welcome people from all over the world, Unlike Haiti ,that for years had laws that prohibited anyone that was not BLACK from owning land in that country, only after the U.S. invaded Haiti in the early 1900’s those laws were abolished. Just because the point of view of the DR on races is not the same as the US, a country famous for their segregation laws , Our rules and views are different, it does not matter in the DR, if your grandparents came from Spain, China, Siria, Cuba ,or from St Martin, Guadalupe or any other black island, In the DR you are Dominican and that is it, we are mixed and proud of that, and the American and Haitian point of view does not make us ignorant, it just make us different. I am glad that you are so proud of being BLACK, which is good, but please do not use your influence to paint us and other mixed people in Latin America as people in Denial because of our brown skin, If you ask a white and a Indian person in Mexico what they are, they will say proudly..I AM MEXICAN. Same thing here, we are proud to be Latino, to be Dominicans.

  • Thomas

    Many here seem bitter about what this documentary did not say in support of many things Dominican. This is just a beginning. It shows many people from the US and other countries some insights to the history in Hispaniola. No one denies that wrong was done by both sides. I don’t think Dr. Gates was trying to biased, but if you look at all of the “Black In Latin America” episodes, the one dealing with Haiti and the DR seem to elicit the most fervent responses. He only had 1 hour of TV time at most. This was a good introduction. This was a good starting point for dialogue. Many people learn more from this piece about the DR and Haiti than they ever knew. That is a good thing.
    Personally of all the countries, because of the difficulties surrounding the blacks in Haiti and the mixed people in the DR, it seems that the DR tries the hardest to deny their African roots. Because of what they perceive as inferior. I have seen this from Dominicans in the US also. Yes you are Taino and European. But why deny the other part. You can lie to yourself but it changes nothing. I too am African/Euro/Native. I could never be a white man. My native roots are almost gone in the US. The various shades of black have always been home. If I had a statue of my important heritage I would leave out nothing. You cannot hide from yourself.

  • Marquis Mwatuangi

    I appreciate the work that Gates has done, however, I’m definitely interested in why Puerto Rico was not included. We boricuas have a strong heritage rooted in Afrikan traditions that defines us as deeply as does our taino heritage. Too many are asleep in the US.

  • Olga Frias

    I wish I had the means to film a documentary to denounce all the misinformation in this PBS special; this were not mistakes or misinformation, this are slanderous statement that are hurtful and serve only those who receive money to produce it and others political ambitions. How sad, I lost all respect for PBS.

  • Leo

    I think this Documentary is somewhat bias and lacking much more info.
    The whole Moors or “Moros” subject wasn’t even mentioned. The moors where a mix of Arabs and Berbers from Northern Africa what is today Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, that invaded and ruled most of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) around the 12th century for many years. Then later as Spain fought against the moors & slowly regained territory and later followed with the inquisitions ( Become Roman-Catholic by force or else…..) Many of the “Moriscos” (now Christianize- Muslims/moors) came on the ships with Christopher Columbus to the new world. Its safe to say that we have way more Arab/Berber in our background ( because of the Moors) in the Dominican Republic.( but also Cuba & Puerto Rico) then Spaniard, I would also say we have practically 0% Taino,

  • Amber

    He never said there were no Tainos, he said most of them had died off, thats why they imported African slaves, they had Tainos in Haiti too!!! What did you think Haiti was just blank with no people before the French came??? Great job, hopefully Dominicans can start realizing there not just Spanairds they are African too!!

  • luchadora

    I believe Dr. gates did not mention tainos, arawaks, or any other indigenous groups from the caribbean because he was trying to make a point that there is more emphasis on indigenous influence rather than black influence which is actually more prevelant than taino. #2 skin color does not dictact race. So if you are light skinned or dark skinned you can be both be black and if you are of “indio” complextion, that does not mean you have indigenous blood. Anyone mixed with any kind of anglo and black can have bronze skin.

  • Leo

    Another bad job by the Dr. Gates, while in Santo Domingo (the capital) he sees alot of black people and he admits that the counrty is just like Haiti, but you have to take into consideration that the most Haitians migrate and go to the capital. It would be like saying I’m going to Los Angeles to take a survey of the USA’s ethnicity population, one can only come away from Los Angeles and say that the U.S as a country is identical to Mexico. It’s just plain lazy reporting and journalism by Gates……………..We do have a population in the Dominican Republic that came from North Africa, but not West African they were called “Moors” or “Moriscos” by the Spanish and they look like Arabs middle eastern features, which are very prevalent in DR, Cuba, Puerto-Rico, and other parts of latin America. People forget that African is diverse too, not everyone from Africa is black, is like saying the Asian continent is all Chinese.

  • Leo

    Another bad job by the Dr. Gates, while in Santo Domingo (the capital) he sees alot of black people and he admits that the counrty is just like Haiti, but you have to take into consideration that the most Haitians migrate and go to the capital. It would be like saying I’m going to Los Angeles to take a survey of the USA’s ethnicity population, one can only come away from Los Angeles and say that the U.S as a country is identical to Mexico. It’s just plain lazy reporting and journalism by Gates……………..We do have a population in the Dominican Republic that came from North Africa, but not West African they were called “Moors” or “Moriscos” by the Spanish and they look like Arabs middle eastern features, which are very prevalent in DR, Cuba, Puerto-Rico, and other parts of Latin America. People forget that Africa is diverse too, not everyone from Africa is black, is like saying the Asian continent is all Chinese.

  • Leo

    Another poor job by the Dr. Gates in the documentary is while in Santo Domingo (the capital) he observes a lot of black people and then admits that the counrty is just like Haiti, without taking into account that most Haitians migrate to the capital. It would be like saying I’m going to Los Angeles to take a survey of the USA’s ethnicity population, one can only come away from Los Angeles and say that the U.S as a country is pretty much identical to Mexico. That’s just plain lazy reporting and journalism by Gates……………..We do have a population in the Dominican Republic that came from North Africa but not West Africa( Most if not all of Haiti ) African’s from the North (Libya, Algeria,Tunisia, Morroco, Egypt) they were called “Moors” or “Moriscos” by the Spanish and they look like Arabs, they had middle eastern features or traits, which are very prevalent in DR, Cuba, Puerto-Rico, and a few other parts of latin America. People easily tend to forget that Africa is very diverse as well , not everyone from Africa is black, its like saying everyone from Asia looks Chinese.

  • N. Abreu

    Every time I read, or hear, a comment about how Dominicans hide their African heritage, it makes me laugh. What part of our African heritage we forgot or didn’t embrace?

    – Was it religion? Because I believe “Santeria” is still alive and well in DR.
    – Was it music? Has anyone seen a “Tambora”.
    – Was it dance? “Palos” or “Atabales” are still around.
    – Was it language?…okay I’ll give you that one. However, who in the Americas still speaks any on the languages that the slaves spoke?

    The problem with this documentary is that instead of showing how the African heritage survived on these two distinct nations, it tries to depict Dominicans as less “noble”, for not solely embrace its African roots. Dominicans are not the byproduct of just mixing Africans and Europeans for a couple decades. This mixing has been going on for almost five hundred years, with more than just these two cultures.

    In short, this was not a very fair documentary

  • Lulu

    I think all the protestations in these comments illustrate Professor Gates’ point PERFECTLY. I’m Puerto Rican and we have some of the same issues as the DR. My grandmother will go on and on about our “indian” blood, but one look at photos of my great-grandfather gives the lie to that. Deny all you want, it doesn’t change the truth.

  • Cervantes

    After reading some of the comments I came away dispirited by the ignorance and self-hatred demonstrated by some of the Afro-American commentators. Indeed, the charlatan, Lanceindc, has the temerity to reference Van Sertima-whose work has been discredited the world over as pseudo-science in the fields of history, anthropology, and archeology-in order to argue that the brilliance of the native people (Mayas, Aztecs, Olmecs, etc.,) is owed to Africans who came to the western hemisphere before Columbus. One need not be an epidemiologist to know that it is impossible for the native people of this hemisphere to have interacted with any group of people from the old world in any significant way upon understanding that the natives of this continent were unable to sustain the diseases of Europe and Africa. Indeed, it bespeaks to the isolation of these peoples.

    Other commentators appear to be elated by the desire to falsely convince themselves that Hispanic people- at least 93% of whom are either indian, white, or metizo-have black admixture or are in some mysterious way Afro-descendant. So, they dream that this will lead to their ability to claim Latino heritage (or a non-black identity) and to intermarry with hispanics. The former expresses the eternal longing of African Americans of being able to obscure their blackness. They think this is possible because of the erroneous belief that Afro-Latinos (e.g., Sammy Sosa, Saldana) are not perceived as blacks and that they do not self-identify as such. Of course, this is only sensible if one assumes that the vast majority of Hispanics are not black and so Afro-latinos can be made invisible as a result. However, therein lies the paradox and ultimate failure of this thought process. Hispanics are overwhelmingly non-black but it is virtually impossible for a black person in this continent to not be reminded that he/she is black and “other”. The latter provides the only opportunity whereby one can affirm blackness while seeking to destroy it. For while It is shocking for the viewer to see Prof. Gates tell a native american girl that she is a “beautiful Negra” (black), or even ask Professor Cruz, who has not one ostensible african feature, about her feelings on finding out that she was “black”-when we are well aware that “black” in this continent has only to do with physical appearance-it makes perfect sense from the vantage point that it may allow for the destruction of “black” as a concept and concomitantly to the physical obliteration of “black” in reality. In short, the ultimate desire is to be like Prof. Cruz, to have light skin, straight hair, non-african features, but be able to say: “I am black and I am proud”.

  • Raul

    Bias in Latin America. I understand that Dr. Gates did not like the Dominican Republic because of their history and because there is a lot of truth in the fact that a lot of Dominicans are not proud of their African heritage. Now, Dr. Gates did not mention the reverse racism that exists in Haiti where anyone that is not 100% black is discriminated. He ignore the fact that the fort that took 40 years to build is in the middle of nowhere and that if foreign forces ever reached that fort it was already too late.
    Just like Americans do not consider themselves British, Dominicans should not be forced or looked down upon because they want to distance themselves from anything that resembles Haiti. Finally, nothing upsets me more that Dr. Gates first of all talks about merengue, but plays salsa in the documentary (shows me that he did not do his homework from the start). Second of all Dr. Gates was only able to find one small community of Dominicans that is proud of their blackness in Villa Mella. Dr. Gates should go to Monte Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, and to San Cristobal. I know for a fact that there are several communities in those provinces that promote their African heritage. Don’t think I did not pay attention to that final jab at the end when you asked Moya-Pons the difference between Dominicans and Haitians. Dominicans and Haitians deserve that you dedicate them a full separate hour to each one of us. I consider this a disrespect!

  • Joselo

    I can sense a certain resentment by black Dominicans against white or non- black Dominicans. Dominican Republic is not 90% black. We are mostly mestizos or mixed. Just because you’re a black Dominican you cannot assume that all Dominicans are black. Having lived in the US for over 2 decades I can see more racism from black people towards other races than from white people. Although some white people are racist too. I think it all depends on what part of the US you are in. Even on what neighborhood you’re in.

    Many black people resent the fact that other people reject them, but they fail to see the way many of them behave publicly. Keeping their pants way below the waistline or how they horseplay with each other in crowded

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