Novelist Julia Alvarez talks about her new memoir, A Wedding in Haiti, and her experiences as a Dominican woman visiting Haiti.
Gisselle - I already know the history of both countries. This thread has nothing to do about "why"
Guys just research how both nations got their independence and you all will find the answer why both nations consider themselves black, mixed and/or white. Research the interaction of both Dominicans and Spaniards and between Haitians and French during and after both nations got their independence. In both cases you will find why they have different identities.
"mixed race, but consider themselves white." "black dominicans, who don't view themselves as black" "Why would anyone want to be black""the African influence has led to its demise"
Really John? Your ignorance and self hate while unfortunate, is not surprising, no wonder Sammy Sosa and Trujillo have tried to lighten their skin? I've lived and worked with Dominicans for 10 years - wonderful people but the most identity confused people I've ever met, who sadly also suffer from a massive inferiority complex.
Dominicans know that Latinos from virtually every other country in the Hemisphere, (fairly or not) look down at them for the "crude" way they speak the language and their supposedly "poor tradition" of education, (remember Herman Badillo's comments?)
Many Dominicans, NEED someone they can look down on and Haiti, probably being the only country in the hemisphere poorer that the DR, due to many factors beside their "blackness" - conveniently fits the bill.
Sheldon the glee in your voice is palpable. Sorry, my parents came here in the first wave of immigration and are mixed race, but consider themselves white. We have african, irish, italian and arab mixed in to our DNA like most of a certain generation of dominicans. The later migrations to the USA were and are black dominicans, who don't view themselves as black.
Why would anyone want to be black, with all the social issues involved in the DR and here. While the culture of the DR is influenced by africa and slavery, the generation and group I come from look to Europe not Africa and traveled to Europe on a regular basis. Haiti is a mess because of its history, the African influence has led to its demise, it wil never get fixed. The DR is at least better then the mess across the border.
Ha - John, and I mean this with all due respect but The Dominican Rep. is no shining city on the hill, it is a very poor, corrupt, and under-developed country - even by Caribbean standards.
The only "European" thing about the DR are the tourists who go to the well sequestered resorts for a cheap holiday. I wonder why most tourists never leave the resorts? Perhaps they are scared of "Europeans" robbing or scamming them, the corrupt (French) police and poor (Swiss) roads?
But of course, you have those unlucky "Africans" across the border to look down on. You pretend that their DNA are not in "your" music, "your" food, or God forbid - in your blood. Keep trying to scrub that "blackness" off, as Sosa tried with his skin but you and I know better.
Ok Ok, Haiti is well run, Detroit is well run and Europe is a chaotic mess, with tribal warfare and warlords. Not to mention child rape and lack of development. We should all follow the superior African model.
A reminder from the BLS team: please be civil on this comments page. A few comments have been moderated because they are not in line with our Comment Guidelines. You can find a link to those guidelines on the bottom of the page. Thanks, and please keep it civil!
BRIAN, PRODUCERS, MODERATORS: Have "john from the office"'s comments gone beyond the pale? Seriously.
...traumatized state of mind...
Again, Sheldon, right ON....This is not just a DR problem, however. Unfortunately, this traumatized state is widespread and a top issue needing address.
Tujillo was black, shhh, don't tell John that. Listen to Dominican music, eat their food, their style of dance and overall culture. To say Dominican "culture" is "European" is laughable and reeks of self-hate.
She lives as an American. I am aware of wherre she is from, I am from the same place.You cannot see the irony
Again, a window into the psychoses of some Brian Lehrer listeners...
JOhn from the Office: Once again you are opining on things you don't know anything about.. Julia Alvarez is Dominican - born there and arrived to the U.S. in the 1960's as a teenager
European? haha. John is "Dominican," arrest my case.
What nonsense, I have lost respect for this author. Maybe she should leave the Ivory tower and talk to real people, not other authors. Maybe we can hold hands and sing unity songs and solve all the social issues.
Brian--I have found that there is a foul racism and bigotry in today's DR that descends from Spain and that has been promoted by Tujillo. Although most Dominicans would be called black in the U.S., they detest "black Haitians" (they call themselves in the DR Hispanic to deny their African ancestry) and "their voodoo religion" (despite the fact that almost all Haitians are faithful Catholics). When Haitian freedom-fighters tried to liberate the DR of its colonial enslavers, the Spanish convinced the DR to fight them off! Thank you, Ms. Alvarez for exposing the problem.
Love Julia. In all due respect, Tainos were not completed wiped out. Dr. Richard Alegre corrected his finding after the discovery of mitocondria DNA proved that the Tainos were still in fact alive today in the blood of Island people.
Wow..what a tragedy.
So a spoiled American, Ms. Alverez, is judging Dominicans. Please return to Vermont and ski. The history is what it is.
The Dominican Republic is not a African culture it is a European culture of mixed race.
How can the "Blackness" be a problem when there are dark skinned Haitians as well as dark skinned Dominicans? The answer is it is "Mental". The Europeans implanted this self hatred years ago.
Dominicans believe Haitians are black and they are not - they think they will "be over-run" by "Africans".
I met Ms. Alvarez many years ago while working at an art gallery in Middlebury VT. She was so incredibly warm and kind, and I did not realize who I was talking to until she handed me her credit card to make her purchase. To this day I go out of my way to buy her delicious coffee.
With Haiti and DR, there are many, many significant historical and experiential differences, as Jared Diamond discusses below. These are too often overlooked.
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