Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Independence Day Reflections

On this date in 1844, the Dominican Republic obtained its independence from Haiti. So today our neighbors in the D.R. are celebrating their 163rd anniversary.

Because antihaitianismo in Dominican culture traces its roots back to the Haitian occupation of the D.R. (1821-1844), this holiday is a mixed legacy for the estimated 630,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent.

In his book, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic, political scientist Ernesto Sagás defines antihaitianismo as:
a set of racist and xenophobic attitudes prevalent today in the Dominican Republic that broadly portray Dominican people as white Catholics, while Haitians are viewed as spirit-worshipping black Africans. More than just a ploy to generate patriotism and rally against a neighboring country, the ideology also is used by Dominican leaders to divide their own lower classes.
Of course, antihaitianismo is not limited to the Dominican Republic. Haitians living in the United States and the Bahamas also face similar racist and xenophobic attitudes that are expressed both as individual prejudices as well as public policy. While the particular details of these expressions may differ from place to place, the underlying issues of racism and ethnocentrism are the same.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home