Having Anti-Dominican Sentiments Is As American As Apple Pie: Ask Jeff Sessions and the Tourism Hysteria Brigade

Having Anti-Dominican Sentiments Is As American As Apple Pie: Ask Jeff Sessions and the Tourism Hysteria Brigade

Many Dominicans suspect we’re the recipients of unreasonable hate and with that unreasonable hate come exceptional expectations only required, demanded of us. Does that sound familiar to African Americans, to the Black diaspora?

Why is it expected of us to be better than other people? Why are we always penalized tremendously, and as a whole, when a couple of Dominicans go astray? Don’t get me wrong, people dying mysteriously at resorts, getting killed, shot, robbed, groped, is absolutely barbarous. There’s really no excuse for that. There’s also no excuse to solely point fingers at one negro nation and acting like it’s the only perpetrator of those crimes.

Did the Dominican authorities bungle those cases? They absolutely did. I work in the PR and Marketing industry. I don’t expect much from folks who work in those fields. They tend to be incredibly out of touch, overconfident, and overpaid. Especially when they’re dealing with major corporations and governments. The Dominican authorities should’ve done better. The Dominican Tourism Ministry took too long to address the situation. They royally fucked that up. I also don’t expect much from a police force that’s underpaid, undertrained, and with limited resources. We can’t afford to have a police state like America does. And even the American police state is a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. You know this.

The US media, the conservative and liberal media, is having multiple orgasms with the tragedies that happened in the Dominican Republic. There’s a pathological fascination with the mischaracterization of second and third world countries. Shit-hole countries, amirite, Trump? We’re the recent recipients because sensationalism sells. Our barbarism is always more horrific, more morbid, more fascinating. Remember how a few years ago it was Mexico? TripSavvy.com still has warnings posted up about it: “Visitors to Mexico may become accidentally involved in carjackings, robbery or other violent crime situations.” Forbes reports “more Americans were reported killed by homicide in Mexico than the combined total of Americans killed by homicide in every other country abroad.” Yes, be very afraid of the Brown Bad Hombres. USA Today gives a terrifying warning to Americans about traveling to Nigeria: “Be aware of the risk of crime, a major problem in Nigeria. U.S. visitors and residents have fallen victim to violent crime, including assaults, muggings, rapes, kidnapping, burglaries and carjackings.” It also warns them about contracting HIV, sleeping sickness, malaria, river blindness, dengue fever, tuberculosis, rabies, “hepatitis A and B, polio, typhoid, yellow fever…” from locals. Be very afraid of the Big Bad Black People.

Do I suggest you boycott Mexico and Nigeria? Absolutely not. So why are even Black Americans joining in the cacophony of anti-Dominicans sentiments? It’s simple: anti-Blackness. Anti-Blackness manifested in different forms is still anti-Blackness. Anti-Blackness isn’t solely denying your negritude, like many accuse Dominicans of. Most of us know this, but like conservatives, cognitive dissonance is too great to beat so we double down on our ignorance, we justify our ignorance, and we loudly share our ignorance. Unpacking and decolonizing white supremacy is incredibly difficult—especially if you must practice it in order to survive. Unpacking and decolonizing also means understanding poverty and the crimes it comes with it. Dominicans aren’t exempt from this. And why are only Dominicans at the end of so much derision about becoming Black in the United States when other folks from other negro nations experience the same? We’re not the only people reckoning with American concepts of race. Renown Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has something to say about becoming Black in America:

First of all, I wasn’t black until I came to America. I became black in America.

Growing up in Nigeria, I didn’t think about race because I didn’t need to think about race. Nigeria is a country with many problems and many identity divisions, but those identity divisions are mainly religion and ethnicity.

So my identity growing up was Christian, Catholic, and Igbo. And sometimes I felt Nigerian in sort of a healthy way, especially when Nigeria was playing in the World Cup. Then I would think about my nationality as a Nigerian. But, when I came to the U.S., it just changed. I think that America, and obviously because of its history, it’s the one country where, in some ways, identity is forced on you, because you have to check a box. You have to be something. And, I came here and very quickly realized to Americans I was just black. And for a little while, I resisted it, because it didn’t take me very long when I came here to realize how many negative stereotypes were attached to blackness.

If you’re in the epicenter of imperialism, Americentrism by second hand is a given and Americentrism, just like Eurocentrism, is a disease that affects us all: Black, Brown, white, and everything in between and outside. We must always be careful with the way we speak about other nations, other people, lest we risk turning into the very same people who gleefully and recklessly mischaracterize us: Just watch what Jeff Sessions has to say about us. It’s maddening. Would you write pieces condemning Black and Latinx folks in Chicago, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx? A young man just senselessly killed Winston McKay in Hamilton Heights. Where is your op-ed about that? Are you going to tell your people not to visit it? Are you really going to have the audacity to tell people to fuck the local business owners, to worry about their safety because of freak, random murders by Black and Latinx people within the United States, in Black and Brown neighborhoods?  

Please tell me where are your numerous articles about Native American women disappearing and getting killed? Where is, as a Non-Native, your essay on how dangerous Native American men are? Why is it Ok for you to write hit pieces about a people if you’re not one of those people?

This country is in no moral authority to criticize any other. Considering the number of migrant kids dying in detention centers. Or how the Trump administration is going to house them in WWII Japanese internment camps. Salon reports over 2 million people died in the Iraqi war. Supposedly, we don’t know how many people died during hurricane Katrina, but it’s estimated that close to 2,000 people did.  Hurricane Maria and Irma claimed over 4,000 lives in Puerto Rico. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of lives could’ve been saved, but the US chose to either blow them into smithereens or cruelly abandon them.

I mean, take a look at the United States and its numerous human rights violations. Watch Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us. Mappingpoliceviolence.org has an up-to-date breakdown of police violence happening in the United States. Take some time to go through the website, but pay close attention to what’s prominent and in bold letters there: “Police killed 1,147 people in 2017. Black people were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.

I always go back to professor Silvio Torres-Saillant’s speech on anti-Dominican sentiments practiced by most Americans, but especially Hispanics, and even our own Dominican students—who in their hot pursuit to fit in, join in the chorus of self-hate. Please watch it.

It’s always easier to launch a negative PR campaign against a group of powerless people. It’s even easier to do it if you’re both Latinx and Black. The way the media handled the Central Park Five is a perfect example of that. Now we are getting a double whammy of prejudice: for speaking Spanish and for being Black. Our crimes are always more monstrous. We’re even getting blamed for people drowning. A comorbid combination of xenophobia and racism is obviously at play here.

I ask, again, why are our crimes more monstrous? Why are you falling for the Okie Dokie? Perhaps the one we should really be afraid of is you.

Do you care about the poor locals who depend on the tourism industry to survive? Did you know that Haitian immigrants, sex workers, women depend on tourism to the Dominican Republic to survive? Are their lives any less important? Do their lives not matter?

Say what you will about the Dominican Republic, I, for one, will visit it and I suggest you don’t join the tourism hysteria brigade. It’s not a good look. And many of us know where you stand with Dominicans and the Black Spanish-speaking diaspora. You’re just another self-absorbed, ignorant, and hypocritical gringo. Don’t be that guy. You give Americans a bad look. The world is my witness. It knows. Be better.

Addendum:

The New York Post is owned by News Corp, which was founded by Rupert Murdoch. The same one who backs Donald Trump (who hired Dominican hater Jeff Sessions) and has this gloating little wiki piece about him and what he had to say about President Obama. The New York Post is a conservative rag. Don't take anything from it seriously. The New York Post is a conservative rag. The New York Post hates Black and Brown people. The New York Post is a Blue Lives Matter, anti-Black, anti-Dominican, anti-Puerto Rican, anti-working class, anti-poor "newspaper." The New York Post is the main tabloid constantly putting out anti-Dominican hit pieces. Do not take their propaganda seriously.

62647948_2441152899440022_1384191105356005376_n.jpg

Thanks for reading and sharing with your family and friends.

Donate

Creating content is a precious and time-consuming endeavor. Contribute as much as you can to keep it coming. Press the donate button above. If you prefer Venmo (@Cesar-Vargas-1) or Cash App ($vargas365) like I do, please try them instead. Stand with the independent writers of the world.

On Concentration Camps and Corrupted Identities

On Concentration Camps and Corrupted Identities

Ava DuVernay Pens a Love Letter to Black and Brown Men with When They See Us

Ava DuVernay Pens a Love Letter to Black and Brown Men with When They See Us