Caribbean Nations Outraged at Dominican Racism

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Dominican Republic, which defines itself in opposition to Haiti, has enraged its Caribbean neighbors by preparing to deport a quarter million residents of Haitian descent. Dominican racial views are well known. “They are perpetually resentful that the deep Black presence of Haiti is always there to remind them of their own indelible African origins.”

Caribbean Peoples Outraged at Dominican Racism

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Anyone born after 1929 who cannot point to one parent who was a Dominican citizen faces deportation.”

If there is a country where self-hatred is the national creed, it is the Dominican Republic, an overwhelmingly mulatto nation that seems constantly at war with its own Blackness. It is a country where Europeans have always been a small minority, yet whose national legislature once passed a law declaring that all Dominicans are white. Dominican beauticians have done their best to enforce that law by becoming the most skillful skin lighteners and hair straighteners in the world. It is obvious to any sane person that the Dominican Republic does not like itself, and has no national identity except in opposition to the deeper Blackness of Haiti, with whom it shares the island of Hispaniola, and to which Dominicans owe a great debt, for ridding their common territory of slavery more than two centuries ago. But, the Dominicans are not grateful; rather, they are perpetually resentful that the deep Black presence of Haiti is always there to remind them of their own indelible African origins. Unable to purge themselves of their Blackness, Dominicans periodically attempt to dispel the Haitians.

In 1937, the Dominican Army killed as many as 20,000 dark-skinned people on the border with Haiti in what was called the Parsley Massacre. The most recent eruption of Haiti-hatred was set off this September, when a Dominican court ruled that up to a quarter million people of Haitian descent could be declared stateless persons. These include the children of Haitians who arrived generations ago, who speak only Spanish, dance to Latin rhythms and have never been on the Haitian side of the border. Anyone born after 1929 who cannot point to one parent who was a Dominican citizen faces deportation.

The mostly African-descended Caribbean neighborhood has run out of patience with Santo Domingo.”

All the peoples of the Caribbean are familiar with the Dominican disease, that peculiar mass mental illness of self-hatred. Self-haters also make bad neighbors, and before long, grassroots activists across the Caribbean were urging their governments to take action against the Dominican outrage against Haitians and all Black people. Although today’s crop of Caribbean politicians is notable for its meekness, the Dominicans had gone too far. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States expressed its “collective abhorrence” at the Dominicans’ “repulsive and discriminatory” actions. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, called for the Dominican Republic to be suspended from the Caribbean Community and cut off from access to subsidized Venezuelan oil.

The Dominican Republic needs to learn that its twisted racial attitudes will no longer be tolerated. It may take generations to cure the sickness that afflicts so many Dominican minds, but the mostly African-descended Caribbean neighborhood has run out of patience with Santo Domingo. Dominican president Danilo Medina will soon submit to his legislature a “National Regularization Plan for foreigners.” Medina pretends that his countrymen want only to create an orderly system of immigration. But everyone knows it’s all about Haitians, and Blackness. The fact is, Haitians make up more than 90 percent of the Dominican agricultural workforce; they are indispensable to the economy. The two peoples are linked by history and blood – a lesson that Dominicans will have to be taught by their Caribbean neighbors.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].



Sad how there is silence on this article

A lot of black people just talk.  For them, the struggle has to be ghettoized.  Most black people don't care about the plight of other black people in other parts of the world. We are so inward-looking when it comes to the struggle of the black world. Just witnessing the outpouring of condolences on the death of Nelson Mandela; but white imperialists and criminal politicians are also praising him. Thank you Glen for this article.  It is becoming clear that most black people are more interested in how much assimilated they are either culturally or racially to Europe. I was expecting to read outrage in the comment section of this article. I suppose it is not an american problem.  We have a big problem, black folks.

There is more subtlety in the "dilemma of Black Dominican denial

The points made are essentially on target, but subtleties do persist. I am not Dominican, but it is a commonly accepted fact that Dominicans bear historical resentment over the short time Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic; and under the two decades of Haitian rule major positive changes were brought to the country.  No one resented that more than the brutal cleptomaniac-dictator Trujillo.  Dominicans may be in denial about race but they know their history.   I am also told that in a country with hyper-corruption, like DR, it is not difficult to buy a birth certificate or, for the right price, getting just about any Dominican to vouch as a daddy or mommy (wouldn't surprise me if they could manufacture paternity tests in the process).  Moreover, just how does one produce a mulatto if not through 'inter-marriage.'  People in love and in survival mode don't give much of a damn about race.  Life-long friends and neighbors who share decades of economic struggle help each other out, regardless of their origins when they speak a common language. This, of course, is somewhat tangential to the country's race pathology. But subtleties do add up to allow giving the avearage Dominican the benefit of the doubt that the outrageous action of an idiot Supreme Court will be allowed to prevail in Dominican society. It may be the best that happen to the Dominican Republic if the response is one of moral outrage . . ., and shame.  

Subtleties yes Ignorance yes

Yes there  are subtleties to the everyday workings of any caste system. Though I was not born in DR, I am of Dominican descent and became aware of this antagonism towards Haitians in particular but blackness in general at an early age. If Dominicans are so aware of their history, then it seems rather conflicted and narrowed by their social backwardness.

I have been to DR a number of times recently so I am also familiar with the high levels of corruption and crime. While it is true that Mulattoes, by definition, can be produced only by racial mixing, Like the Racial caste system in South Africa, Mulattoes are generally afforded greater opprotunities for advancement and generally perceived in a better light than their darker skin bretheren. Moreover, while black, white and everything in between may live side by side and share in both struggle and triumph, the impact of the self-hate evinced by  much, if not all, of the population does have a profound impact in the day to day life of many darker skin Dominicans and non-Dominicans for that matter.

In my case, because I am a dark skinned, my own mother (who was lighter skinned) from a very early age referred to my "bad hair" (among other arrows) and tried on a number of occasions to(unsuccessfully) keep it straight. To make a long story short, living side by side with people of various skin tones does not provide protection from all the slings and arrows that come your way in a society infused with such a toxic ingredient as auto-racism. My early childhood experiences as well as my observations during my recent trips to DR certainly attest to this. It is difficult and painful to deal with those closest to you who at one level can care a great deal for you but at another level denigrate a part of who you are. So yes, there are subtulties combined with the general messiness of human existence, but ignorance still abounds.


I am Dominican and our history did not begin on 1937 with Trujillo’s massacre? It is very nice talk about two short decades, but unlike the rest of the American nations we had to free ourselves first from Spain and then from Haiti, that after invading us repeatedly, occupied us and did it best to eliminate us as people, our language, religion and culture. In February 27th 1844, after we declared our independence from Haiti we fought its bigger, trained, armed, more powerful and experienced army, spilling the blood of our people in many battles. Did you know of the massacres that were committed against our people, including Moca, where the retreating army killed the whole population (babies, women, men, old and inclusive the animals they found in their way)? In Santiago they locked everyone that could not escape in the church and set it on fire. Dominicans do not periodically attempt to dispel the Haitians, unlike them, we have never kill a Haitian in Haiti because we have never set foot in Haiti, they are the ones constantly invading us, violently or pacifically and then crying wolf, but always end with several miles more of our territory. How dare anybody call us bad neighbors if we have almost two millions Haitians living with us, sharing our food, clean water, health and education systems while they are immediately deported from any other country they manage to reach? Did you know when the earthquake who was there first, who open our hospitals for their injured, share our food and water and helped them in any possible way? To immigrate to DR, they take their children hands and walk to DR. In Haiti they don’t have food, water, health, education, jobs, safety or documents. So they come here without papers and them declare that they and their children were born here and we deny them papers because we are racist. We are about 10 millions, there are about two millions of Haitians here, we are a poor country, there is a lot of corruption, but we are forced us to share with them our meager resources for education, health, etc., while the elite and Haitian government pocket the millions of dollars and Euros donated to the country and do nothing for the people. Talk is cheap and judging very easy, but you should know that the result of your lesson would be a terrible punishment to the Haitians, that would make their life even worse, if we suffer, they would suffer much, much more, because none of you offer them what we do.

The Haitian Revolution and the problem of the mulattos

The mulattos worked against the Haitian Revolution.  The mulatto generals, sons and daughters of the French, black mothers and French fathers, betrayed the Haitian Revolution.  As the war was wearing down and the black Haitians had prevailed, the mulattos were invited to France, against Toussaint L'Overture, and the French general who hated the Africans, as well as the mulattos, Rasha Bota, wanted to teach the mulattos he hated them as much as the Africans.  So he had a party for the wives of the mulatto generals.  After the party Rasha announced to the wives, I have a present for you ladies, go in the other room, look in the boxes, inside you will find your gifts, but inside the boxes, were the cut off heads of their mulatto husbands.  Mulattos are in denial, of European love for them.  In south Africa they are referred to as coloreds, but in the Dominican, they call themselves white.  The more I see this type of behavior against African people, it only makes me love my brown self that much more.  If there is a do over of the planet, I wish only to be a black African.  All praise and honor to the black Africans, we have struggled so long, but one day it will all come to an end, and once again no one will be on the planet but Africans, and all the invaders who may attempt to come in will be met with a force never seen before.  Never again will we allow strangers on our land looking to survive, and to destroy us.  

True reporting for black people

Thank you Glen, for all that you do to help keep us informed of the racism and attacks agains black people.   We never see news like what we see here on Black Agenda Report.  I plan to make my donations in the very near future.

True reporting

When he informs of the racism and attacks against black people, he should not be one sided, but fair. In this case he should explain to you that Cuba returns Haitians to their country faster that USA, as does any other Caribbean country and that the only place that we let them be is Dominican Republic, in spite of being a very poor country and that we don’t speak Creole or French. And more important, that if you ask 100 Haitians where they are better, they all will answer that in DR, because they are so poor that many in Haiti have only dirt cookies to eat, and not every day, while in my country if they work they can eat hot meals, have access to clean water, health care and schools for their children. I dare you to talk to them and then verify by their own account if they are treated worse in my country than in theirs. If we are racist, but they prefer to stay with us rather than return to Haiti, you should wonder why is that.


I have never seen the people of any culture with a history of anti-black racism take responsibility for their racism and for its consequences. In the current situation in the DR, I see and hear exactly the same kinds of nonsense I've experienced in the US, and in Brazil, and have heard about from people from South Africa or Rhodesia. In all cases, the racists and their apologists and enablers attempt to blame the people whom they are targeting for THEIR racism. They also like to pretend that they do not have any personal anti-black sentiments, and that such sentiments are not  woven throughout their culture and their world view, and their laws. Many people in the DR need to grow up. They cannot simultaneously feed off Haiti's cheap labor while calling it a parasite. Nor can they pretend that Haiti's problems are not also their problems as well as those of their neighbors and the rest of the hemisphere. It is interesting to speculate how the world "community" would be responding to the DR's retroactive expulsion orders if they were targeted at white people, or at Jews instead of at black skinned people or people of Haitian descent. We all know exactly how that would work out, don't we?