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  1. #1
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    Default Raising My Dominican Son

    Hi Everyone -

    I live in the US and have a 2 year old son by a Dominican man. My son's father is gorgeous - Dominican born, US raised, and is an active, but fringe part of our lives, as he lives in another state.

    I want to ensure my son has a full appreciation of his entire ethnic background. I am African American, Irish and Italian. His father is Dominican.

    I have the Black/Irish/Italian covered. What should I teach him about his Dominican heritage? Where do I begin to learn about Dominican culture? I know this is a very broad, and perhaps naive question, but I want to do right by him. I speak basic Spanish, and want to teach him to speak Spanish. I want to learn to cook Dominican food, but don't know where to begin. What else should I teach him?

    My son is soooo beautiful. Big brown eyes, curly hair, sun-kissed Dominican skin. I want him to be aware and proud of all of his heritage. His father is not much help when asking him for direction. He keeps saying "Teach him to play baseball!"

    Please don't flame me for being stupid. (I feel very very ignorant) I am hopeful that you'll be able to offer some assistance.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The first thing would be to read Frank Moya Pons' Historyof the Dominican Republic.
    Then read Julia Alvarez' How the Garcia Girls lost their accent.

    Then get Dominican Cooking by Clara Gonzalez and Ilana Benady. It is sold onthis website.

    After that, if you have more questions, this is the place to come.

    Oh yeah, listen to some music by Juan Luis Guerra...

    HB

  3. #3
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    There are a couple of ways you can learn about Dominicans. First, I would seach the internet for articles associate with history. Also, search this forum for topics that discuss culture, etc. Don't forgot to check out merengue and bachata, two forms of music that originated here.

    As far as food goes, the best way to get an idea of the food is go to a local Dominican restaurant if you have one in your area, or failing that a Cuban one will do. In fact, you may even find out that the owners are Dominican. Once you have had a real taste for Dominican food, there are recipies to be found on line for all of the basic staples.

    A good idea would be to try to come down to the DR for a week if possible and see for yourself how things are.

    As far as Dominicans "identifying" themselves, they typically do this without associating it with color or their racial makeup. This maybe somewhat common among young Dominicans raised in the States but here in the DR it is rarely discussed comparitively speaking.

    Finally, Dominicans here in the DR are for the most part very friendly and open as this is valued highly.

    good luck

  4. #4
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    Thank you for your replies. There is not a very large Dominican population in this area of the country - I'll look for those books. We may be moving back to Miami to be nearer his father, which will help.

    I want to come to back to the DR soon. I'll bring my son when he is old enough to appreciate the beauty of the country. Several of my best vacations were taken at resorts in DR. I love it there and had the best blow-out of my life while on vaca! I agree, Dominicans in the DR were very friendly and open and proud.

    Chip, what do you mean by: "As far as Dominicans "identifying" themselves, they typically do this without associating it with color or their racial makeup. This maybe somewhat common among young Dominicans raised in the States but here in the DR it is rarely discussed comparitively speaking."

    Thanks again for your help!

  5. #5
    John Evans
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    I would wait to find out if he is interested in knowing anything about the Dominican Republic - dont force feed him mondongo and mangu - I agree that he should learn spanish as a second language though, so he wouldnt feel out of place if he wanted to learn more about his origins

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cristina33 View Post
    Hi Everyone -



    I want to ensure my son has a full appreciation of his entire ethnic background. I am African American, Irish and Italian. His father is Dominican.

    I have the Black/Irish/Italian covered. What else should I teach him?

    He keeps saying "Teach him to play baseball!"

    Please don't flame me for being stupid. (I feel very very ignorant) I am hopeful that you'll be able to offer some assistance.

    Thanks!

    You are funny girl!! Teach him to play baseball? what's wrong with that, its a good start.

    but anyways.....why are you so concerned about covering all the ethnicity? let him grow up a little....allow him to grow up to be a boy an american boy....
    you sound stressed out about all this.....relax he'll be ok.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cristina33 View Post
    Chip, what do you mean by: "As far as Dominicans "identifying" themselves, they typically do this without associating it with color or their racial makeup. This maybe somewhat common among young Dominicans raised in the States but here in the DR it is rarely discussed comparitively speaking."
    Well for example, it is commonplace for Americans to say where there heritage comes from, like you did for instance in your introduction. However, Dominicans, at least here in the DR, don't talk about heritage, they really don't see it as important. The good thing about being much less aware of heritage and race is there is much less racism here as opposed to the US - history teaches us that the two go hand in hand, there are numerous examples of this.

    This is not to say there isn't racsim here, there is, just on a much smaller level. Some people unfortunately want to classify the Dominicans antipathy towards there Haitian neighbors as rooted in racism, but it is much, much more complicated than that and if you do the research you will realize it is more a product of nationalism fueled by Haiti's invasion, occupation and massacre of Dominicans that perpetuates the attitudes to the present day. We have discussed this theme a lot and inevitably come up under most threads with "Haiti" in the main title.

    Also, if you don't know, there are a lot of Americans, especially many in the AA community that have pegged the DR as racist, some to go as far to condemn the founding fathers as equal to the KKK, even though some were mulatos, but this is based on heresay and history revisionism. Rarely do people that come here and spend a significant amount of time here and speak the language well come up with this conclusion.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cristina33 View Post
    Hi Everyone -

    I live in the US and have a 2 year old son by a Dominican man. My son's father is gorgeous - Dominican born, US raised, and is an active, but fringe part of our lives, as he lives in another state.
    Big brown eyes, curly hair, sun-kissed Dominican skin. I want him to be aware and proud of all of his heritage. His father is not much help when asking him for direction. He keeps saying "Teach him to play baseball!"

    Please don't flame me for being stupid. (I feel very very ignorant) I am hopeful that you'll be able to offer some assistance.

    Thanks!
    Active and fringe part of your lives, these two don't go together. I agree with MAR Let him be a little American boy. Tell him about his ethnicity, if you think it's important. If his father is an active part of his life, let him tell his son about his culture.

  9. #9
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    I dont think your question is ignorant or stupid at all! I GET IT!
    Actually the opposite!
    Just a mother who loves her child and wants the best for him!
    Nothing wrong with that!

    I sent you a PM

  10. #10
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    Thanks, all, for your opinions and replies.

    Active & Fringe aren't mutually exclusive - my ex calls regularly to talk w/our son on the phone, but they only see each other in person 3-4 times per year. As my boy is only 2, at this point there's only so much conversation they can have.

    LOL @ force feeding him mondongo and mangu. I don't want to shove anything down his throat, including his heritage.

    In my opinion, "just letting him be an American Boy" is failing him to a certain degree. Yes, his nationality is American, but his ethnic background is a rich tapestry of cultures, and I think it's important that he be familiar with and proud of them all.

    His Grandparents aren't remiss in showing pride in their Italian and Irish backgrounds. We celebrate the customs and cultures of Ireland and Italy throughout the year. I want to ensure he has a balance, that's all. It will give him an accurate sense of self, and a sense of standing when he is older.

    Agreed that his Dad is more equipped to provide the teaching than I am. I don't want to begin daily home-school learning lessons about the Dominican culture or anything like that. (laugh) In school he'll learn about Christopher Columbus without a doubt. I can balance that lesson by teaching him about Matthew Henson (African American explorer). I'd like to also tell him about Dominican explorers, scientists, engineers who have contributed to the advancement of the world. Shouldn't he see positive reflections of himself in historical figures? Shouldn't he be taught that they exist?

    I guess I don't want to be like the parents of adopted or multi-racial children who only provide a homogeneous (and perhaps polarized) view of their history. There are some confused multi-ethnic folks in this country. Knowledge is power - I just want the best for my little one.

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