Denying your Dominican Heritage

deelt

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Mar 23, 2004
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I was at dinner a few nights ago. Something interesting happend. There I met a young man working at a international financial institution. If you are into that status thing, he was doing pretty good for himself. He is new in town and in talking to him he presented himself to me as Peruvian.

In conversation with him and my friend he discovered that I was Dominican (while I look Dominicans to those in the "know" for those who don't know I can be confused as Hindu at a first glance and these folks often can't nail my NY-DR accent so I hear ignorant comments like those you see in the Los Angeles thread). Upon this discovery, he also revealed that he was half Dominican as well. What was funny to me was that he had actually presented himself as a Lebanese-Peruvian to my friend when he had arrived to the US. My friend is Asian from NYC, hence she has been raised around Dominicans all her life in NYC. I let it slide since it was clearly his own internal issues. But I just found it sad yet funny that his arse just got BUSTED.

The even more pathetic thing is that this is not the only time I have seen evidence of this. I've seen it with those who are clearly of color and even more so those who can afford to "pass" but are in fact Spaniard-Dominicans and French-Dominican, etc. This is especially the case for those who have lived the majority of their lives abroad and tend to socialize in often caucasian circles. Ironically, I have also seen this in Black-Dominicans but they do it for different reasons (e.g. excommunication or abandonement by the dominican side of the family for marrying a black/african-american).

Thus, my conclusion is that these people are ashamed of their Dominican heritage since they continuously downplay or outright deny what they are...
Have any folks here have had that experience? Or have you ever denied your heritage? If so, why?

Just curious...
 

concon_quemao

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deelt said:
Ironically, I have also seen this in Black-Dominicans but they do it for different reasons (e.g. excommunication or abandonement by the dominican side of the family for marrying a black/african-american).
you also have to add how dominicans act towards one another. i am from RI where there is a large dominican population, but a new DC transplant. many of the dominicans i know here are passing as black, until you basically find out that they are dominican. here is my opinion. growing up, and even being here i notice that, if you do not speak spanish that well and were born and raised in the US and do not share the same customs, you are considered an outcast from your community. there is a lot of abandonement from the dominican community as well. well that sis my opinion.
 

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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I've seen people of other nationalities do this, after experiencing negative reactions based on their nationality, or good old fashioned paranoia. I once met an Israeli guy trying to pass as a Spaniard in the UK, but the fact he spoke no Spanish kind of gave the game away.
 

Marianopolita

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Dec 26, 2003
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Some deep social identity issues here

My Dearest Deelt,

Denial of race or nationality in scenarios that you described is due to a direct association with negative stereotypes that exist in society towards a particular group of people. Personal experiences also dictate why someone would willingly attempt to deny their ethnicity. No immediate cases in my world come to mind but this happens everywhere especially in multicultural societies in which a specific ethnic group may already have a negative stereotype associated with them.

You also have to keep in mind the personal experiences of this individual that you met and maybe in the past he did not disassociate himself but due to a personal experience with Dominicans or other nationalities has forced him to not recognize that side of his heritage. I agree with you that it's sad but until you get underneath that person's skin you will not know why or what happened. As well, in some cases it's just sheer ignorance which I have seen also. It could be that in this person's mind he would be better accepted in his social circles as a Peruvian rather than a Dominican.


LDG.
 
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deelt

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Mar 23, 2004
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Hey Lesley
Yes, you are probably right. This guy still has some family in DR but his immediate family went into exile in Peru b/c of the Trujillo regime/dictatorship.
But to me it was a mixture of things.
D

Lesley D said:
You also have to keep in mind the personal experiences of this individual that you met and maybe in the past he did not disassociate himself but due to a personal experience with Dominicans or other nationalities has forced him to not recognize that side of his heritage. I agree with you that it's sad but until you get underneath that person's skin you will not know why or what happened. As well, in some cases it's just sheer ignorance which I have seen also. It could be that in this person's mind he would be better accepted in his social circles as a Peruvian rather than a Dominican.

LDG.
 

mondongo

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Jan 1, 2002
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never have...

but i am constantly tempted to deny my hertiage. life would be easier. i probably would get contractors to actually show up... :tired:
 

deelt

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Mar 23, 2004
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In that case I'm gonna tell my children to call themselves Brazilian or something like that...

Seriously though...No, I think "acting American" helps getting people out of that...sadly, sometimes even hiring a white face as an interface works nicely too. It's using the latino complejo against them. LOL

mondongo said:
but i am constantly tempted to deny my hertiage. life would be easier. i probably would get contractors to actually show up... :tired:
 

concon_quemao

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deelt said:
Seriously though...No, I think "acting American" helps getting people out of that...sadly, sometimes even hiring a white face as an interface works nicely too. It's using the latino complejo against them. LOL

another sad but true.............being dominican can also be a safe guard in this business world.. when you first walk in for an interview, they see a black face, but then they look at the resume (fluency in spanish) and another glance at your last name and think "well at least she's not black.. lets bring her aboard.. yippeeeeeeeeee"


That was so unPC, but hey, its a forum.. discuss.
 

Stodgord

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Nov 19, 2004
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deelt said:
Hey Lesley
Yes, you are probably right. This guy still has some family in DR but his immediate family went into exile in Peru b/c of the Trujillo regime/dictatorship.
But to me it was a mixture of things.
D

Well,

I think it depends, I think people try to forget the negative part of their existence. For instance, Susy Castillo the ex-Miss America, half Puerto Rican and Half Dominican. From her interviews I get the feeling that she leans more to the Puerto Rican side because her Dominican father was not in her life. He actually abandoned her and was an a-hole to her mother. I speculate that she says she is half and half to not be called out in public.
 

Tordok

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Oct 6, 2003
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Hi Deelt,
About your specific anecdote: You've stated that he is half one thing and half another, so that his omission of the Dominican side may have been an effort to "keep things simple" or that indeed his Dominican side is of Lebanese origin he thought it would be more recognizable. Once he realized that you too had Dominican in you, he readily disclosed his Dominican side. He could've kept it secret even after that. This guy could've also assumed that he was being identified as "Latino" anyway and that Peru is more recognizable than DR, again to keep it simple. But lastly, he could indeed have been 'un acomplejao' about his identity and chose to deny his undervalued sense of Dominican origins.

In general:
I have witnessed many Latinos in the U.S. hiding their origins. Their loss, as far as I am concerned.

In my particular case:
In the US, my accent gives me away as "alien" right away; thus most people then follow with a "where are you from?". The truth is that I always answer "Dominican Republic" because I was born there and the epicenter of my family web is there. Many people -some, Dominican themselves and depending on what their concept of Dominican is- will try to tell me that I am not Dominican and that I must be something else. If they are genuinely confused, then I might explain further as to why my name, speech, and looks are not typically Dominican. If I detect that they are maliciously ignorant and think little of the DR or Dominicans then I will let them know that I think that they are idiots. Sometimes that may be done by telling them absurd lies about my identity such as me actually being from the Australian branch of the Draculas or that I am a defrocked Italian priest with a dark past and unpredictable violent outbursts right after meeting strangers with poor geographic knowledge. You know, BS can only be treated with BS.

- Tordok
 

Exxtol

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Huh?

concon_quemao said:
another sad but true.............being dominican can also be a safe guard in this business world.. when you first walk in for an interview, they see a black face, but then they look at the resume (fluency in spanish) and another glance at your last name and think "well at least she's not black.. lets bring her aboard.. yippeeeeeeeeee"


That was so unPC, but hey, its a forum.. discuss.


But who says you cannot be Dominican and black? I think you are confusing ethnic/cultural labels with racial ones. A Dominican can be black, white, or mixed-raced--regardless of surname or fluency in Spanish.
 
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concon_quemao

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Exxtol said:
But who says you cannot be Dominican and black? I think you are confusing ethnic/cultural labels with racial ones. A Dominican can be black, white, or mixed-raced--regardless of surname or fluency in Spanish.


my fault, when i wrote black, i didnt go further into operationalizing what i meant in this specific context. i meant african-american. and unfortunately situations like the one i described have happened to me and several people i know. i am sure that we all as adults or semi quasi adults understand that a dominican can be black, white, or mixed-raced--regardless of surname or fluency in spanish, but i brought up a situation for discussion and not a generalization.. discuss...ta daooooo:lick:
 

Ricardo900

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Jul 12, 2004
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what a crock

concon_quemao said:
another sad but true.............being dominican can also be a safe guard in this business world.. when you first walk in for an interview, they see a black face, but then they look at the resume (fluency in spanish) and another glance at your last name and think "well at least she's not black.. lets bring her aboard.. yippeeeeeeeeee"


That was so unPC, but hey, its a forum.. discuss.
You wish, there are thousands of successful black americans with careers that latinos dream of having, black americans are one of the most productive, successful, and highly respected races in the world! There are over two dozen Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The greatest names and achievers in History are black americans, concon don't be ignorant, start reading and researching and get a clue. I can list over a dozen websites showing their accomplishments.

Also, you do not need a resume for house-keeping or cleaning jobs
 

concon_quemao

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ding ding ding.. i believe ricardo w. bush has won the black vote..

:eek: wow.. did i touch a nerve.. i wish i were blind to the fact that racism exists in this country. thank you for listing the accomplishments of black people or else i would have been in suspense all night. i gave a situation. a real life situation. does that mean that i am happy about it or i believe african americans haven't made educational accomplishments. i dont see the correlation. but if you want you can list the websites. and besides we are getting off the topics as well as more accomplishments. a forum is to start discussion so discuss.. yee haaa.. hugs anyone?



Ricardo900 said:
You wish, there are thousands of successful black americans with careers that latinos dream of having, black americans are one of the most productive, successful, and highly respected races in the world! There are over two dozen Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The greatest names and achievers in History are black americans, concon don't be ignorant, start reading and researching and get a clue. I can list over a dozen websites showing their accomplishments.

Also, you do not need a resume for house-keeping or cleaning jobs
 
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mondongo

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since we are off topic already...

i'm getting hungry for some concon quemao con habichuela y aguacate....yum, yum......throw in some tostones topped off with carne de res guisada....maybe tomorrow nite.
 

Yari

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deelt said:
Thus, my conclusion is that these people are ashamed of their Dominican heritage since they continuously downplay or outright deny what they are...
Have any folks here have had that experience? Or have you ever denied your heritage? If so, why?

Just curious...

Yes its a shame, but it happens but like others have mentioned, many many issues can cause people to deny their heritage...I am quite the opposite. Although I was born & raised in the US, when I am asked what I am, I immediately say I am Dominican. I know I'm American but what do you do when your own people (Dominicans & all Latinos for that matter) think you are African American (which is ridiculous when there are soooooooo many dark skinned Dominicans) and African Americans know you are not "black"? Who do you relate to. This has been my case & it fvck's with you more when you are young...It eventually takes a strong person to stay connected to your roots, and to not deny the ignorant people who deny you!
 
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ade

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It makes me laugh the way you all rabbit on about a person being a true dominican or not - when you're a dominican do you celebrate you taino roots, your african roots as well as your spanish roots? these dominicans living abroad breeding with non dominicans, are just adding another ingredient to the mix and if it weren't for people like you lot trying to make them feel bad for being who they think they are (real domonican or not - whatever than means because if you read much of the other garbage that you write about dominicans you'd be ashamed to be one) I celebrate my mixed background and my DR husband does too but still find prejudices exist sometimes because I'm catholic, sometimes because I have a different accenty, sometimes because I'm a woman - biggots exist everywhere.
 

daddy1

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I look at it this way deelt...

Just like yari, I was also born and raised in the U.S. I am American and my parent's are all Dominican, straight from the island, but personally it all depends where you have been, and who you feel you are..I have swarn my allegance to one flag since birth, I was given free education here, I met people who cared about children and my well being..although "I love" merengue music, and Dominican food...that does not make me feel Dominican...I am of Dominican origin in my thin faced, hindu like features, that I never will deny...but neither any caucasian or Afro-American or Dominican can say that I am not an American...I only found out how American I really was, when I tried to stay in D.R. for six month's recently..they showed me how American I really am...I found out my belief's were different, and my way of thinking as well...we did not click at all! I had to return back to the U.S. like a bat out of hell!!but having that experience made me come full circle..and added perspective to my life and elleviated alot of confusion and curiousities I had about the D.R.

Here in the U.S. I mingle with all cultures and ethnic groups from school to the folk's in my church...saying that I am or not a Dominican means nothing to me anymore..I don't believe in the culture thing, I wave one flag to those who have feed me filled my life with oppurtunities and educated me...simply if I like something I like it, if I don't, I won't deal with it, I am foreign and domestic...and I wouldn't want it any other way....but will I jump up and down claiming I am Dominican for amusement NO! sir...I stand firm, I am an American of Dominican descent, that's it...no more then that!
 

Realize

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Whenever anyone asks me what I am, I say I'm Dominican but I make it a point to tell them that I was born in the U.S. Both my parents were born and raised in D.R. and I'm proud to be Dominican. Especially since I have light skin and blue eyes it throws people off.