North and South America, as well as the Caribbean lives heavily with the legacy of colonization. Much of how the descendants on both sides of the colonization live today is embedded with its rotten fruit. One of the enduring weapons of colonization is colorism. It basically defines those as light being better than those who are dark. It was the weapon of choice of the white colonizer because whiteness was deemed as “righteous.” The closer one was to “white” meant that one “inherently” was “more human.” The other end of the spectrum attributed “non-humanity” and “wickedness” to those who were dark. The story of Haiti and the Dominican Republic is the tale of “two cities” yet one island. Haiti is the epicenter of Black resistance in this hemisphere. It was its defeat of French Occupation which set off numerous slave revolts in this hemisphere. It was sent chills throughout Europe that their reckoning was coming. The Dominican Republic was under Spanish rule and with the help of Haiti drove out the Spanish. It would seem that such a history would build a strong alliance. The reality is that that weapon of colorism buried itself deeply in the Dominican Republic. When you remove the white colonizers the next “lightest” becomes the reference point in such a philosophy.
The history between the Dominican Republic and Haiti is a blood one where now the Dominican Republic is revamping it laws so that even Haitians who were born in the Dominican Republic will not be considered citizen. They are ethnically cleansing them selves. Students of history will recognize that this was the first step that took place before the Holocaust of the Jews. Other students of history will note that not only were Jews exterminated during World War II. Over 3,000 Rom (Gypsies) were executed, the Germans had already practiced extermination of Nambians and there were thousands of East Indians starved during World War II by the English. One thing is the same now as was then….the world at large is turning a blind eye. The devil is always in the details which means that this long reaching arm of the legacy of colonialism is still well and alive today.
The human rights disaster that will happen when tens of thousands of Haitians are exiled from the Dominican Republic will be horrible. Already there has been videos of those in the Dominican Republic beating them and torturing them in various ways. The Dominican Republic has gone on record “defending” the presence of the KKK there (which is ironic because in the United States they’d be the target). The Haitians who are being deported have never even been to Haiti. They were born in the Dominican Republic. They speak Spanish not Creole. They don’t have family on the other side of the island. It is sad to see the Dominican Republic follow in the footsteps of its former slave master. Meanwhile many white travelers use the Dominican Republic as a spot for sexual tourism where they have sexual encounters with the youth of the island.
The real question in these days and times is what can we do being miles away. There are a few basic things that we can do. The first thing is educate yourself on the history of the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. What is happening now has deep roots. The more that you are able to understand the foundation the greater understanding you will have of the whole situation. Secondly is make sure that those around you are informed about the situation and relate it to other atrocities in history. Many times people state what they would’ve done in the past (during Civil Rights, during the Holocaust, etc) yet fail to recognize that injustice is constantly happening. It is what will one do now in the face of injustice that counts. Spread this information though all the media channels that you have access to. Thirdly hit up the Dominican Republic’s consulate in NYC. Flood their email and phones about this matter. Let the know that you aren’t happy about this turn of events and will ensure that you will do everything in your power to bring attention to these actions. Finally show solidarity with Haiti. Look to see what big corporations are doing business with the Dominican Republic and bring that fire to them. We’ve had successful disinvestments in the past like with South Africa when it was under the Apartheid regime. It can be done in these days and times. The key is to remember that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is a GLOBAL hashtag. It is time to start identifying ourselves with the global majority which People of Color are. It is together that we end the devil’s rule and remove any details that he left behind.
C’BS ALife Allah is the co-author of the ground breaking Science of Self: Man, God and the Mathematical Language of Nature and the co-editor of the seminal Hood Health Handbook: A Guide to Health and Wellness in the Urban Community. He also is a contributing writer to the Hood Health 101 column at the Source blog. He is a community solutionary who concentrates on Hood Health, Science of Self, the Black Presence and youth empowerment. You can find more about him at www.alifeallah.com official webpage.
You can also follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/alifeallah