Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Does it Mean to Be a Dominican?

In the wake of the recent Dominican court ruling that will strip more than 200,000 people, most of them of Haitian descent, of their citizenship, Sherry Mazzocchi of Manhattan Times interviewed numerous individuals to find out what they believe it means to be a Dominican.

People from all walks of life – an artist, a politician, a wellness coach and others – were asked for their views. Recent immigrants, long-time residents of the U.S. and people with continuing connections to the Caribbean nation were interviewed.

    We never specified the answers had to be in relation to the court ruling — but it naturally came up. The answers are varied as the people themselves—and they range from political, to personal, to poetic.

    Many people born in the U.S. talked about being in Dominican in terms of family, language and visiting the island. Others used a succession of adjectives, including: hardworking, happy and fun. Some dug deep into issues of race, class and sexism. At least one, who railed at moral bankruptcy of elected officials, said from time to time he chooses not to be Dominican.

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