A Rising Voice in Afro-Latin America by Frances Robles11:31 PM
I spotted this article while scrolling through my timeline on Twitter last night. The tweet came up with a caption that read "Wow, who knew Dominicans hated blacks this much". So I quickly click the link to see what the fuss was about and found an interesting 5 part article on Afro-Latin Americans and the issues they face mainly due to the color of their skin.
Several women said the cultural rejection of African looking hair is so strong that people often shout insults at women with natural curls. "I cannot take the bus because people pull my hair and stick combs in it," said wavy haired performance artist Xiomara Fortuna. "They ask me if I just got out of prison. People just don't want that image to be seen."
The hours spent on hair extensions and painful chemical straightening treatments are actually an expression of nationalism, said Ginetta Candelario, who studies the complexities of Dominican race and beauty at Smith College in Massachusetts. And to some of the women who relax their hair, it's simply a way to have soft manageable hair in the Dominican Republic's stifling humidity.
"It's not self-hate," Candelario said. "Going through that is to love yourself a lot. That's someone saying, ‘I am going to take care of me.' It's nationalist, it's affirmative and celebrating self." Money, education, class -- and of course straight hair -- can make dark-skinned Dominicans be perceived as more "white," she said. Many black Dominicans here say they never knew they were black -- until they visited the United States. "During the Trujillo regime, people who were dark skinned were rejected, so they created their own mechanism to fight it," said Ramona Hernández, Director of the Dominican Studies Institute at City College in New York. "When you ask, ‘What are you?' they don't give you the answer you want . . . saying we don't want to deal with our blackness is simply what you want to hear."
Hernández, who has olive-toned skin and a long mane of hair she blows out straight, acknowledges she would "never, never, never'' go to a university meeting with her natural curls.
To read the full article, which I highly recommend, please click HERE!