Introduction to Dominican Blackness. (Excerpt)
Dr. Silvio Torres-Saillant.
CUNY Dominican Studies Institute.
Much of the perplexity of the race question in Dominican society has its root in the peculiar circumstances surrounding the birth of the Dominican Republic. In founding their nation, (white) Dominicans had to separate from the political jurisdiction of Haiti, then the only black republic in the Americas. The various military attempts of Haitian leaders between 1844 and 1855 to bring Dominicans back under Haitian rule gave rise to a nation-building ideology that included an element of self- differentiation with respect to Haitians. When the job of conceptualizing the new nation fell into the hands of the ideological descendants of the white creole, colonial ruling class, self-differentiation seldom failed to contain a racial component. Del Monte represents that racialist view of the Dominican nation, but Duarte, the venerable founder of the nation, fortunately does not. Not only did Duarte preach racial equality, but he stayed clear of anti-Haitian sentiments in his political teachings. Yet, the racialized view, which conceived Haiti as the exclusive container of blackness, may have influenced the Dominican imagination, giving currency to a tendency among Dominicans to see themselves as not black.
About the piece.
Site-expecific installation; charcoal traces. Old Spanish colonial city, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The piece was conceptualised upon the issues of “Blackness” in the heart of the first colonial settlement in the Caribbean. Performed exclusively on behalf of Gaudí Rodríguez’s innocence; accused of being the intellectual author of her mother’s murder commited by her father (who also sexually abused her since age 8), in 2012.