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Dominican Republic


  • Haiti and the Dominican Republic are the same place, same people.

This is false. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two different countries. They share the island Hispaniola, but there is a border dividing the two countries.

  • Dominicans don’t suffer racism like African Americans.

Any group can be subject to racism and Dominicans are no exception. Not only is there foreign racism against Dominicans, but there is a social stigma against appearing black or displaying traits associated with blackness.

  • Dominicans only speak Spanish

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic but many other languages and dialects are also spoken. For example, English, Haitian Creole and Samana English and other dialects are spoken because of its unique diversity.


The Bias of Dominican Republic:

  • Dominicans of Haitian descent have long complained about being perceived as second-class citizens, a treatment that stems from ethnic and cultural differences and shared land ownership on the island of Hispaniola. 

  • Most people think that all Dominican women look the same, and have dark curly hair, a curvy body type, and always wear a hibiscus flower on their hair. 

  • Dominicans are constantly categorized as “mixed” by Americans due to their appearance.


Role in the Present Day culture:

  • Racial tension and prejudice has always been a problem between these two nations and it still is today. (Haitian immigrants and dominicans)

  • Healthcare is a real concern. Most families lack access to health care facilities and affordable medical care.

  • La Bandera, meaning “the flag,” is a traditional meal of stewed meat, red beans, and rice. It’s served regularly in Dominican households.


Dominican Leaders:

  • Juan Pablo Duarte was a famous Dominican leader, who was the father of Dominican independence. He was born in 1813 and was famous for the secret society he founded, La Trinitaria, which was to help his people receive independence and to help have more liberalism within his country.


  • Juan Bautista Alfonseca was born on June 10, 1810, and died in 1875, but he was the father of Dominican music. He was the first composer that began to use Dominican folklore, and his music started to base off into merengue, which people called him the ¨father of merengue¨.


  • Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona is the current president of Dominican Republic, and was elected last year as president on July 5, 2020; his term as president will continue until 2024. He is part of the Dominican Republic´s Revolutionary Party.


Dominican Traditions:

  • December 24th, also known as Nochebuena, in the Dominican culture is celebrated more lavishly than Christmas Day. celebrations include an elaborate Dominican dinner, parties, dressing up, gift-giving, etc. 

  • It is customary to “besar la mano” which literally translates to “kissing one’s hand” however what it actually means is a person asking an older member of their family for a blessing as a form of greeting and respect.

  • A traditional Dominican soup called sancocho is typically served on holidays and rainy days. It is traditionally made with several types of meat, plantains, yams, and yucca. 



  • Tostones

    •  unripe plantains that are flattened and twice fried

  • Habichuelas con Dulce

    •  sweet bean liquid dessert

    • Often served with milk cookies

    •  Made from red beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, evaporated milk, raisins, sugar and salt

  • La bandera

    • Means “flag” in spanish

    • rice and beans with chicken

    •  the red represented by the beans

    • The white is represented by the rice 

    • The white is represented by the blue


Dominican Republic struggles:

  • The beautiful, ecologically diverse country of the Dominican Republic is suffering heavily from environmental degradation since the middle of the 20th century. Today, most of the forests, coral reefs and river basins are devastated because of exploitation of the country’s natural resources. Many Dominicans rely on the natural resources of their area due to widespread poverty, meaning that further strain will be placed on the environment since large populations require it to survive. 

  • Part of the reason that the Dominican Republic is facing such poluttion and destruction of their natural landscapes is because in many areas there is no adequate sewage system and there are big problems with the distribution of potable water, which together create a widespread health risk.

  • Haitian immigrants and their descendants are often discriminated against by the Dominican Republic. In 2010, Amnesty International denounced DR for this. The discrimination goes as far as lynching and other hate crimes. 

Synonyms for "​"


  • El Carnaval de la Vega- This carnival began as a religious activity to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and has recently morphed into a celebration of Dominican independence. Features haunting devil masks made of papier-mâche – intricate gargoyles painted in many different colours, with spiked horns and real cows’ teeth. This festival is also well-known for its music, food, drinks and for being a colorful and vibrant celebration.

  • When it comes to weddings they have the inclusion of “padrinos and madrinas” (godparents of the wedding, mother of the groom and father of the bride)

  • A death in the Dominican Republic begins a period of nine days of mourning. These nine days consist of three days of grieving (crying and reminiscing), 3 days of silence (thinking and reverence) and 3 days for release (accepting and separating).


Racial Discrimination:

  • The tensions between Haitians and Dominicans began in 1822, when Haiti reclaimed the entire island of Hispanola as the Republic of Haiti. As a result of this occupation, Dominicans began to resent Haitians and didn’t win their independence until 1844. These tensions exploded in 1937, when the Dominican military was instructed (by Rafael Trujillo) to execute Haitian families along with any Dominicans with Haitian descent. This is commonly known as the Parsely Massacre, as Haitians were identified by their  inability to pronounce the r in “perejil” properly, killing anywhere between 9,000 and 30,000 people (there is no official count).

  • Additionally, the phrase “pelo malo” (literally meaning bad hair) has been embedded in black and Latinx culture and is used to insult curly/textured hair. It emphasize that this hairtype is extremely undesirable and must be fixed, and its origins are likely tied to the dislike of the African race.

  • The most desirable hair in the Dominican Republic (and also other Latin American countries) is straight, long, smooth, and light hair. This is likely due to the idea of white supremacy, where having this type of hair reflected the “whiter” and therefore dominant culture of Europeans and Americans. Appearing “white” (Caucasian) was much more desirable than other types of hair.

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