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The Dominican Republic is Ethnically Cleansing Itself of Haitians

Avatar • Jun 20, 2015

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by Lisa Jean-Francois of Lisa a La Mode

Haitian lives matter… Or do they? This week we’ve seen the Dominican government move to deport thousands of Haitian immigrants and Dominican-born Haitians back to Haiti. As I understand it, many of these Haitians have little to no ties to Haiti, having been born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and calling themselves Dominicans.

Publicly we’ve heard the Dominican government declare that this isn’t a race issue, and that these deportations are a move to enforce their immigration laws. We’ve been hearing reports of these impending deportations for months. As a Haitian-American, hearing about Haitians in the news is never a pleasant experience, so I tried to ignore these reports as best I could.

Haitian-Dominican relations have always been poor, and Anti-Haitian sentiment is nothing new. I remember watching a news report where a Dominican man explained why he disliked Haitians. I was a small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old, and I still recall reading the translated text on the screen. “Haitians are black and dirty.”

I recall one time jokingly asking a college friend who I knew was Dominican, if she was Puerto Rican. “Well, you’re a Black African,” she said. I didn’t mind being called a Black African. After all, I am Haitian, and my features are entirely West African, but her tone gave me pause. As I looked at her brown face, skin not that much lighter than my own, full lips, and short natural hair, I asked, “Well, what are you?” “Well, I’m not black.” She said. She didn’t consider herself an Afro-Latino, and went on to say that she’s darker skinned because of her Native American heritage.

By all historical accounts, by the time African slaves arrived on Hispaniola, the island housing the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Taino Indians had died off from disease. Neither Haitians nor Dominicans are native to Hispaniola. And while yes, more mixing of the races has occurred on the Dominican side, our roots are very much the same.

I have no doubt that the flooding of illegal immigrants into any country poses problems. A problem that the Dominican officials have sought to solve, but at what cost? As Haitians we really have nothing but our pride. While much of the world sees us as people from the poorest country in the western hemisphere, dependant on foreign aid and hand outs, we see ourselves as hard-working and fiercely proud. Asking anyone, even your own family, for anything, in our culture is taboo. So the Haitians who have emigrated to DR have done so out of sheer desperation. To go to a place where they know they will face living under an apartheid system of government, is a mark of their resilience. We have and we will go to any lengths to survive.

But our survival, according to the Dominican government, is of little importance. Haitians are not welcome because they are reminders of a past the Dominican government would seek to forget. When Dominicans celebrate Independence Day, it is not to celebrate freedom from European rule; it is to celebrate their autonomy from Haiti. And I don’t begrudge them that. We were a unified nation for 22 years, and the Dominicans ousted Haitians after many hard-fought battles and bloodshed. They won their freedom and it ought to be celebrated. But if they don’t celebrate their freedom from slavery or European occupancy, it begs the question, what is it about the Haitians that they so deeply detest? If it is not a race issue, what is the issue?

The Dominican Government will say it’s about their law. Even if you are born on Dominican soil, if your parents or their parents never gained legal citizenship, you are an illegal and you must prove your citizenship or be deported. Now, this law may not raise many eyebrows if we’re talking about a few hundred, or even a few thousand individuals. But when the deportations threaten to render hundreds of thousands of people, who just so happen to be black, including children, stateless, penniless, and homeless, the lack of humanity is hard to ignore. The blatant racism is hard to ignore.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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marcos medina
marcos medina
5 years ago

I think making up lies won’t help. I agree on helping our Hatian Brothers and of course we have to help those Dominicans that are haitian descendants no matter they are a minority(less than 10,000). But keeping telling lies about history an the current times, once and again and again, pretending the World get biased and It solidarity with Haiti. It is a practice that leads nowhere and in time they will return like a boomerang. Anyway, we will wait with patience and do what we have to do, then fix if something went wrong. Hope Haiti love us the… Read more »

Jenna
Jenna
5 years ago
Reply to  marcos medina

Hum, your comment is a little confusing, I’m not sure I understood what you meant. Maybe I’m not the only one. Do you mind clarifying your comment?

Dee
Dee
5 years ago
Reply to  Jenna

Yeah…Im lost. But I think he is trying to insinuate that most of the pp getting deported are those Haitians there undocumented (so its just a fair immigration policy that the DR is implementing), and not for the purpose “social cleansing”. But I don’t know..thats what I understood him to mean…But if so…I’m calling BS.

marcos medina
marcos medina
5 years ago
Reply to  Dee

That’s exactly what i meant, but if you knew the scope of the policy that is being applied and the truth of our history, culture, customs and good wishes, you would have a different opinion. The international Media is completely biased due to ignorance of the historical reality.

Kayla V.
5 years ago

That sign with “I’m not a racist but…” is too much! Just say what you really want on there! Be honest with yourself.

Colette
Colette
5 years ago
Reply to  Kayla V.

I had the same reaction when I read that sign.… Sad!

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Wow

Linda De La Cruz
5 years ago

I am Dominican and to read what my people are putting Haitians through is very saddening. I apologize for my countries behavior many Dominicans I know are married to or best friends with a Haitian. It would be nice to just get along with our neighbors, not this:( the deportation is wrong and so is the hateful attitudes of many individuals, thank you for this post.

ama
ama
5 years ago

thank you for acknowledgment of Haitian humanity because I noticed other Dominicans on here did not even act as if they know any of the many Haitians in the DR. it takes a lot to do that.

kidrobotgirl
kidrobotgirl
5 years ago

Well I won’t be throwing money in their direction any time soon.

Maya
Maya
5 years ago
Reply to  kidrobotgirl

Agreed 100% If the dominican republic cannot respect basic human right of black people and proceed to this ethnic cleansing, we the black people around the world should stop going on vacation in this violent hypocritical country. I am 100% boycotting the dominican-republic-of-racism, heck I might even visit Haiti instead. I heard they have nice cruises and hotels in the north of the country. I think it’s called Labadie.

Black people must support one another!

Dee
Dee
5 years ago
Reply to  Maya

Don’t let the media fool you, Haiti is just as, if not more beautiful than the DR. Also, look into Jacmel. Ill be going to Haiti next year and I’m thinking about saying over there.

Meanwhatyousay
Meanwhatyousay
5 years ago
Reply to  Dee

This is truly unbelievable. I’m boycotting this completely.

I have family from Jacmel. It’s beautiful, you will enjoy it!

Mel
Mel
5 years ago
Reply to  Maya

Colorism is also very prevalent in Haiti, as you may or may not know(I’m Haitian myself, and I always make it a point to ask my parents about the social structure and inner workings when I need more clarification).That aside, Labadie is owned by the US, and only Haitian employees are given access to the resort(It’s a long story, but it’s been said that this came to be because according to common belief, the US didn’t want any of the natives to come in and potentially ruin their profits; common miconceptions linking all and every Haitian to “practicing vodou and… Read more »

Dee
Dee
5 years ago
Reply to  Mel

Thanks for sharing! Had no idea! I definitely need to look into this as well.

Mel
Mel
5 years ago
Reply to  Dee

You’re very welcome 🙂

ama
ama
5 years ago
Reply to  Mel

the haitian government may not profit from Labadie but individual Haitians work there right?

Mel
Mel
5 years ago
Reply to  ama

Handpicked ones, yes.

Kay
Kay
5 years ago
Reply to  Mel

I’ve visited Labadee before (I’m Haitian American as well). Yes it is true that they handpick merchants and Haitian workers. However, Hati does benefit from Labadee tourism. Royal Caribbean (the only company that docks there) pays the Haitian government $10–12 USD ($80–100 Haitian dollars) for every tourist that visits the island. They do tours all year round so this provides Haiti with a substantial amount of income. They will also let you leave the peninsula (with proper notice-my aunt and uncle did) and will allow visits between family near the barrier (it’s strange, but at least…) And to add in there,… Read more »

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

I don’t know how any black person can keep a straight face when a black latino tells them “I’m not black”. The gufaww I would have after hearing this level of ignorance would render me speechless for about 10 minutes.

Thank God I’ve never encountered it.

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

Those Haitians better get out while they still can. The Parsley Massacre wasn’t that long ago (1937), and they killed thousands of Haitians and black Dominicans. Too bad there are no more Nazis to import to whiten the population.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

True. I would leave while I could. Don’t wait for gassing to start. I thought about vacationing there a few years ago but no. Planning to go to Puerto Rico soon instead.

Jenna
Jenna
5 years ago

I’ve seen video’s of dominicans litteraly lynching black people there too, like hanging them from threes in public spaces and all the other dominicans stood there watching, and obviously one of them was filming the murderer. I think the situation is worst than we could possibly imagine for haitians and black dominicans over there, let’s boycott this racist country.

maralondon
maralondon
5 years ago
Reply to  Jenna

Dominicans not wanting to be reminded of where they came from and how the Europeans treated their Ancestors during slavery is evident that the legacy of slavery, unfortunately, still exits with many of us from the African Diaspora. What is going on here isn’t the only place this sort of thing is happening amongst us, you will find similar situations in some African countries with migrants across the Continent. We need to start taking real pride in ourselves and know that we are unique and that we can accomplish many things without the aid of foreigners because we have so… Read more »

Hair Anomaly
Hair Anomaly
5 years ago

Thank you for this post. It prompted me to research the economy of the Dominican. Has anyone noticed just how much of the Dominican’s revenue comes from tourism dollars and exports to the U.S.? Let’s not judge them. Let’s spread the word and fully support their new policies by staying out of their way…and out of their country. Let’s help them keep their land, and their products, all to themselves.

Colette
Colette
5 years ago
Reply to  Hair Anomaly

I was just thinking about that (the fact that tourism brings a lot of revenue)… Definitely gives me pause as to spending my hard earned dollars on a vacation there. This is a sad situation.

Yenny Villar
Yenny Villar
5 years ago

Im dominican, Im sorry but the dr has it bad enough. Dominicans dont have jobs and the situation is grim. Haitian
govt needs to
step it up and provide for their people. Dominican govt is only trying to
so whats right. its not a race issue. everytime a dark skinned person goes thru a peril
they blame it on race.

april Guscott
april Guscott
5 years ago
Reply to  Yenny Villar

They’re not trying to do what’s right. They don’t really have a way of proving that a dark skinned person is dominican or not, and so a dominican who has dark skin might be mistaken for haitian and get deported as well. That’s how extreme and insane the DR govt is and how desperate they are to rid DR of black people. Dark skin within the DR culture and community is seen as a bad thing in genreral. And you’re a liar. What’s going on in DR is based on race. You sound like a racist yourself to believe that… Read more »

ans
ans
5 years ago
Reply to  Yenny Villar

is it ok if they hang them too? cmon!!

secret87
secret87
5 years ago
Reply to  Yenny Villar

I was kinda thinking that. Kinda like mexicans, Hatian wise.

guest
guest
5 years ago
Reply to  secret87

Yeah…no. Not the same thing. Haitians, illegal Haitian immigrants, Dominicans of Haitiant decent, and dark skinned dominicans all have to go! Some of them are lynched, mistreated, face with racism, reduced to slavery, massively deported…you name it. so no…mexicans are treated a lot better in the us. This comparaison is a little shitty

april Guscott
april Guscott
5 years ago
Reply to  Yenny Villar

You speak as if black people never have legititmate reasons for outcries. What DR is doing has everything to do with race. They’re going so far as to round up any dark skinned person because they’re unable to establish clearly if that person is Dominican or Haitian and that speaks to DR’s hatred of black people and people with dark skin who are their own. This is most definitely a race issue. Know your history, because DR wouldn’t exist and neither would any Dominican without the Haitians.

Brownrevolution
Brownrevolution
5 years ago
Reply to  Yenny Villar

Oh yeah props to you for justifying ethnic cleansing! If the US deported and lynched illegal immigrants from south america would that be ok? What makes it ok for the domincan republic to do so? Is economy a justification for discrimination racism oppression violence and ethnic cleansing of one group? By the way, you are talking bullshit since the dominican republic is doing pretty good from tourism and even if it wasnt the case it still doesn’t justify their hate crimes and self hating practices, Besides, don’t talk about the Hatian government as if the DR wasn’t constantly sabotaging, stealing and… Read more »

CurlyTs
CurlyTs
5 years ago

This is heartbreaking. I can’t believe they think this is okay. It’s apartheid at best and racism at worst. Since DR is a member of the United Nations I’d be interested in knowing if they are breaking any international laws through this mass deporation.

lis
lis
5 years ago

Of course it’s about race…The Haitians remind them of who they are and where they come from while they try to pretend to be whitish…but Haitians are proud people with a proud glorious history and they do not need self hating dominicans.…If Blacks can ever get it together and practice group economics and self reliance, wherever they are in the world, these tradegies? don’t and won’t have to happen.…Blacks have to free themselves so our people won’t suffer where ever they are in the world.…i feel so bad for them because I have encountered some of these people(dominicans) in the… Read more »

ans
ans
5 years ago

i just read your post and i liked it a lot. i used to study in dominican republic and i can tell you that everything about racism is true. i had a light skinned friend with curly hair( haitian) and every dominican used yo ask her if she is really haitian. if she is messing up with them. while i was struggling fiding an appartment to live because i had to prove documents and sponsor( dominican) to proove that i am a good person and that “i ” will not mess up the appart, a friend of mine rent one… Read more »

Epika
Epika
5 years ago

I’ve never been to this Island and it’s official I never will go. Boycott the DR 100%. I mean what if I go there and they mistreat me because I’m black.…Thanks but no thanks!

Epika
Epika
5 years ago

And for sure this scandal is going to affect their tourism and economy and then they will have a real reason to worry

Alwina Oyewoleturner
Alwina Oyewoleturner
5 years ago

I went to DR 7 years ago on vacay with my godmother. Very beautiful country, some of the people I came in contact with were very nice. But there were instances when we discriminated against because of our complexion and I’m darker than my godmom, who is black American from the south with native American roots (my parents are from Sierra Leone/Nigeria). In my mind, I paid my hard-earned money to visit this country, i.e., I’m putting money in your pocket by coming to your country. Therefore, I expect you treat me like royalty if you expect to get tips, etc.… Read more »

Tess
Tess
5 years ago

Wow, the world is truly coming to an end. My heart bleeds. So Dominica woke up one morning and decided to deport Haitians? Enforce what useless laws? can’t they do that by just making their immigration laws more strict instead of deportation? Well, remind me to avoid that place like the plague, they literally just shot themselves in the foot with this one because their economy will go tit-up now. This is DEFINITELY RACIST! When any and i mean ANY foreigners go to african countries, like mine Nigeria, for example, they are usually very welcome, to a fault that the… Read more »

ama
ama
5 years ago
Reply to  Tess

Can I dream that dream too? Wait that sounded weird lol. But Garvey definitely had the right idea.

Andery
Andery
5 years ago
Reply to  Tess

No, we do not wake up one day and decided to deport all foreign than legal. The Dominican government has been trying to regulate the immigration issue all abroad and decided to grant permission or papers to stay in the country legally. To do this within one year to do so, then a 3 months and 45 days was established now to get your permission. There is “Racism” is an immigration issue, but I tell you there are many racist as I imagine all part (no, I apologize of course) I have a dream “Everybody we treat them as equal,… Read more »

NicoleJButler
NicoleJButler
5 years ago

That sign, tho. smh

It says “I’m not racist, but I don’t want Hatians in my country.”

ama
ama
5 years ago
Reply to  NicoleJButler

exactly, not illegal Haitians just Haitians in general, so absurd. the deportation wont change history.

MalikaiDragonSlayer
MalikaiDragonSlayer
5 years ago

Yeah, Dominicans don’t like to admit it but Haitians and Dominicans are the same people. They speak a different language but they are the same damn thing. Thankfully most of the Dominicans I know will, at the very least, grudgingly admit that and don’t agree with this policy.

Jr
Jr
5 years ago

your comment is a little confusing for me too and I’m not sure I understood what you meant. What is the true of your history? you dont know a damn thing about your own history, contrary as many of you think or ignore, haitian president Boyer has never invaded DR for an example, DR asked him for help against the spanish and Haitian army was applaused by DR population entering the capital. Today thousand dominicans are living illegally in haiti and they never fear for their lives or deportations.

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

Well, I believe I understand the scope of the policy quite well actually. The DR is seeking to “socially cleanse” (what the DR government is calling it) their country by revoking citizenship from anyone in the DR born after 1929 who is Haitian or born of Haitian ANCESTRY. Please explain to me how that furthers the DR’s “good wishes” and at the expense of whom? Maybe you should expound on what exactly what you mean when you imply that people don’t know the “truth of our history, culture, customs, and good wishes”. What do you mean by that? Please enlighten… Read more »

marcos medina
marcos medina
5 years ago
Reply to  Dee

You wish, but not true

Slia
Slia
5 years ago

Hello, if anyone knows spanish, this is a good video about this situation: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cg4ULem6oE As in most places there is its share of racism, like in the USA (but WAY WAY WAY less) and not always that you are mistreated it has to be racism, like for the person thar was mistreated in a hotel, whenever customer services fail I don’t run and call it racist, but I was not there so maybe it was… But well, it just happens that the majority of the ilegal inmmigrants in the DR are haitians, it is not about racism and I’m sure… Read more »

Michelle
Michelle
5 years ago

What you have to understand is that Hatians only tell one side of the story. Their pity story. Do they ever tell how they burnt up the Dominican Republic’s flag? Or how how they burnt The Bahamas’ flag? Whenever they feel they are being treated “unjustice” they perform these bizarre acts and they don’t help their cause. How can you come illegally in another person’s country, have your 3–6 children, use up all our free resources then disrespect their country and act as if you belong there because you had children there. It’s wrong. It puts a strain on the… Read more »

Riro
Riro
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

But this is now not then! You can’t correct a wrong with another wrong. These are Haitian children who had NOTHING to do with that war, why must they be held accountable for previous generations.They don’t know a life outside the DR. They can deport them but then their no better than haiti. Yeah . This is just another form of xenophobia.

Gabby Mills
Gabby Mills
4 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Two wrongs don’t make a right.Future generations should have to pay for the sins of ancestors. I have plenty of Dominican friends, actually my best friend of 10 years is Dominican and it is sad that many Dominicans deny having any African heritage when it is evident in their skin and hair. Is being black, even partially, so bad?

sanjidude
sanjidude
5 years ago

I won’t travel there and will also advise everyone I know to stay away as well. DR depends on tourist dollars to keep their economy going. Perhaps when they start suffering financially they will have a lot more empathy for their Haitian brothers and sisters. We should not reward bad behavior. Same for defenders of the confederate flag. If I see racist items in your place of business, I won’t spend my money there.

CocoaGoddess
CocoaGoddess
4 years ago
Reply to  sanjidude

The place is beautiful though. I don’t think you’ve ever been there, so I suggest you don’t talk as if you the place.

sanjidude
sanjidude
4 years ago
Reply to  CocoaGoddess

Well, I have been there — before the Haitian nonsense started — and do not intend to go back. There are many beautiful places that I have been — all over the world — that don’t support apartheid. How bizarre that you would make a comment about where I have or have not been without knowing a thing about me. Strange…

CocoaGoddess
CocoaGoddess
4 years ago

All of youspeak as if you’re Dominican. Have you ever been there? Do you know one personally? If not, don’t talk. If you’ve ever been to the DR, most of the people there are black or mixed. I saw one guy that literally looked like he had come from Lagos, Nigeria, but he spoke Spanish and was Dominican. So don’t talk like you know everything. I’m a dark skin black, and we were treated with so much respect, more than here in the US. About this Haitian thing, all I can say is this isn’t right, but it’s sort of what… Read more »

Yurilyte
Yurilyte
5 years ago

They are so backwards

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

That’s one country I have no intention of visiting. I would love to see Haiti thrive one day an heavily exclude her enemies.

Lea M. Jones
Lea M. Jones
5 years ago

DR will not get another penny of my money until this madness stops.

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