The Contested Meaning of Race and Blackness

The problems which are underlined by the sociologist are rather crucial nowadays. The problem touches not only racial discrimination in general but the discrimination of different nations in particular.

Ginetta E.B. Candelario, “Color Matters: Latina/o Racial Identities and Life Chances” from Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo, Eds., A Companion to Latino Studies (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2007)

According to the author, the Dominicans are considered as a racial group. This thesis is based on the issues of geopolitics, nation-building, and domestic racialized minority relations. But, nevertheless, the author states the fact that the Dominicans are granted with the same rights that the White have. Moreover, some sociologists identify the Dominicans and other Latina/o as the White.

Ginetta E.B. Condelario emphasizes several times on the history as on the factor which determines policy and views of the United States and other countries. The author explains that nowadays, this problem becomes not a problem of internalized racism; it is a struggle of ideologies.

It should be noticed that those who live in their homeland do not feel the problem of racial discrimination. This problem appears when they come to the United States. Here, they feel as non-White. However, as George Yancey says, the society changes and these changes consist in the evolution from White/non-White society to Black/non-Black one. Here, the Dominicans, other Latinos, and Asian-Americans are considered as White. Modern sociology is trying to help society in this transition improving the situation. Unfortunately, this idea is only theoretical. In practice, everything remains as usual. Not all benefits the White have are given to the Dominicans.

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As every research, this reviewed work has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, the author tries to explain that the society today has changed a lot, and the problems of racial discrimination differ from those which we had earlier. Moreover, other nations in the U.S., as well as the Dominicans, are granted with all rights. If earlier they were considered as slaves and later immigrants, so now they are considered as people of the United State. This is a huge step forward to the developed society where the principle of equity is dominant.

On the other hand, the author pays attention just to the theory and not to the practice. It means that she explains the development and changes in behavior, attitude, law; but she didn’t take into account the real life and the real problems that the Dominicans and other Latino/s face every day.

‘Black behind the Ears’-and up Front Too?’: Dominicans in The Black Mosaic” The Public Historian

For the author the key point in consideration of this issue is history. From the very beginning, we should mention that the Dominican Republic was built as a French colony in contrast to the other countries of Latin America which were built as the Spanish colonies. In the 19-20 centuries, the expansionist interests of the USA made Haiti “blacker and blacker” and the Dominican Republic “whiter and whiter”. Then, what is the reason for equating the people from the Dominican Republic to other Latino?

Currently, we can say that the Dominicans achieved the recognition in theory, and now other nations of Latin America want to repeat the practice of the people from the Dominican Republic in the United States. Now, it is we who have a need to change the opinions and attitudes of the society at least gradually. Nowadays, after recognition, even beauty salons in New York where Dominican women are employed, work in the service of perpetuating Dominican indigenism. Their look is unique as it (Indo-Hispanic look) is in the space between African-Americans and White Americans.

The main author’s contribution into the development of this issue is that she studies this question not in a monotonous way; she takes into account different positions, views etc. She says that every nation is perceived as generally Latina/o. People do not take into account that every nation has its special features even if the color of skin is similar.

All this brings to a conclusion that the Blackness and Race are different issues and cannot be considered as one phenomenon. Earlier, the slaves did not differ, and they were considered in the same way, and every subsequent slave was one who was not White, but now, we realize that every nation has its own features in their look and inner beliefs, individual traditions, and customs.

The weakness of the author’s works is that she did not mention what measures should be taken to achieve positive results. Moreover, she is too concentrated on history as on the factor which changed the modern perception of reality. It would be wise to explain after so many years why we cannot change ourselves and become one big family without taking into account what race the person belongs to. The United States is a country which combines irreconcilable things – numerous and even countless number of races on one territory. This combination is dangerous, and the right attitude to each other is essential for each of us.

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