A Discussion on Race and the Dominican Republic


Dixa Ramírez, assistant professor of transnational African literatures at Brown University, presented on the “ambivalent” nature of race compared to a more rigid western conception that is often used to characterize the Dominican Republic. 

Ramírez discussed the Dominican Republic’s colonialist history and geographic position in her talk, “Dominican Blackness, Ghosting, and Bad Patriots.” She also talked about the country’s relationship with Haiti, noting the entire island of Hispaniola, which is split today with Haiti in the West and the Dominican Republic in the East, was all Haiti from 1822-1844.

She spoke about “Le Tiguere,” the Dominican archetype explored in videos by musicians like El Alfa and Maluca Mala, and discussed how blackness has been viewed in the western world. She compared how the “official narrative” of the Dominican identity as African, Indian and Spanish is more fluid than the rigid “one-drop” rule in the U.S.

Leda Fisher ’19, Clarke Forum student project manager, said, “as a senior writing a thesis it’s so impressive to look at someone who’s drawing from multiple sources to construct such a complex argument but in a very relatable way, in a way that you can see in your own life, with the music that she showed. I think that the transnational implications are really important for this era.” 

The movie Cocote (2017), screened on Feb.18, preceded the lecture the next day a

s part of the Kaleidoscope of Excellence Black Women in Film Series.

“I didn’t really know that much about Dominican culture and so it was nice to learn about it in a different way,” said Maya Peck ’22. 

The screening was co-sponsored by the Popel Shaw Center for Race and Ethnicity and the department of Spanish & Portuguese. Ramírez’s talk was sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of Latino & Caribbean studies, American studies, the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, The Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity and the department of Spanish & Portuguese. 

“Dominican Blackness, Ghosting, and Bad Patriots” took place . in the Anita Tuvin Schlecter Auditorium.