We will never be able to comprehend, in my honest opinion, the depth of the damage that slavery and colonialism has caused all over the world. In part, this is because we often see slavery through our own experiences, experiences that are often relegated to a certain space. For instance, as an African American woman, I am most familiar with how slavery happened in the United States. I know most intimately the story of my ancestors and their struggle to overcome terrorism in this place. Unfortunately, I know very little about how slavery manifested itself in other places, mostly because I am physically disconnected from those places (and because up until recently, I was a horrible student of history. HORRIBLE).
That being said, as news broke about the impeding deportation of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, I felt compelled to dig a little. While I did not know the whole story, I knew enough to know that there has been a long standing tension between Haitians and Dominicans. I just didn’t know long. And I certainly didn’t understand why.
This evening I had an opportunity to find out some of the answers to the questions swirling in my head as I watched Henry Louis Gates’ Black in Latin America: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It helped me to understand that the present day conflict is actually situated in centuries long racism against Haitians (even though, yes, Dominicans are black, too), which itself stems from slavery and colonialism. I encourage you to watch and get a better understanding of not only history, but the ways in which western foreign policy (including that of the U.S) has played a role in all of this. And remember, #prayersforhaitiandominicans.