Thursday, June 18, 2015

Charleston and Dominican Republic — the confluence of racism

The AME church that was attacked in Charleston, in addition to being an important part of the 20th century civil rights movement, was established in the 19th century by an abolitionist who drew inspiration from the slave revolt which secured independence for Haiti, and planned a similar revolt to try to free the slaves in South Carolina.

I can’t help noting (as have others) the confluence of Wednesday night’s horrific attack in Charleston (which left 9 dead) and the fact that today, the Dominican Republic is repatriating to Haiti more than 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. It has stripped them of citizenship (retroactive to 1929, before the DR’s historic “Parsley” massacre of Haitians) thereby rendering them stateless and highlighting a long-entrenched anti-Blackness that is pervasive in many Latin American countries.

I am heartbroken at the way we repeat our history — here and there — changing one detail or another but always with the same foundation: racism.