Analyzes textbooks in the Dominican Republic for evidence of reproducing Haitian Otherness Unmastering the Script: Edu
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Analyzes textbooks in the Dominican Republic for evidence of reproducing Haitian Otherness Unmastering the Script: Edu
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Table of contents :
List of Figures
Introduction: Books, Bias, and Blackness: How the Haitian Other Helps Tell the Story of Dominican History and Identity
1. La Trinitaria: The Elevation of Whiteness and Normalization of a Pigmentocracy in Dominican Society
2. Truth and Trujillo: A Critical Approach to Studying the Trujillo Dictatorship
3. The “Masters” of the Script: Joaquín Balaguer, José Francisco Peña Gómez, and the Anti-Haitian Nation
4. Dominican National Identity: Social Science Textbooks and the Boundaries of Blackness
5. Color, Classrooms, and the Haitian Other
Unmastering the Script
Unmastering the Script EDUCATION, CRITICAL RACE THEORY, AND THE STRUGGLE TO RECONCILE THE HAITIAN OTHER IN DOMINICAN IDENTITY
Sheridan Wigginton and Richard T. Middleton IV
The University of Alabama Press Tuscaloosa
The University of Alabama Press Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0380 uapress.ua.edu Copyright © 2019 by the University of Alabama Press All rights reserved. Inquiries about reproducing material from this work should be addressed to the University of Alabama Press. Typeface: Caslon and Optima Cover image: Detail from the flag of the Dominican Republic Cover design: David Nees Cataloging-in-Publication data is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: 978-0-8173-2031-7 E-ISBN: 978-0-8173-9245-1
To Blas R. Jiménez, Flore Zéphir, and Abbey —S. W. To the wonderful people of Santo Domingo and Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic. Also to Joseito Mateo, a cultural and musical ambassador of the wonderful country of the Dominican Republic. The world is truly an enriched place by your merengue ripiaos. We will miss you, “El Negrito del Batey.” —R. T. M. IV
List of Figures ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction: Books, Bias, and Blackness: How the Haitian Other Helps Tell the Story of Dominican History and Identity 1 1. La Trinitaria: The Elevation of Whiteness and Normalization of a Pigmentocracy in Dominican Society 22 2. Truth and Trujillo: A Critical Approach to Studying the Trujillo Dictatorship 38 3. The “Masters” of the Script: Joaquín Balaguer, José Francisco Peña Gómez, and the Anti-Haitian Nation 52 4. Dominican National Identity: Social Science Textbooks and the Boundaries of Blackness 65 5. Color, Classrooms, and the Haitian Other 82 Notes 93 Bibliography 101 Index 107
1.1. Portrait of Juan Pablo Duarte 27 1.2. Portrait of Ramón Matías Mella 29 1.3. Portrait of Francisco del Rosario Sánchez 29 4.1. Illustrations of a wide range of professions 67 4.2. Illustrations of a man voting, a man registering a child for school, and people waiting in line at a bank 68 4.3. Illustration of what may be family members engaged in various modes of communication 70 4.4. Illustration of a Taíno man 72 4.5. Illustrations of a man and woman labeled Españoles and another couple with much darker skin labeled Africanos 73 4.6. Illustrations of people representing indígena, blanco, negro, mulato, and mestizo populations 74 4.7. Children’s cartoon showing the character María Moñito 75
Sincere thanks to California Lutheran University’s office of Academic Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Center for Equality and Justice, and Department of Languages and Cultures for their support of this project. Thank you to Kirstie Hettinga for editing assistance and to LaVerne Seales for reviewing the Spanish to English translations. I am deeply grateful for the friendship, encouragement, and good counsel of many extraordinary people: my Afro-Latin/American Research Association family, Kelly Eder, Rafaela Fiore Urízar and “the usual suspects,” Debbie Lee-Distefano, Marvin Lewis, Robin Mitchell, Dorothy Mosby, Basilia Pérez and family, and Joseph Powell. Thank you to Mom, Dad, Shaye, and Thomas for all the love, laughter, patience, and hope that simply being around you brings me. —Sheridan Wigginton Thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri–Saint Louis and to my colleague Dave Robertson of the Department of Political Science at University of Missouri–St Louis for supporting my travel to the Dominican Republic, which facilitated research for this book. I am deeply indebted to my friend and colleague Faustino Sánchez of Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic. This project could not have been completed without your insights, wisdom, and support. Thank you Alonzo, Amanda Rose, Jessica, Richard V, and Mom and Dad for your steadfast support. —Richard T. Middleton IV
Unmastering the Script
Introduction Books, Bias, and Blackness: How the Haitian Other Helps Tell the Story of Dominican History and Identity
Unmastering the Script: Education, Critical Race Theory, and the Struggle to Reconcile the Haitian Other in Dominican Identity examines how school curriculum-based representations of Dominican identity navigate black racial identity, its relatedness to Haiti, and the culturally entrenched pejorative image of the Haitian Other in Dominican society. The materials we analyze—social science textbooks and historical biographies intended for school-age Dominicans—reflect an increasing shift toward a clear and public inclusion of blackness in Dominican identity that serves to renegotiate the country’s long-standing antiblack racial master script. The textbooks are for grades two through eight (ages six to fourteen) and are part of the Nivel Básico in the Dominican education system. We argue that although many of the attempts at this inclusion reflect a lessening of “black denial,” when considered as a whole, the materials often struggle to find a consistent and coherent narrative for the place of blackness within Dominican identity, particularly as blackness continues to be meaningfully related to the otherness of Haitian racial identity. The school texts reflect the Dominican Republic’s larger societal struggle to reconcile its own blackness vis-à-vis Haiti’s blackness. There is considerable literature that explores how Dominican and Haitian identity are largely diametric, situating Haiti and Haitians as the maligned black African Other to construct Dominican identity as being aligned more closely to a European (particularly, Spanish-Iberian), mixed-race ancestry. We analyze how discourse intended for school-age Dominicans is highly nuanced and couched in the country’s past and present negotiations with blackness, revealing neither total denial nor warm embrace. Through out this book, when we refer to Other, we mean anyone who is separate
2 • Introduction
from one’s (conceptualization of ) self. As Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin note, “The existence of others is crucial in defining what is ‘normal’ and in locating one’s own place in the world.”1 Similarly, Haitian Other means the socially constructed idea of a binary representation of Haitian identity compared to Dominican identity. When we refer to Haitian Other master script, we are writing about the collective body of narratives that permeate individual social science textbooks and are designed to socially construct Dominican racial identity as something other than Haitian and something other than distinctly black. The essential nature of dominicanidad (Dominican-ness) is a much- debated topic within and outside the Dominican Republic. Despite paying such close attention to dominicanidad, Dominicans are not unique in their endeavor to self-identify and navigate a range of complex issues. All of Latin America is part of a multiracial, multiethnic, and often postcolo nial milieu. However, negotiating that identity in such close physical, his torical, and cultural proximity to what has been understood as the Other is what makes the Dominican journey along the path of identity construction particularly intriguing. There is no doubt that how and why people imagine themselves to be connected, or for that matter disconnected, are powerful tools that can be wielded in either helpful or harmful ways. Distinguish ing which is which brings its own set of complications. April J. Mayes outlines a wide range of perspectives about how Dominican identity has positioned hispanidad, an emphasis on Spain and its cultural roots, into its own dominicanidad. Frank Moya Pons, Raymundo González, Emilio Cordero Michel, and José Chez Checo do not see anti-Haitianism as a mere consequence of hispanidad; rather, within the context of Dominican identity, hispanidad represents “a nationalism unique to an island divided between two countries long engaged with each other in sometimes cooperative and, at other times, conflicted ways.”2 She highlights a “new wave” of Domini can scholarship that emerged in the 1980s that “used social history methodologies to reinterpret the Dominican past ‘from below’ in order to refute Peña Batlle’s and Balaguer’s historical interpretations as ideological fictions invented to justify authoritarianism.”3 Our work here builds on this new wave of Dominican scholarship that undergirds Mayes’s work, as well as that of Milagros Ricourt and Lorgia García Peña, which considers how contemporary perspectives of Domini can identity accept the existence of an African past and seek to properly situate its importance.4 Specifically, we frame ourselves using Kimberly Eison Simmons’s 2010 book, Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic. In Simmons’s groundbreaking work, she asserts that Dominican blackness is hidden, not denied: “While Dominicans
Introduction • 3
use popular expressions like ‘black behind the ear’ (Candelario 2007, 2001), implying a hidden or concealed nature of African ancestry, denial is different. The ‘denial’ suggests that there is a negative response to a question or idea. In other words, ‘denial’ implies that Dominicans do not believe that they have African ancestry. And this is not the case. To the contrary, Afri can ancestry is often acknowledged, but it is downplayed and relegated to a place that is hidden or ‘behind the ear.’ ”5 Simmons’s work is framed within the notion of “reconstructing” and “unburying” something that previously existed and notes that for Dominicans “the process of reconstructing racial identity is often a gradual one as they interact with new definitions, laws, and people who define them in new and different ways.”6 Unmaster ing the Script approaches the text materials as an example of Simmons’s “reconstructing” and “unburying” of an African past, supporting the uneven, highly context-specific, and slow nature of the process she describes. Many Dominicans consider dominicanidad to be in direct opposition to, and at times threatened by, the perception of a black, impoverished, voodoo-practicing Haiti. Thus, within this framework, Haiti and Haitians function as a negative point of comparison that allows curricular materials used to present Dominican history and identity in a positive manner based largely on their non-or anti-Haitian essence.7 Unmastering the Script analyzes the simultaneously widening and shrinking divide between the Haitian Other and Dominican identity in school-based historical biographies and in social science textbooks—materials that form part of the Dominican Republic’s effort to officially locate blackness within the textbooks and the minds of young readers. Do these messages further a definition of dominicanidad that denigrates blackness or even seeks to render it invisible? Or, to use Simmons’s language, do these messages reflect the difficult work of “reconstructing” an African past? To investigate these questions, we use criti cal race theory as an underpinning to understand how the master script of social dominance and normatively “good” qualities of the white, Catholic, Spanish elements of Dominican heritage have the potential to produce deleterious effects on the social, political, and economic advancement of Dominicans of black African descent, as well as Haitians. Conversely, we probe how other messages in the texts situate blackness squarely within the Dominican definition of self. We examine representations of national identity in elementary school social studies textbooks, biographical narratives of the country’s three founding fathers known collectively as La Trinitaria, and political history as it relates to dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina (1891–1961), president and Trujillo sympathizer Joaquín Balaguer (1906– 2002), and Balaguer’s dark-skinned political opponent José Francisco Peña Gómez (1937–98).
4 • Introduction
Contribution to the Extant Literature on Dominican Identity The powerful role that textbooks and other pedagogical tools play in the process of identity formation is already well established in criticisms based in scholarship emanating from the United States, most prominently by Michael W. Apple and Cameron McCarthy. However, an in-depth investigation into how school materials influence the understanding of national identity in the Dominican context remains unexamined. Previous explorations of Dominican identity have largely taken place within the contexts of political science, cultural studies, and literary analysis. This book speaks to and informs a broad array of disciplines—among them education, political science, law, sociology, anthropology, Africana studies, and Latin Ameri can and Caribbean studies. Scholars and even casual observers can expect to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the role of childhood education in reflecting past and contemporary understandings about race vis-à- vis the construction of the “nation” (which Benedict Anderson has referred to as an “imagined political community”) as well as a national identity.8 In recent years, four critical and widely read books have offered a rich introduction to Dominican issues of race and national identity: Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic, David Howard, Color ing the Nation: Race and Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic, Dawn Stinchcomb, The Development of Literary Blackness in the Dominican Republic, and Ginetta Candelario, Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops.9 These books acknowledge education’s histori cal role in perpetuating a racially biased ethnic ideology in the Dominican Republic but do not explore how attitudes toward Haiti and blackness impact the process and products of education in school materials. Unmastering the Script contributes a wholly new voice to the discussion by adding an ethnographic and document-based critical study of educational materials that is guided by the question: How does the figure of the Haitian Other help construct and convey the story of Dominican history and identity in schoolbooks? We situate the broader analysis within the framework of critical race theory to understand how the social construction of race in the Dominican Republic has far-reaching effects that extend beyond the classroom setting.
The Social Construction of Race and National Identity in the Dominican Republic The lion’s share of the existing discourse on race and the historical evolution of racial identity in the Dominican Republic presents a narrative of the
Introduction • 5
historical formation of Dominican racial identity as an outgrowth of the country’s colonial relationship with Haiti. The Caribbean island of Hispaniola is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The World Factbook’s most recent data on racial demographics indicates that of the total population (10,734, 247) approximately 70.4 percent of the population of the Dominican Republic is of mixed racial background, 13.5 percent is white, and 15.8 is percent black.10 Occupying the western side of Hispaniola, Haiti has come to represent a society that openly acknowledges and accepts its black African heritage. The Dominican Republic, on the eastern side, has become known for its desire to diminish or deny the same. The way Haiti and the Domini can Republic perceive their black African heritage is the result of the relationship that the two former colonies had with their European colonizers. Just prior to the French Revolution in 1789, the French-held western portion of the island had a significantly larger black population than did the Spanish-held eastern end of the island. The white, Spanish-speaking inhabitants of Santo Domingo long feared the idea of a militarily dominant, more densely populated, French-speaking black presence to their west. Their fear had some basis. Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic three times. The Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo (1822–44) has been referred to as the “black years” in the history of the Dominican Republic.11 The Do minican Republic celebrates its Independence Day on February 27 to commemorate its final independence from Haiti in 1844. That the Dominican Republic celebrates its freedom from Haiti rather than from Spain is a significant point. Independence Day in the Dominican Republic can be literally and symbolically understood to express the country’s desire to embrace its European legacy and to celebrate freedom from an African past, a past very similar to that of Haiti. In the early 1900s Haitian laborers (many of whom were undocumented entrants) migrated to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugarcane fields and live in bateyes (communities with limited resources that typically house sugarcane workers and their families). Some scholars have suggested that this large-scale migration exacerbated the already prevalent anti-Haitian sentiment in the country. According to Jorge Duany, a noted scholar of Caribbean politics and culture, “the climax of antihaitianismo was the 1937 massacre of thousands of Haitians along the Dominican border by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo’s military forces.”12 Scholars have noted that Trujillo viewed the influx of Haitian migrants into the Do minican Republic as not only a border control issue but also an encroachment upon dominicanidad. Other scholars, such as Ernesto Sagás, have focused on how the “elaboration of an anti-Haitian ideology by the Do
6 • Introduction
minican elite . . . celebrates the Hispanic legacy and downplays African influences in Dominican culture, particularly during the Trujillo dictatorship (1930–61).”13 One of the key means by which the Dominican Republic has, at times, chosen to distance itself from its black African heritage is through the intentional process of blanqueamiento (whitening). By encouraging European immigration to the Dominican Republic during the Second World War and by ordering the massacre of nearly thirty thousand dark-skinned people living along the Dominican-Haitian border in October 1937, Trujillo left little doubt that blanqueamiento was of primary importance in the Dominican Republic during his thirty-year reign.14 Trujillo and his support ers coined the term dominicanización (dominicanization) to describe their efforts to clearly mark the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, meaning to underscore the difference between a black Haiti and a white Dominican Republic. The reality, however, is that like much of Latin America no static racial lines exist in the Dominican Republic. Categories are determined by physical appearance; you are what you look like. Thus in a nuclear family it is quite possible to have a mother who is indio claro (light Indian), a father who is indio oscuro (dark Indian), and children who could be categorized as moreno (medium-brown complexion), jabao (yellowish complexion with African features), negro lavao (literally, a “washed black person”), and blanco jipanto (fair complexion with African features).15 This subjective way of determining racial categories provides Dominicans with the flexibility to minimize or de-emphasize a black African heritage should they elect to do so.16 The word indio, Spanish for “Indian,” is commonly used as a euphemism for “black” or “of black African descent” in Dominican society.17 In the Dominican Republic, the category “black” is commonly reserved for reference to Haitians and black Africans, not for Dominicans of even the darkest skin color.18 Thus, the nonbinary nature of race in the Domini can Republic allows people of black African physical appearance to consider themselves not black. Attempts to obscure or deny one’s black Afri can heritage is possible in this framework because it employs dozens upon dozens of racial categories, all of which circumvent the term “black.” Instead, a person could self-identify as one of the many terms for skin color and other physical traits used in the Dominican Republic, most often indio because of the wide range of skin tones encompassed within this term. But what about Dominicans of African descent who choose to acknowledge that aspect of their heritage? How is the notion of dominicanidad portrayed in the school materials, and how does that portrayal reflect larger societal shifts? We see these two questions as essential starting points for
Introduction • 7
understanding contemporary dominicanidad as being more complex than absolute anti-Haitianism or a total rejection of blackness. Like many other Latin Americans, Dominicans have been grappling with issues of national identity throughout their history. In the Dominican Republic, the central issue has been how to reconcile the dominant presence of a black African-descended population with a politically constructed Eurocentric ideology. One way the Dominican Republic, and Latin Ameri can as a whole, has tried to reconcile these two opposite situations is by collecting inexact census information. A Dominican Republic census from the 1990s states that anywhere from 10 percent to 90 percent of the country’s population could be considered “Afro-Latin American.”19 This tremendously wide range is due in large part to the flexible categories. For example, education, wealth, and fame are all factors that serve to “lighten” one’s racial categorization.20 Also, the definition of “Afro” can be rather narrow, especially in the Dominican Republic. For example, many Dominicans would limit the definition of Afro to Haitian nationals living in the Do minican Republic and would not include a Dominican whose parents or grandparents are of Haitian origin.21
The Role of the Haitian Other Master Script in Dominican Society Americas: An Anthology succinctly states what is at the heart of race and national identity issues in the Dominican Republic—the Dominican Republic’s relationship with Haiti: “The 22-year Haitian occupation left a significant impression on Dominican culture. With deep anti-Haitian sentiments still alive, the Dominican elite tended to emphasize its whiteness and European ties, as opposed to the blackness and African ties associated with Haiti. This white Hispanic ideology, which sharply contrasted with the visible reality of a large mulatto and black majority among the Domini can population, reached its peak under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.”22 Under Trujillo, the Dominican Republic defined its own national identity as being the polar opposite of what Dominicans perceive to be Haitian or of black African descent. Within these parameters, Dominicans are what Haitians are not. In a video segment of Americas titled “Mirrors of the Heart,” Dominicans explain how national identity and race are conceptualized in their country. One interviewee, Carlos Pérez, reveals that even the darkest-complexioned Dominicans do not consider themselves black; they would never use the term negro, the Spanish word for “black,” to describe themselves. Instead, Dominicans with dark complexions commonly refer to themselves as indios. “Mirrors of the Heart” also provides evidence
8 • Introduction
that the practice of blanqueamiento is alive and well in Dominican society. In one scene, Pérez and his mother openly discuss his potential marriage partners. Although Pérez’s mother admits that her son is an adult and free to marry whomever he chooses, she quickly acknowledges her desire to have a white daughter-in-law and blond grandchildren. She offers rather matter-of-factly her reasoning for this preference: “Hay que pensar en el fu turo” (One has to think about the future). This antiblack sentiment is not the only force that has shaped the perception of race in the Dominican Republic. A central argument in Silvio Torres-Saillant’s 1998 article “The Tribulations of Blackness: Stages in Do minican Racial Identity” is that Dominicans have not been solely respon sible for the creation of their racial identity. Dominicans have “had to negotiate the racial paradigms of their North American and European overseers.” Historically, Dominicans have had to reconcile their fluid and nebulous concept of race with the concretely binary system of race based principally on “blackness” and “whiteness” that is prevalent in the United States. Torres-Saillant underscores two incidents between the United States and the Dominican Republic to illustrate this point. The September 2, 1854, issue of the New York Evening Post “highlighted the blackness of Domini cans to spark antipathy against them in public opinion sectors of the United States.”23 The Post drew attention to the black population in an attempt to undermine Secretary of State William L. Marcy’s plan to have the United States officially recognize the Dominican Republic. A desire to diminish the size of the black population is not relegated to politicians. Torres-Saillant notes that shortly after the New York Even ing Post article was published, “a writer seeking the opposite result under took to underestimate the black element of the Dominican population— representing the Dominican people as—‘made up of Spaniards, Spanish Creoles and some Africans and people of color.’ ”24 Torres-Saillant’s examples illustrate that the Dominican Republic’s desire to devalue or ignore its black African ancestry is supported by other Western countries. Both the Dominican Republic and the United States have reason to consider the Dominican Republic white rather than black. Alan Cambeira’s book Quisqueya la Bella: The Dominican Republic in Historical and Cultural Perspective is a deeply personal and patriotic interpretation of the country’s past, present, and future. The book’s ambivalent tone toward the Dominican Republic’s handling of racial issues can be seen as representative of many in the Dominican Republic today, which is a key focus of Unmastering the Script. Cambeira does sharply criticize overt, violent acts against Haitians and Dominicans with very dark skin; however, he does not criticize the common underlying denial of or disdain for blackness
Introduction • 9
and African-ness in the Dominican Republic that actually fueled those violent acts. In a section titled “The Parsley Test,” Cambeira recounts how in 1937 Dominican soldiers, acting under direct orders from Trujillo, killed an estimated 30,000 Haitians and Dominicans living in the border zone between the two countries. Soldiers presented suspects with a sprig of parsley and then asked the person “What is this?” If the person pronounced the word perejil, the Spanish word for “parsley,” with a Haitian Creole accent (as in pewejil ), then the person was killed immediately. “The macabre and sinister Operación Perejil (Operation Parsley) was considered the one fool proof method of uncovering who actually was or was not Haitian among the Black population.” Cambeira clearly condemns this type of racially motivated violence but fails to acknowledge the imprint that such outright hatred and fear has left on contemporary Dominican society. This lack of acknowledgement is seen in the following comment: “There has been a noticeable absence of calculated acts of violence and brutality targeting dominicanos of African and/or Haitian origins.”25 In La isla al revés: Haití y el destino dominicano (The Upside Down Island: Haiti and the Dominican Destiny), three-time Dominican president Joaquín Balaguer skillfully plays upon the long-standing fear, hatred, and ignorance that characterize the sentiment of many Dominican citizens toward Haitians, their neighbors on the western third of Hispaniola. Balaguer asserts that neighboring Haiti is at the crux of all ills to be found in the Domini can Republic: spreading disease and single-handedly destroying the Do minican soul, moral values, and European racial foundation. The intent behind La isla al revés is not much more than politically motivated and racist propaganda aimed to aggravate the already uneasy relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In reference to Balaguer’s book, Michele Wucker writes, “The book is openly racist, warning that the ‘vegetation-like increase of the African race’ was a dire threat to Dominican culture and values. . . . Balaguer’s book summarizes the official Dominican discourse that for many years shaped how citizens were supposed to think about race and Haiti: ‘The black man, abandoned to his instincts and without the brake that a relatively high living standard in any country places on reproduction, multiplies with a speed almost like that of plant species. . . . Santo Domingo has been able and is required to serve as the seat of the race that is spiritually the most chosen and physically the most homogenous in the Americas.’ ”26 Within Latin America the situation of the Dominican Republic is not unusual in that European physical appearance and culture are placed at the top of its pyramid-shaped racial paradigm. However, the context in which the Dominican Republic has forged its racial pyramid is exceptional be-
10 • Introduction
cause it shares the same geographic space, the island of Hispaniola, with a Haitian population whom it perceives as the antithesis of its own racial makeup. Although not entirely accurate, this argument carries tremendous social, cultural, and—as the following chapters show—educational weight in the Dominican Republic. It is this racial and national identity master script that we argue is being challenged within the school materials, which reflect a similar growing tendency in the society at large.
Building the Master Script: School Curriculum and Critical Race Theory Through the lens of a critical theoretical approach—in particular, critical race theory—we analyze the construction of Dominican identity via the Haitian Other master script embedded in curricula in Dominican elementary schools. Critical race theory is a useful paradigm to frame and inform our understanding of how school curriculum can advance political and legal agendas rooted in racist propaganda. Although critical race theory has traditionally been employed by scholars to explore race and race-related phenomena in the United States, a strong case can be made for its applicability to Latin America. Indeed, one of the seminal and most heralded pieces of scholarship that explores how education can be used as a tool to foment ideas of social inferiority/superiority is rooted in critical theory and written from the perspective of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed takes a critical theoretical approach to “develop a perspective on education which is authentically his own and which seeks to respond to the concrete realities of Latin America.” Critical theory guides critical race theory in its aim to explore the intersectionality of race, politics, and law in society. We assert that most tenets of critical race theory can fittingly be applied to study topics of race and nation building in a context such as the Dominican Republic. Other scholars are also beginning to undertake this research endeavor. For example, Malinda Williams uses critical race theory to frame her investigation of the construction of race in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in Colorism in the Spanish Caribbean: Legacies of Race and Racism in Dominican and Puerto Rican Literature.27 We acknowledge that critical race theory emanated predominately from studies of legal institutions. It has, however, permeated other fields of study —most notably, education.28 Gloria Ladson-Billings, a leading scholar in the field of education, has traced the evolution of the introduction and expansion of critical race theory into the field of US-based education scholarship since its inception in 1994 by analyzing research that employs criti cal race theory as a paradigm.29 Research in this tradition has used critical
Introduction • 11
race theory as an underpinning in investigating school curriculum at the primary education level. The findings allow us to shed some light on how these forms are used to propagate the subordinate status of students of a darker skin color.30 As Gloria Ladson-Billings notes, “critical race theory sees the official school curriculum as a culturally specific artifact designed to maintain a White supremacist master script” (emphasis added).31 Ladson- Billings, citing Swartz (1992), asserts that this “master scripting” mutes the identities and stories and other voices while simultaneously legitimizing whiteness and elitism as the “standard” story students should know and believe.32 In analyzing social science curriculum in the Dominican Republic, we use critical race theory to help us understand that textbooks serve as a medium to communicate a complex message about pigmentocracy—a social hierarchy (or social pyramid) that links political, social, and economic superiority to a person’s skin color. We explore how social science textbooks used in Dominican schools navigate conveying the message that a pigmentocracy does exist but that countering forces exist as well. The concept of pigmentocracy, which is rooted in social dominance theory, views society as being constructed in a racial hierarchy linked to skin color. Whiteness is associated with being the dominant social group, mixed-race individuals with the middle ground, and blacks the subordinate social group. This concept further subscribes to the idea that a person can be situated at specific spots along this color scale based on phenotype. Scholarship has found that political leadership and elites in the Dominican Republic have historically subscribed to the idea that Dominican society is a pigmentocracy and the Dominican raza (race), despite its significant and prominently noticeable black African heritage, is situated closer to whiteness than blackness.33 Using critical race theory as our framework also facilitates our ability to unfold the past political and legal agendas of governing elites in the Dominican Republic and to unlock the nuance of an increasingly black- inclusive Dominican identity. In addition, this framework allows us to unveil some of the socially damaging effects the Haitian Other master script can have on children in the Dominican Republic—particularly children of Haitian ancestry. The framing of the racial pigmentocracy narrative in Do minican curriculum has been rooted in an attempt by governing elites in the country to ensure that the legitimate view of racial identity presented to Dominican youth is that of mixed-raceness—with an affinity for the white, Catholic, and Spanish elements of Dominican heritage. Why analyze social science textbooks to explore the construction of social identity? According to Richard Shuall, “There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education . . . functions as an instrument
12 • Introduction
which is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it.”34 One such educational instrument that is ubiquitously employed by public entities is actually a common “pedagogic device”—the textbook. In Power, Meaning, and Identity, Michael W. Apple lays the foundation for understanding the importance of textbook analysis in educational issues of race and ethnicity: “First, textbooks and other curriculum material provide levers to pry loose the complex connections among economy, politics (especially the state), and culture. . . . Further, they are the results of hegemonic and counterhegemonic relations and social movements involving multiple power relations.”35 Apple writes this in reference to the United States, but his words are equally applicable to the Dominican context. Some of the schoolbook materials used in the Dominican Republic reflect a stereotyped devaluation of the black, African-descended population in the Dominican Republic, manifested as the figure of the Haitian Other. Although an attempt is made to include that population in many of the texts, the portrayal is often based on stereotypes of the severely maligned Haitian population, whom many Dominicans would perceive as too close for comfort regard ing their own blackness. What are the central tenets of critical race theory? Critical race theory, at its core, confronts and challenges explanations and perspectives rooted in discourse that accepts the idea of white superiority and hegemony as a given.36 US scholar Cornel West calls critical race theory “the most excit ing development in contemporary legal studies . . . critical race theory compels us to confront critically the most explosive issue in American civilization: the historical centrality and complicity of law in upholding white supremacy.” Taylor presents a straightforward and concise overview of the development of critical race theory and its associated tenets. He notes that critical race theory developed in the 1970s and was inspired by a number of “founders,” among them Derrick Bell, Charles Lawrence, Lani Guinier, Richard Delgado, Mari Matsuda, Patricia Williams, and Kimberlé Crenshaw. Critical race theory is viewed as a confrontational and “oppositional” mode of analysis. It challenges the traditional view that the experiences of whites are the point of departure for understanding phenomena and, in lieu thereof, uses the experiences of people of color as a lens to investigate these same phenomena. Scholars who employ critical race theory make the experiences of people of black African ancestry the particular focus and unit of analysis in their research.37 Critical race theory accepts that racism is a real and everyday facet of life.38 Critical race theory presumes that racial discrimination must be accounted for, investigated, and explained to reach an understanding of so-
Introduction • 13
cietal outcomes, including social injustice, inequalities, and disenfranchisement. It is from these paradigmatic foundations that we base our analysis of the social construction of race in textbooks and other school curriculum in the Dominican Republic. Critical race theory assumes that the belief of white superiority/black inferiority is “so ingrained in the political and legal structures as to be almost unrecognizable. This normalization of expected, race-based practices in . . . education makes the racism that fuels it look ordinary and natural, to such a degree that oppression no longer seems like oppression to the perpetrators.”39 This tenet of critical race theory is also useful in guiding our investigation of the social construction of race through the use of textbooks and other school curricula in the Dominican Republic. Our data—specifically from document analysis—corroborate the assertion that racism is a real and everyday facet of life. As such, we expected to find that education in the Dominican Republic made the underlying racism toward Haitians and blackness embedded in textbooks and other modes of curriculum look ordinary and normal. We anticipated that such racism would be ubiquitous within and across types and modes of curriculum. We analyzed textbooks developed by the Ministry of Education in the Dominican Republic in longitudinal fashion. We focused on dialogues and exercises on Dominican nationality, the figures and representations of dominicanidad, and exercises on social aspects of Dominican life (such as occupations). We then analyzed other modes of Dominican curricula, in particular, biographies of important Dominican founding fathers and political leaders. The primary body of data used in this book emanates from analysis of the content of the official curricula in social science textbooks and biographies of political leaders and founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. Ladson-Billings notes that critical race theory views the official school curriculum as a “culturally specific artifact designed to maintain a White supremacist master script.” Ladson-Billings also argues that literature on criti cal race theory asserts that “master scripting silences multiple voices and perspectives, primarily legitimizing dominant, white, upper-class, male voic ing as the standard knowledge students need to know. All other accounts and perspectives are omitted from the master script unless they can be disempowered through misrepresentation. Thus, content that does not reflect the dominant voice must be brought under control, mastered and then reshaped before it can become a part of the master script.”40 We argue that the Haitian Other master script in Dominican social science education seeks to acknowledge the presence of blackness as a fundamental part of Dominican identity while simultaneously moderating it by elevating the importance of Dominicans’ white European ancestry,
14 • Introduction
thus creating an “us versus them” or, more precisely, “us versus the Other.” Guided by critical race theory, we elucidate the method by which this is done. According to Solorzano, critical race theory in education seeks to probe the forms racism takes in education and how these structures are used to maintain the idea of the subordinate status of people of color. One way is through racial stereotyping—an exaggerated belief associated with a category; its function is to justify conduct in relation to that category. Racial stereotypes can be categorized in three broad rubrics: (1) intelligence and educational stereotypes, (2) personality or character stereotypes, and (3) physical appearance stereotypes. Critical race theory informs us that such stereotypes, as often propagated in the Dominican Republic, can justify Dominicans’ low expectations of Haitians and presumption that Haitians will occupy lesser types and levels of occupations.41
The Politics of Textbook Creation and Adoption The process and procedures used to educate children are rarely a completely neutral endeavor. This is particularly true with regard to the creation of educational materials in the fields of social science and history. The textbook authors may ostensibly serve as mere redactors of volumes containing substantive bodies of knowledge. However, there is an inherent selection bias involved in deciding what material should be included and what excluded, how that material will be presented, and to what extent it should be emphasized. Textbook materials are often crafted with a particular agenda in mind and laden with political propaganda. There are anecdotes that illustrate this. The first emanates from the United States. In the 1980 case Loewen v. Turnipseed, 488 F. Supp. 1138, the US District Court, North ern District of Mississippi, found that the state’s “rating committee,” whose job it was to appraise and recommend textbooks for use in a required high school course on Mississippi history, had rejected Mississippi: Conflict and Change for no justifiable reason. The book touched upon white ideological justifications for slavery, referred to the Klu Klux Klan as an instrument of terror, chronicled the many lynchings that took place in the state, and presented other “controversial” topics.42 The court found that legislative history of the passage of the state’s textbook law demonstrated a political intent. The court argued that the textbook vetting and adoption process reflected an attempt “on the part of the legislature to eliminate allegedly controversial material from the schools’ curriculum and to insure that only the views of those in authority would be communicated to schoolchildren . . . and an even more adamant intent on the part of the Legislature to insure that textbook selection reflected the
Introduction • 15
predominant racial attitudes of the day.” The court also found that the governor of Mississippi sought to advance the office’s political agenda by signing the textbook selection process into law. The court pointed to the following words made by the governor in his support of the bill: “Failure of the House to act favorable [sic] upon this bill will, I very much fear, hamper our efforts to clean up our public school textbooks and give our children the instructional material they must have if they are to be properly informed of the Southern and true American way of life.” Additionally, the court found that the process of textbook approval was designed to give the governor of Mississippi legal authority to control, without responsibility to a higher authority, textbooks selected for use in Mississippi schools and thereby influence the schools’ curriculum.43 Viewed through the lens of critical race theory and juxtaposed to the Dominican case presented in this book, Loewen illustrates how political leaders and governing elites can use school curricula to advance self-serving political and legal agendas. The textbook adoption process in the Domini can Republic is governed by both statutory and informal rules of procedure. The primary body of law affecting textbook creation and adoption is Law No. 66 of 1997, General Law of Education. Article 76 states that the National Council of Education is the supreme decision-making body with regard to education policy and—together with the Minister of Education and the Minister of Culture—is in charge of establishing the general orientation of Dominican education in its levels of competency. Article 78 mandates that the functions and attributes of the National Council of Education include approval of the curriculum at different levels and declaring which are basic textbooks and which are complementary textbooks or reference books. Article 101 equips the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture with the power to promote the diffusion, conservation, and enrichment of the intellectual and literary production of the country by way of supporting the production and distribution, national and international, of the Dominican story. Both ministries are also given the power to register and protect intellectual property with respect to textbooks. The actual protocol used by the Dominican Republic’s National Council of Education and Ministry of Education in textbook adoption is elusive. A thorough review of literature, guidelines, protocol, and handbooks proved to be quite limited. To glean some insight into this process, we interviewed a retired Dominican educator with thirty-two years of experience as a professor and sixteen years as a public school director. We asked about the informal processes involved in public school textbook adoption in the Do minican Republic. This educator opined that “various approval procedures for textbooks exist—one implemented by the National Council of Educa-
16 • Introduction
tion and one established by friends of the council and friends of politicians having an interest in the approval process. For a textbook author who does not have connections within government, it would be necessary to have a ‘political sponsor’—without which approval would not be possible.” Critical race theory views race and racism as structural and pervasive and as having a cumulative impact on both the individual and the collective group.44 When students are taught constructs of stereotypical and prejudicial racial identity and social stratification at a young, impressionable age, the effects, reaching far beyond the classroom, can be cognitively inconspicuous. For example, numerous scholars have found that children growing up in a segregated society in the US South learned that blacks were inferior to whites. David R. Goldfield, citing Ferrol Sams, finds that the “Southern white child was subliminally convinced of his superiority by the time of being four and five years old.”45 Subliminal assuredness of the inferiority of blacks and superiority of whites is a dangerous prospect. Such subliminal thinking patterns can trigger applied patterns of discriminatory social conduct that flow into various sectors of public life. When Do minican youth are inculcated into the Dominican narrative of white superiority and black inferiority at the elementary school level, there are several potentially deleterious effects, particularly for children of Haitian ancestry. When Dominican schoolchildren grow up they become the educated class—the country’s politicians, bureaucrats, political party leaders, school teachers, social workers, and so forth. These positions of authority are imbued with critical decision-making power that can be wielded to the advantage or disadvantage of Haitians and Dominicans of black African descent. The events surrounding Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic began on October 28, 1998, when a petition was filed to the Inter-American Commision. Dilcia Yean, age ten months, and Violeta Bosico, age twelve years, were born in the Dominican Republic to mothers who were born in the country and had documentary evidence to demonstrate their Dominican nationality. Both mothers went to the civil registry to obtain copies of their daughters’ birth certificates. The civil registry denied the mothers’ request on the grounds that both mothers were of Haitian descent. The civil registry demanded that the mothers provide a list of documents (which were impossible to obtain) to prove they were entitled to Dominican nationality.46 Legally, the civil registry’s demand for documentaion was valid. The Do minican constitution granted nationality to anyone born in the country. However, the constitution excluded from Dominican citizenship children born to people “in transit.”47 Under the country’s immigration law, Haitian migrants were deemed to be in transit so their children, though born in the Dominican Republic, were not eligible for Dominican citizenship.
Introduction • 17
Without birth certificates the girls could not enroll in school, would not be able to obtain a cédula (national identity card) at age eighteen, and would not be entitled to the other rights and benefits of Dominican citizenship. They also faced the possibility of deportation. The impact of the decision- making power exercised by the civil registry in Yean and Bosico is of particular importance for our investigation. A bureaucrat concluded that Yean and Bosico were not entitled to birth certificates because of their mothers’ Haitian ancestry, even though both mothers had been born in the Domini can Republic. That bureaucrat, no doubt of Dominican nationality since the position is reserved for Dominican citizens, exercised decision-making power that illustrates how inculcation in the constructs of stereotypical and prejudicial racial identity and social stratification can have deleterious effects that extend beyond the classroom setting.48 The framing of a narrative of black inferiority and white superiority in Dominican curriculum can instill in darker-skinned students a sense of inadequacy and self-loathing. Critical race theory informs us that such sentiments can engender low educational and occupational expectations, which in turn can lead to social and economic ills (e.g., poverty, dependence upon welfare, criminal behavior).49 This logic was the foundation for the legal argument made in the 1952 consolidated US Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case of Briggs v. Elliott, 342 US 350. The petitioners argued that “children who are subjected to an obviously inferior status in the society in which they live have been definitely harmed in the development of their personalities; that the signs of instability in their personalities are clear; . . . it is the kind of injury which would be as enduring or lasting as the situation endured, changing only in its form and in the way it manifests itself.” This logic influenced the US Supreme Court in the 1954 landmark case Brown v. Board of Education 347 US 483. The court held that segregation “generates a feeling of inferiority as to [black children’s] status in the community that may affect [children’s] hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”50 In applying that logic to Dominican curriculum, we argue that the imagery, character trait attributions to such images, and folkloric talks laden with racial superiority propaganda can cause children with darker skin to formulate a sense of enduring inferiority that is unlikely to be undone. The Dominican Republic is no stranger to the complexities of imagery used to foment ideas relative to a race-based thesis. The purpose has been to illustrate the constructs of Dominican racial identity and prove that racial favoritism does not exist in the country. However, many scholars, includ ing Julie A. Sellers, argue that the Dominican Republic fails in its attempt to appear racially unbiased. Sellers, discussing artifacts at the Museo del
18 • Introduction
Hombre Dominicano (Museum of the Dominican Man), says: “Another simultaneous attempt to exclude and include certain elements of Domini can ethnicity is a display of . . . typical Dominican dolls. The most intriguing aspect of the dolls is that they are faceless. Dominicans are quick to explain that the dolls have no face because the Dominican as such has no single face—he or she is a mix of three cultures. Interestingly, the dolls’ skin is always a bronze color reminiscent of the Taíno and never black.”51 The framing of the black inferiority/white superiority narrative in Do minican school curriculum can also stunt or even preclude the development of a black Pan-African group consciousness and solidarity for black Dominicans and Haitians at its nascent stages in childhood social development. Group consciousness refers to the extent to which people identify as members of a racial group; solidarity signifies the degree to which people believe they share a common experience with other people of the same racial group. Research has found that blacks in the United States who have lower levels of racial group consciousness have participated in politi cal activities at a lower rate than those with a higher sense of group consciousness.52 Charles P. Henry and Carlos Muñoz Jr. also found that Afri can Americans who have strong group consciousness engage the political process as a mechanism to address racial discrimination and at times participate at rates higher than whites.53 Applying these findings to our study, we argue that, when unchallenged, the Haitian Other master script acts to divide, to create the we and the Other. Because of this, black Domini can and Haitian youth are not likely to share a sense of group conscious ness or solidarity. However, we show that a more nuanced reading of some of the materials demonstrates that this master script is being “unmastered” and rescripted to reflect what Simmons refers to as a “reconstruction” of African identity that pushes back on the Trujillo-era definition of dominicanidad. The result, as informed by critical race theory, is a multilayered understanding of Dominican identity that reveals a concretely included, yet strained, relationship to blackness—one that mirrors contemporary Dominican society.
Organization of the Book In Unmastering the Script we provide an in-depth analysis of our Haitian Other master script thesis. We do so from multiple perspectives. Chapter 1, “La Trinitaria: The Elevation of Whiteness and Normalization of a Pigmentocracy in Dominican Society,” is an analysis of school-based biographical discourse surrounding the Dominican Republic’s most revered national heroes. The chapter focuses on the three men who made up La
Introduction • 19
Trinitaria, a secret society organized in 1838 to foster a movement for independence from Haiti and the establishment of the Dominican Republic as a sovereign nation. The chapter taps into a series of Dominican national hero biographies for young students titled Colección biografías dominicanas. Chapter 1 demonstrates that despite the presence of “the great man theory,” popularized by nineteenth-century writer and social scientist Thomas Carlyle, which frames much of the discourse surrounding La Trinitaria, Pedro Santana, and Gregorio Luperón, the story of the nation’s birth can only be fully comprehended with the realization that these “great men” laid the groundwork for legitimizing the pigmentocracy racial structure and idea of the social dominance of whiteness still present in the country, whether intentionally or not. In their own time as well as now, these leaders are symbols along a racial continuum that later political forces have used to explain why Haiti’s black African ancestry is bad but the Dominican Republic’s is not. This framing was not part of the original paradigm of the La Trinitaria but it became that in later decades. This chapter shows how the texts employ an extreme emphasis on the men’s personal character and “greatness” to establish and legitimatize their hero status and to cement each man’s place in the hierarchy of the Dominican pigmentocracy. Examples include (1) explanations of family and racial background, (2) assertions of origi nality of endeavor, (3) judgments of personal character and attributes, and (4) details of educational accomplishments. Chapter 2, “Truth and Trujillo: A Critical Approach to Studying the Trujillo Dictatorship,” examines how Ciencias sociales: octavo grado (Social Sciences: Eighth Grade) produced by Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Cultura presents lessons on the three-decades-long dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. In sharp contrast to the blatantly biased biographies of Balaguer and Peña Gómez, the readings, activities, and student workshops presented in Ciencias sociales: octavo grado reflect a foundation of critical thinking and a strong emphasis on outside resources from the wider Dominican community. Examples include Trujillo’s relationship with Haiti and Haitian sugarcane laborers, the political propaganda of the Trujillo regime, and the politically motivated killing of the three Mirabal sisters, María Teresa, Patria, and Minerva. The activities in this textbook reject unquestioned anti-Haitian attitudes and portrayals of Haiti and Haitians as Other, representing an inherent enemy and threat to Dominican identity. The lessons ask students to consider political and cultural motivations for such attitudes fostered during the Trujillo regime and to identify their possible impact on contemporary Dominican society and popular attitudes. Chapter 3, “The ‘Masters’ of the Script: Joaquín Balaguer, José Francisco Peña Gómez, and the Anti-Haitian Nation,” examines the portrayal
20 • Introduction
of D ominican politicians Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez in biographical texts published in 2006 for classroom use. The school material sources are Belarminio Ramírez Morillo’s Joaquín Balaguer: biografía para escolares (Joaquín Balaguer: Biography for School Children) and Peña Gó mez: sus orígenes (Peña Gómez: His Origins) by Osvaldo Santana. We demonstrate how those texts follow the structure for national hero narratives as presented in chapter 1 and manipulate the image of the Haitian Other, albeit in different ways. Joaquín Balaguer’s narrative uses the figure of the Haitian Other as a threat from which he will protect Dominican identity. Peña Gómez uses the figure to document his humble beginnings and the inclusivity of Dominican identity. The two juxtaposed figures offer a modern-day insight into the pervasiveness of the Haitian Other master script and the emphasis placed on the elevation and advancement of the white, European legacy of the racial ancestry of Dominicans by influential and historically important Dominican political leaders. Chapter 4, “Dominican National Identity: Social Science Textbooks and the Boundaries of Blackness,” examines a variety of lessons and activities included in social science textbooks designed for grades two, three, and five. Ciencias sociales: segundo grado (Social Sciences: Second Grade) by Danilda Pérez et al., Ciencias sociales: tercer grado (Social Sciences: Third Grade) by Danilda Pérez et al., and Ciencias sociales: quinto grado (Social Sciences: Fifth Grade) by Ana Daisy García G., were all published in 1997 with the approval of the national Ministry of Education. The curricular exercises in the textbooks reflect a popular perspective on national identity in the Do minican Republic that carefully balances the inclusion of blackness as a part of its own racial heritage while excluding a commonality with Haitian blackness. Our analysis is generated using three organizational themes: (1) blackness represents less desirable social status; (2) blackness can be prevented through blanqueamiento (whitening); and (3) blackness is represented by negative and exaggerated stereotypes. We use these same themes to analyze more recent publications approved by the Ministry of Education. Specifically, we consider how recent textbooks present the same content using a shared set of visual and linguistic cues. The final chapter, “Color, Classrooms, and the Haitian Other,” returns to our book’s overarching question: How does the figure of the Haitian Other help tell the story of Dominican history and identity in Dominican schoolbooks? We reiterate the vital role Haiti plays in the school materials’ pedagogical discourse on Dominican history and identity. Haiti and Haitians are frequently presented as an “othered” entity against which the books can reflect a mirror-image, Hispanicized narrative about itself. The figure of the
Introduction • 21
Haitian Other proves just as important in defining Dominican-ness even in instances when it is not being used negatively. We emphasize that using critical race theory to study school materials offers a deep understanding of the Dominican nation, identity, and the Haitian Other. Despite its often- maligned characterization, the figure of the Haitian Other is a necessary factor in the presentations of dominicanidad. Seemingly, Dominicans cannot know who they are unless they know who they are not. Finally, we offer some thoughts and perspectives on the future development of culturally relevantly pedagogy in the Dominican Republic by exploring evolving curriculum standards developed by the Ministry of Education.
1 La Trinitaria The Elevation of Whiteness and Normalization of a Pigmentocracy in Dominican Society Authors of Dominican textbooks face the daunting task of presenting the complex story of the country’s national identity to young readers. Materials used in the country’s primary schools attempt to construct the narrative building blocks of Dominican history, culture, and national identity. To the fundamental inquiry of “who are we as a nation of people?” students recieve a school-sanctioned explanation. Textbook authors decide who will be the leading characters in this story of national identity and how these central figures will be portrayed to students. In the Dominican Republic, the foundational lessons of what it means to be Dominican are partly rooted in biographies of the country’s founding fathers or, as we characterize them, great men. The biographies analyzed in this chapter teach schoolchildren in the Dominican Republic that these national heroes represent, ideologically, what it means to be a patriotic and loyal Dominican and set a standard that Dominicans should strive to emulate. The ascension of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic to the status of great men lays the groundwork for the formation and legitimization of the pigmentocracy racial structure and idea of the social dominance of whiteness that pervades the country’s social strata. The biographies of these leaders create a folklore by which Dominicans can rationalize why the country’s former colonizer, Haiti—with its pervasive black African vestiges—represents negative attributes such as aggression, encroachment, and occupation. They also provide a logic by which the country’s sizable African-descended population can situate their own black ancestry within the broader context of loyalty to the nation. This is accomplished by the pervasive and ubiquitous inculcation of Dominicans into a pigmentocracy narrative. These stories also form the basis for socially constructed ideas of
La Trinitaria • 23
the social dominance of whiteness, what it means to be patriotic and loyal to the Dominican nation, and the criteria for citizenship. We analyze school-based biographical discourse surrounding the Do minican Republic’s most revered national heroes. In particular, we examine the three men who make up La Trinitaria, a secret society organized in 1838 to foster independence from Haiti and the establishment of the Do minican Republic as a sovereign nation. The biographies examined in this chapter are of Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella, and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez. We illustrate how Duarte, Mella, and Sánchez are framed as great men, in similar fashion to the great man theory popularized by the nineteenth-century Scottish writer and social scientist Thomas Carlyle. We argue that the elevation of these founding fathers to hero status in the history of the nation’s birth is a critical component of the pigmentocracy narrative that undergirds the Haitian Other master script.
History’s Great Men and the Telling of a Nation’s Past Thomas Carlyle put forth his great man theory of history and leadership in his 1840 book On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, a collection of six public lectures he gave in May 1840. Carlyle categorizes heroes and presents examples of each throughout history. Carlyle discusses the hero as divinity, prophet, priest, man of letters, and king. In the opening pages of the book, Carlyle explains why great men are the key to understanding the history of a nation: They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modelers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the practical realization and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world’s history, it may justly be considered, were the history of these. Too clearly it is a topic we shall do no justice to in this place! One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profit able company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world: and this not as a kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary shining by the gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original
24 • Chapter 1
insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness;—in whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them. On any terms whatsoever, you will not grudge to wander in such neighborhood for a while.1 The utility of Carlyle’s great man theory for our analysis is conditioned by our recognition that Herbert Spencer, in the 1870s, countered Carlyle’s emphasis on the impact of great men by arguing great men are products of their societies. Nevertheless, recent scholarship applies Carlyle’s great man theory within the context of Latin American and Caribbean politics for the specific purpose of conceptualizing the indelible impact of caudillos (military strongmen) on the evolution of the state and civil society. We employ the great man theory for that same purpose. Carlyle’s approach to understanding history through the stories of leading historical figures serves as a revelatory perspective to understanding the full weight of the Tobogán biography series. The primary objective of the texts, and for the publication house generally, is to instill a strong sense of national pride in young readers by framing what knowledge is needed to be “good” Dominicans. The objectives section of the Tobogán website reads: “Visión que privilegia la exaltación de nuestro pasado histórico, el rescate de nuestro [sic] mejores valores culturales, la defensa de la niñez, el uso racional de nuestros recursos naturales no renovables, identificarse, querer y valorar los 48,000 kilómetros cuadrados, que configuran eso que se denomina nación dominicana. . . . Desarollar el valor nacional en el niño, es uno de los objetivos prioritarios que asume Tobogán como tarea.” (Vision that prioritizes excitement about our historical past, recovery of our best cultural values, the defense of childhood, the sensible use of our nonrenewable natural resources, to identify, love and value the 48,000 square kilometers that are called the Dominican nation. . . . Developing national pride in the child is one of Tobogán’s primary objectives.)2 When the biographies of Duarte, Sánchez, and Mella are analyzed through the lens of Carlyle’s great man framework, the resonance of their stories takes on a new depth. The author, Dominican historian Roberto Cassá, draws an informal template for the designation “hero.” Cassá’s descriptions of family and ethnic background, originality of endeavor, positive judgments of personal character, and educational accomplishments echo Carlyle’s premise. To understand La Trinitaria is to understand oneself as a Dominican. Duarte, as the most important figure, sets the foundational standard of dominicanidad with a Spanish family background. He demonstrated intelligence, self-sacrifice, and a desire to liberate the country from Haiti. Sánchez represents hard work, a desire to reflect Dominican cultural
La Trinitaria • 25
aspirations, and, maybe most importantly, how one’s black African ancestry can be positively moderated. Mella provides an example of courage and a willingness to make difficult decisions for the benefit of the country, while simultaneously reminding readers that even heroes—and Dominicans— may not be perfect. Carlyle placed exceeding emphasis on the “look” of a hero as physical evidence of greatness. The cover art of each Tobogán biography and the text’s illustrations show the shared approach to defining heroes. In the introduction to a later edition of Carlyle’s work, Goldberg writes, “Physiognomy lay at the heart of his interest in portraiture and it furnishes a guide to his approach to the pictures he offered of his heroes. It is, in many ways, the animating principle of his treatment of the subject of his 1840 lectures. For this reason the illustrations included in this volume not only reflect the importance Carlyle attached to pictorial reference but also have an intimate bearing on the text itself.”3 The portrait of Duarte must reflect the kind of hero depicted in his biography. The cover illustration shows him as a well-dressed, European- descended, thoughtful man. Sánchez is drawn to reflect his black African ancestry and his refined dress and carriage. Mella, with a skin tone somewhere between Duarte and Sánchez, is in military uniform. Carlyle’s great man theory, underpinned by the dual elements of un assailable personal greatness and its corresponding “look” of heroism, provides a framework for understanding the weight of the message about Do minican national identity and history set forth in the biographies. The theory reveals the tremendously powerful combination of prose and portrait in the biographies of national heroes that paint a picture of Dominican identity for students. The intersection of race, skin hues, and social dominance, which problematize the issue of national identity in this context, is what the Tobogán hero biographies attempt to unravel. Cassá’s template for La Trinitaria subtly situates color, class, belonging, and social mobility as vital pieces to stories of La Trinitaria and builds the foundation for understanding the Dominican nation in a new way, which reflects Simmons’s notion of “reconstructing” racial identity in contemporary Dominican society.
Great Men and the Function of Social Dominance Social dominance theory argues that human social systems tend to organize themselves as group-based hierarchies. Dominant groups at the top of the social structure enjoy a disproportionate share of positive social value whereas subordinate groups suffer from a disproportionate share of negative social value. Social dominance theorists argue that dominants should
26 • Chapter 1
consequently feel a greater sense of entitlement and prerogative over the nation and the organs of the state.4 Elites have a vested interest in maintaining their hegemony. In a country such as the Dominican Republic, where the vast majority of people have some degree of black African ancestry, elites have navigated the challenge of simultaneously elevating whiteness while denigrating and moderating blackness. This process of reconstructing and unburying an African past in Do minican racial and national identity presents potential perils in navigating black racial identity in Hispaniola. A key premise is to recognize that the vast majority of Dominicans have some black African ancestry and many Dominicans’ skin phenotype is similar in hue to that of many Haitians. This shared black African ancestry could potentially lead many Dominicans to adopt a sense of linked fate, group consciousness, and solidarity with Haitians. The social construction of racial and national identity in the Do minican Republic has historically faced the challenge of explaining why blackness as represented by Haitian-ness is inferior, whereas blackness as represented by Dominican-ness is qualitatively superior. This is the where the pigmentocracy narrative is critical. That narrative creates the necessary social construct to foment the idea that the black African ancestry of Do minicans has been positively moderated by the infusion of white European and indigenous (Taíno) bloodlines and is therefore racially distinct from the black African ancestry of Haitians. Dominicans with brown and black skin hues (which includes most of the population) are inculcated to subscribe to the pigmentocracy narrative and believe that they are something closer on the skin hue scale to whiteness (being indio). Depicting the country as a racial pigmentocracy, a logic exists to rationalize the identity and importance of the individual members of La Trinitaria—as well as rank them in order of historical significance. From this, Dominicans can connect themselves to the founding fathers and socially construct a sense of belonging and patriotism to the Dominican nation. Conversely, Haitians, although they share black African ancestry, are deemed to lack the positive moderation of mixed-raceness and, therefore, are excluded from the same.
Dominican National Hero Biographies The biographies of the country’s founding fathers employ an extreme emphasis on the men’s personal character and “greatness” to establish and legitimize their hero status. This highly structured focus reveals how social dominance theory and the pigmentocracy concept undergird the Haitian Other master script. By using social dominance theory and the pigmentocracy construct as a lens to analyze the biographies of La Trinitaria, one can
La Trinitaria • 27
Figure 1.1. Portrait of Juan Pablo Duarte, Dominican national hero, Father of the Country, and founder of La Trinitaria, a secret political society formed to end Haitian occupation of the Dominican Republic. It is on the cover of Juan Pablo Duarte: El padre de la patria, a biography for children by Roberto Cassá.
see the specific and unique path into Dominican identity that each member of La Trinitaria represents. Juan Pablo Duarte represents whiteness, social dominance, and the prototypical patriot (figure 1.1). The Duarte biography emphasizes his Spanish background, his position as the son of a well-off businessman, and his above-average intelligence. He was also a patriot who was made uneasy with the Haitian occupation given how much he had to lose at the hands of the invading Haitian forces. Social dominance theory and the pigmentocracy concept further guide our understanding of how people having mixed black African and white European ancestry are placed in the middle of the racial hierarchy. This social status is portrayed by Sánchez and Mella, both of whose skin phenotypes reflect their mixed black African and white European ancestry. Sánchez is portrayed as a person with whom many Dominicans can identify because of his mixed race appearance, Spanish ancestry, and the fact he came from a rather modest background. Sánchez is not portrayed as the
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perfect patriot. Instead, he is shown as an idealized citizen who, through his own desires and a close alignment to whiteness (as embodied by his professional and social alliance to Duarte), made himself into a patriot. Mella (figure 1.2) is also of mixed black African and white European ancestry— but less discernibly so than Sánchez. Sánchez is an inspirational figure in a key moment of national crisis who provides a vivid snapshot of Dominican valor and dedication to national sovereignty (figure 1.3). Duarte’s biography is the most overt in its attempt to foment the idea of greatness and social dominance. For Sánchez and Mella, five common elements are central to the stories of these men as national heroes: (1) explanations of family and ethnic background, (2) assertions of originality of endeavor, (3) positive judgments of personal character, (4) educational accomplishments, and (5) alignment with the white patriotic Dominican elite (specifically, D uarte). Sánchez and Mella are human symbols with whom most Dominicans can identify in attempting to reconcile their black African ancestry with the supposed inferiority of the black African ancestry of Haitians. All three biographies tighten the threads of nation and identity that connect the three men to each other and to their right to bear the title “hero.” Duarte, Sánchez, and Mella are heroes for different reasons, but their stories of heroism are built with similar tools.
Juan Pablo Duarte: The Greatest Dominican Hero As the founding member of La Trinitaria, Duarte is commonly referred to as the father of the Dominican Republic. Schools, museums, streets, and bridges throughout the country carry his name, attesting to his importance in Dominican history. Our task is to uncover how Duarte’s biography explains why he deserves to be called the father of his country. We posit what the narrative recipe is for presenting a national hero in a Do minican schoolbook. Descriptions of his family, originality/innovative nature, character, and education are present in the Duarte text and establish a structure that also frames the descriptions of Sánchez and Mella. The same holds true for a number of other historical figures that are part of the same biography series. Duarte is shown to represent what Dominican society simultaneously aspires to be, thinks itself to be, and wants to project to others—the embodiment of idealized patriotism and a prototypical citizen that reflects the essence of all that is positive about the Dominican Republic. He has a Spanish family background, he is the original founding member of La Trinitaria, his virtue and moral compass are described in superlative terms, and his academic training and evident intelligence are a key part of his overall greatness as the hallmark of Dominican identity. His phenotype is characteristic of whiteness. The extremely laudatory tone
Figure 1.2. Portrait of Ramón Matías Mella, Dominican national hero and founding member of La Trinitaria, a secret political society formed to end Haitian occupation of the Dominican Republic. This is on the cover of Matías Ramón Mella: El patriotismo hecho acción, a biography for children by Roberto Cassá.
Figure 1.3. Portrait of Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, Dominican national hero and founding member of La Trinitaria, a secret political society formed to end Haitian occupation of the Domini can Republic. On the cover of Fundador de la república, a biography for children by Roberto Cassá.
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of Duarte’s portrayal is established early in the text in the chapter titled “The Greatness of Duarte.” “La capacidad innovadora de Duarte se explica porque fue un ser superior, dotado de una constitución moral inquebrantable, que se propuso sacrificarlo todo en aras de su ideal y no transigió con soluciones mediatizadas.” (The innovative ability of Duarte is explained by his being a superior being, gifted with an unbreakable moral constitution; he intended to sacrifice everything for the sake of his ideals and not tolerate constrained solutions.)5 The description of Duarte continues: “Esta entrega incondicional a la causa nacional lo eleva hasta hoy al ejemplo superior de las virtudes cívicas y morales que deben concretarse en un orden político y social que erradique la opresión y la desigualdad.” (This unconditional devotion to the national cause elevates him even today as the greatest example of the civic and moral virtues that should be embodied within a political and social order that eradicates oppression and inequality.)6 Duarte’s biography immediately positions him as a heroic figure, unquestionably righteous, who sacrificed himself for the cause of the Do minican nation. There would be no Dominican Republic but for Juan Pablo Duarte. In glowing terms, he is set forth as the “padre de la patria” (father of the homeland) in the story of the Dominican Republic because of the strength of his own greatness. Not only are his actions shown to be exemplary but his very being, his essential nature, is fundamental to establishing his role as “padre de la patria.” Duarte’s family background is also an important element in his biography. “Duarte nació el 26 de enero de 1813, cuando todavía existía el dominio español. Su padre, Juan José Duarte, era un acomodado comerciante nacido en España, y su madre, Manuela Diez, había nacido en el Seybo descendiente de españoles.” (Duarte was born on January 26, 1813, when Spanish rule still existed. His father, Juan José Duarte, was a well-off busi nessman born in Spain, and his mother, Manuela Diez, was born in Seybo as a descendant of Spaniards.)7 Within a cultural, ethnic, and political framework that places Haiti and the Dominican Republic as diametric opposites, an emphasis on white European and Spanish characteristics is intended to highlight the country’s difference from Haiti—a country with a black African, French creole– language and history. It stands to reason that the most important historical figure in the formation of Dominican identity should embody the opposite of the perceived Haitian Other—one’s ancestry being primarily of white Spanish ancestry versus that of black African heritage. Duarte’s education is also emphasized in the text: “Su capacidad se vio rápidamente colocada por encima del medio, lo que le permitió iniciar una
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labor educativa de algunos amigos, casi todos del mismo círculo social de familias de raigambre urbana, ascendencia colonial y española y en las cuales, por lo tanto, bullía un espíritu de inconformidad con el dominio haitiano.” (His above-average ability quickly became apparent, which allowed him to begin a study group made up of friends, almost all of them from the same social circles of urban colonial families of Spanish descent, within whom rumbled a sense of discomfort with the Haitian occupation.)8 The assertion that the most important figure in Dominican history was smart and well educated is not unexpected. Critical race theory informs and guides this reality. The aim is to portray the Dominican nation as an outgrowth of education and intelligence. While the narrative does not explicitly state that Haitians are uneducated, students could be left with the impression that Duarte’s decision to create a separate group stemmed from a desire to distance himself from non-Dominicans. Thus, by implication, all that is associated with Haiti can be easily conflated with an essential lack of sophistication and education. Duarte’s originality and determination are also key factors in his description. He veered from the predictable and politically conservative life that awaited him at home after his return from a three-year stay in the United States and Europe. The freedom he saw others enjoying, coupled with the humilation of being treated as a subject of Spain during his travels, cemented his urge to seek a new path for himself and his countrymates where they could live as Dominicans free from the Haitian rule they endured during the period known as España Boba (Foolish Spain): “Pero lo que pudo haber sido una reacción tradicionalista en esos jóvenes, gracias a Duarte se encaminó hacia la conformación del primer núcleo democrático y nacional de la historia dominicana.” (But what could have been a traditionalist reaction in those young men, thanks to Duarte, launched the beginning of the first democratic and national core of Dominican history.)9 Duarte’s exceptionalism was capable of bringing liberty and democracy to the Dominican Republic. Duarte’s essence, all that he represents, is the foundation for Dominican identity. What Duarte did is just as important as the idea that only he could do it.
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez: The “Colorful” Dominican Hero The description of Rosario Sánchez is similar to that of Duarte. With regard to his family background: “Sánchez se contó entre los pocos fundadores de la sociedad La Trinitaria que no era de color blanco y no provenía de un hogar de la típica clase media urbana.” (Sánchez is counted among the few founders of the La Trinitaria society that were not white and did
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not come from a typical middle-class urban household.)10 Sánchez’s dark skin is mentioned immediately. The cover portrait for the short biography reveals that he was to some degree of black African descent (see figure 1.3). The first order of business his narrative must address is to situate his family background within a clear and acceptable Dominican framework. The text continues: “Todavía la madre de Sánchez, Olaya del Rosario, era catalogada de parda libre en documentos anteriores a 1822. El t érmino pardo se utilizaba entonces para designar al mulato de condición humilde, de ascendientes esclavos no muy lejanos. La situación del padre, Narciso Sánchez (Señó Narcisazo) era todavía más evidente en ese sentido: de tez negra, parece que los antepasados esclavos estaban en la memoria familiar.” (Yet Sánchez’s mother, Olaya del Rosario, was listed as parda libre in documents prior to 1822. The term “pardo” was used to distinguish between a mulatto of modest standing, from recent slave ancestry. The situation of the father, Narciso Sánchez [Señór Narcisazo], was further evident in that sense: black skin, seeming that the slave ancestors were in the family memory.)11 With that passage, the text finally puts all the cards on the table with regard to Sánchez’s family. They are not purely European. They have black African blood, and it shows. After this rather unsurprising revelation, the text immediately begins to qualify this detail: “Un detalle que ilustra acerca de la condición social de los padres de Sánchez es que su relación inicial fue de concubinato, a pesar de que la madre tenía ascendiente canario.” (A detail that illustrates the social condition of Sánchez’s parents is that their initial relationship was that of living together without being married, despite the fact that the mother had ancestors from the Canary Islands.)12 It is not clear what piece of information in this sentence is actually the most important—knowing that Sánchez’s parents spent much of their relationship unmarried or that his mother can lay distant and undocumented claim to a relative born in Spanish territory. Although his European credentials are thin, Sánchez can nonetheless clearly be associated with the foundational virtues of the Dominican Republic by way of his desire to promote a Spanish ideal and to reflect other necessary Dominican hero characteristics, showing that desire can outweigh heritage in the path leading to hero status. This connection is drawn in descriptions about religion, education, and intelligence. Next, Sánchez’s religious credentials are mentioned: “El móvil de los trinitarios consistía en establecer un régimen democrático-liberal, pero tam bién estaban apegados a aspectos de la tradición hispánica, como el catolicismo.” (The Trinity’s motive consisted of establishing a democratic-liberal
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system, but they were also devoted to aspects of Hispanic tradition, like Catholicism.)13 Then education and intelligence are addressed: “A pesar de sus orígenes humildes, obtuvo una educación fuera de serie gracias al cuidado de su madre y, en especial, de su tía María Trinidad Sánchez. Aprendió a tocar instrumentos musicales, al igual que algunos de sus hermanos, y luego hizo estudios de inglés con Mister Groot y de filosofía y latín con Nicolás Lugo. Más allá de lo inculcado por su familia, Sánchez mantuvo un esfuerzo por educarse, lo que constituyó la clave de su destacada acción patriótica. Fue autodidacta, al igual que casi todos sus compañeros, ya que en el país no exístian centros de educación superior.” (Despite his humble beginnings, he obtained an exceptional education thanks to his mother’s care and especially to that of his Aunt María Trinidad Sánchez. He learned to play musical instruments, as did some of his other siblings, and later studied English with Mister Groot and philosophy and Latin with Nicolás Lugo. Beyond the training provided by his family, Sánchez continued his efforts to educate himself, which became the key to his distinguished patriotic action. He was self-taught, as were almost all of his contemporaries, given that no centers of higher education existed at the time.)14 The biography draws both a literal and symbolic picture of Sánchez as a Dominican hero. The book’s front cover presents his physical connection to a black African or enslaved family background (see figure 1.3). This same picture also serves to create a symbolic place for blackness within the newly established Dominican nation and burgeoning identity in that his blackness is appropriately contextualized so that his color becomes less important than his desire to acquire an education, to assimilate into Spanish culture and adopt its religious values, and to be guided by the weightier hero, Juan Pablo Duarte. Sánchez’s transformation is descibed: “Durante varios años se benefició de una relación estrecha con Duarte, en los cuales se nutrió de las enseñanzas del padre de la patria. Sánchez probó ser uno de los integrantes más dinámicos y capaces de la constelación de los jóvenes patriotas que fundaron la República.” (Over several years, he benefited from a close relationship with Duarte, during which he nourished himself with the teachings of the father of the country. Sánchez proved to be one of the most dynamic and capable elements of the constellation of young patriots who founded the Republic.)15 Sánchez is a “colorful” hero within Dominican history. His place as a great man in Dominican history may very well be based on the fact that his
34 • Chapter 1
blackness did not act as a barrier to hero status but rather may have solidified it by creating a space for being black without being Haitian. Sánchez’s biography helps Dominicans reconcile African heritage with Dominican identity. The author shows how aligning oneself to the nation (whiteness/ Duarte) can mitigate the negative connotations associated with blackness and draw a bright line separating Dominican blackness and Haitian blackness.
Ramón Matías Mella: The Conflicted Action Hero Mella’s biography provides the least information about his personal background. Only brief mention is made of his marriage, children, and siblings, but in the book’s second chapter, “Iniciación revolucionaria,” students are informed that he was from “un hogar típico de blancos dominicanos de tradición urbana . . . se puede suponer que recibió la educación que podía adquirirse en esa época.” (A typical home of white urban Dominicans . . . one can assume that he received the education that was available in that era.)16 Not much else is offered about his family background. His narrative has to find another heroic path for him to take to answer the question “why is this person important?” Mella is portrayed as a conflicted, yet not completely flawed, action hero: “Matías Ramón Mella fue una de las figuras de mayor relieve en las luchas patrióticas del siglo XIX. Compañero temprano de Juan Pablo Duarte en los afanes libertarios, se distinguió por una especial capacidad para la acción, que lo llevó a brillar en todos los capítulos de la lucha nacional de su tiempo.” (Matías Ramón Mella was one of the most distinguished figures in the patriotic battles of the nineteenth century. He was an early partner of Juan Pablo Duarte in the desire for liberty, and he distinguished himself with a special capacity for action, which led him to shine in all the matters of national struggle during his time.)17 This, along with a series of similarly positive references to his military prowess, physical strength, and political skill deftly establish his hero status. But the description of him becomes more complicated when the text struggles to incorporate less favorable aspects of his political record while trying to preserve his “greatness.” This delicate balance is struck when the text must explain Mella’s relationship to Pedro Santana, who was known to be a political conservative and, more importantly, in favor of annexing the Dominican Republic to Spain, a very un-Trinitaria-like goal. This rather sticky connection between the two men is used to demonstrate Mella’s political savvy. The Santana connection is explicitly treated not as evidence of treasonous inclinations or even as a political miscalcu-
La Trinitaria • 35
lation. A relationship that could cast doubt upon his commitment to Do minican independence, and thus his place in Dominican history, is positioned to have the opposite effect in the schoolbook biography of Mella, the hero. “No se trató de una debilidad personal, sino de un resultado de las circunstancias de su época: para los liberales como Mella, resultaba más adecuado insertarse en la situación política, pese al predominio conservador, que mantenerse aislado.” ([Duarte’s connection to Santana] was not due to a personal shortcoming, but rather a result of the circumstances of the time: for liberals like Mella, it was more convenient to get involved in politics, despite the predominance of conservatives, than to remain isolated.)18 The profile of conflicted action hero is set into place. Mella was focused on achieving Dominican independence despite the high price that he had to pay by associating with the conservative enemy. Mella’s shortcomings, personal and political, are not given total absolution, however. Although no specifics are mentioned, the biography clearly leaves him in a sort of hero limbo with regard to his character. “Adicional mente, se pueden advertir fallas en determinadas actuaciones de Mella, quién se involucró en episodios que no tenían relación con una finalidad patriótica.” (Additionally, one could point out faults in certain actions of Mella, who became involved in events unrelated to patriotic goals.)19 Mella is presented as a conflicted—but not treasonous or totally flawed —hero. In comparison to biographies of Sánchez and Duarte, Mella’s biography relies much more heavily on the strong emotion found in the story of his greatness, rather than in an explicit list of credentials. Mella’s story gives readers a distinct visual image of his heroism in action. The text describes in tremendous detail how he provided the momentous call to arms on February 27, 1844, which spurred Dominican patriots to action at the Puerta de la Misercordia. In the role of action hero, he fired a gun into the air to quiet rumblings of uncertainty and fear among the masses and subsequently led his own charge into his place as a great man in Dominican history. “Fue de los primeros en presentarse al final de la noche del 27 de febrero a la Puerta de la Misercordia, donde dirigía el contingente que se dio cita en ese lugar. Al apreciar vacilaciones, decidió disparar el célebre trabucazo, que obligó a los presentes a mantenerse en sus puestos.” (He was one of the first men to report at the end of the night of February 27 to the Puerta de la Misercordia, where he was directing the contingent that arranged to meet at that place. Upon seeing their hestitations, he decided to fire a shot from the celebrated blunderbuss, which forced those present to stay in their places.)20 This well-known scene re-created in the text continues the biography’s earlier work of solidifying Mella’s hero status through portrayals of strength
36 • Chapter 1
and valor; however, the commentary accompanying the scene also reminds the reader that such rugged patriotism comes with a small price: impolite language. The veracity of the scene itself is not drawn into question. Instead, it works to reinforce Mella as one whose flaws are insignificant in comparison to his fearless deeds in battle and sheer force of will, or, in essence, his greatness. Mella’s dying words represent his final act of heroism: “Antes de morir, Mella pidió que su cadáver fuera envuelto en la bandera dominicana. Expiró en la cama el 4 de junio de 1864, con tal temple como si lo hubiera hecho en combate. Al advertir la llegada del momento final sacó fuerzas para exclamar ‘Viva la República Dominicana.’ ” (Before he died, Mella asked that his body be wrapped in the Dominican flag. He passed away in bed on June 4, 1864, with the same resolve and composure as if he had been in battle. Upon the arrival of the final moment, he gathered the strength to exclaim, “Long live the Dominican Republic.”)21 He may be flawed but he is surely forgivable in this moment. These biographies of Duarte, Sánchez, and Mella attribute their heroism to their own nature. They accomplished great deeds because they were great beings. Duarte—and only Duarte—was able to achieve for the Domini can Republic what he did. Sánchez and Mella are also described as great men of history and their political, personal, and military decisions benefited their goals not because of outside circumstances but rather because of their own personal greatness. Much like Thomas Carlyle in the nineteenth century, the Tobogán biography series largely considers history’s great moments as the result of the efforts of great men. In the case of La Trinitaria, Duarte, Mella, and Sánchez are great figures at the helm of an independence movement. They are also specific reference points for Dominican society’s contemporary negotiations of blackness, which take place against a complex and long-standing backdrop of Haitian blackness, pigmentocracy, and fluid parameters of social dominance. As the biographies show, understanding what it means to be a Dominican involves an awareness of important dates, events, and people. The texts also provide a template for understanding how “good,” if not “great,” Dominicans should see themselves as part of the Dominican nation and how one can make use of the Dominican-izing power of racial mixture and its incumbent cultural associations as a means to gain a firm place within the national identity. These biographies now form the basis of a 2014 two-volume collection titled Personajes dominicanos (Important Dominican Figures) published by the Archivo General de la Nación, of which Roberto Cassá is the director. Given the decades that Cassá, a prolific writer, educator, and historian, has
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spent focusing his keen critical lens on Dominican history, the words and messages offered in the biographies are tremendously meaningful. Cassá’s work simultaneously demonstrates the existence of a pigmentocracy within the society described during La Trinitaria and creates a clear path for all Dominicans to see themselves as vital and equally important members of contemporary Dominican society. Cassá explains in the introduction to Personajes dominicanos that the volumes are for young readers and are meant to motivate them to learn more about Dominican history and evaluate the actions of prominent historical figures. To that end, these biographies offer further evidence that antiblackness and a pigmentocracy-based social structure are being problematized and challenged in the Dominican Republic.22
2 Truth and Trujillo A Critical Approach to Studying the Trujillo Dictatorship
Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina was the thirty-sixth and thirty-ninth president of the Dominican Republic (1930–38 and 1942–52, respectively), and he ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in May 1961. He was a military strongman and dictator during the years he did not serve as the elected president. In this chapter we explore the lessons covering his three-decades-long dictatorship in the Ciencias sociales: octavo grado (Social Studies: Eighth Grade) produced by the Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Cultura. We analyze how the lessons on Trujillo take a critical approach to explaining to Dominican schoolchildren the impact of Tru jillo’s reign on the Dominican Republic. We argue that despite the lessons’ seeming goal of fostering critical analysis in the classroom, the curriculum fails to offer a meaningful account of how Trujillo further expanded and more deeply embedded an anti-Haitian, antiblack ideology in the Dominican Republic. As Silvio Torres-Saillant notes, during the Trujillo dictatorship “the Dominican state became most emphatically committed to promoting Eurocentric and white supremacist views of Dominicanness.”1 According to Henry Louis Gates, Trujillo “craftily used anti-Haitian sentiment to solidify his power and perversely to unite the nation around a supposedly common enemy.”2 The eighth-grade social science textbook curriculum on Trujillo leaves a significant void in explaining and critically constructing in the minds of Dominican schoolchildren how Trujillo firmly implanted the Haitian Other master script that had been constructed by the country’s founding fathers in Dominican society. We provide evidence of Trujillo’s staunch antiblack, anti-Haitian ideology to demonstrate that this void could be meaningfully filled. In this chapter we investigate how the textbook activities largely fail to maximize an opportunity to deconstruct the antiblack, anti-Haitian ideology that Trujillo formalized into national
Truth and Trujillo • 39
policy, thus effectively leaving intact and propagating the otherness of Haitians. The curriculum focuses on remedying the damage done by Trujillo to the racial pigmentocracy narrative rather than on the broader idea of the role of blackness as a potential source of a shared common ancestral history with Haitians. Although these eighth-grade lessons employ more critical thought- based activities than the lessons on national identity in the second-grade textbook, the Trujillo lessons can leave a gap in students’ understanding of Trujillo’s lasting impact on racial identity in the Dominican Republic and the anti-Haitian, antiblack sentiment that is still pervasive today. We analyze the readings, activities (actividades), and workshop (taller) for chapters 4, 5, and 6. These sections consistently demonstrate an emphasis on student investigation and collaborative work, make connections to previous knowledge, and ask questions about Dominican society—specifically about the legacy of the Trujillo regime. These often reflect a grounding in criti cal constructivism, critical thinking, as well as a strong emphasis on outside resources from the wider Dominican community—all of which could potentially serve as tools for addressing the Haitian Other master script narrative. However, even with the addition of these higher-order frameworks, the textbook either attempts to “correct errors” that students may have previously learned about Dominican identity or fails to concretely guide students to a deep understanding of the havoc wrecked on the country’s social fabric by Trujillo’s racial policies. The textbook misses the opportunity to categorically acknowledge the sway that the Haitian Other master script still holds in contemporary Dominican life. At the end of the lessons, the master script remains intact and Trujillo remains at the center of it. Ciencias sociales: octavo grado lends itself to a critical constructivist examination because the lessons are tightly linked to the basic tenets of pedagogical critical thought. Throughout the text, students are asked to criti cally evaluate how Trujillo came to power, how he governed, and how his dictatorship shaped Dominican identity and its relationship to Haiti and Haitians. These activities reflect a fundamental premise of critical constructivism, that “the world is socially constructed—what we know about the world always involves a knower and that which is to be known. How the knower constructs the known constitutes what we think of as reality.”3 In this chapter, we use a selection of critical constructivism framing tenets to examine how these lessons about the Trujillo regime attempt to articulate a more complex and challenging perspective on Dominican identity and history in comparison to the social science textbooks we discuss in chapter 4. The lessons in Ciencias sociales: octavo grado ask students to critically consider how Trujillo, in the role of the knower, actively promoted a vision of
40 • Chapter 2
Dominican identity that relied on inaccurate and negative representations of the Haitian Other. One tenet of constructivism is that “all knowers are historical and social subjects. We all come from a ‘somewhere’ which is in a particular historical time frame. These spatial and temporal settings always shape the nature of our constructions of the world.”4 Chapters 4, 5, and 6 employ a single unifying theme that speaks to this quotation from Kincheloe. The chapters move beyond a mere presentation of general ideas and abstract points for students to ponder. Instead, students are required to use their own somewhere, the Dominican Republic, as the specific context to consider international relations, domestic politics, and democracy or the lack of it. This three-chapter sequence outlines the Trujillo regime from its beginning in chapter 4, “Economía y Población bajo la Dictadura de Trujillo” (Economy and Population under the Trujillo Dictatorship); to its middle in chapter 5, “Política y Cultura bajo el Régimen de Trujillo” (Politics and Culture under the Trujillo Regime); to its end in chapter 6, “Caída de la Dictadura y Búsqueda de la Democracia” (Fall of the Dictatorship and Search for Democracy). The opening of chapter 4 indicates that students will be asked to observe less obvious “wrongs” to understand how Trujillo’s military background shaped his rise to power. “Aunque Trujillo no subió al poder por un golpe de Estado, lo hizo de manera fraudulenta y con poco apoyo nacional. Como ya leíste en el capítulo anterior, su base de apoyo fue el ejército. No obstante, ese gobierno no se puede catalogar como un gobierno militar. Se trataba de un presidente que venía del ejército, pero que encabezaba un gobierno civil. Las elecciones sirvieron de pantalla al autoritarismo del Movimiento Cívico, encabezado por Estrella Ureña y Trujillo. (Even though Trujillo did not rise to power by a coup d’état, he did it by fraudulent means and with little national support. As you already read in the previous chapter, his base of support was the military. Nevertheless, that government cannot be catagorized as a military government. It was based on a president who came from the military but headed a civil government. The elections served as a backdrop to the authoritarianism of the Civic Movement, headed by Estrella Ureña and Trujillo.)5 This introduction asks students to consider the difference between a military government and a civil government. Trujillo had a strong military background, which was acquired under the tutelage of the US military during its occupation of the country from 1916 to 1924, but he did not come to power by military force. This is the more obvious framework that the text attempts to expand upon, pointing out that even though Trujillo came to power by popular support, the Dominican Republic was still ruled by an authoritarian body that carried out his will. In narrow terms, it is true that Trujillo did not force his way into power with the help of the military.
Truth and Trujillo • 41
However, Trujillo did use the military as a governing tool that operated behind the ineffective smoke screen of the Civic Movement. It is precisely this awareness of Trujillo’s slippery political maneuvering that adds to the depth of a later section in chapter 4 that asks students about the assassination of two contemporaries of Trujillo, whom he saw as political threats. “Estos caudillos regionales fueron eliminados por Trujillo en los primeros años de su régimen. Esa situación benefició a Trujillo, pues se dio cuenta de que la capacidad militar le daba mayores ventajas para controlar al resto de la sociedad y sobre todo a los otros caudillos que aún vivían. Tan pronto subió al poder se produjeron una serie de asesinatos de personas que manifestaron no estar de acuerdo con el nuevo jefe político- militar de la nación. Algunos se salvaron porque se fueron exilados del país. Para perseguir a sus adversarios utilizó una banda conocida con el nombre de ‘La 42.’ ” (These regional strongmen were eliminated by Trujillo in the first years of his regime. That situation benefited Trujillo, leading him to notice that the power of the military gave him great advantages to control the rest of the society and above all the other strongmen who were still alive. As soon as he rose to power, a series of assassinations were carried out of people who were not in agreement with the new political-military leader of the nation. Some of them were saved because they were exiled from the country. To persecute his adversaries, he used a group known by the name of “the 42.”) This section of chapter 4 continues to develop slightly more nuanced definitions of a good and legitimate government versus a bad and murderous dictatorship. The way the text presents Trujillo’s rise to power highlights that point. The military did not get him into office but it did carry out his bloody biddings to keep him there. The fundamental question about how it was possible for Trujillo to be democratically elected by el pueblo, the people, and then go on to rule the country for thirty years as a military dictator goes uninvestigated. The textbook makes an effort to point out the disconnect between how Trujillo was elected versus how he ruled; however, students are not asked to think criti cally about the state of the Dominican people at that time and what motivated them to elect Trujillo in the first place. What did Trujillo explicitly offer or symbolically represent to the Dominican public that seemed so attractive? Who was established as the knower prior to Trujillo’s election, and did that have an impact on how the public saw his possible role as the nation’s leader? The lack of attention to these questions, and the myriad of other related questions that could be asked, greatly restricts the premise that “all knowers are historical and social subjects.” Previous chapters in the textbook are dedicated to earlier Dominican presidents and to the United States’s occupation. However, a connection between the governments and
42 • Chapter 2
leaders to Trujillo’s ascent goes unmentioned. Such a discussion goes unacknowledged as a critical thread that students should be invited to examine more fully and seek intersections between the “knower” and the “nature of our constructions of the world.” A second important tenet of constructivism is that “not only is the world socially and historically constructed, but so are people and the knowledge people possess. We create ourselves with the cultural tools at hand. We operate and construct the world and our lives on a particular social, cultural and historical playing field.”6 In another section from chapter 4 titled “Clasificación de comportamiento democrático y participativo y comportamiento autoritario” (Classification of Democratic and Participatory Behavior and Authoritarian Behavior) we see a connection to Kincheloe’s idea that the social, historical, and cultural elements of knowledge are inextricably linked. The instructions for this activity are in the closing taller section: “Con ayuda de tu maestra o maestro, divide el curso en subgrupos. En cada subgrupo se discuten ejemplos de comportamiento democrático y participativo y comportamiento autoritario. Pueden tomar ejemplos de la historia o actuales de su comunidad o la vida nacional. Luego de enumerar los ejemplos, se describen y se clasifican según el tipo de comportamiento. Por último se justifica por qué se incluyen en un tipo u otro.” (With help from your teacher, divide the class into small groups. In each small group discuss examples of democratic and participatory behavior and authoritarian behavior. You can take examples from history or from current events from your local community or from national life. After listing the examples, describe them, and classify them according to the type of behavior. Lastly, justify why each is included in one type or the other.)7 This activity underscores the social nature of critical knowledge building in two ways. First, the basic structure of the assignment is social in nature. Students must talk with each other to decide with whom they want to work and how the group will work together. Decisions about which students will conduct which tasks must be made. Discussions and negotiations about individual strengths, weaknesses, and preferences are also likely steps the students will go through in the task’s early stages. Second, the content itself is drawn from a social dynamic, either on a local or national scale. The assignment connects knowledge from the pages of the textbook to knowledge that the students can draw from their own experiences within social contexts that are more relevant to their own lives. The knowledge students already possess about their local community, as well as the wider Domini can nation, serves as their most immediate tool for contextualizing the new information that the textbook presents. In Kincheloe’s words, they are ex-
Truth and Trujillo • 43
ploring both the contemporary and the “historical playing field.”8 However, we suggest that students are still not being asked to use the tools that they just practiced to study the Trujillo dictatorship in any meaningful way. The structure of the activity lends itself to asking what were the “tools at hand” prior to and during the Trujillo years, in addition to asking what cultural tools Trujillo used to craft his identity with the Dominican public in order to be elected. The basic framework for critically constructing knowledge is present in only a small portion of the activity’s structure and certainly does not define the intent of the activity. Woefully missing is a clear way for students to apply that framework to the Trujillo regime, which reduces the activity to more of an exercise in the steps of knowing rather than knowing. Constructivism also holds that “constructivists are as much concerned with the process through which certain information becomes validated knowledge as with committing lots of it to memory. They are also concerned with the processes through which certain information was not deemed to be worthy or validated knowledge.”9 As chapter 5 continues its lesson on Trujillo’s years in power in the Dominican Republic, its focus shifts away from a catalog of key names and dates and moves toward a closer examination of Trujillo’s role in deciding what information was taught in schools and why he deemed that information to be worthy or validated knowledge. The section titled “Cultura autoritaria bajo el régimen de Trujillo” (Authoritative Culture under the Trujillo Regime) leaves little room for misunderstanding that this section’s aim is to show Trujillo as the antithesis of critical thought, especially regarding his vision of what constituted a “real” Dominican education: Como puedes ver en el documento anterior, junto a la represión y el terror, el régimen organizó una fuerte campaña educativa y cultural para condicionar la conciencia de los dominicanos y las dominicanas, sobre todo de los jóvenes. Difundió la idea de que para garantizar la unidad de la nación era necesario eliminar los partidos políticos y crear uno sólo donde se defendiera el verdadero interés nacional. Con esa finalidad fundaron el Partido Dominicano, cuyo lema era: Rectitud, Libertad, Trabajo y Moralidad. El lema retrata la naturaleza del partido, pues en ninguna parte se habla de democracia o de participación. Una de las ideas inculcadas fue de que Trujillo, era una especie de mesías que había venido al mundo para salvarnos de aquellos que querían seguir en el desorden. La obra del “Jefe” como se le llamaba, era la de construir una Patria Nueva, basada en el nacionalismo. Ese nacionalismo era chauvinista, basado en ideas exageradas sobre la pa-
44 • Chapter 2
tria. Además de que identificaba a la patria con la persona de Trujillo. A éste se le bautizó como el Padre de la Patria Nueva y Benefactor de la Patria. (As you can see in the previous document, along with the repression and terror, the regime organized a strong educational and cultural campaign to influence the conscience of the Dominican people, especially that of the youth. The regime spread the idea that in order to guarantee the nation’s unity it was necessary to eliminate the po litical parties and create a single party where the true national inter est would be defended. With this aim they founded the Dominican Party, whose motto was: Rectitude, Liberty, Work and Morality. The motto describes the nature of the party but nowhere does it mention democracy or participation. One of the instilled ideas was that Trujillo was a kind of Messiah who had come to the world to save us from those who wanted to continue in chaos. The work of the “Jefe,” as he was called, was to build a “New Fatherland,” based in nationalism. That nationalism was chauvinistic, based on exaggerated ideas about the nation. In addition to identifying the nation with the person of Trujillo, he was given the name “Father of the New Nation” and “Benefactor of the Nation.”)10 The text speaks directly to student readers, which heightens their sense of connection to the message of the lesson, as Kincheloe suggests. The subtext says to students that the act of reading this particular school lesson, which criticizes el Jefe,” is precisely what you would not have been allowed to read during the period of Dominican history we are studying. The students, working in the active role of constructivist learners, are challenged to wrestle with an increasingly contradictory and negative portrayal of Trujillo. The previous lesson reinforced the idea that Trujillo did not use military force to gain power and that the country maintained democratic structures at the beginning of his reign. However, Trujillo did order the assassination of his rivals for his own political benefit and positioned himself to be the only constructor of validated knowledge for the entire country, specifically for the captive audience in the nation’s classrooms. The chapter’s opening question underscores the tone of the entire chapter: “¿Recuerdas cuáles son los derechos humanos?” (Do you remember what human rights are?) However, a consideration of these events through the lens of the Haitian Other master script is still problematic. If Trujillo is el Jefe (the Boss), then who is/are el pueblo (the people)? Who gets to be part of the Dominican pueblo and who does not? What are the implications of using religious imagery and references as a framework for understanding Trujillo’s role in Domini
Truth and Trujillo • 45
can society? These questions are just a small example of how to address the Haitian Other master script weakness found in this activity, especially as the text begins to position Trujillo as a more complex figure with questionable motivations and goals for the Dominican nation and its relationship to Haiti and to Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Another key dimension of critical constructivism “involves the complex interrelationship between teaching and learning and knowledge production and research.”11 The next activity in the textbook gives students the opportunity to assume each of the roles Kincheloe mentions. In the follow ing lesson from chapter 6, students work collaboratively to deepen their knowledge of the last Horacio Vásquez administration and of the Trujillo government. “El propósito de esta actividad es evaluar el último gobierno de Horacio Vásquez y el régimen de Trujillo. Es conveniente que el curso se divida en equipos y cada uno escoja un gobierno. Es importante seguir el procedimiento señalado en la actividad similar del Capítulo 1 de la Unidad 1. Al final de la evaluación, se puede organizar un panel para exponer al curso los resultados de la evaluación de cada equipo con una discusión amplia sobre los mismos.” (The purpose of this activity is to evaluate the final government of Horacio Vásquez and the Trujillo regime. It is a good idea for the class to divide itself into teams and for each one to select a government. It is important to follow the instructions shown in the similar activity from chapter 1 of unit 1. At the end of the evaluation, a panel can be organized to share the results of the evaluation of each group with a full discussion about the same topics.)12 The basic structure of the lesson ties directly to the complex interrelationship that Kincheloe defines. In the role of researcher, students are required to gather information and to produce documentation of their findings. In the role of teacher, students present their results to the class. In the role of student, they learn, interpret, and analyze the information from other groups to prepare for and participate in the class discussion. Through out this process, students are placed in a context where they should be criti cal of the information they encounter and create. The activity mentioned as a guide from chapter 1 highlights specifically those qualities. * Discutir en el aula el criterio sobre cuándo un gobierno se considera “bueno o malo,” “positivo o negativo para el país,” “democrático o dictatorial.” Luego de la discusión con tus compañeras y compañeros, se llega a un acuerdo sobre el criterio o los criterios con que se van a juzgar los gobiernos. * identificar y describir las medidas tomadas; * agrupar las medidas según sean económicas, políticas, sociales, culturales;
46 • Chapter 2
* clasificar las medidas de cada grupo según las consideren positivas o negativas y explicar por qué las consideran así; * juzgar en qué grado las medidas tomadas durante los gobiernos, con cuerdan con el criterio o los criterios previamente definidos.13 * (Discuss in the classroom the criteria about when a government is considered “good or bad,” “positive or negative for the country,” “democratic or dictatorial.” After the discussion with your classmates, come to an agreement about the criterion or criteria by which you are going to judge the governments. * Identify and describe the measures taken; * Group the measures according to whether they are economic, political, social, cultural; * Classify the measures of each group according to if you consider them positive or negative and explain why you consider them as such; * Judge to what degree the measures taken during the governments are in line with the criterion or criteria previously defined.) Students go step-by-step through the essential elements of critical thought and analysis. Most importantly, students are asked to develop their own rubric for the evaluation instead of merely applying one provided by the textbook. By deciding which factors to evaluate, as well as actually conducting the evaluation itself, students are responsible for producing, documenting, and explaining the knowledge they have worked to create. Again, we see that the task students are charged with is more connected to understanding the process of analysis rather than actually analyzing the Trujillo regime and extrapolating the lessons learned to understand the role of Trujillo in implanting an antiblack, anti-Haitian ideology in today’s Do minican Republic. It is hard to imagine what better content than the dictatorship itself could be included in this lesson as a follow-up to the process just outlined for students. Laying out the elements of the Haitian Other master script and how they were at play under the dictatorship through educational, social, and political policy should be a vital piece to guiding students to constructing knowledge about the Trujillo years. Students are asked to make value judgments about the goals and inner workings of the government in leadership at the time. But what is sorely missing is instruction on how to understand why the administration chose to operate in such a fashion at all. No deeper frameworks that emphasize “why” or “how” are used in this lesson. Another tenet of constructivism is that “critical constructivists are concerned with the exaggerated role power plays in these construction and validation processes. Critical constructivists are particularly interested in
Truth and Trujillo • 47
the ways these processes help privilege some people and marginalize others.”14 The section titled “Trujillo y Haiti” from chapter 5 is the clearest example of how Kincheloe’s framework for critical constructivism can be used to understand the role of Haiti and Haitians in Dominican textbooks. The power dynamic between Dominicans and Haitians living in the Do minican Republic is one of marginalization and otherness. This chapter brings us closer to a critical questioning of the Haitian Other master script than we have seen in the book’s previous chapters. Donde más se evidenció el uso del miedo para mantener la población asustada y pensando que sólo Trujillo podría defenderla, fue con respecto a Haití. Desde 1860, los haitianos habían anunciado que no volverían a invadir el suelo dominicano y nos apoyaron en la guerra de la Restauración. A pesar de eso, Trujillo y los intelectuales que le apoyaron, revivieron los viejos sentimientos de rechazo hacia los haitianos que causaron las guerras y conflictos desde principios del siglo XIX. Como ya sabemos, la mano de obra haitiana era aprovechada en la industria azucarera por ser muy barata y fácil de trasladar . . . En las escuelas y los periódicos, no se hablaba de un proceso migratorio, sino de una amenaza militar. Igualmente se decía que la presencia de esos inmigrantes dañaba nuestra cultura, pues influenciaban el idioma, la religión y las costumbres . . . Es decir, que aunque los ingenios se beneficiaban del trabajo mal pagado que ofrecían los haitianos, el gobierno utilizó la presencia de ellos en el país para asustar a los domini canos y las dominicanas . . . . Esa campaña facilitó que se genera una visión negativa de los haitianos, dando fuerza a prejuicios como: los haitianos comen gente, su religión es salvaje, su lengua es primitiva, son atrasados, son la causa de muchas enfermedades, vienen a robar. (Where the use of fear was most evident in order to keep the pub lic frightened and thinking that only Trujillo could defend them was with respect to Haiti. Since 1860 Haitians had announced that they would not again invade Dominican soil and they supported us in the War of Restoration. Despite that, Trujillo and the intellectuals that supported him revived the old feelings of disapproval toward Haitians that caused the wars and conflicts since the beginning of the nineteenth century. As we already know, the Haitian labor force was taken advantage of in the sugar industry because it was very inexpensive and easy to relocate. . . . In schools and newspapers, a migration process was not spoken of, but rather a military threat. It was also said that the presence of those immigrants would harm our culture because they were influencing our language, our religion and our
48 • Chapter 2
customs. . . . That is to say, even though the sugar refineries benefited from the poorly paid labor that Haitians offered, the government used their presence in the country to frighten Dominicans. . . . That campaign made it possible to generate a negative vision of Haitians, giving strength to prejudices like: Haitians eat people; their religion is savage; their language is primitive; they are backward; they are the cause of many illnesses; they come to steal.)15 This passage aims to detail exactly what the misperceptions of Haitians were and to clarify that those ideas were politically motivated tools used to strengthen Trujillo’s hold on the Dominican people. The ideas are underscored as intentionally inaccurate and malicious and provide further evidence of Trujillo’s dictatorial reign. The content of “Trujillo y Haití” raises the fundamental issue of how the Haitian Other has been used as a scapegoat in Dominican society for political gain. Kincheloe’s words easily frame themselves around a victimized, marginalized, and othered Haitian figure that is being simultaneously forced out of the country to protect Domini can identity and shipped into the country to increase Trujillo’s personal fortunes through their ill-paid labor in the sugar industry. The section “Trujillo y Haití” attempts to present a critical perspective on the image of the Haitian Other and give students a means to critically analyze that manufactured negative representation. In a taller activity at the chapter’s end, students are asked to conduct a small group activity on the Trujillo ideology. The topics include the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church and the school system in perpetuating that ideology. “Por último, se discute en plenaria cuáles aspectos de la ideología trujillista todavía persisten en nuestro país.” (Finally, discuss as a class which aspects of the Trujillista ideology still exist in our society.)16 Students are asked whether they can identify the Haitian Other master script in some of the country’s most influential and revered institutions. This section completely shifts gears from being more process-focused to being more application- focused in a context that highlights Kincheloe’s most basic touchstones of critical constructivism: power, privilege, culture, and knowledge. In the book’s final section, “La Cultura Dominicana después de la Muerte de Trujillo” (Dominican Culture after the Death of Trujillo), students are invited to continue that work by considering how power, privilege, culture, and knowledge have all converged to marginalize the Haitian population within the Dominican Republic and to skew how Dominicans saw, and often still do see, themselves as victims of a negatively perceived Haitian influence. Students are finally given license to critically evaluate whether that perception, the Haitian Other master script, died with Trujillo or still shapes their
Truth and Trujillo • 49
world today. The first question of the section is “¿Consideras que la cultura dominicana ha sufrido cambios desde la dictadura de Trujillo? ¿Por qué?” (Do you think that Dominican culture has suffered changes since the Trujillo dictatorship? Why?) El trujillismo trató de ocultar algunos de los rasgos sobresalientes de nuestra identidad cultural, como fue el caso de la raíz africana en la composición social y cultural de los dominicanos. Desde mediados de los años sesenta se produjo desde la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo un movimiento preocupado por rescatar nuestra verdadera historia, que ofreció una nueva interpretación de los hechos. Esos investigadores se interesaron en explicar el papel de los africanos que llegaron a la Isla y los aportes que realizaron en las diferentes vertientes de la vida cotidiana, así como en el arte y la religión. Con ese esfuerzo se le puso término a la idea que nos impuso el trujillismo de que nuestro origen era exclusivamente europeo y aborigen, haciéndonos sentir avergonzados de nuestro origen africano. La cultura dominicana es única. En ella se siente la influencia de los aborígenes, los europeos y los africanos. Pero donde ninguno de esos componentes logra diferenciarse como algo propio. Nuestra sociedad es como un árbol frondoso sustentado por tres raíces. (Trujillismo tried to hide some of the distinguishing traits of our cultural identity, as was the case of the African origin in the social and cultural composition of Dominicans. Since the mid-sixties, a movement has been taking place at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo that is focused on rescuing our true history, one that offered a new interpretation of the facts. Those researchers were interested in explaining the role of the Afri cans who arrived on Hispaniola and the contributions they made in the different aspects of daily life, as well as in art and religion. That effort put an end to the idea that Trujillismo imposed on us that our origin was exclusively European and indigenous, making us feel embarrassed about our African origin. Dominican culture is unique. In it, the influence of the indigenous, the Europeans, and the Africans is felt. But none of those components manages to differentiate itself as its own entity. Our society is like a leafy tree supported by three roots.)17 Our analysis of the Trujillo lessons and activities reveals that the textbook still fails to fully portray the violent and lasting impact of Trujillo’s dictatorship. This is despite the fact that this activity comes after pages of
50 • Chapter 2
historical information on Trujillo, which do include pointed acknowledgement of his anti-Haitian policies. The glaring lapse concerning the mas sacre of thousands of Haitians and others assumed to be Haitian who lived along the countries’ border in October 1937 renders the rest of the section’s material without the weight and context that it rightly deserves— and frankly needs—to reflect the omnipresent Haitian Other master script narrative still at work in the Dominican Republic today. Upon Trujillo’s orders, segments of the Dominican military descended on the border region to murder Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border as part of the dictator’s effort to “Dominicanize” the region. Howard writes about the massacre, known informally in the Dominican Republic as el corte (the harvest): Anti-Haitianism has been, and remains, virulent. The most remarkable and disturbing manifestation of this hatred was the massacre in October, 1937 of around 12,000 Haitian peasants in the western provinces of the Dominican Republic by the army and police of the dictator Trujillo. Racism was a founding component of trujullismo, the intellectuals of the era seeking to consolidate the Dominican nation-state on the superiority of hispanidad. The creation of enduring myth was a key element to establish the legitimacy of the dictatorship. Firstly, the ideology of Trujillo’s regime created the image of a dangerous external enemy to legitimize the nationalist efforts of the dictatorship. The effect of the massacre was to heighten this conception of Haitian laborers in the Dominican Republic as the enemy within. Secondly, it attempted to “save” the Dominican nation from “Africanization” and the “illegal” entry of Haitian immigrants.18 We maintain that the textbook does not truly engage students in a criti cal discourse about the present-day implications of Trujillo’s ideology because it fails to present a transparent discussion about systemic racism, violence, and the invention of a politically motivated hispanidad to create race-based antagonism between working-and middle-class Dominicans and Haitian laborers. By extension, we also contend that the Trujillo section can be viewed as perpetuating the Haitian Other master script. The absence of clear connections between past atrocities and present injustices leaves an insurmountable void when teaching students how deeply the Haitian Other master script continues to guide the ethos of the Dominican Republic’s most influential institutions, including the public education system. This issue is not in question, as the activity would have students believe. The influence of the Haitian Other master script is a point of fact that must be
Truth and Trujillo • 51
examined, even by eighth graders, to arrive at a critical understanding of Trujillo’s dictatorship and its impact on current issues of power, class, race, and marginalization. When students are given the opportunity to evaluate how the knowledge gained from textbooks shapes how they understand their own world—leaning toward a critical approach—Kincheloe’s words come to life: “The knowledge of the classroom is constructed where students’ personal experience intersects with academic knowledges.”19
3 The “Masters” of the Script Joaquín Balaguer, José Francisco Peña Gómez, and the Anti-Haitian Nation Two biographies published in 2006 for school-age children about Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez vividly illustrate the political maneuvering of both men in the Dominican presidential elections of 1994 and 1996. The dynamics of these historically significant elections further demonstrate how the Haitian Other master script unfolds in Dominican society. These elections showcased the complicated relationship that the country has with issues of color, power, class, and politics. Joaquín Balaguer of the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) and José Francisco Peña Gómez of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) were the key contenders for the presidency in 1994. After months of race-based negative campaigning by Balaguer and his supporters, the country was left reeling from accusations of vote tampering and the growing sense that Peña Gómez was unlawfully blocked from the presidency simply because he was black. Many Balaguer supporters said that he had stolen the election from Peña Gómez to protect Dominicans from Peña Gómez’s secret “re- Haitianization” plan, one that would encourage Haitians living illegally in the Dominican Republic to vote for him and thus give rise to the reunification of Hispaniola under Haitian rule. Or so Balaguer would have Do minicans believe. The Balaguer strategy in the 1994 Dominican presidential election was to racialize the campaign and send Dominicans running scared to the polls so that they would vote for the man who would keep them Dominican and not for the man they saw as eager to convert them into Haitian subjects. An agreement was reached soon after Balaguer’s election to quell the unrest rising from Peña Gómez’s supporters after his loss. The two political parties at the center of the turmoil agreed that Balaguer would only serve a two-year term instead of the standard four-year term and that a new presi-
The “Masters” of the Script • 53
dential election would be held in 1996, in which Balaguer would not be eligible to run as a candidate. In this chapter we analyze two biographies: Joaquín Balaguer: biografía para escolares by Belarminio Ramírez Morillo, and Peña Gómez: sus orígenes by Osvaldo Santana. The biographies of Balaguer and Peña Gómez describe each man as a national hero by positioning Haiti and Haitians as an othered figure. Written for young students, the books consistently rely on the Haitian Other master script as the basis for the biographies’ content. This manipulated Other figure accomplishes distinct goals for the histori cal image of each politician. Balaguer’s narrative uses the threat of the Haitian Other to symbolize its opposite, while the narrative of Peña Gómez uses the Haitian Other as a means to document his humble beginnings, a strong work ethic, and to promote a notion of ethnic and racial inclusivity within Dominican national identity. Balaguer’s deep desire to lead the Dominican Republic did not suddenly vanish after the agreement blocking him from a consecutive term was signed. On the contrary, he maneuvered to guarantee the election of an inexperienced candidate through whom he could funnel his political influence—still relying on the Haitian Other master script as the guide for controlling the Dominican political landscape to his and his elite supporters’ benefit. Balaguer selected a relative political newcomer, Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna, as the candidate behind whom he would throw his po litical support. By extension, Fernández was the safe and authentically Do minican choice for voters who sought a patriotic refuge from what they imagined (thanks to Balaguer himself ) Peña Gómez and his Haitian allies would do to them if left without Balaguer’s protection. As Ságas notes, “On 2 June 1996, the anti–Peña Gómez campaign was consolidated with the creation of the Frente Patriótico Nacional (National Patriotic Front), an electoral alliance of PLD and the PRSC (and their allies) masterminded by Balaguer. According to Balaguer, his party would ‘unselfishly’ support Leonel Fernández in the run-off election to save Do minican sovereignty from falling into ‘not truly Dominican’ hands (an obvious reference to Peña Gómez), and just for the satisfaction of ‘remaining a Dominican on Dominican soil’ (M. Jiménez 199). In reality, Balaguer had made a skillful political move (with the complicity of PLD leadership). Not only had he practically ensured Peña Gómez’s defeat, but he had also chosen to support a young, inexperienced candidate whose party had a tiny minority in Congress (and [was] thus no threat to him).”1 With the combined votes of the PLD and his PRSC supporters, Leonel Fernández won the second round with 51.25 percent of the votes. In a bitter postelection speech, Peña Gómez declared that racism had played an
54 • Chapter 3
important role in his electoral defeat. Racism, he asserted, was well entrenched in Dominican society, and had he been elected president, a bloodbath would have taken place. He finished by remarking that “Dominican society is not yet ready for a black president.”2 Peña Gómez died on May 10, 1998, without realizing his lifelong dream.3 Aside from a shared desire to hold the nation’s most powerful position, these political rivals had much in common. Supporters of Balaguer describe him as a well-born descendent of European ancestors with a God-given intellect that was unmatched by his peers. He was born and built to lead. And he was white. Supporters of Peña Gómez describe him as the ambitious son of murdered parents, whose dedication to education and social justice forged an unlikely path to the heights of political power. And he was black. The personal and professional trajectories of these now-deceased adversaries reflect the tremendous power wielded in the Dominican Repub lic by the othered Haitian figure and questions of blackness. Superficially, these two men could not be more different; fundamentally, however, their biographies share a common framework—designating a Haitian Other in order to create a backdrop to their own success. Balaguer and Peña Gómez represent opposite uses of blackness and the othered figure. But the biographies of both men examined here use the same principal tool, the Haitian Other master script.
The Politics of Skin Color and Racial Priming as a Political Strategy Before we delve into the basic structure of the school-oriented biographies of Balaguer and Peña Gómez, we must spend a moment discussing the role skin color can play in Dominican electoral politics. We argue that the literature on racial priming as a political strategy is a useful framework to underpin our analysis of the political campaigns of Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez in the Dominican presidential elections of 1994 and 1996. This line of literature, emanating from scholarship of US politics, has found that white candidates have historically engaged in negative race baiting to generate voter support and simultaneously undermine support of black candidates during political campaigns run in racially charged atmospheres.4 This strategy, known as racial priming, is centered on patterns of political behavior that—in their earliest incarnations—relied on overt race- based tactics and then evolved into the use of more nuanced, implicit racial cues.5 The ultimate goal of a candidate who engages in racial priming in a biracial campaign (i.e., a white candidate challenging a black candidate) is to appeal to the voting population’s perceived antiblack sentiments and fa-
The “Masters” of the Script • 55
vorable views of whites. In doing so, white candidates seek to align themselves with the voters as the candidate of choice. Although the framework of racial priming stems from US-based scholarship focusing on elections, it can be applied to the politics of Latin America and the Caribbean.6 However, such application must be done by generating nuanced modifications that take into consideration the unique social and demographic antecedents that exist in Latin America and the Caribbean. For example, one presumption of the racial priming strategy is that voters dislike black candidates, or at the very least issues that voters perceive as commonly linked to blacks. This tenet cannot be simply transferred to Latin American and Caribbean politics as is. For example, in the Dominican Republic, most political candidates have some black African ancestry. Only infrequently is there a clear “white” candidate versus a clear “black” candidate. Rather, the racial priming strategy is conditioned by the pigmentocracy social structure and engrained view of the social dominance of whiteness and whiter-ness that exists in Dominican society. (See the discussion of La Trinitaria in chapter 2 and chapter 5.) In Dominican politics, the skin color of candidates can fall anywhere along the pigmentocracy color spectrum. We argue there is a presumption in Dominican electoral politics that Dominican voters will typically disfavor a candidate of dark skin color. Similarly, voters will favor a candidate whose skin color is closer to whiteness (symbolically representing Dominicaness) over one of dark skin color (symbolically representing Haitian ancestry). Racial priming, as a theory, has four central tenets. The first tenet, according to Hutchings and Jardina, citing Mendelberg, is that whites are ambivalent about issues of importance to blacks. Further, whites view the demands by blacks for social justice and equality as illegitimate and these demands serve as a catalyst for fomenting negative stereotypes of blacks.7 To be aptly applied to electoral politics in the Dominican Republic, this first tenet needs modification that captures the essence of the racial pigmentocracy social structure that exists in Dominican society. We argue that in Dominican electoral politics, the lighter a person’s skin hue, the more ambivalent that person will be to issues viewed as specific to those with dark black skin, particularly if those issues are deemed to be nuanced to those of Haitian ancestry and identity. The second tenet of racial priming theory is that modern-day campaigns are better suited to make implicit appeals to race because they are generally ambiguous with regards to race-based issues.8 The third tenet is that implicit appeals to race (visual, not verbal) are effective because they reveal suppressed cognitive racial attitudes.9 The second and third tenets generally apply to Dominican electoral politics as well. And finally, the fourth tenet is that white voters e schew di-
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rect racial appeals because they violate norms of racial equality and threaten to overtly align a white voter with racist propaganda. For racial priming to be effective, a candidate must appeal to implicit racial cues. We argue that electoral politics in the Dominican Republic rely on appeals to implicit racial cues—particularly appeals rooted in the otherness of blackness as manifested by Haitian-ness and Haitian ancestry. Because the majority of Dominicans are not solely of white ancestry, it would make little strategic sense for candidates to align themselves with direct appeals to a white- only agenda. A central focus in the remainder of this chapter is the racial imagery and implicit appeals to the Haitian Other master script in the Dominican presidential elections of 1994 and 1996. Scholarship on the use of racial priming in political campaigns provides illustrative examples to assist in framing an understanding of the dynamics of the Balaguer-Peña Gómez campaigns. Much of this research has focused on campaigns in which there is a white front-runner candidate and a black front-runner candidate. The manifestation of racial priming in such campaigns becomes embodied in racial imagery and implicit appeals to race via popular opinion regarding policy issues and social mores. Middleton and Franklin’s investigation of the 2006 US Senate race in Tennessee between a black candidate, Harold Ford Jr., and a white candidate, Bob Corker, demonstrates how racial priming has been used to foment negative views in voters supportive of a white agenda against black candidates.10 In the campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC) racialized what had largely been a deracialized campaign conducted by Harold Ford Jr.11 The RNC ran an advertisement that claimed that Ford had a relationship with a blonde Caucasian woman whom he met at a Playboy party.12 Middleton and Franklin find that the RNC’s goal in running the campaign advertisement was to send implicit racially coded cues to white voters that Ford was encroaching on white values and crossing boundaries of racial separation—a violation of racial etiquette in the US South. In addition, Middleton and Franklin argue that some political observers opined that a Republican Party-sponsored circular distributed in majority white areas of the state of Tennessee that urged residents to vote to “preserve your way of life” was racially coded.13 The campaign featured other forms of racial priming, including a radio advertisement criticizing Ford that was overlaid with the sound of African drums in the background. Other tactics included a campaign flier that made Ford’s skin darker than it was and a spot condemning Ford for his association with a group of black congressmen. The airing of these racially primed advertisements and distribution of campaign literature led to a precipitous decline in public opinion about Ford in majority-white voting districts.
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The Racialization of the 1994 and 1996 Dominican Presidential Elections The 1994, and, to a lesser degree, the 1996 Dominican presidential elections saw some extreme examples of racial priming used by supporters of Balaguer, as well as national media outlets in the Dominican Republic, to provoke antiblack, anti-Haitian sentiments among Dominican voters. In the 1994 election, Balaguer, and the national media outlets supporting him, sought to exploit the Haitian Other master script that was so deeply embedded in Dominican society. Ernesto Sagás, in Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic, features some of the negative advertisements and campaign literature that were used to indicate to voters that Peña Gómez represented blackness, Haitian ancestry, and the encroachment of Haitians into the Dominican Republic. The implicit message was obvious: Balaguer represented whiteness and dominicanidad. He would protect the Domini can Republic from Haitian encroachment. In appendix B and C of his book, Sagás publishes pictures that were used by Peña Gómez detractors in an attempt to foment antiblack, anti- Haitian sentiments and, in our view, to use Peña Gómez as illustrative of the Haitian Other master script. The pictures show, among other things: (1) a destitute Haitian migrant, with dark black skin and exaggeratedly large lips, crossing the Haitian border and attempting to enter the Dominican Republic while a large white hand attempts to stop him; (2) a picture of the Dominican Republic side of Hispaniola, featuring white feet attempting to run away from the black-footed Haitian side of the island; (3) a drawing of Peña Gómez, with exaggeratedly large lips, pointing in a menacing manner and saying “if they assassinate me, then I will order the Dominican Repub lic to be set on fire”; (4) a picture asserting what would happen to the Do minican Republic if the “Haitian won.” That picture depicts Peña Gómez, again with exaggeratedly large lips and large nose, dancing with his Haitian supporters (also having exaggeratedly large lips and noses), and written in (misspelled) Creole, the words “Peña Co Calite,” (Peña fighting cock [rooster]). To the side of Peña Gómez and his supporters are Dominicans on their knees; one person at the forefront is gagged. And (5) a drawing of Peña Gómez superimposed over Hispaniola and the island dotted full of Haitian faces. The caption reads, “Peña hates the Dominican Republic for the massacre of Haitians and his parents in 1937. If Peña wins, this will happen with the support of Clinton and the European countries. Peña is dangerous, beware! Peña is not black, he is Haitian.”14 To a lesser extent, the 1996 Dominican presidential election saw the continued use of an antiblack, anti-Haitian motif to dissuade voters from voting for Peña Gómez. In an article on race and nation in the Dominican
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Republic, Baud summarizes the role racial priming played in the 1996 Do minican presidential election: The 1996 campaign saw a less explicitly “dirty” campaign, mainly because Balaguer was not an official candidate this time, but the PLD under the direction of Leonel Fernández also tried to play the anti- Haitian card by declaring that many of the registered voters were in fact Haitian nationals. In spite of these accusations Peña Gómez received almost 46 percent of the votes in the May elections. Because he fell short of the required 50 percent, a runoff between him and Leonel Fernández was scheduled in June. Two weeks before the election date Balaguer declared that his party would “unselfishly” support Leonel Fernández to prevent the Dominican nation from falling into “not truly Dominican hands.” With the combined votes of the two parties, Leonel Fernández won the second-round elections with 51.25 percent of the votes.15 The 1994 and 1996 Dominican presidential elections provide an important takeaway as it relates to the Haitian Other master script. If there is a recipe for a heated political debate in the Dominican Republic, then these elections have the most crucial ingredient: longstanding, but not necessarily accurate, folkloric tales and propaganda about race. The political rivalry between Joaquín Balaguer and Peña Gómez supports this assertion.
The Biographies of Balaguer and Peña Gómez for School-Age Readers What is vital to understand about the biographies is not that they seek to recycle some well-acknowledged perspectives on the us versus them paradigm between Dominicans and Haitians—with Balaguer and Peña Gómez being the faces, as it were, of each side. The lesson is that the texts use the same trope, either explicitly or implicitly, of the othered Haitian as a delicately balanced touchstone to connect with Dominican schoolchildren. In fact, Balaguer apologist Ramírez Morillo dedicates his book to “la juventud dominicana (“the Dominican youth”).”16 The explicit goal of the biography about Balaguer, a white former confidante and speech writer for Trujillo, is to promote him as the patriarch of the Dominican family who embodies the idealized essence of Domini can identity: of European ancestry, Roman Catholic, educated, and a protector from all things Haitian. Students are most likely already familiar with the idea of a vaguely defined Haitian threat to the Dominican Repub
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lic that is common in many sectors of the country. Thus, Balaguer can easily be positioned as a savior. In his book La isla al revés (The Upside Down Is land ), Balaguer reminds Dominicans that despite Haiti’s reduced threat as a formal military force, Dominicans should not rest easy. Haitians still pose a threat to all that is good and valued about the Dominican Republic: “Pero Haití sigue constituyendo un peligro de proporciones casi inconmesurables para nuestro país desde otros puntos de vista. La penetración clandestina a través de las fronteras terrestres amenaza con la desintegración de sus valores morales y étnico a la familia dominicana. La fuerza de trabajo que emigra clandestinamente a nuestro país hace, por otra parte, una competencia desleal a la clase trabajadora dominicana. Es posible, pues, que ese peligro, si no detiene a tiempo, facilite al cabo la absorción por Haití de la República Dominicana.” (But Haiti continues to constitute a danger of almost immeasurable proportions for our country from other points of view. Clandestine penetration through land borders threatens the Dominican family with the disintegration of its moral values and ethnicity. The work force that clandestinely immigrates to our country creates, moreover, unfair competition for the Dominican working class. It is possible, then, that that danger, if not held back, in time could bring about the absorption of the Dominican Republic by Haiti.)17 The biography of Peña Gómez treats blackness and the Haitian Other not merely as stigmatized hurdles that he overcame, but more pointedly, as stinging attacks used against him by his political opponents, specifically by Balaguer and his supporters. The Peña Gómez biography relies heavily on what the text claims are firsthand accounts about his unassailable Dominican roots and his loving, adoptive Dominican family, all in an attempt to counter the Haitian implications of his dark skin and place of birth near the Dominican-Haitian border in May 1937. That was five months before Trujillo ordered the slaughter of all dark-skinned residents of the area, estimated to total in the tens of thousands. Operación Perejil (Operation Parsley) was more commonly known as El Corte (The Harvest). This tragic episode in Dominican history still resonates strongly today. As Lauren H. Derby notes in “Haitians, Magic, and Money,” although an international border certainly does exist between Haiti and the Domini can Republic, border region residents and visitors operated in a rather fluid cultural, linguistic, and economic exchange.18 It is precisely this fluidity at the time of Peña Gómez’s birth that posed a challenge to Trujillo’s hold on a centralized government and culture from the capital city of Santo Domingo, which was renamed Ciudad Trujillo in 1936. For the Trujillo regime, El Corte violently asserted the dictator’s control over Dominican soil, no matter how far that soil was from the capital. Richard Turits in Foun
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dations of Despotism points out that the region’s peasant class was essential to Trujillo’s effort to establish state control along the Haitian-Dominican border. Trujillo’s government granted peasants large swaths of land to farm and charged them with managing a range of administrative tasks on behalf of the Dominican state.19 This state effort to entrench the loyalty and Dominican identity of border region peasants was made less stable by the nebulous nature of life along the border, a life built less on official national status and more on a shared experience of interrelatedness tied to community relationships. The unfixed nature of Dominican identity that Trujillo’s regime sought to undo is the world into which Peña Gómez was born. This allowed his political opponents to raise doubts about his Dominican heritage and his loyalty to the Dominican Republic. The biography discussed here appears to be written to dispel those doubts. This analysis of the biographies connects to chapter 1’s discussion of how textbooks represent the country’s leading historical figures: Juan Pablo D uarte, Matías Ramón Mella, and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, in a specific, almost predictable, manner. The biographies of these figures systematically discuss four elements that build the case for their status as national heroes: (1) family and ethnic background; (2) originality of endeavor; (3) personal character and attributes; and (4) education. In this chapter we illustrate how the school biographies for Balaguer and Peña Gómez follow the same hero template as those of La Trinitaria, and how the books’ content—almost in their entirety—is driven by some of the same elements of hero status, specifically family and ethnic background. The biographies of Balaguer and Peña Gómez reflect the central role that the Haitian Other master script plays in school-based discourse concerning Dominican national identity and how the narrative around important figures is shaped for educational consumption.
Balaguer: Paternal Protector from the Haitian Other Joaquín Balaguer: biografía para escolares, written by Belarminio Ramírez Morillo, strives to establish an airtight argument for hero worship of the three-time president based primarily on his family background and personal character. In words and pictures, Balaguer is shown to truly be the ideal Dominican, which by extension means being the opposite of what Haitians are imagined to be. Sections of the biography discuss his ideal childhood at length. Balaguer’s family life is compared to that of Abraham Lincoln. “Balaguer disfrutó de un privilegio del cual no gozó Abraham Lincoln, quien vivió una niñez y adolescencia de maltrato y desconsidera ción. El padre de Lincoln golpeaba con frecuencia a su madre, y trataba
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a su hijo como a un esclavo. Su madre falleció cuando él tenía ocho años de edad. . . . El caso de Balaguer fue distinto. Fue criado en un manantial de amor, cariño y ternura. Ese hecho fue muy significativo en su vida y contribuyó a que fuera un hombre con atributos humanos superiores a los políticos de su época. (Balaguer enjoyed a privilege that not even Abraham Lincoln had, who lived a childhood and adolescence of mistreatment and neglect. Lincoln’s father frequently beat his mother, and treated his son like a slave. His mother died when he was ten years old. . . . The case of Balaguer was different. He was raised in a loving, kind, and tender home. That fact was very significant in his life and contributed to his being a man of human attributes superior to those of the politicians of his time.)20 Ramírez Morillo places Balaguer in a comparative context with other notable and well-regarded figures. For example, Balaguer’s desire to read at a young age shows how he followed the sage advice of early twentieth- century Spanish writer and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno.21 Taking advantage of educational opportunities echoes a refrain by French writer Marcel Prévost. The choice of a legal career, to which he was well suited given his profound intellectual talents, was the embodiment of a quotation by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. His oratory prowess was on par with Américo Lugo, a Dominican writer and staunch anti-imperialist, and his patriotism is best understood through the lens of José Martí and Simón Bolívar, both long recognized as fighters for independence and national heroes in Cuba and Venezuela, respectively.22 Even the smallest details of the Balaguer image are augmented to reflect his place on the world stage. For example, the Roman philosopher Cicero would approve of Balaguer’s eating habits. “Balaguer siguió el consejo de Cicerón: Hay que comer para vivir, no vivir para comer. Sus alimentos eran naturales. Prefería las frutas, ensaladas frescas, pan de trigo, pescado, hígado, pollo, papas al horno, yuca al horno y aguacate. Comía arroz, carnes y víveres. Su postre preferido era el helado de vainilla y guineo salpicado de nueces. Balaguer comía para vivir. De ahí su larga vida. (Balaguer followed the advice of Cicero: One must eat to live, not live to eat. His food was natural. He preferred fruit, fresh salads, wheat bread, fish, liver, chicken, baked potatoes, roasted yucca, and avocado. He ate rice, meat, and fruits and vegetables. His preferred dessert was vanilla ice cream and a banana sprinkled with nuts. Balaguer ate to live. Hence, his long life.)23 The youth of the Dominican Republic should know the “real” Balaguer and not be misled by his political detractors. This framework laid out by Ramírez Morillo helps explain the logic behind the glorifying tone in the text. It is unclear if showing pictures of Balaguer with blond children on
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his lap or of him gently petting a collie dog will actually restore his reputation among those adults who already know of him; however, those tactics may, in fact, have some traction with Dominican schoolchildren, to whom Ramírez Morillo dedicates his book.24 As a politically active lawyer and university professor, Ramírez Morillo is well positioned to understand exactly how Balaguer’s reputation fares when viewed through the lens of anti- Haitian sentiments. The idealized image of Balaguer as a loving, paternal figure who can shield the Dominican Republic from the Haitian Other is precisely the tool that Ramírez Morillo uses to set the stage for Balaguer’s rehabilitated reputation. Whereas the Balaguer biography needs the Haitian Other to establish a concrete enemy for Balaguer to fight against on behalf of Dominicans, the Peña Gómez biography needs the Haitian Other to establish the malevolent intentions of his political detractors and to force an opening for blackness to enter the discourse of national identity.
Peña Gómez: Proving a Negative with the Help of a Jasmine Bush Peña Gómez: sus orígenes by Osvaldo Santana strives to “prove” once and for all that Peña Gómez was definitely Dominican, not Haitian. As a part of the Dominican hero biography series for schoolchildren, this text tackles head on the “only” question that needs to be addressed in a discussion of Peña Gómez as a Dominican hero: “So, was he really Dominican? He sure ‘looks’ Haitian.” Santana chooses testimonial documentation of family back ground to reach the desired answer: “Yes, you can look like Peña Gómez and still be Dominican.” The book’s introduction is a letter written by Juan Bolívar Díaz in 1981. Bolívar Díaz describes himself as a friend and colleague of Santana. In the mid-1970s he pressed Peña Gómez to fully address the question of his Haitian roots, but after the politician reluctantly agreed to an interview, the resulting notes and recording were lost. Despite such a difficult-to-verify claim, Bolívar Díaz is hopeful that this later work of Santana, in which he convinces Peña Gómez to explicitly address Haitian-themed slights to his character, will make up for the lost recordings. The final lines of Bolívar Diaz’s letter show that a more inclusive definition of Dominican identity is the only reasonable framework to be considered in a discussion of Peña Gómez. “Los dominicanos constituimos hoy día nación de inmigrantes; todos tenemos ascendencia extranjero, puesto que los nativos de estas tierras fueron exterminados precisamente por acción de extranjeros hace más de cuatro siglos. Españoles, franceses, africanos, árabes y nativos de casi t odas las islas del Caribe han sumado su sangre y sus sudores al contenido de
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esta nacionalidad. Desde el fundador de la República hasta una gran parte de los políticos con vigencia contemporánea, han tenido ascendencia extranjera. Por demás, la historia universal, y particularmente la de América Latina, es la historia de la inmigración, de la mezcla de razas y nacionalidades. (We Dominicans today form a nation of immigrants; all of us have foreign heritage, given that the natives of these lands were exterminated, in fact, by the action of foreigners more than four hundred years ago. Spanish, French, Africans, Arabs, and natives of almost all of the Caribbean islands have added their blood and sweat to the content of this nationality. From the founder of the Republic to a great number of contemporary politicians, they have had foreign heritage. Moreover, universal history, and particularly that of Latin America, is the history of immigration, of the mixture of races and nationalities.) 25 Although the letter is decades old by the time it appears as the introduction to Santana’s biography of Peña Gómez, the same fundamental issues are as relevant now as they were when the letter was first written. Detractors of Peña Gómez target him because he is black and he will not directly address questions about his family’s roots. In short, he must be hiding something. He cannot prove that he is Dominican so he must be Haitian. To combat this notion, Bolívar Díaz taps into the same figure of the Haitian Other as Balaguer’s biography but with strikingly different results. Bolívar Díaz puts forth the idea that Peña Gómez is simply another example of the country’s immigrant formation by connecting him to La Trinitaria, the epitome of Dominican hero status and identity. Domini cans reading the letter are well aware of the perceived threat that the Haitian Other presents. The letter shows how the figure of the Haitian Other can be used as an asset for Peña Gómez instead of a weapon against him. Bolívar Díaz associates attacks on the national identity of Peña Gómez with attacks on La Trinitaria. As an introduction to Santana’s text the letter establishes a framework for him to develop more fully in the biography. Peña Gómez is truly Dominican because being of Haitian descent falls well within the boundaries of Dominican identity. He was not born in Haiti, but even if he were, he could still be Dominican. Santana pursues this overlapping argument with an interview with Peña Gómez in a section titled “una mentira vulgar” (a vulgar lie). “Una de las grandes mentiras que se han dicho de mí es que mi nacimiento fue en Haití, que nací en Haití. Es una vulgar mentira, y como para que la mentira quedara revelada hay una cosa muy extraña, y es que dicen que mi mamá sembró unos jazmines, según dicen hace más de 40 años y esos jazmines los han arrancado, los han cortado, y vuelven a crecer. Durante más de 40 años esos jazmines han estado ahí y en la primavera florecen como un testimonio
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vivo para que nadie pretenda ignorar que yo soy dominicano y que nací en República Dominicana. (One of the greatest lies that they have told about me is that I was born in Haiti. It is a vulgar lie, and why this lie has remained is a very strange thing, and they say that my mother planted some jasmine bushes, according to what they say more than forty years ago, and they have torn out those jasmine bushes, they have been cut down, and they grow back. For more than forty years those jasmine bushes have been there and in the spring they bloom as a living testimony so that no one can attempt to ignore that I am Dominican and that I was born in the Domini can Republic.)26 Peña Gómez categorically denies the accusation that he is Haitian. He is Dominican. And since the interview comes near the book’s end, this forceful assertion adds weight to the many examples of testimonial evidence in previous pages. He also takes an indirect shot at those who would claim he is Haitian. He does not call them vulgar liars. Rather, what they say is a vulgar lie. He expresses confusion and a certain naïveté about why that accusation even exists by saying he finds the accusation strange. It is hard to believe that Peña Gómez really does not get what is going on; however, by communicating a lack of understanding and surprise at the idea he can, to a certain extent, distance himself from it. Peña Gómez reminds the reader of his intellectual and oratory skill with the symbolic reference to the jasmine bush. Just as the purveyors of that vulgar lie have tried and failed to deny him his Dominican identity, so has the jasmine bush been uprooted in attempts to deny it its place in Dominican soil only to come back each spring to blossom and reclaim its natural born right to place. He, like the jasmine bush, is from Dominican soil and no one can undo that fact. What these two biographies share is an expert use of the Haitian Other as a tool to underscore a skewed perception of the Dominican Republic’s relationship to Haiti. The Balaguer text uses the Haitian Other to trigger cultural sensitivities and fears and present Balaguer as a trusted protector. The Peña Gómez text uses the Haitian Other to demonstrate how hard he had to work to overcome his obvious disadvantages and to criticize racial discrimination in the Dominican Republic. Whether used to heighten or lessen anti-Haitian sentiment, both texts need the Haitian Other to accomplish their primary goals. These texts illustrate the impact that negative stereotypes and an “othered” approach to Haiti have in the Dominican Republic, and how this framework can have a foothold in the Dominican classroom.
4 Dominican National Identity Social Science Textbooks and the Boundaries of Blackness
Characterizations of identity must outline what is included as well as what is excluded from its definition. School textbooks are often the tools charged with that weighty responsibility. Pai and Adler assert that “every culture attempts to perpetuate itself through deliberate transmission of what is considered the most worthwhile knowledge, beliefs, skills, behaviors and attitudes. This deliberate transmission of culture is called education.”1 An analysis of Dominican social science textbooks for grades two, three, and five reveals that the concept of blackness needs to be “deliberately transmitted” to students in discussions and lessons on Dominican identity. Even when identity is not the focus of a particular lesson, the boundaries around blackness—who is black and who is not black—are still very much present. The figure of the Haitian Other, as portrayed in the negative representations of blackness in the materials, is the mechanism used to cordon off negative associations surrounding blackness from Dominican identity. Building upon the widely held negative stereotypes about Haiti and Haitians in the Dominican Republic, the textbooks use a sort of shorthand to convey what constitutes the authentic Dominican national identity. Franklin Franco Pichardo describes the gulf that many Dominicans perceive between themselves and Haiti and blackness: “El negro dominicano, no es negro, lo repito, ni puede serlo, porque para nosotros los negros v ienen de Haití y los haitianos vienen de África, y el pueblo dominicano, habitante de este ‘paraíso racial’ donde la discriminación ni existió, ni existe, ni asomó nunca, el negro nuestro, vino del cielo.” (The Dominican black is not black, I repeat, nor can he even be black, because for us blacks come from Haiti and Haitians come from Africa, and the Dominican people, inhabitants of this ‘racial paradise’ where discrimination neither existed, nor exists now, never even appeared, our blackness came from the sky.)2 The impact
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of this Trujillo-era casting of dominicanidad criticized by Franco Pichardo also threads through his groundbreaking work Los negros, los mulatos, y la nación dominicana (Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation). He traces the development of anti-Haitianism, which is still evident in textbooks decades after Trujillo’s reign. The textbook lessons have the difficult task of reconciling how the blackness that Franco Pichardo asserts “comes from the sky” becomes an acceptable and unique version of blackness in the Do minican people. In this chapter we examine how social science textbooks used in the Dominican Republic portray Dominican national identity to schoolchildren. The purpose of this inquiry is to explore our overall thesis that there exists a pigmentocracy and white superiority/black inferiority narrative that undergirds a Haitian Other master script in Dominican school curriculum. We use the following three themes: (1) Blackness represents less desirable social status; (2) blackness can be prevented through generational blanqueamiento; and (3) blackness is represented by negative and exaggerated stereotypes. Do the textbooks reflect the Haitian Other master script, and if so, do they portray it as the antithesis of dominicanidad like popular culture and opinion often do? Using the three themes as a rubric, we demonstrate how commonly held pejorative perceptions of Haiti/Haitians and the black African bloodline are indeed present in the curriculum of official government-sanctioned social science textbooks.
Theme 1: Blackness represents less desirable social status In Ciencias sociales: segundo grado by Danilda Pérez et al. a variety of jobs are matched to people of various skin color (figure 4.1). Occupations depicted include a shoe repairman, a teacher, a construction worker, a butcher, a welder, a hairstylist, a shoe saleswoman, a baker, and a police officer. Only one illustration featured on this page does not explicitly portray an occupation. This nonoccupational drawing depicts a very fair-complexioned man with yellow hair, dressed in a shirt and tie, wearing a graduation cap and gown. He is holding a briefcase. In these illustrations, fairer-complexioned Dominicans are represented as members of a more highly educated workforce than Dominicans of a darker complexion. Although the darker workers are, in fact, portrayed as productive members of the Dominican workforce, they are blue-collar workers, manual laborers, like the construction worker and the welder. This correlation between complexion and employment opportunities reinforces the impression that a more European physical appearance is associated with education and white-collar employment. Afri can features are associated with vocational training and blue-collar labor. The gendered nature of these images is also quite clear. They specifically re-
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Figure 4.1. Illustrations of a wide range of professions. This is part of a second- grade lesson on jobs and the tools needed to carry out those jobs, in Ciencias sociales: segundo grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 54.
flect Maja Horn’s 2014 observations of Dominican hypermasculinity and research by Karie Jo Karasiak on the portrayal of traditional gender roles in public school textbooks.3 Concepts of female beauty are also represented. The fair complexion and straight hair of the shoe saleswoman and the hairstylist represent a commonly understood standard of female beauty in the Dominican Republic, a
Figure 4.2. Illustrations of a man voting, a man registering a child for school, and people waiting in line at a bank. Characters in the bank scene reflect stereotypes about socioeconomic status, race, and gender, in Ciencias sociales: tercer grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 141.
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standard that emphasizes a European appearance. These depictions extend the Dominican standard of beauty beyond mere aesthetic preference and into the realm of work and employment opportunities. The images bring to mind Ginetta E. B. Candelario’s Black behind the Ears: Dominican Ra cial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops, in which she asks women at a Dominican hair salon in Washington Heights, New York, to evaluate pictures from hairstyling books.4 Salon participants rated the degree to which the hair models were pretty, looked Hispanic, looked Dominican, looked businesslike, and seemed to be an appropriate marriage partner. This pigmentocracy narrative is also expressed in an example from the grade 3 textbook, Ciencias sociales: tercer grado. Three illustrations in the textbook are part of a discussion on personal documents, such as school identification cards, birth certificates, and cédulas (national identification cards that have passport-size photographs). In one illustration five people are standing in line at the bank (figure 4.2). The last woman in line is wearing business attire. The other two women, who have darker skin, are somewhat dowdy. Much like the grade 2 illustration of occupations (see figure 4.1), this fig ure ascribes beauty to a woman with European features, who typifies buena aparencia (good appearance). She is easily associated with success and employment. Employment advertisements that require female applicants to have buena aparencia seek to employ only those of more European appearance. This same sentiment is demonstrated in the illustration of the shoe saleswoman and hairstylist in figure 4.1.
Theme 2: Blackness can be prevented through generational blanqueamiento Unit four of the grade 2 textbook focuses on modes of communication and transportation. The second activity of the unit asks students to observe the actions of six people in an illustration (figure 4.3).5 A man is shown holding a For Sale sign; two girls and a boy are in a conversation; another boy is talking on the telephone; and a woman is writing. The man’s facial features are more European than African and he has a fair complexion. The woman, who has darker skin than the man, has a large rear end and thick lips. The children’s skin and hair color are closer to the man’s than the woman’s. Given the varyinig skin tones of the people, the first question is puzzling. “¿Qué forma el grupo de personas del dibujo?” (What group do the people in the picture form?) Although a variety of answers are possible, the most obvious response to this question is “a family.” What is the significance of having students acknowledge the people in the picture as members
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Figure 4.3. Illustration of what may be family members engaged in various modes of communication—creating an outdoor sign, writing a letter, talking on the telephone, watching television, and having a face-to-face conversation, in Ciencias so ciales: segundo grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 73.
of a single nuclear family? What does the depiction of the family, specifically of the mother and four children, express about Dominican identity? The textbook encourages students to acknowledge that multiracial households are a common familial makeup in the Dominican Republic. Although this familial makeup may, in fact, be very commonplace in the Domini
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can Republic, it seems out of place to have students address the issue in a unit about communication and transportation. On the surface, the illustration seems to portray a multiracial Dominican national identity and encourage second-grade students to associate Dominican national identity with multiracialness. However, a deeper look at the physical appearance of all members of this family could yield a different interpretation. The illustration’s portrayal of the mother and her children is essential to addressing the second question: What does the depiction of the family, specifically the mother and children, express about Dominican identity? The children do not have any physical resemblance to their mother, who has more stereotypically black African physical traits. The more European physical traits of the father are carried into the next generation by the children. This illustration suggests the practice of blanqueamiento and mejo rando la raza (improving the race) as they are typically manifested in the Dominican Republic and throughout Latin America—the desire to lighten the complexion of the Dominican population through interracial marriage. More black African physical traits will, through the process of blanqueamiento, no longer be a visible component of Dominican national identity.
Theme 3: Blackness is represented by negative and exaggerated stereotypes The third-grade textbook features illustrations as part of a lesson on Do minican identity. The section is titled Somos dominicanos (We Are Domini can[s]). Figure 4.4 depicts a Taíno man with his face, arms, and torso covered in paint. He is wearing a medallion around his neck. The next page of the textbook has two more illustrations (figure 4.5). The couple on the left are labeled blanco/blanca (white) and are identified as Spanish. On the right the black couple are labled as negra/negro and are identified as African. Another illustration depicts how the indigenous, Spanish, and African populations had offspring, giving rise to mestizo and mulato populations (figure 4.6). Note that the indigenous woman’s breasts are exposed. A mes tiza is shown to be the offspring of an indígena and a blanco. A mulata is shown to be the offspring of a blanco and a negra. These illustrations contribute to the construction and framing of the Haitian Other master script in Dominican curricula. The social construction of dominicanidad is built upon caricatures and negative stereotypes about populations of indigenous people and those of black African descent. The indígenas, sometimes referred to in the lesson as Taínos, are depicted nearly, if not completely, nude and frequently in body paint (see fig
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Figure 4.4. Illustration of a Taíno man with elaborately painted designs on his face and bare torso in Ciencias sociales: tercer grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 152.
ures 4.4 and 4.6). Africanos are shown with purple skin, wide, flat noses, and very full lips. The illustrations presented here do not offer young students a reasonable means by which they could include a black African component into their concept of Dominican identity. This is particularly critical to understanding textbooks’ transmission of national identity. This lesson is intended to help students form their concept of what it means to be Dominican. Can students readily associate themselves with a population that is purple? We say
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Figure 4.5. Illustrations of a man and woman labeled Españoles and another couple with much darker skin labeled Africanos, in Ciencias sociales: tercer grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 153.
they cannot. The illustrations of indígena, mestiza, mulata, and blanco are much more likely categories with which students will associate themselves, thus diminishing or possibly excluding the selection of a black African element for their concept of Dominican national identity. Likewise, it would undermine the development of a black Pan-African sense of group consciousness and solidarity.
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Figure 4.6. Illustrations of people representing indígena, blanco, negro, mulato, and mestizo populations, in Ciencias sociales: tercer grado by Danilda Pérez et al., p. 154.
In Ciencias sociales: quinto grado by Ana Daisy Garcia G., a page from a children’s magazine is reproduced in the textbook (figure 4.7). The six- frame cartoon takes its name from the title character Casabito, the Taíno child who shares information with the young readers. In this cartoon Casa bito is speaking with María Moñito, about palabras taínas (Taíno words). Wearing only a loincloth, Casabito is reminiscent of the Taínos depicted in
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Figure 4.7. Six-panel children’s cartoon showing the character María Moñito learning Taíno words that have been incorporated into Spanish from an indigenous child in a loincloth, in Ciencias sociales: quinto grado by Ana Daisy García G., p. 62.
the grade 3 textbook. María Moñito is drawn as a stereotypical pickaninny figure, a popular and infamous character in American vaudeville and minstrel performances of the early 1900s. María Moñito has large, round eyes and puckered lips. This characterization of María Moñito is another example of blackness represented in exaggerated, stereotypical fashion in the social science textbooks.
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Moving Forward or More of the Same? The Dominican Ministry of Education and established publishing houses such as Ambar, Disesa, and Norma have published multiple textbook series since these lessons first appeared in classrooms in the late 1990s. As part of a previous ten-year plan, the government put forth a tremendous effort to revise, update, and correct many of the previous materials to bring them into accordance with national curriculum guidelines. That effort was outlined in a ten-year plan from 2008 to 2018. It shares an emphasis on textbook content with the previous plan. In this section, we analyze three social science textbooks (grades two, three, and four) published by Grupo Norma and approved by the Ministry of Education for classroom use, and a civics textbook for older elementary students published by the Ministry of Education. The fourth-grade textbook was published in 2002. Susaeta Ediciones printed the civics textbook as a special edition for the Ministry of Education in 2012, which contained content developed by the ministry itself. These four books serve as a window into the nature and degree of change that Dominican textbooks have undergone after nearly two decades of attention from the government. By using the same content analysis on these newer materials as we used with the previous textbooks, one can see limited progress in some areas in the representations of blackness. Overall, the three themes found in older texts are still present, but at times to a lesser degree. The newer texts reflect a decreased reliance on stereotypes; generational blanqueamiento is not frequently portrayed; and blackness is represented in a wider range of social statuses when compared with previous textbooks. Social Status The second-grade textbook still uses illustrations to portray a variety of occupations to the student. The fundamental improvement in this newer version of the lesson is that workers of lighter and darker skin are seen carrying out jobs ranging from professionally skilled to manual labor. However, the issue of buena aparencia is still presented in the same way as in the previous text. A hairstylist with blonde hair and European features is shown combing the hair of a fair-skinned girl with European features (figure 4.1). In contrast to the women in the bank line (see figure 4.2) the image from the newer second-grade textbook seems to have corrected many of negative stereotypes found in the old image. The new image is part of a lesson on service sector professions and features a woman cleaning what appears to be an office, a doctor listening to a stethoscope placed on a patient’s back, and at the bottom of the page five people waiting in line in front of
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a cashier’s window marked Caja 1. There are two women and three men. Although all but one man is shown from behind, the portrayals can be described as rather plain and without much distinction. Implied social status is not indicated in any way through the clothing, accessories, or hairstyle of the people in line. Generational Blanqueamiento Again, we turn to the second-grade textbook from 2006 to examine the images and activities with regard to generational blanqueamiento that appeared in a previous text approved by the Ministry of Education. The overall assessment of this text is that the presentation of generational blanqueamiento has virtually disappeared from its pages, although another curious feature seems to have taken its place. Activity after activity is focused on how groups work together. A series of illustrations of families are presented as part of this lesson on family dynamics and various roles and responsibilities within the family. Not only do the families shown fail to depict generational blanqueamiento in the representations of the parents and children, each member of the family has almost exactly the same skin complexion. The parents are the same; the children are the same as the parents. This is in stark contrast to figure 4.3. Now there is no discernible difference among anyone in the family. This text also includes two photographs of multi generational families, one in color of a contemporary family and the other sepia-toned dating from what appears to be the early twentieth century. The fact that the images are of actual people and not brightly colored drawings lends a much-needed sense of authenticity to the lessons. Negative Stereotypes The third-grade textbook from 2006 also includes a lesson similar in content to the previous book’s section “Somos Dominicanos.” The newer book’s lesson, “Procedencia del pueblo dominicano” (Origin of the Dominican People), begins with the following text: En 1492, los españoles llegaron a la isla de Santo Domingo. Eran de piel blanca, pelo rubio o negro, nariz fina y se dejaban crecer las barbas. Como los conquistadores españoles llegaron a nuestro territorio sin traer a sus mujeres, se vieron en la necesidad de tomar como parejas a las mujeres aborígenes. De la unión de español y taína nacen niños y niñas con características físicas de una y de otra raza. A éstos se les llama mestizos o mestizas. Con el tiempo y a consecuencia de la crueldad, los trabajos forzados, el suicidio y las enfermedades, los aborígenes fueron desapareciendo. Los españoles comen-
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zaron a traer negros y negras africanas que realizaron las labores en sus plantaciones, en las casas y en los ingenios. Esos africanos y africanas poseían características distintas a las del taíno y el español: su piel era negra, el pelo muy duro, la nariz achatada, los labios gruesos y su contextura física fuerte. De la unión del blanco español y la negra africana nacieron niños y niñas con características de ambos. El resultado de esta mezcla fueron los mulatos y las mulatas. (In 1492, the Spanish arrived on the island of Santo Domingo. They were of white skin, blond or dark hair, narrow nose, and they let their beards grow. Because the Spanish conquerors arrived to our land without their wives, they found themselves in need of taking indigenous women as their partners. From the Spanish and Taíno union came children with physical characteristics of both races. Those children were called mestizos or mestizas. With time and as a consequence of cruelty, forced labor, suicide, and sickness, the indigenous population was disappearing. The Spanish began to bring black Af rican men and women to do the work on their plantations, in their homes and in the mills. Those Africans possessed different characteristics than those of the Taíno and the Spanish: their skin was black, their hair was kinky, their nose was wide, their lips were thick and their physical build was strong. From the union of the white Spanish man and the black African woman came children with characteristics from both of them. The result of this mixture was the mulatto.)6 We see the same heavy-handedness here as in the previous lesson. Details about nose shape, hair texture, lip thickness, and skin color seem to be crucially important to understanding what creates the essence of Do minican identity in this activity. The similarities between the lessons continue with the use of an illustrated diagram of how various combinations of certain groups of people create new categories of people, specifically re- creating the “mulato/a” and “mestizo/a” descriptions from before. We intentionally avoid the use of the word “race” in this description because the text does not include it. The newer lesson has three photographs: three young boys smiling for the camera; three adults and two young children in a seemingly candid shot as they stroll along a brick path; and six women of varying ages caught in conversation as they walk together, two in a seemingly friendly embrace unaware of the camera. More so than drawings, photographs of actual people add to the sense of authenticity. Although this certainly reflects a degree of improvement over the purple-skinned Africans shown in the earlier textbook, the work students are asked to do with the images remains almost wholly unchanged. The section above the photo-
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graphs asks students to look at the pictures and talk with their classmates about these questions: What similarities and differences are there between the people in the photographs? Can it be said with certainty that all of them are Dominicans? Why? Why do you think there is so much variety in physical appearance among Dominicans? There is very little doubt that students are being led toward commenting on the mixed-race appearance of the young boys in picture 1, the European appearance of the adults and children in picture 2, and the more African appearance of the women in picture 3—all in keeping with the general framework of the same activity in years past. The civics textbook from 2012 helps bring into focus a way to characterize the evolution of textbook content in the Dominican Republic since the ten-year revision of the 1990s. The textbook reflects a greater use of actual photographs, especially when depicting people of various backgrounds; however, the reliance on cartoonish drawings still serves as the foundation on which much of the visual content is built. In the illustrated activities, blatant negative stereotyping is not quite as striking, but the exaggerated nature of the illustrations of people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent are simplistic and crude at best.
Textos Integrados (Integrated Texts): Lessons Learned in the Dominican Republic In the introduction we discuss how critical race theory guides our understanding of why political leaders and governing elites might seek to play a prominent role in influencing the school textbook drafting and adoption process. As evidenced by the Loewen case in Mississippi, political leaders may seek to impact the development of school textbooks to shape their substantive content. In doing so, the curriculum comes to represent the dominant classes’ view of the legitimate story of the nation’s history and the predominate racial views of the day while simultaneously muting those ideas and viewpoints that counter or undermine the official master script. The Loewen case also demonstrates that interested and affected parties sometimes turn to the courts to initiate legal challenges to the process of textbook adoption and classroom usage. The Dominican Republic has experienced political and legal controversies surrounding textbook adoption and classroom usage of Textos integrados. In November 2010 two prominent Dominican linguists, Andrés L. Mateo and Manuel Núñez, drew attention to the introduction of Textos integrados into Dominican classrooms at the first-through fourth-grade level. Mateo and Núñez impeached the textbooks as violating provisions of the consti-
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tution of the Dominican Republic, General Law of Education 66/97, Law 340-06 concerning purchasing and contracting and also the education curriculum of the country.7 Calling the textbooks “the worst damage that has been done to the Dominican education system,” these language scholars condemned the books on many grounds.8 Mateo and Núñez argued that the books had been purchased by officials in the Ministry of Education without having bid out the process (in conformance with Law 340-06) and costing the country some $722 million in Dominican pesos (approximately $17 million in US dollars) to print the books and guides, teacher training, and acquisition of technological resources. They also asserted that the textbooks violated articles 26 (concerning international relations), 63 (rights relative to education), and 64 (rights relative to culture) of the Dominican constitution (Constitución de 2010 de la República Dominicana).9 As part a citizen’s constitutional right to an education, the Ministry of Education mandated that students receive seven hours a week of Spanish language instruction. The Textos Integrados, however, were said to be lacking in Spanish language instruction. Mateo and Núñez also alleged that the new books were not submitted to the National Council of Education for its input as required by General Law of Education 66/97. Then Minster of Education Melanio Paredes admitted that the books were not submitted to the national adviser. In defense of the textbooks, Paredes asserted that they were not deveoped without thoughtful care and preparation. They were instead the result of a year and a half of work and validation of its contents.10 Ultimately the textbooks were not used in Dominican classrooms. The Dominican experience with the Textos integrados demonstrates how contentious and controversial the development, adoption, and classroom introduction of curricular material can be. It can also be said that the Tex tos integrados provoked some Dominican educators to think twice about the official curriculum in effect at the time. The Dominican educator interviewed in the introduction noted that “some people in the Dominican Republic said the books had good aspects. For example, the pictures [of Dominican youth] more accurately represent the Dominican race.” While reviewing pictures included in Texto Integrado 1 (2010) and Texto Integrado 2 (2011), this educator pointed to several pictures of actual Dominican children (as opposed to cartoon drawings) and noted the various hues of skin color, which ranged from dark black to light brown. In Texto Integrado 1, schoolchildren are photographed singing, working together on group projects, observing the natural space surrounding their school, writing, counting, and playing interactive games that support the text’s content.11 The educator thought the Textos integrados had many positive attributes and,
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with modifications that took into consideration Spanish language instruction, would be an improvement in the educational curriculum. The need for curricular improvement, as a separate issue from representation of Domini can identity, is echoed in the words of Dominican educator Emilio Vargas Santiago in “Textos integrados y curriculum vigente: Una mirada a través del texto para primer grado (1era parte) (Integrated Textbooks and Current Curriculum: A Look Through the Text for First Grade [First Part])”12 He asserts that the texts lack a grounding in educational theory and explicitly criticizes the dearth of Spanish language instruction. We argue that the realistic and multiple representations of Dominican schoolchildren illustrate another manifestation of Simmons’s “reconstructed racial identity” and reveal a lessening of adherence to the Haitian Other master script, especially as compared with the textbooks from the 1990s and early 2000s analyzed in this chapter.
5 Color, Classrooms, and the Haitian Other
The Dominican Republic’s effort to overhaul its public education system through a ten-year plan from 1994 to 2004 failed to improve the textbooks’ content on Dominican identity. Nor did it eliminate the influence of anti- Haitian bias in the construction of dominicanidad. The primary goal of this Plan decenal de educación en acción (Ten-Year Education Plan in Action) was stated in ¿Por qué? ¿Para qué? de la transformación curricular (Why? For What Purpose?: On the Curricular Transformation): “La Transformación Curricular es un movimiento socio-educativo dirigido a elevar la calidad de la educación mediante la puesta en ejecución de un nuevo currículo que responda a las necesidades y características de nuestra sociedad y que permita atender a las posibilidades y demandas de las personas en sus diversos contextos.” (The Curricular Transformation is a socioeducation movement focused on elevating the quality of education by putting in place a new curriculum that responds to the necessities and characteristics of our society and allows a focus on the possibilities and demands of people in their diverse contexts.)1 The Plan decenal de educación en acción’s goal to implement a new curriculum reflecting the characteristics of Dominican society in diverse contexts ostensibly created the needed space to reframe and “reconstruct” the master script of black racial identity in Hispaniola. Our analysis of social science textbooks from this time reveals that their content failed to meet that goal. In our best estimation, the failure of these social science textbooks to reconstruct the master script of black racial identity was directly tied to a lack of transparency about how the Haitian Other master script shapes the understanding of race, identity, and nation for school-age children within Dominican society. Indeed, the foundational framing of the 1994–2004 Plan decenal suggests there should be a place in the curriculum
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for such information. A section outlining specific questions and answers about the plan asserts: ¿Cuáles son los propósitos (objetivos) generales asumidos para la educación dominicana que sirve[n] de base a esta Transformación? Formar ciudadanos democráticos y participativos. Fomentar la conciencia patriótica, tanto personal como social, en torno a la identidad y la soberanía nacionales, a partir del fortalecimiento de los elementos culturales nacionales y la valoración de la autóctono y lo vernáculo; evitando todo fenómeno de exclusión y rescatando las raíces indígenas, hispánicas, negras y de otros orígenes, las manifestaciones mulatas y de todo tipo, en el contexto de la promoción y vigencia de la solidaridad, la justicia y la libertad, y a través del desarrollo de la autoestima de los sujetos. (What are the generally accepted goals [objectives] for Dominican education that serve as the basis for this transformation? To form democratic and participatory citizens. To foster patriotic consciousness, personal as well as social, around national identity and sovereignty, beginning with the strengthening of national cultural elements and the valorization of the native and the vernacular; avoiding all phenomena of exclusion and rescuing the indigenous, Hispanic, and black roots and other origins, signs of mixed raceness of all types, in the context of the promotion and duration of solidarity, justice, and liberty, and through the development of the individual’s self-esteem.)2 The words of the Plan decenal reflect the importance of helping students form a sense of national identity that rejects racism, judgment, and the othering of those who do not share their own background or beliefs. In practice, however, the textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education, as well as those drafted by private commercial presses, that were used from 1994 to 2004 generally demonstrate the opposite. Although one would be hard- pressed to actually ignore physical differences among different groups of people, the lessons on identity construction disregard the Plan’s goal when they ask students to use physical appearance as the primary means for understanding their own place, and the place of other people in their immediate world, within the landscape of dominicanidad. The disconnect happens because while the goals of the Plan decenal state a desire to promote “solidarity, liberty and justice,” many of the textbook images and activities fail to accomplish said goal and, in fact, perpetuate the influence of
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the Haitian Other master script that places blackness and all its associated negativity squarely at the center of the lessons. This disconnect is seen even more explicitly in a section articulating the new goals for social science education in the 1994–2004 plan. La propuesta de Ciencias Sociales, se ha estructurado en torno al reconocimiento de nuestra identidad como dominicanos y dominicanas y en la necesaria participación de toda conformación cotidiana, de dicha identidad desde los distintos ámbitos: familias, comunidad específica y comunidad nacional. Caracteriza los procesos de evolución bio-socio-cultural que ha tenido la humanidad y cuyos aportes forman parte de nuestra conformación como pueblo. Se considera que los estudios sociales en nuestro país promueven la creación de una conciencia internacionalista, latinoamericana y caribeña que contribuya positivamente a la valoración de los hechos y procesos históricos que, de una manera u otra, han incidido en la configuración de nuestra identidad. En este sentido, la propuesta curricular del Área de las Ciencias Sociales tienen en cuenta las necesidades sociales más importantes del desarrollo nacional, los perfiles culturales más significativos y las relaciones macrosociales que inciden en la formación actual de la dominicanidad y sus perspectivas en el macro de una rela ción regional, continental y universal. (The social sciences design has been structured around the recognition of our identity as Dominicans and the necessary participation of each element of daily life, of said identity from various fields: families, local community, and national community. It portrays the processes of bio-socio-cultural evolution that humanity has had and whose contributions form part of our makeup as a people. It is considered in our country that social studies promote the creation of an international, Latin American, and Caribbean consciousness that contributes positively to the valorization of the historical facts and processes that, in one way or another, have influenced the configuration of our identity. In this sense, the curricular design of the social sciences area takes into account the most important social necessities of national development, the most significant cultural profiles and macrosocial relationships that influence the current formation of dominicanidad and its perspectives within the framework of a regional, continental, and universal relationship.)3 Unfortunately, many of the lessons presented in the textbooks created and approved for use as part of this curricular overhaul did not reflect what
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the plan set out to accomplish. Examples from second-and third-grade social science books show the disconnect between what the plan articulated and what appears in the books in three overarching themes that we have introduced: (1) Blackness represents less desirable social status; (2) blackness can be prevented through generational blanqueamiento, and (3) blackness is represented by negative and exaggerated stereotypes. Students are asked to emphasize physical appearance as an indicator of group affiliation; people with darker skin are depicted as poor, unattractive, less educated, and are sometimes shown in caricature. Content of this nature does not valorize the cultural, social, and biological elements that form Dominican identity; it denigrates and marginalizes it. We find that the fundamental reason this disconnect happens is because the Haitian Other master script narrative and how it operated historically and how it operates contemporarily to shape the boundaries of blackness in the Dominican Republic is not discussed. We believe that an age-appropriate and explicit discussion of how blackness has historically been, and in some cases continues to be, presented as negative in Dominican society is needed to help loosen the grip of the Haitian Other master script on Dominican educational materials. Students miss a uniquely powerful opportunity to engage with and criti cally investigate the Haitian Other master script narrative in the textbook sections covering the Trujillo dictatorship from 1930 to 1961. Students are presented with a great deal of factual information about Trujillo’s political dealings with the Haitian government, especially around labor and immigration negotiations meant to support the Dominican sugar industry. What is missing is a more detailed analysis of why the two countries found themselves in such a position in the first place. The students are not guided to an understanding of Trujillo’s lasting impact on the social and political structures, which we find simply serves to entrench the influence of the Haitian Other master script for future generations. Despite the Plan decenal’s ineffectiveness regarding textbook content, we are encouraged by the possibility that the country’s subsequent ten-year plan (from 2008 to 2018) can address the missed opportunities to reveal and begin the work of dismantling the Haitian Other master script in social science textbooks. Ideally this could be accomplished by focusing attention on an objective and transparent evaluation of textbook content prior to adoption for classroom use and by addressing teacher education, from preservice teachers at the university level to professional development for current teachers. We believe that the new plan’s vision statement makes a space for these two specific efforts on textbook evaluation and teacher education: “Lograr que todos los dominicanos y dominicanas tengan acceso a una educación pertinente y de calidad, asumiendo como principio el respeto
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a la diversidad, fortaleciendo la identidad cultural; formando seres humanos para el ejercicio de una vida activa y democrática, generando actitudes innovadoras y cambios en la sociedad y garantizando una calidad educativa que asegure el desarrollo sostenible y la cultura de paz.” (To ensure that all Dominicans have access to a pertinent and quality education, adopting as a principle respect for diversity, strengthening cultural identity; developing human beings for the exercise of an active and democratic life, generating innovative attitudes and changes in the society and guaranteeing a quality education that assures sustainable development and the culture of peace.)4 Textbook rubrics that evaluate the representation of individuals and ethnic groups would serve as a useful means to help connect the language of the vision statement to the content of the textbooks. This would be especially powerful and transformative in lessons based on identity that have previously focused attention on physical appearance. Effective rubrics would do more than merely verifying whether certain “looks” or certain ethnic groups were present within the pages; the rubrics would ask for an assessment of how the people or groups were represented. Textbooks created as part of the 2008–2018 Plan decenal stand to suffer from the same shortcomings as previous materials without the inclusion of effective and detailed rubrics. If, however, the textbooks are evaluated according to the values named in the new Plan decenal, then they should have content that acknowledges the influence of the Haitian Other master script and content that actively undermines that script. Of the eighteen values listed in the plan, we find that the following five could serve as the most critical guiding principles for creating textbook evaluation rubrics capable of dealing with the Haitian Other master script narrative in the new materials: solidaridad (solidarity) justicia (justice) respeto a la verdad (respect for the truth) valores patrióticos, participativos y democráticos en la perspectiva de armonizar las necesidades colectivas con las individuales (patriotic, participatory, and democratic values with the prospect of reconciling collective needs with individual ones) conciencia de identidad (consciousness of identity)5 We suggest that specific attention be paid to educating preservice and in-service teachers on critical approaches to social science content. This is true especially as it pertains to dismantling the Haitian Other master script narrative present in the lessons discussed in this book. Classroom teachers must be able to take an active role in such an endeavor. Students must
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understand their role as political beings who are being indoctrinated into the essential elements of what constitutes Dominican nationality. We believe that through access to quality education and empowered instructors, students can develop attitudes in the process of learning to be Dominican that can promote societal change and the pursuit of peace.
2008–2018 Plan Decenal, Critical Race Theory, and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy The ten-year plan presents an exciting and potentially significant strategy to move social science education in the Dominican Republic in a direction that meets the spirit of its tenets, and elucidates the myths, realities, and implications of believing in the otherness of Haitians. The plan can also foster an environment of critical and constructive dialogue about how to situate blackness and Haiti/Haitians into the racial mosaic of Dominican national identity. This can only come to fruition, however, if teacher training and instruction meaningfully incorporate culturally relevant methods. In this section, we discuss the interface of critical race theory and culturally relevant pedagogy. We also probe more deeply into the elements of culturally relevant pedagogy and use it as a lens to reflect on the findings of our study and as a blueprint to consider the possible positive trajectory to be attained in Dominican social science instruction and curriculum. Culturally relevant pedagogy is an approach to education and instruction in which teaching practices are informed by the cultural background and experiences of the students to strengthen the effectiveness of the instruction. This line of research grew primarily out of inquiries concerning how to improve black student achievement in the United States.6 Although the scope of analysis of culturally relevant pedagogy historically has been focused on United States–based case studies, the approaches of culturally relevant pedagogy are informed by teaching practices that can be applied to the context of Dominican education. According to Gloria Ladson-Billings, early strands of research that explored the nexus of teaching practices/styles and the cultural environment of a student’s home measured student success by academic progress within the prevailing social structures that existed in schools.7 The goal of education was to fit students socially constructed as Other “into a hierarchical structure that is defined as a meritocracy.”8 In the early 1990s, Ladson-Billings, in an attempt to move beyond what many scholars have viewed as an accommodationist stance taken by the early literature, began developing a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. Culturally relevant pedagogy has sufficient epistemological room to allow for it to be influenced by as well as provide guidance to critical race
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theory. Ladson-Billings notes that a point of convergence between critical theories and culturally relevant pedagogy is that both “strive to incorporate student experience as part of the ‘official’ ” master script.9 Both critical race theory and culturally relevant pedagogy engage students and teachers in a collective struggle against the officially sanctioned version of knowledge. They help students see themselves as political beings in the school curriculum.10 Culturally relevant pedagogy is a useful framework for exploring how collective action at the teacher level, as well as institutional level (e.g., Dominican Ministry of Education), can be informed by individual calls for action to challenge the status quo in education. Ladson-Billings argues that “culturally relevant pedagogy must provide a way for students to maintain their cultural integrity while succeeding academically . . . . Not only must teachers encourage academic success and cultural competence, they must help students to recognize, understand, and critique current social inequities.”11 This process requires teacher engagement and a commitment to culturally relevant instruction. It also presumes that “teachers themselves recognize social inequities and their causes.” Ladson-Billings notes that many teachers not only fail to have these types of perspectives but also eschew information regarding social inequity.12 Ladson-Billings finds that three main characteristics undergird culturally relevant pedagogy. She constructs these three propositions based on an analysis of her research in which she used teacher interviews, classroom observations, and group analysis of videotaped segments of teacher instruction. Ladson-Billings is careful to note that, in her seminal study, the teachers themselves do not, a priori, refer to their style as culturally relevant. Ladson-Billings uses this nomenclature to best equip prospective adoptees of this approach with a rubric to guide their engagement with this concept. The three characteristics of culturally relevant pedagogy are (1) an awareness of the conceptions of self and others, (2) attention to the manner in which social relations are structured, and (3) a focus on conceptions of knowledge.13 Regarding teacher concepts of self and others, Ladson-Billings argues that culturally relevant teaching methods engage “spontaneity and e nergy” and are used by teachers who show a “willingness to be risk takers.”14 Teachers who exhibit an awareness of self and others were most likely to have “cajoled, nagged, pestered, and bribed the students to work at high intellectual levels.”15 The following observation, which is particularly instructive for our study, illustrates culturally relevant pedagogy in action: “In the midst of a lesson, one teacher, seemingly bewildered by her students’ expressed belief that every princess had long blond hair, swiftly went to her book shelf, pulled down an African folk tale about a princess, and shared the story with
Color, Classrooms, and the Haitian Other • 89
the students to challenge their assertion. In our conference afterward, she commented, ‘I didn’t plan to insert that book, but I just couldn’t let them go on thinking that only blond white women were eligible for royalty. I know where they get those ideas, but I have a responsibility to contradict some of that. The consequences of that kind of thinking are more devastating for our children.’ ”16 The first characteristic of culturally relevant pedagogy calls for an awareness of the concept of self and others. Our findings in chapter 4 suggest that a culturally relevant pedagogical approach to teaching in the Domini can Republic can enhance student awareness to the potentially deleterious effects of the Haitian Other master script embedded in social science education. In the introduction we postulate what some of these detrimental outcomes could be. Texts simultaneously widen and shrink the divide between the Haitian Other and Dominican identity in school-based histori cal biographies and in social science textbooks—all materials that form part of the Dominican Republic’s effort to officially locate blackness within the textbooks and in the minds of young readers. The second characteristic of culturally relevant pedagogy focuses on the manner in which social relations are structured by teachers who use culturally relevant techniques and materials. The core elements of such instruction, according to Ladson-Billings, center on teaching techniques that (1) maintain fluid student-teacher relationships, (2) demonstrate a connected ess with all of the students, (3) develop a community of learners, and (4) encourage students to learn collaboratively and be responsible for one another.17 Culturally relevant instruction fosters an environment of community learning as opposed to personal achievements. Teachers who engage in this approach encourage students to work collaboratively, impart knowledge to each other, and take ownership of the academic success of their cohorts.18 In chapter 2 we discuss how the Trujillo lessons in the actividades and taller (activities and workshop) portions of the eighth-grade social science textbook engage critical thought-based activities and place emphasis on student investigation and collaborative work. Notwithstanding the shortcomings we identified in the curriculum’s accounting of how Trujillo further expanded and more deeply embedded an anti-Haitian, antiblack ideology in the Dominican Republic, we found that the eighth-grade social science curriculum on Trujillo challenges students to construct takeaways from the lessons. The curriculum reflects a grounding in critical constructivism, critical thinking, as well as a strong emphasis on resources from outside the Dominican community. We believe that exposure to culturally relevant pedagogy is of primary importance and that the ten-year plan reflects a desire to move in this direction.
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The third tenet of culturally relevant pedagogy is centered on how teachers think about knowledge—as evidenced in the curriculum and its substantive contents—as well as teachers’ evaluation of such knowledge. According to Ladson-Billings, this third characteristic has specific components concerning knowledge: (1) knowledge is not static; it is shared, recycled, and constructed; (2) knowledge must be viewed critically; (3) teachers must be passionate about knowledge and learning; (4) teachers must scaffold, or build bridges, to facilitate learning; and (5) assessment must be multifaceted, incorporating multiple forms of excellence.19 Ladson-Billings provides an illustrative anecdote from her research. Another example of the teachers’ conceptions of knowledge was demonstrated in the critical stance the teachers took toward the school curriculum. Although cognizant of the need to teach certain things because of a districtwide testing policy, the teachers helped their students engage in a variety of forms of critical analyses. For one teacher, this meant critique of the social studies textbooks that were under consideration by a state evaluation panel. For two of the other teachers, critique came in the form of resistance to district-approved reading materials. Both of these teachers showed the students what it was they were supposed to be using along with what they were going to use and why. They both trusted the students with this information and enlisted them as allies against the school district’s policies.20 In chapter 3 we show the connection to this tenet in our analysis of how former political rivals Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez are presented in their biographical texts meant for young Dominican readers. Teachers must be equipped to provide students with a framework for understanding the dynamic between the two men that is historically accurate and also acknowledges socially and culturally specific understandings of blackness in the Dominican Republic. For example, what is the weight of accusing Peña Gómez of being Haitian or having Haitian sympathies? We discuss in chapter 4 that it was the critique of two prominent Do minican linguists that helped draw attention to the flaws of the Ministry of Education’s adoption of the Textos integrados. Culturally relevant pedagogy informs us that Dominican teachers should feel the liberty to do the same and believe that they will be taken just as seriously. In addition, teachers should feel they have the academic freedom and authority to supplement the curriculum in the textbooks with other reputable and credible accounts of Dominican national folklore and history. Culturally relevant pedagogy and critical race theory should endeavor to intellectually challenge the t enets of the Haitian Other master script.
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Toward a Critically Driven Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Dominican Social Science Education We make a number of suggestions in an effort to infuse culturally relevant pedagogy into social science curriculum and instruction in the Dominican Republic. Our hope is there will be a critical examination of the delineation between the othered Haitian element and Dominican identity in the textbook lessons on Dominican identity and narratives of historical biographies designed for classroom usage. We assert that culturally relevant education must explore all the key components (including those emanating from the sources we analyze in chapters 1 through 4) surrounding the criti cal question How does the figure of the Haitian Other help tell the story of Do minican history and identity in Dominican schoolbooks? Toward this endeavor, the social science curriculum must challenge students, through readings, lessons, exercises, teacher-led dialogue, and critical reflection, to probe the following issues: 1. The tacit message of the inferiority of the black African race vis-à-vis the superiority of the white and Spanish bloodline 2. How political leaders and governing elites can use school curriculum to advance their own self-serving political and legal agendas 3. The facts surrounding the Yean and Bosico case and a critical examination of its civil and human rights implications 4. How the Trujillo ideology, as implanted and propagated in Dominican culture, as well as the legacy of racial priming emanating from the Balaguer and Peña Gómez campaigns, can lead black Afro-descended youth to adopt a sense of inferiority and self-hatred 5. How the extreme exaggerations and pejorative characterizations of blackness in the social science curriculum can lead some children to have low educational and occupational expectations, which in turn could lead to social and economic ills 6. How the framing of a black inferiority/white superiority narrative in the school curriculum can stunt and even preclude the development of a black Pan-African group consciousness and solidarity across black Dominicans and Haitians
With regard to the racial pigmentocracy narrative in Dominican social science curriculum, we do not call for it to be outright abandoned. Indeed, as Ladson-Billings notes, “It is true that Africans in the Diaspora represent people from many diverse African ethnic groups. It is likewise true that we carry multiple heritages, many having Euro-American origins.”21 In light of the reality of the mixed-race ancestry of the Dominican population, we call for a candid discussion about how historically there have been negative
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representations of blackness and a relegation of black African ancestry to a subordinate positioning in the racial hierarchy of Dominican nationality. There is also a need for critical examination of the historical denigration of the blackness of Haitians and elevation of Dominican blackness due to its mixed-race roots. Culturally relevant pedagogy recognizes that “there are some enduring aspects of our Africanity that make the concept of an African consciousness plausible and deeply felt. Perhaps the constant and almost universal derogation of Africa and peoples of African descent has been enough to forge a bond of solidarity that has developed into a sense of African identity.”22 In our estimation, there is a real foundation—rooted in the black African ancestry of both Dominicans and Haitians and their shared island of Hispaniola—to discuss the metes and bounds of possible solidarity across both national identities. Our work here shows that the effort to unmaster the script is a complicated one and the work cannot be narrowed to the lessons and images in the limited space within the pages of a schoolbook. Our efforts work to illustrate Kimberly Simmons’s assertion that blackness in the D ominican Republic is not, in fact, denied, but rather “buried” and in need of being “reconstructed.” The analyses we present show the difficulty of the “unburying” and “reconstructing” process through the lens of texts intended for young Dominican students. The process of “learning to be Dominican” engages students’ whole being—from using their own skin color as a reference for identity and defining dominicanidad to grappling with questions of otherness and self that harken back to the nation’s founding fathers. It is a difficult journey, but one certainly worth taking.
Introduction 1. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2007), 154. 2. April J. Mayes, The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014), 2. 3. Mayes, The Mulatto Republic, 4. 4. Milagros Ricourt, The Dominican Racial Imaginary: Surveying the Landscape of Race and Nation in Hispaniola (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2016); Lorgia García-Peña, The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016). 5. Kimberly Eison Simmons, Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011), 1–2. 6. Simmons, Reconstructing Racial Identity, 12. 7. Jorge Duany, “Racializing Ethnicity in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean: A Comparison of Haitians in the Dominican Republic and Dominicans in Puerto Rico,” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 1, no. 2 (2006): 236. 8. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983). 9. Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), David Howard, Coloring the Nation: Race and Eth nicity in the Dominican Republic (Oxford: Signal Books, 2001), Dawn F. Stinchcomb, The Development of Literary Blackness in the Dominican Republic (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004), Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007). 10. “Dominican Republic,” World Factbook, 2014. 11. Duany, “Racializing Ethnicity in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean,” 236. 12. Duany, “Racializing Ethnicity in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean,” 236. 13. Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic.
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14. David Howard, Coloring the Nation; Jorge Duany, “Reconstructing Racial Identity: Ethnicity, Color, and Class among Dominicans in the United States and Puerto Rico,” Latin American Perspectives 25, no. 3 (1998): 147–72. 15. Mark Q. Sawyer, Yesilernis Peña, and Jim Sidanius, “Cuban Exceptionalism: Group-based Hierarchy and the Dynamics of Patriotism in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba,” Du Bois Review 1, no. 1 (March 2004): 93–113. 16. Ginetta E. B. Candelario, “Hair Race-ing: Dominican Beauty Culture and Identity Production,” Meridians 1, no. 1 (Autumn 2000): 128–56; Candelario, Black behind the Ears. 17. Howard, Coloring the Nation. 18. Duany, “Reconstructing Racial Identity,” 147–72. 19. Minority Rights Group, No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today (London: Minority Rights Group, 1995). 20. Magnus Mörner, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967). 21. Minority Rights Group. No Longer Invisible. 22. Mark B. Rosenberg, A. Douglas Kincaid, and Kathleen Logan, eds., Ameri cas: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 143. 23. Silvio Torres-Saillant, “The Tribulations of Blackness: Stages in Dominican Racial Identity” Latin American Perspectives 25, no. 3 (1998): 127, 129. 24. Torres-Saillant, “The Tribulations of Blackness,” 129. 25. Alan Cambeira, Quisqueya la Bella: Dominican Republic in Historical and Cultural Perspective (London: Routledge, 1997), 182, 222. 26. Michele Wucker, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola (New York: Hill and Wang, 1999), 53. 27. Richard Shaull, foreword to Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (New York: Seabury, 1974), 14; Malinda Marie Williams, “Colorism in the Spanish Caribbean: Legacies of Race and Racism in Dominican and Puerto Rican Literature” (2011) Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 709. http://digitalcommons.du.edu /etd/709. 28. Gloria Ladson-Billings and David Gillborn, “Education and Critical Race Theory,” in The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education ed. Michael W. Apple, Stephen J. Ball, and Armando Gandin (London: Routledge, 2010); Gerardo R. López, “The (Racially Neutral) Politics of Education: A Criti cal Race Theory Perspective,” Educational Administration Quarterly 39, no. 1 (2003); David Gillborn, “Education Policy as an Act of White Supremacy: Whiteness, Critical Race Theory, and Education Reform,” Journal of Education Policy, 20, no. 4 (2005); Daniel Solorzano, “Images and Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Racial Stereotyping, and Teacher Education,” Teacher Education Quarterly 24, no. 3 (summer 1997): 8–10. 29. Gloria Ladson-Billings, “Just What Is Critical Race Theory and What’s It Doing in a Nice Field Like Education?” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 11, no. 1 (1998): 7–24. 30. Solorzano, “Images and Words That Wound,” 6.
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31. Ladson-Billings, “Just What Is Critical Race Theory?” 18. 32. Ladson-Billings, “Just What Is Critical Race Theory?” 18. 33. Richard T. Middleton IV, “Institutions, Inculcation, and Black Racial Identity: Pigmentocracy vs. the Rule of Hypodescent,” Social Identities 14, no. 5 (2008): 567–85; Sawyer, Peña, and Sidanius, “Cuban Exceptionalism,” 93–113; Torres- Saillant, “The Tribulations of Blackness” 3. 34. Shaull, foreword to Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire, 15. 35. Shaull, foreword to Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 15; Michael W. Apple, Power, Meaning, and Identity: Essays in Critical Educational Studies (New York: Peter Lang, 1999): 169, 171. 36. Jessica T. DeCuir and Adrienne D. Dixson, “So When It Comes Out, They Aren’t That Surprised That It Is There”: Using Critical Race Theory as a Tool of Analysis of Race and Racism in Education,” Educational Researcher 33, no. 5 (2004): 27. 37. Edward Taylor, “A Primer on Critical Race Theory.” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education no. 19 (spring 1998): 122. 38. Taylor, “Primer on Critical Race Theory,” 122; DeCuir and Dixson, “So When It Comes Out,” 27. 39. Taylor, “Primer on Critical Race Theory,” 122. 40. Ladson-Billings, “Just What Is Critical Race Theory,” 18. 41. Solorzano, “Images and Words That Wound,” 10. 42. Herbert, Mitgang, “Mississippi Textbook Dispute Revived.” New York Times, March 29, 1981. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/03/29/us/mississippi-textbook -dispute-revived.html. 43. Loewen v. Turnipseed, 488 F. Supp. 1138 at 1149. 44. Solorzano, “Images and Words That Wound,” 6. 45. F. James Davis, Who Is Black? One Nation’s Definition (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2001); David R. Goldfield, Black, White, and Southern: Race Relations and Southern Culture: 1940 to the Present (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1990). 46. Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, Open Society Foundations, accessed June 26, 2018, http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/litigation/yean-and-bosico -v-dominican-republic 47. Richard T. Middleton IV and Sheridan Wigginton, “A Comparative Analy sis of How the Framing of the Jus Soli Doctrine Affects Immigrant Inclusion into a National Identity” Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review 21 no. 2 (spring 2012): 521–99. 48. Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, Open Society Foundation, accessed June 26, 2018, http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/litigation/yean-and-bosico -v-dominican-republic 49. Solorzano, “Images and Words That Wound,” 10. 50. Gordon J. Beggs, “Novel Expert Evidence in Federal Civil Rights Litigation,” American University Law Review 45, no. 1 (1995), 13. 51. Julie A. Sellers, Merengue and Dominican Identity: Music as National Unifier ( Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2004): 34–35.
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52. Marvin Olsen, “Social and Political Participation of Blacks,” American So ciological Review 35 (Aug. 1970): 682–97; Sidney Verba and Norman H. Nie, Par ticipation in America: Political Democracy and Social Equality (New York: Harper and Row, 1972). 53. Charles Henry and Carlos Muñoz, “Ideological and Interest Linkages to California’s Rainbow Coalition” in Racial and Ethnic Politics in California, ed. Bryan O. Jackson and Michael B. Preston (Berkeley: IGS, 1991): 325.
Chapter 1 1. Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (Berke ley: University of California Press, 1993): 3–4. 2. Herbert Spencer (1873), The Study of Sociology, Henry S. King: London, http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/spencer-the-study-of-sociology-1873; “La Enciclopedia del Niño,” accessed July 10, 2016, http://revistatobogan.com/portal/contactos /about/objetivos. The [sic] in the Spanish text represents an error that cannot be replicated in English. The possessive adjective should be nuestros (ending in s) to reflect masculine plural. However, in English the word “our” would be the same in Spanish in all four possible variations: nuestra, nuestras, nuestro, nuestros. 3. Carlyle, On Heroes, xxxvii. 4. Jim Sidanius, Yesilernis Peña, and Mark Sawyer, “Inclusionary Discrimination: Pigmentocracy and Patriotism in the Dominican Republic” Political Psychology 22, no. 4. (Dec. 2001): 832. 5. Roberto Cassá, Juan Pablo Duarte: el padre de la patria (Colección Biografías Dominicanas Tobogán) (Santo Domingo: Alfa y Omega, 2002): 11. 6. Cassá, Juan Pablo Duarte, 12. 7. Cassá, Juan Pablo Duarte, 14. 8. Cassá, Juan Pablo Duarte, 15. 9. Cassá, Juan Pablo Duarte, 15. 10. Roberto Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez: fundador de la república, 3rd ed. (Santo Domingo: Alfa y Omega, 2006): 12. 11. Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, 12. 12. Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, 13. 13. Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, 30. 14. Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, 16. 15. Cassá, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, 16–17. 16. Roberto Cassá, Ramón Matías Mella: el patriotismo hecho acción, 3rd ed. (Santo Domingo: Alfa y Omega, 2006): 12. 17. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 8. 18. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 8. 19. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 9. 20. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 20. 21. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 48. 22. Cassá. Ramón Matías Mella, 9.
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Chapter 2 1. Silvio Torres-Saillant, “The Tribulations of Blackness: Stages in Dominican Racial Identity” Latin American Perspectives 25, no. 3 (1998): 132. 2. Henry Louis Gates, Black in Latin America (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 140. 3. Joe L. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer (New York: Peter Lang, 2005), 2. 4. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 2. 5. Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Cultura, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado (Santo Domingo: Editora Centenario, 1999), 87. 6. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 2. 7. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 101. 8. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 2. 9. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 2. 10. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 104. 11. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 3. 12. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 127. 13. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 14. 14. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 3. 15. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 107-108. 16. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 117. 17. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 207. 18. David Howard, Coloring the Nation: Race and Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic (Oxford: Signal Books, 2001), 29. 19. Kincheloe, Critical Constructivism Primer, 2.
Chapter 3 1. Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000). 2. Marilyn Grace Miller, Rise and Fall of the Cosmic Race: The Cult of Mestizaje in Latin America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004): 167. 3. Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic, 112. 4. Vincent L. Hutchings and Ashley E. Jardina, “Experiments on Racial Priming in Political Campaigns,” Annual Review of Political Science 12 (2009): 398. 5. Hutchings and Jardina, “Experiments on Racial Priming,” 398. 6. See, for example, Josefine Lund Schlamovitz, “Politicizing Prejudice: An Investigation into the Historic Use of Anti-Haitian Prejudice and Antagonism as a Political Tool in the Dominican Republic,” 2016, http://lup.lub.lu.se/student -papers/record/8882514. 7. Hutchings and Jardina, “Experiments on Racial Priming,” 398. 8. Hutchings and Jardina, “Experiments on Racial Priming,” 398. 9. Nicholas A. Valentina, Vincent L. Hutchings, and Ismail K. White. “Cues
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That Matter: How Political Ads Prime Racial Attitudes during Campaigns,” Ameri can Political Science Review 96, no. 1 (2002): 76. 10. Richard T. Middleton IV and Sekou Franklin, “Southern Racial Etiquette and the 2006 Tennessee Senate Race: The Racialization of Harold Ford’s Deracialized Campaign,” National Political Science Review 12 (2008). 11. Middleton and Franklin, “Southern Racial Etiquette,” 64. 12. Middleton and Franklin, “Southern Racial Etiquette,” 64. 13. Middleton and Franklin, “Southern Racial Etiquette,” 64. 14. Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic, 133–40. 15. Michiel Baud, “Race and Nation in the Dominican Republic,” New West In dian Guide 76, no. 3-4 (2002): 318. 16. Belarminio Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer: biografía para escolares (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2006): 5. 17. Joaquín Balaguer, La isla al revés: Haití y el destino dominicano (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, 2002) 10th ed., 156. 18. Lauren H. Derby, “Haitians, Magic, and Money: Raza and Society in the Haitian-Dominican Borderlands, 1900–1937” Comparative Studies in Society and History 36, no. 3, (1994): 488–526. 19. Richard Turits, Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003). 20. Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer, 10–11. 21. Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer, 14. 22. Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer, 14, 19, 48–49. 23. Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer, 35. 24. Ramírez Morillo, Joaquín Balaguer, 21, 24. 25. Osvaldo Santana, Peña Gómez: sus orígenes 2nd ed. (Santo Domingo: Alfa y Omega, 2006): 11. 26. Santana, Peña Gómez, 82.
Chapter 4 1. Young Pai and Susan A. Adler, Cultural Foundations of Education, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River: Merrill, 2001): 40. 2. Franklin Franco Pichardo, Sobre racismo y antihaitianismo y otros ensayos. (Santo Domingo: Sociedad Editorial Dominicana, 2003). 3. Horn, Maja. Masculinity after Trujillo: The Politics of Gender in Dominican Lit erature (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017); Karie Jo Karasiak, “Gender Stereotypes in Public School Textbooks in the Dominican Republic” (master’s thesis, Loyola University of Chicago, 2010). http://ecommons.luc.edu/luc_theses/509. 4. Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007). 5. Danilda Pérez et al. Ciencias sociales: segundo grado (Santo Domingo: Editora Alfa y Omega, 1997), 73. 6. Mirna C. Aquino Guerrero and Leonte Reino Mieses, Espacio y Sociedad 3: ciencias sociales básica (Santo Domingo: Editorial Norma S.A., 2002), 73.
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7. Carmen Matos, “Lingüistas Advierten los Textos Integrados Violan Consti tución,” La educación dominicana (last modified Nov. 26, 2010). www.educaciondo minicana.info/2010/11/linguistas-advierten-los-textos.html. 8. Matos, “Lingüistas Advierten los Textos.” 9. Matos, “Lingüistas Advierten los Textos.” 10. Matos, “Lingüistas Advierten los Textos.” 11. María del Socorro De la O Pecina et al., Leonor Díaz Mora, Eduardo Gon zález Terrones, Alejandra López Portillo, Rosa del Carmen Villavicencio Caballero, Texto Integrado 1. (Santo Domingo: Ministerio de Educación, 2010). 12. Emilio Vargas Santiago, “Textos integrados y curriculum vigente: Una mirada a través del texto para primer grado,” Monografias.com. http://www.monografias.com /trabajos84/textos-integrados-y-curriculum-vigente/textos-integrados-y-curriculum -vigente.shtml.
Chapter 5 1. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, El plan decenal de educación acción: ¿Por qué? ¿Para qué? De la transformación curricular 2nd ed. (Secretaría de Estado de Educación, 1994), 45. 2. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, El plan decenal, 46. 3. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, El plan decenal, 66. 4. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, El plan decenal, 2. 5. Secretaría de Estado de Educación, El plan decenal, 3. 6. Gloria Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” American Educational Research Journal 32, no. 3 (autumn1995): 466. 7. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 466. 8. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 467. 9. Gloria Ladson-Billings, “Liberatory Consequences of Literacy: A Case of Culturally Relevant Instruction for African American Students,” Journal of Negro Education 61, no. 3, (summer 1992): 382. 10. Ladson-Billings, “Liberatory Consequences of Literacy,” 388. 11. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 476. 12. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 476–77. 13. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 478. 14. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 479. 15. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 479. 16. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 479. 17. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 480. 18. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 481. 19. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 481. 20. Ladson-Billings, “Toward a Theory,” 482. 21. Ladson-Billings, “Liberatory Consequences of Literacy,” 379. 22. Ladson-Billings, “Liberatory Consequences of Literacy,” 379.
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Page numbers in italics indicate figures. Adler, Susan, 65 African ancestry. See black African ancestry African-ness, 8–9 africanos/as, 71, 72, 73, 78 the African Other, 1 Afro-descended youth, sense of inferiority and self-hatred, 91 Ambar publishing house, 76 Americas: An Anthology, 7–8 Anderson, Benedict, 4 antiblack sentiment, 1, 7–8, 37, 38–39, 46, 54–55, 57-58, 89 anti-Haitianism, 2, 3, 5–6, 7, 19, 38–39, 50, 52–65, 89; development of, 66; domini canidad and, 82; migration and, 5; Trujillo and, 5–6 Apple, Michael W., 4, 12 Archivo General de la Nación, 36–37 Ashcroft, Bill, 2 Asians, representation in textbooks, 79 assessment, incorporation of excellence into, 90 authoritarianism, 2 Balaguer, Joaquín, 2, 3, 19–20, 52–65, 90, 91; biography of, 58–62, 64; La isla al revés, 9 bateyes, 5 Bell, Derrick, 12
belonging, 25 biographies, 1, 3, 13, 18–19, 26–36 birth certificates, 16–17 black African ancestry, 3, 30, 32–34, 66, 72–73; denial of, 1, 3; Dominican identity and, 34, 36; Dominican Republic and, 6–10, 19, 20, 22, 26; Haiti and, 19, 22; Haitian vs. Dominican perceptions of, 5–7; reconstruction and unburying of, 26; relegated to subordinate position, 92; tacit message of inferiority of, 91. See also blackness black African identity, reconstruction of, 18 “black denial,” 1, 3, 5–7, 8 black inferiority/white superiority narrative, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 26, 28, 66–69, 91–92 blackness, 1, 3, 8, 11, 32–34; acceptable version of Dominican, 66; boundaries of, 65–81; caricatures of, 91; denigration of, 26, 92; Dominican, 1, 34, 36, 66, 92; dominicanidad and, 26, 66; Dominican identity and, 1, 4–7, 26, 34, 36, 66, 87, 92; in Dominican Republic, 7–10, 20, 92; Dominican vs. Haitian, 34, 36; Haitian, 1, 20, 92; Haitian identity and, 20; need for explicit discussion of negative presentations of, 85; prevention of through blanqueamiento, 69–71; racial stereotypes and, 20; representations of,
108 • Index 65, 66, 71–75, 76, 77–79, 85, 91–92; social status and, 66–69, 85; stereotypes of, 71–75, 77–79, 85, 91; tacit message of inferiority of, 91; transmission of concept of, 65; undesirability of, 66. See also black inferiority/white superiority narrative; stereotypes black Pan-African group consciousness and solidarity, 18, 73, 91–92 black racial identity, 1, 26, 82. See also black African ancestry; blackness blacks, 11, 16, 18, 55, 65, 66, 71 blancos/as, 6, 71, 73, 74 blanqueamiento (whitening), 6, 8, 20, 66, 69–71, 76, 77–79, 85 Bosico, Violeta, 16, 17 Briggs v. Elliott, 17 Brown v. Board of Education, 17 buena aparencia (good appearance), 69, 76
class, 25 classrooms, 82 Colección biografías dominicanas, 19 collaborative learning, encouraging, 89 colonialism, racial heritage and, 5 color, 6, 10, 11, 18, 25, 33, 52, 54, 55, 66, 69, 78, 80, 82, 92 community of learners, developing a, 89 connectedness, 89 consciousness of identity, 86 Cordero Michel, Emilio, 2 Crenshaw, Kimberlé, 12 critical race theory, 3, 4, 18, 31, 79, 90; culturally relevant pedagogy and, 87–90, 91–92; master script and, 10–14; r acial hierarchy and, 17; school materials and, 21; self-identity and, 17; textbooks and, 15, 16 cultural integrity, maintaining, 88
Cambeira, Alan, 8–9 Candelario, Ginetta E. B, 4, 69 caricatures, 71. See also stereotypes Carlyle, Thomas, 19, 23–24, 25, 36; On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, 23–24 case studies, from United States, 87 Cassá, Roberto, 24, 25, 36–37; Fundador de la república, 29; Juan Pablo Duarte: El padre de las patria, 27; Matías Ramón Mella: El patriotismo hecho acción, 29 caudillos (military strongmen), 24, 41 cédula (national identity card), 17 character trait attributions, 31 Chez Checo, José, 2 childhood social development, 18 Ciencias sociales: octavo grado (Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Cultura), 19, 38, 39–40, 89 Ciencias sociales: Quinto grado (García G.), 20, 74–75 Ciencias sociales: segundo grado (Pérez et al.), 20, 39, 66–67, 67, 69, 70, 71, 76, 77, 85 Ciencias sociales: tercer grado (Pérez et al.), 20, 68, 69, 71–73, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76– 78, 85 citizenship (DR), 9, 16–17, 23, 28, 80, 83
data, 13 Delgado, Richard, 12 del Rosario, Olaya, 32 democratic values, 86 Diez, Manuela, 30 Disesa publishing house, 76 dolls, 18 Dominican blackness, 34, 36; acceptable version of, 66; elevation of, 92; Haitian blackness and, 1, 92; mixed-race identity and, 92 Dominican history, 1–21 Dominican hypermasculinity, 67 dominicanidad, 2, 3, 20–21, 24; anti- Haitianism and, 82; blackness and, 66; definition of, 92; migration and, 5–6; school curriculum and, 6–7, 65–81; Trujillo-era definition of, 18, 66 Dominican identity, 1–21, 25, 65–81; Afri can ancestry and, 72–73; African heritage and, 34; blackness and, 1, 4–7, 34, 36, 66, 87, 92; construction of, 10–14, 17; contemporary perspectives of, 2–3; contribution to extant literature on, 4–7; definition and transmission of, 65–81; Haitian identity and, 1–2; the Haitian Other and, 1–21, 65–81, 91; mixed-race
Index • 109 ancestry and, 1, 91–92; multiracial, 69– 71, 70; racial favoritism and, 17; r acial hierarchy and, 91–92; recognizing indoctrination into, 87; representation in textbooks, 65–81; social construction of, 2, 3 dominicanización (dominicanization), 6 Dominican-ness, 2, 20–21, 26. See also dominicanidad; Dominican identity Dominican Republic: African-ness and, 8–9; antiblack racial master script in, 1; antiblack sentiment in, 7–8; black Af rican ancestry and, 6–10, 19, 20, 22, 26; “black denial” in, 5–7; blackness and, 6, 7–10, 20, 92; “black years” of, 5; census information in, 7; citizenship in, 16– 17, 23; civil registry in, 16–17; desire to embrace European legacy and free dom from African past, 5–6, 8; elites in, 7, 11, 26, 91; Eurocentric ideology in, 7; European immigration to, 6; European- ness and, 13–14; fluid racial categories in, 6, 8; founding fathers of, 3, 13, 18– 19, 22–37, 92; Haitian ancestry in, 16– 17; Haiti and, 7–10; Haitian occupation of, 5; immigration law in, 16–17; independence from Haiti, 5; lessons learned in, 79–80; migration of Haitian laborers to, 5–6; Ministry of Culture, 15; Ministry of Education, 13, 15, 20, 21, 76, 77, 80, 84, 90; mulatto and black majority in, 7; National Council of Education (DR), 15–16, 80; national history of, 23–25; national identity and, 7–10, 20; nationality and, 16–17; nonbinary nature of race in, 6; occupied by Haiti, 5, 22; pigmentocracy in, 6, 11, 19, 22–37; race and, 7–10; racial categories based on skin color in, 6; racial demographics of, 5; racialization of presidential elections in, 57–58; racially based ethnic ideology in, 4–7; racially motivated violence in, 5, 8–9; racial pyramid in, 9–10; role of Haitian Other in master script of, 7–10; school curriculum–based representations of, 1; social construction of race and national identity in, 4–7;
whiteness in, 22–37. See also education system (DR); La Trinitaria Dominican scholarship, “new wave” of, 2–3 Duarte, Juan José, 30 Duarte, Juan Pablo, 23, 24, 25, 28, 30–31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 60; ancestry of, 30; character trait attributions, 31; education of, 30; as embodiment of idealized patriotism, 27, 28; family background of, 30; as father of Dominican Republic, 28, 30; portrait of, 27; as prototypical citizen, 28; whiteness and, 27, 28, 30 education: as deliberate transmission of culture, 65. See also pedagogy education system (DR), 20–21; the Haitian Other and, 82; national curriculum guidelines, 76; Nivel Básico, 1; Plan decenal and, 82–84; role in identity formation, 4; social construction of race and national identity in, 10–14; social science education, 91–92; textbook creation and adoption in, 14–18; textbooks, 65–81 elites, 6, 7, 11, 15, 26, 28, 53, 79, 91 employment opportunities, 69 España Boba (Foolish Spain), 31 españoles, portrayal of, 73 ethnic ideology, 4 European ancestry, 26, 30. See also European-ness; Spanish ancestry; whiteness European-ness, 1, 3, 7, 9, 25, 26, 49, 54, 58, 69, 71, 76, 79; Dominican Republic and, 13–14; elevation of, 20; representation in biographies, 27–33. See also Spanish ancestry; whiteness excellence, incorporation into assessment, 90 female beauty, representation in textbooks, 67, 69, 76, 89 Franco Pichardo, Franklin, 65–66 Freire, Paulo, 10 French Revolution, 5 García G., Ana Daisy, Ciencias sociales: Quinto grado, 20, 74–75, 75
110 • Index García Peña, Lorgia, 2 gender, representation of in textbooks, 67, 68 General Law of Education 66/97, Law 340-06, 15, 80 Goldberg, Michael K, 25 Goldfield, David R., 16 González, Raymundo, 2 “great man theory,” 19, 23–26, 33, 35 Griffiths, Gareth, 2 group affiliation, physical appearance and, 85 group consciousness, 18, 26, 73, 91–92 Groot, Mister, 33 Grupo Norma, 76 Guinier, Lani, 12 Haiti, 30; African ancestry and, 22; Afri can ancestry in, 19; black racial identity and, 1; Dominican Republic and, 7–10; negative representations of in DR, 22; negative stereotypes about, 65; occupation of Dominican Republic by, 5, 22 Haitian ancestry, in Dominican Republic, 16–17 Haitian blackness, 20; denigration of, 92; Dominican blackness and, 1, 92 Haitian identity, 1, 5, 26; blackness and, 20; Dominican identity and, 1–2 Haitian laborers, migration to Dominican Republic, 5–6 Haitian migrants, 5–6, 16–17 Haitian-ness, 26 the Haitian Other (master script), 1–21, 30, 31, 66, 79, 81, 87; acknowledging influence of, 86, 89; challenging, 90; definition of, 2; dismantling of, 85–87; Dominican identity and, 1–21, 65–81; Dominican national identity and, 91; education system (DR) and, 82; lack of transparency about, 82; perpetuation of, 83–85; in popular culture, 66; role in master script of Dominican society, 7–10, 23; in textbooks, 20–21; unmastering the script, 91–92 Haitians, 26; negative stereotypes about, 65 hegemony, 12, 26 Henry, Charles P., 18 hispanidad, 2, 20–21
Hispaniola, 5, 9–10, 26, 82, 92 Horn, Maja, 67 Howard, David, 4, 50 hypermasculinity, Dominican, 67 identity, 2–3; consciousness of, 86; defining, 65; race and, 78 ideological fictions, 2 “imagined political community,” 4 immigration, 5–6, 16–17, 47–48, 50, 59, 63. 85 indígenas, 71–75, 72, 74, 75, 78. See also Taínos indigenous populations. See indígenas indios/as, 6, 7, 26 Inter-American Commission, 16 interracial marriage, 8, 67–71, 70 jabaos/as, 6 justice, 86 Karasiak, Karie Jo, 67 knowledge: critical approach to, 90; focus on conceptions of, 88, 90; as shared, recycled, constructed, 90; teachers’ passion for, 90 Ku Klux Klan, 14 Ladson-Billings, Gloria, 10–11, 13, 87–88, 89, 90, 91 language, 9 Latin America, racial pyramid in, 9–10 La Trinitaria, 3, 13, 18–19, 22–37, 60, 63, 92 Law No. 66 of 1997, General Law of Education. See General Law of Education 66/97, Law 340-06 Lawrence, Charles, 12 learning, 90 Loewen v. Turnipseed, 14, 15, 79 Lugo, Américo, 61 Lugo, Nicolás, 33 Luperón, Gregorio, 19 lynchings, 14 Marcy, William L., 8 master script, 23, 52–65, 79, 81; acknowledging influence of, 85–86, 87–88, 89; building of, 10–14; challenging, 90; criti
Index • 111 cal race theory and, 10–14; dismantling of, 85–87; lack of transparency about, 82; perpetuation of, 83–85; reconstruction of, 82; role of Haitian Other in, 7–10; school curriculum and, 10–14; unmastering the script, 91–92. See also the Haitian Other (master script) Mateo, Andrés L., Textos Integrados (Inte grated Texts), 79–80, 90 Matsuda, Mari, 12 Mayes, April J., 2 McCarthy, Cameron, 4 mejorando la raza (improving the race), 71. See also blanqueamiento (whitening) Mella, Ramón Matías, 23, 24, 25, 34–36, 60; hero status of, 35–36; mixed-race identity and, 27–28; portrait of, 29; portrayed as conflicted, 34, 35; Santana and, 34–35 meritocracy, 87 mestizos/as, 71, 73, 74, 78 Middle Easterners, representation in textbooks, 79 migration: anti-Haitianism and, 5; domini canidad and, 5–6 Mirabal, María Teresa, 19 Mirabal, Minerva, 19 Mirabal, Patria, 19 Mirabal sisters, killing of, 19 Mississippi, 14, 15, 79 Mississippi: Conflict and Change, 14 mixed-race identity, 1, 11, 27, 91–92. See also mestizos/as; mulatos/as morenos/as, 6 Moya Pons, Frank, 2 mulatos/as, 7, 32, 71, 73, 74, 78 multiracial households, 69–71, 70 Muñoz, Carlos, Jr., 18 Museo del Hombre Dominicano (Museum of the Dominican Man), 18 national hero narratives, 20, 26–36 national history, 23–25 national identity, 4–10, 20, 22. See also Dominican identity; Haitian identity nationalism, 2 nationality, 16–17 negros/as: racial categorization and, 6, 7;
representation in textbooks, 71–73, 73, 74, 75 Norma publishing house, 76 Núñez, Manuel, Textos Integrados (Integrated Texts), 79–80, 90 occupations, race and, 66–67, 67, 76–77 Operación Perejil (Operation Parsley), 9, 59 organization of the book, 18–21 the Other, 1–2, 14. See also the Haitian Other (master script) others, awareness of conceptions of, 88–89 otherness, 92 Pai, Young, 65 Paredes, Melanio, 80 “parsley test.” See Operación Perejil (Operation Parsley) participatory values, 86 patriotic values, 86 pedagogy, 12, 20–21; culturally relevant, 87–90, 91–92; role in identity formation, 4. See also textbooks Peña Batlle, Manuel Arturo, 2 Peña Gómez, José Francisco, 3, 19, 20, 52– 65, 90, 91; biography of, 58–60, 62–64 Pérez, Carlos, 7–8 Pérez, Danilda, et al.: Ciencias sociales: se gundo grado, 20, 66–67, 67, 70; Ciencias sociales: tercer grado, 20, 68, 71–73, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76–78 Personajes dominicanos (Important Domin ican Figures) by Archivo General de la Nación, 36–37 physical appearance: group affiliation and, 85. See also buena aparencia (good appearance); skin color physiognomy, 25 pigmentocracy, 6, 11, 19, 22–37, 39, 55, 66, 69, 91–92 Plan decenal de educación en acción (Ten-Year Education Plan in Action): 1994–2004, 83–85; 2008–2018, 76, 85–86, 87–90; school curriculum and, 76 political leaders, school curriculum and, 91 political participation, racial group consciousness and, 18 popular culture, Haitian Other in, 66
112 • Index ¿Por qué? ¿Para qué? de la transformación curricular, 82 portraiture, 25, 27, 29, 32, 66–79, 67, 68, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75 presidential elections (DR): 1994, 57–58; 1996, 57–58; racialization of, 57–58 propaganda, 9, 10–14, 17, 19 publishing houses, 76 Puerta de la Misercordia, 35 race (raza), 11, 25; Dominican Republic and, 7–10; identity and, 78; occupations and, 66–67, 67, 76–77; representation in textbooks, 66–81, 67, 68, 72, 73, 74, 85; social construction of, 4–7 racial favoritism, Dominican racial identity and, 17 racial heritage, colonialism and, 5 racial hierarchy, 11, 16, 17, 20; black inferiority/white superiority narrative, 17, 18, 20, 26, 66–69, 91–92; Dominican national identity and, 91–92; mixed-race identity and, 27. See also pigmentocracy racial identity: “reconstructing,” 25, 81. See also race (raza) racial inferiority, 17, 18. See also black inferiority/white superiority narrative; racial hierarchy racial priming: legacy of, 91; as political strategy, 54–56 racial stereotypes. See stereotypes racial superiority, 17. See also black inferiority/ white superiority narrative; racial hierarchy racism/racial discrimination, 12–13, 14, 16, 17 Ramírez Morillo, Belarminio, 53, 58, 60– 62; Joaquín Balaguer: biografía para eso lares, 20 raza (race). See race (raza) responsibility for others, encouraging, 89 Ricourt, Milagros, 2 Sagás, Ernesto, 4, 5–6, 53, 57 Sams, Ferrol, 16 Sánchez, Francisco del Rosario, 23, 24–25, 31–34, 35, 36, 60; African ancestry of, 32; blackness of, 32, 33–34; dark skin of,
31–32; education of, 33; family background of, 31–32; intelligence of, 33; mixed-race identity and, 27–28; portrait of, 29, 32; religious credentials of, 32– 33; whiteness and, 27–28 Sánchez, María Trinidad, 33 Sánchez, Narciso (Señó Narcisazo), 32 Santana, Osvaldo, Peña Gómez: sus orígines, 20, 53, 62, 63–64 Santana, Pedro, 19, 34–35 Santo Domingo, 5, 9; Haitian occupation of, 5 schoolchildren, portrayal of Dominican national identity for, 66 school curriculum, 20–21; biographies, 18– 19; character trait attributions in, 17; dominicanidad and, 6–7, 65–81; imagery in, 17; master script and, 10–14; Plan decenal and, 76; politics of, 91; racial superiority propaganda, 17; role in identity formation, 4; social science textbooks, 19–20; standards and, 21 school materials, critical race theory and, 21 Second World War, immigration during, 6 Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Cultura, 19; Ciencias sociales: octavo grado, 19, 38, 39–40 segregation, 16, 17 self, 92; awareness of conceptions of, 88–89 self-hatred, 91 self-identity, critical race theory and, 17 Sellers, Julie A., 17–18 Shaw, George Bernard, 61 Shuall, Richard, 11–12 Simmons, Kimberly Eison, 2–3, 18, 25, 81, 92 skin color, 6, 25, 92; politics of, 54–56; representation in textbooks, 66–75, 67, 68, 72, 73, 74, 76–81, 85. See also pigmentocracy social dominance, 25; function of, 25–26; master script of, 3; social dominance theory, 11, 27–28 social mobility, 25 social relations, attention to structuring of, 88–89 social science education, 11, 13–14, 86–87, 91. See also social science textbooks
Index • 113 social science textbooks, 11–12, 13, 19–20, 66–67, 67 social status, 66–69, 68, 76–77, 85 social stratification, 17 solidarity, 18, 26, 73, 86, 91–92 Solorzano, Daniel, 14 Spanish ancestry, 1, 3, 8, 11, 24; representation in biographies, 27–33, 62; representation in textbooks, 71, 73, 77, 78; tacit message of superiority of, 91 Spanish language instruction, 80–81, 96n2 Spencer, Herbert, 24 stereotypes, 14, 17, 20, 65–67, 67, 68, 71– 75, 77–79, 85, 91 Stinchcomb, Dawn, 4 student-teacher relationships, 89 subliminal thinking patterns, 16 sugarcane laborers, 5, 19 Susaeta Ediciones, 76 Swartz, Ellen, 11 Taínos, 18, 74–75, 78; portrayal of, 71–73, 72; Taíno ancestry, 26 Taylor, Edward, 12 teachers: passion of knowledge and learning, 90; training and instruction of, 86– 87. See also pedagogy textbooks, 1–3, 11–13, 20–21, 76, 90; Haitian Other in, 20–21; illustrations in, 66–73, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76–78, 80–81; national identity and, 22; Plan decenal and, 82–84; politics of creation and adoption, 14–18, 79–81; representation of Dominican national identity in, 65– 81; role in identity formation, 4; rubrics evaluating reprentations of individuals and groups, 86; social science textbooks, 19–20, 65–81. See also specific textbooks Textos Integrados (Integrated Texts) (Mateo and Núñez), 79–80, 90
Tiffin, Helen, 2 Tobogán biography series, 24, 25, 36 Torres-Saillant, Silvio, 8, 38 Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leónidas, 3, 6, 7–8, 9; 1937 massacre of Haitians by, 5; anti- Haitianism and, 5–6; critical approach to studying dictatorship of, 38–51, 85, 89; dominicanidad and, 66; ideology of, 91; in social science textbooks, 19 truth, respect for, 86 Unamuno, Miguel de, 61 United States: binary system of race in, 8; Briggs v. Elliott, 17; Brown v. Board of Education, 17; case studies from, 87; critical race theory in, 10; improving black student achievment in, 87; Loewen v. Turnipseed, 14–15; racial group consciousness in, 18; segregation in US South, 16; textbook creation and adoption in, 14–15 US Supreme Court, 17 values, 9, 24, 33, 56, 59, 86 Vargas Santiago, Emilio, 81 violence, racially motivated, 5, 8–9 West, Cornel, 12 whiteness, 7, 8, 11, 22–37; Duarte and, 27, 28, 30; elevation of, 26; social dominance of, 22–37; tacit message of superiority of, 91. See also black inferiority/white superiority narrative; European-ness Williams, Malinda, 10 Williams, Patricia, 12 Wucker, Michele, 9 Yean, Dilcia, 16, 17 Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, 16– 17, 91