The One-Drop-Rule, Wanting to be White, the Hipocrisy and the Dominican Republic


The One-Drop-Rule is a concept original to the United States. It implies that one drop of African blood, even if the person looks very little or not African at all, is black. Its origin is when in the United States there was the preoccupation with keeping whites as pure as possible. Since no one would ever confuse a real black person as anything other than black, the One-Drop-Rule was never applied to blacks. It wasn’t applied to whites either, despite whites were the ones that invented the concept. It has always been applied to mixed race people who happen to have some African ancestry regardless how big or how small or if it’s hardly visible in the features or very prominent. Considering its premise of applying the black label to mixed race people, it implies denial in their identity of their non-black side. As with all denials, this is simply to lie to oneself, for others to lie to you and the American society at large to repeat a lie over and over again with the hope that if it’s repeated and believed by most people, it becomes the truth. Unfortunately, a lie repeated multiple times and believed by most people remains nothing more and nothing less than a lie.

The Dominican Republic: The World’s First Mixed Race Country

The Dominican Republic is the world’s first mixed race country where the majority of the population has some African ancestry. For many years before the concept of the One-Drop-Rule became universal in the United States, Americans that visited and wrote about the Dominican Republic would acknowledge the mixed race aspect of Dominicans.

Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, an American from New Haven, CT, USA, in his 1914 book written after his extensive visit to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti; “Puerto Rico Past and Present and San Domingo of Today,” on pages 227 and 228 describes the Dominicans like this (the parts highlighted in blue).

Alpheus Hyatt Verril, “Puerto Rico Past and Present, and San Domingo of Today”, 1914; pg. 227.
Alpheus Hyatt Verril, “Puerto Rico Past and Present, and San Domingo of Today”, 1914; pg. 228.

It wasn’t up to debate that less than one-third was black, but it isn’t clear what he meant by black. Was he referring to real blacks or the combination of real blacks and ‘fake’ blacks?

Alpheus Hyatt Verril, “Puerto Rico Past and Present, and San Domingo of Today”, 1914; pg. 233.

In page 233 it becomes clear that he, like all Americans at the time, didn’t apply the One-Drop-Rule. He simply saw people for what they are. When it came to mixed race people, as are most Dominicans, he mentions different types of admixture. When it came to real blacks, he refers to them as blacks. He also makes it clear that the Dominican Republic was not a black country, but rather a distinctly coloured one. Coloured is one of the terms used to refer to mulattos or mixed race people.

Alpheus Hyatt Verril, “Puerto Rico Past and Present, and San Domingo of Today”, 1914; pg. 234.

On this instance he dwells on the skin color of most Dominicans. First he mentions that in most towns the mixed race outnumber the whites and then that most of the mixed races were of a lighter skin color, light enough to be considered white by many and lighter than most of the population in the West Indies or the Caribbean. The reason for why, as today, the average skin color among Dominicans is lighter than in much of the West Indies is quite simple. The Dominican Republic is inhabited mostly by mixed race people while in most of the non-Spanish Caribbean most of the people are black.

The concept of the One-Drop-Rule as was invented in the United States and based on self-denial for the mixed race (or constant lying would be another way of looking at it) is not applied in most countries. This is true even in countries where African ancestry is shared by most people. Whether the country is mostly black such as South Africa, Nigeria, Haiti, Jamaica and others or mostly mixed such as the Dominican Republic; the mixed race population has its own identities and labels.

Rejection of the One-Drop-Rule

The essay “Caribbean Exception: The Problem of Race and Color in the Dominican Republic” by Brendan Jamal Thorton and Daniel I Ubiera, both live in the United States and the paper itself was published in the United States. In fact, that the paper is in English and about race is a revelation that it was probably published in the United States by an American or a foreigner that has lived in the United States for many years. The inherent belief is that the One-Drop-Rule is a natural state of things. Not only is this evident in the authors themselves, but also in American intellectuals cited or mentioned in the paper.

The following are some of the parts we cite that clearly show an underlining One-Drop-Rule belief. This belief appears to be held as reality or the truth and is not seen as an act of self-denial and, perhaps, self-hatred among those that truly are mixed race.

This resonate with a One-Drop-Rule mindset. In reality, no one can ‘be black’ or anything else. People are born as what they are, but no one decides what they are. A real black doesn’t have the choice to ‘be black’ any more than a white person to be white. They simply are black from the day they are born until the day they die. Self-love and self-acceptance is nothing more than if you are born as a real black, you claim to be black. Any other attempts is to apply a lie and manifest they are not happy accepting themselves. What if a person isn’t born black or white? What if he’s born mixed? What if his features all say racial mixture? What if looking around at his family everything says mixed? Is it not self-hate and self-denial for a mixed person to not claim to be mixed? Is it not self-hate and self-denial if the mixed person says a lie, such as in this case claim to be black? Since when is accepting of the truth a sign of denial?
A perfect question that blackwash Dominicans. First, it pretends that most Dominicans are black instead of mixed race. Secondly, this ignores, maybe conveniently, that on all the censuses of the Dominican Republic had the black category and has never been in the single digits or zero. Are we going to pretend that these Dominicans who say they are black in a country where the blacks are the real blacks aren’t black themselves? Thirdly, this assumes that Dominicans, which is a nationality, can’t be anything else other than black despite that any race can belong to any nationality. In fact, Dominican nationality has people from all the races and colors.
Notice the contrast between here, where the One-Drop-Rule is applied, with the assumed premise the Dominican Republic is ‘a black country,’ and the description by the equally American Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who doesn’t apply the One-Drop-Rule, correctly states “the Dominican Republic by any stretch of the imagination can’t be called a ‘black republic,’ but it is distinctly a coloured one.”
In this occasion, it’s not a question of regarding anything. Perhaps in a society where lies such as the One-Drop-Rule are invented this question could seem normal, but a person needs to be at minimum delusional and at most suffers from self-hate and self-denial, to not be able to recognize that Dominicans are overwhelmingly a mixed people.

As these four examples show, there is an inherent belief in the One-Drop-Rule that is applied to a mixed race population.

Blaming the Dominican “Elite”

In addition to the inability of accepting the mixed race reality of most Dominicans, there are further hints of blame to the country’s upper class. It’s not that the One-Drop-Rule is a lie that mostly Americans believe and mostly limited to the United States. Instead, it must be the upper class that’s preventing the people from applying a lie that comes along with self-denial and self-hate to mixed race individuals.

Here the “elite” is blamed for why a mixed race majority country is true to itself and to its history. The problems aren’t the Americans with their unique One-Drop-Rule, the problem is the Dominican “elite” that somehow isn’t allowing a mixed race majority country from claiming to be black.
The implication is that the Dominican “elite” is ‘whitewashing’ the country that has been majority mixed for centuries. They also claim that this is done “in relation to Haiti.” Nevermind that a population inherently mixed will be whiter than a population that is less or none at all when in the mixture is part African ancestry. On top of that, Haiti itself claims to be the world’s first black country. From the first constitution of Haiti it says that all Haitians are black. Its flag has a racial meaning where the dark blue band represents the blacks. However, here is something that comes at odds with the USA’s One-Drop-Rule, the red band stands for the mixed race, meaning that even in Haiti mixed race individuals are seen as mixed. The white band was taken out as a symbol of anti-white sentiment, anti-white racism and anti-white exclusion or racial segregation. Many laws starting with Haiti’s origin are racist in their nature. Some defines that someone can’t own property if they are white or a person needed at least some African ancestry to be allowed to apply for Haitian citizenship. This inherent racism contrast sharply with the Dominican Republic’s inclusion of all races and color, Jamaica’s motto of “many people, one people” or the Bahamas non-racist beginnings as a country.
Again, not accepting the mixed race reality of the Dominican Republic and applying the One-Drop-Rule invention of the United States.

Relating Dominican Identity to the Dominican-Haitian Dilemma

Another interesting finding is the attempt to relate Dominican identity and the mixed reality of most Dominicans with the Dominican-Haitian dilemma. The real origins of this sentiment in many Dominicans is the mistreatments suffered at the hands of the Haitian army. Several things make this very relevant to the average Dominican.

  • Haiti invaded the Dominicans on several occasions during the XIX century, spanning the first 6 decades.
  • Haitian skirmishes along the Dominican-Haitian border were much more numerous than the outright invasions, though the latter were not two or three either. Haitian troops engaged in taking revenge on the civilian Dominican population instead of limiting their bellic actions to the Dominican military.
  • The Haitian invasions often weren’t limited to Dominican soldiers suffering losses from attacks and battles, but the Haitian soldiers took their revenge to the civilian Dominican population. One example is the 1805 invasion where Dominican civilians were hunted and killed by the Haitian soldiers through large swathes of the territory that has always been the home of the Dominicans only. In 1844, Haitian president Charles Herard before invading the Dominicans supposedly said that he “will commit a crime for which I will be criticized, but it’s necessary to save my country.” Needless to say that his plan of subjugating the Dominicans to a widespread massacre wasn’t completed. Despite that, Haiti’s independence as a country survived to this day, a proof that Dominicans were never a threat to Haitian self-rule. Faustin Solouque is another president of Haiti that said his troops would chase Dominicans into the mountains and all their hidding spots and kill them all as wild pigs. These were only some of them.
  • A constant border dispute since 1844 to 1929 was perpetrated by Haiti claiming Dominican land. This too caused much displeasure among Dominicans. The border dispute with the Haitians lead to border squirmishes which started to end in 1929 and ended completly in 1936. In both instances, the Dominicans agreed to give Haiti the land it wanted. The Haitians were never willing to end the dispute by giving up. If it wasn’t for Dominicans, the border dispute would most likely exist to our very own times. It should be noted that this dispute lasted at least 85 years.

There are other instances of Haitian aggressions towards the Dominican Republic that due to their violent nature and intention to massacre or do harm to the civilian Dominican population, it affected the psyche of the Dominicans as an act of self-preservation. By contrast, the Dominican Republic never invaded Haiti and never committed massacres or tried to erase them from the face of the earth in their homeland. From its inception, the purpose of the Dominican army was to defend the Dominican population from outside proported harm in their homeland, never to take misery and destruction to the homelands of other people.

Here it claims the Dominican Republic has a ”racial“ identity despite it doesn’t, but for believers of the One-Drop-Rule it’s imperative that the Dominican Republic should have a racial identity. This imperative view is based from the racialist point of view of American identities, particularly the One-Drop-Rule. If there is a similar equivalence of “race” in Dominican society, it would be the national identity. Similar to how believers in the One-Drop-Rule are strong believers in its infallibility; so too is the case among Dominicans and national identity and, really, most societies with an identity that is not based on race.

Furthermore, they are associating Dominican national identity as marking the Dominican/Haitian relations. Again, this is false or no more true than whatever influenced the Haitian national identity, which is not mentioned at all. The reality is that Dominican/Haitian relations have been cordial more times than not and the moments when a crisis affects the cordiality of the Dominican/Haitian relations, Dominicans remember when they were victims of a Haitian government policy of invading the Dominican Republic at least 8 times during a course of almost 60 years in the XIX century. In addition, several Haitian presidents vowing to massacre the entire Dominican civilian population including women and children. This coincided and was part of the Dominican-Haitian War that lasted 12 years, one of the longest wars of independence experienced by any country in the Americas and the only one that implied the widespread massacre of the civilian population if the Dominicans were not the victors of every battle. Also remembered is the constant border disputes started by the Haitian government with its intention of expanding into what was legitimate Dominican territory and using the presence of its civilian population illegally in Dominican territory as part of its argument for “justifying” taking away land from the Dominicans. This event lasted from 1844 to 1929. When Dominican authorities capitulated to Haitian claims, they gave over 3,000 KM2 to Haiti, further adding an extra amount in 1936. It’s these and other things that marked the psyche of Dominicans and flourishes when Dominican/Haitian relations turn sour. As is the case with all victims of barborous acts, with the exceptions these tend to be a one time event, unlike the Dominicans who were subject to them for about two generations; victims may forgive but they never forget.

Lets not forget that all Dominicans alive today, including Dominican-Americans and Dominican attackers of the Dominican Republic and its identity, were able to be born and are alive precisely because the Dominican Republic was created and defended. Unless we want to pretend that people like Silvio Torres-Saillant, Ramona Hernández, Julia Álvarez, Junot Díaz and others don’t descend from Dominicans who would’ve been massacred had Dominicans lost just one battle during the independence of the Dominican Republic, in itself an act of self-preservation. If Cubans or Americans or Mexicans had lost their wars of independence, it had no implications for the survival of their civilian populations beyond politics and identity. Dominicans are the only Hispanic people that would had been erased from the earth by the invading Haitian forces if they would’ve lost.
Again, they imply there is an association with Haitians. In this case, it claims an “anti-black racism” in a country that allows and elect mixed and blacks as presidents, governors, deputies, senators, mayors, priests, etc not since its existence as an independent country, but when it was part of the Spanish Empire too. This would had been impossible in the British Empire from which emerged the United States, a country that removed its federal antimiscenigation laws in 1965 and the last state to remove anti-racial-mixing state laws was Alabama in 1999.

Hints of Expanding Haiti to Include All of Hispaniola

An interesting concept, at times quite blantant, is the desire to unite Hispaniola under the One-Drop-Rule invention that underlines the “blackness” movement towards Dominicans by a small group of people. There are several points to notice of this group, but the most important is that they tend to not live in either countries, but rather in the United States. Their concept of island unity often revolves on not destroying Haiti, but rather destroying the Dominican Republic and make Haiti expands its rule over Dominicans. They assume that Dominican independence is a racist movement rather than a cultural and traditions movement meant on self-preserving the things that Dominicans cherish and the Haitian authorities were adamant in destroying during the Haitian Domination (1822-1844) such as language, traditions and other things.

In “Identity Issues,” Juan Rodríguez is quoted as saying that Dominicans perceive Haitians as the “darker other” and as “foreigners.” The following map shows the average skin color in each country. Another lie relates to foreigners. There are two countries on the island, hence Dominicans are foreigners in Haiti as Haitians are foreigners in Dominican Republic. The same happens with Puerto Ricans, Spaniards, Americans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians and other foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Dominicans are foreigners in each of those places too.
2008 Skin Tone Map.
Close up on Hispaniola in the previous map. Much to the dismay of Juan Rodríguez, Dominicans see Haitians as darker because on average they are. Dominicans also see Puerto Ricans as lighter. Wonder why…
Unfortunately, there are more things that make the two people distinct then there are commonalities. Now, even if reality was the opposite, lets not forget that the Tainos had more things identical among themselves than Dominicans and Haitians today, yet they divided the island in five kingdoms.
For about 3,000 years the Tainos were the original inhabitants of Hispaniola. They were in most of the island, they spoke one language, there was no difference in skin color averages or racial differences because they had the same origins, same culture and traditions. Yet, they had the island divided between five “Cacicazgos” which would be equivalent to kingdoms, in other words countries.
For about 205 years ranging from the time she was claimed for Spain until it was split with the French, the entire island was unified under one political power, Spain. This replaced the myriad of kingdoms of the Tainos. This is the longest period the island was one political unit and in every way. Also, Spanish was spoken islandwide. During the Haitian Domination, the entire island was politically one (22 years), but this political union wasn’t reflected in the language, traditions and culture. The Spanish/Dominican part remained speaking Spanish (never learn to speak French or Haitian Creole) and kept all its original traditions and culture. Defacto it was what it had been since 1697, two completely different societies with only one practicing its political autonomy (Haitians) while denying that to the other (Dominicans). This was similar to what currently exist in Iraq, Turkey and Syria with the Kurds. A nation with a homeland that covers the three countries, but no political autonomy of their own (not by its decision). Anyway, Spain 205 years vs Haiti 22 years (the first one was a union in its entirety, the second one political only).
From 1697 to 1804 (107 years) existed Saint-Domingue, the French colony that occupied the smaller part of the island, namely along the northwestern and western coasts. The Spanish language and other things continue to exist in the Spanish part of the island and from whom descend the current Dominicans. Spain was the owner of the entire island from 1492 to 1697 (205 years), then continued in the eastern part until 1801 when the Spanish governor Joaquín García left (104 years), then again from 1809 to 1822 (13 years) and again from 1861 to 1865 (4 years) for a total of 326 years. However, the French from 1697 to 1804 on their side created a society where the French language was the only legal one and where traditions and the culture was completely different, based on the French model. Spanish from which descend Dominicans (326 years) vs the French from which Haitians took their territory (107 years).
The current division of the island. Unlike the Tainos, who were all the same and had the same language, culture and the island divided in five kingdoms; now the island is divided in two countries with different languages, traditions, histories and cultures. The division is not only political, as during the Haitian Domination, but in all aspects and reflects their origin, one French and the other Spanish.
Genetic ancestry identified by 23andme of people with origin in each country. Even in ancestry, Hispaniola shows that the average composition of Dominicans and Haitians is different.

The Perfect One-Drop-Rule Believers Critique: Wanting to be White

It would seem completely logical when believers in the One-Drop-Rule blame mixed race people that are true to themselves as they “want to be white.” It’s logical in a mind with a racial dichotomy where there are two categories and anyone with African ancestry is automatically assigned as black. This mentality, as has been mentioned throughout this article, is false. It doesn’t corresponds with reality where similar to the colors with their black, white and gray (ironically, the last one is created with the mixture of the first two only); so too pertaining to race. The world doesn’t consist of whites and blacks only, there is a large inbetween of mixed race people. Given that the only way the One-Drop-Rule is maintained is through lying to oneself, that is pretending there are no mixed races. Is it any wonder that a believer in the One-Drop-Rule would think to themselves that any mixed race individual that doesn’t adhere to that lie “wants to be white?”

As part of its defense mechanism that involves inversing what they are doing and apply psychological projection to the mixed race person refusing the One-Drop-Rule, they also apply this to mixed race populations as a whole. What they are doing is “wanting to be black” which applies to mixed race individuals that claim to be “black” and then projecting by inversing the action and claiming that the mixed race individual somehow, through a fiction that only exist in their minds, “wants to be white.” As has been stated, calling a rose by any other name will continue to be a rose.

Looking at all the censuses of the Dominican Republic, ine thing becomes clear: never has the majority of the population define itself as white, but neither as black. The first official census was made in 1920 during the first United States invasion. Both blacks and whites were in the absolute minority, while the different categories representing mixed people were the absolute majority. In contrast, not a single census made in Haiti has the black category in the minority and all have a category for mixed race people, themselves always a very small minority. In Jamaican censuses a similar situation is seen as in Haiti. In the 1970 census, those of non-African and mixed race were identified by their own identities and it was discovered that after the blacks, the mixed race constituted the second largest working population. In the 1991 Jamaican census, the black category accounted for 90.5% while the mixed 7.3%. In 2011 another census was made in Jamaica and here too there were separate categories for blacks (92.1% of the population) and mixed (6%). In Angola, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the latest population estimate divides the black population by ethnic groups together consisting of 75%, but the mixed category is of 2%. In Anguilla the blacks are 81.3% and the mixed 3.8%. In Barbados blacks are 92.4% and mixed 3.1%. The country with a mulatto or mixed race majority in Sub-Saharan Africa is tiny Cabo Verde where the Creoles (stands for mulatto or mixed) are 71% and the blacks 28%. In Martinique, a small overpopulated island of the French West Indies and an overseas department of France, the mixed race accounts for 90% of the population.

It isn’t that mixed individuals “want to be white,” but rather recognize their mixed reality and this is manifested through the census, among other ways. There is nothing wrong, no lies, no pretending to be something they are not.

No mixed race or white person would say what these Dominicans said in national television.

Translation: “Its very important to me that he has a beautiful smile and is tall, but I don’t like white men [for dating].”

Famous Dominican TV personality in the Dominican Republic, Iamdra Fermín says in the Dominican TV show “Noche de Luz” that, among other desired qualities of her ideal of an amorous mam, she doesn’t like white men for dating. It’s actually common to see Dominicans on Dominican TV and radio mention the physical qualities they like in another person for dating. As such, comments such as “I want a black man, I’m attracted to the mixed, I don’t want white men, I love that he’s white” is not unheard of nor raises any eyebrows.
A clip in the Dominican radio show “Directo al Show” where Arisleyda (left) comments how beautiful is Alexa Cantante (center) and that she could be her sister. In response, Alexa responds that Arisleyda is herself very beautiful.
In the Santo Domingo based show “Ducktape” (available in Youtube), Somaya (her son Julio on the left) is asked her preference in men and she responds black men (morenos). She goes as far as using Will Smith, the American actor and singer, as her ideal type of man. She finishes by saying “never whites, always blacks.” Another example of typical Dominican media where a person can say that they like blacks (or any group) with no repercussions, breaking a taboo, offense from anyone or anything of the sort. Simply it’s a preference at the time of mating, nothing more.

In addition to those video clips, out of many examples are the following print advertisings from the Dominican Republic seen in the country’s newspapers, magazines, on billboards and other advertising places nationwide. They are one type, but there is advertising that incorporating all types of people, just like Dominican society in general. As you look at them, ask yourself if a modern society “that wants to be white” would tolerate advertising of this type.

Advertising from JMMB, a financial group in the Dominican Republic and other countries.
Advertising from Viva, a Dominican telecomunications company.
Advertising from Rica, among the leading Dominican milk and juices company.
Advertising from Banco Popular, the second largest bank in the Dominican Republic.
Advertising for Tek Bond, imported products in the Dominican Republic and distributed in the country by FC El Sol company.
Advertising of two Dominicans\ professionals, one a civil engineer and the other an architect, in a Dominican magazine.
Advertising for Banco Ademi, one of the banks of the Dominican Republic.
Article about of the Dominican Julio Ernesto Rosario in the Life Dominicana 17 edition magazine based in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic.

A Special Look at Silvio Torres-Saillant

Silvio Torres-Saillant is, perhaps, the leading Dominican voice accepting and projectingthe One-Drop-Rule, despite its basis on a lie along with the potential of self-hatred and self-denial for a mixed race person. This, however, is not readily understood as one becomes immersed in what is the One-Drop-Rule, but rather becomes apparent as time goes in.

We quote a small part that appeared in the Dominican magazine “La Lupa” of an interview that was done to him by Bernardo Vega, a famous Dominican economist, historian, author and diplomat.

The response given by Silvio Torres-Saillant. “Das Kapital” is the book that gave rise to Marxism, in fact the authors were Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. The One-Drop-Rule is based on a lie and so is much of “Das Kapital.” That’s one of the reasons why Marxism doesn’t work and has been a theory that has fallen out of grace. The question is, what type of a person would say that of all the books in existence, the one he would have wanted to write is “Das Kapital?” The answer has two possibilities: a Marxist or a person that believes in various Marxist ideals. One would think a good book to write is “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith, but no. “Das Kapital” it is.

It should be noted that Silvio Torres-Saillant is a brilliant man and has demostrated this by earning various degrees in Brooklyn College and New York University. Also, working as a professor in Syracuse University, all in the United States. He has demostraded his briliance in the books and essays that he published through the years. Certainly, many aspects of his ideas are commendable and add value to a viewpoint not often taken into consideration or at all. It is apparent from his writings that what has truly motivated him in developing and reaffirming his ideas is the desire to improve the life of the average Dominican, even more than “teaching” Americans about Dominicans. That in itself is extraordinarily commendable and should always be recognized. He did graduate with a B.A. in Mass Communications with minors in Comparative Literature, English, Spanish and Latin from Brooklyn College in 1979. Later earned an M.A. and a PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University. It doesn’t say anywhere that he graduated as a Suma Cum Laude, a title given to students with a near excellent academic record at the time of their graduation, but for a time he did become a professor of English at Syracuse University. That is a demostration of having very good qualities in his area of expertise. Most likely he was a very good professor of English, but short of getting the opinions of those that were his students, we have no way of confirming this except he was never the object of a disciplinary action from Syracuse University or any other institution that he worked for.

What he doesn’t have is an extensive academic preparation in Dominican Studies. Everything involving the Dominican Republic and Dominicans, both in the country and in the United States, appear is based on his experience and later from an amateur life long study and analyses of different aspects of Dominicans and Dominican-Americans. This also lead to the founding of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at City College of New York in 1992, dedicated to the study of different aspects of Dominicans and Dominican-Americans, including the aspect of identity but often seen through the lense of the One-Drop-Rule. This is understandable since the founding director was Silvio Torres-Saillant and he has been living in the United States since 1973 or from the young age of 17.

Until the 2000’s, serious studies were made based on the human genome and through the years there have been several with the focus on or included Dominicans. Each of them confirms not just that most Dominicans are mixed, but no ancestry actually predominates since even the African ancestry is not half of the genome of a typical Dominican. Neither is the European or the amerindian. This, however, was impossible to know prior to all these studies using actual genomic and/or ancestry DNA as the defining marker. It could be possible, going by features and skin color which now we know is not always indicative of the true genetic mix of a mixed race person, that Silvio Torres-Saillant thought in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s (including 1992 when CUNY Dominican Studies Institute was founded and 1999 when the essay “Introduction to Dominican Blackness” was published) that African ancestry had to be the majority in most Dominicans. Again, this is proven time and again not to be true.

We can conclude the following points regarding who is Silvio Torres-Saillant.

  • Born in Santiago de los Caballeros on November 8, 1954.
  • Moved to the United States on April 3, 1973 and has been living there almost 50 years or 73% of his life.
  • Earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1979 and an M.A. and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University.
  • Founded the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute in 1992. This is the premier institute outside of the Dominican Republic focused on studying Dominicans and Dominican-Americans. In the same respect, and following its founder, it’s the first institution that dwells into Dominican identity using the concept of the One-Drop-Rule invented in the United States. It publishes its works mainly in English.
Dr Silvio Torres-Saillant interviewed in the program “Education Forum by Herman Badillo” by the then president of the City College of New York (CUNY). In this section he claims that he migrated to New York City on April 3, 1973 at the tender age of 17 (it should be noted that his birth took place on November 8, 1954 in Santiago, so assuming that both dates are correct he would had been 18 at the time of his migration, not 17 as he claims). He also says that it was the decision of his mother who did all the procedures to immigrate legally to the United States and included him, one of her sons. He claims that she was pushed to migrate by the economic changes imposed in the Dr. Joaquín Balaguer’s presidency (it should be noted that during that time, Joaquín Balaguer’s economic policies for the first time ever on Hispaniola created a market-based middle class, recognized by many sociologists and political experts as a necessary step for the stable functioning of a democracy. The Dominican Republic has one of the oldest democracies in Latin America due in no small part to the policies put in place at this time by Dr. Joaquín Balaguer. That is why he is considered by some as “the father of Dominican democracy.)
In this section he talks about his father. Notice he doesn’t mention him by name, doesn’t say what role (if any) he played in his mother’s immigration in 1973 or whether he himself immigrated too. Claims his father was psychologically burned by the Trujillo dictatorship. He does mention that his father had intellectual interests, particularly knowledge of literature. It’s possible that he influenced Silvio in his decision to get a M.A. and a PhD in Comparative Literature. This is a hint that his father was a positive role for him and his siblings, but doesn’t mention how was the relationship with his mother. It should be noted that often during the Trujillo dictatorship intellectuals and activists that were ostracized or in some way a victim tended to be leftists, in many cases communists. He doesn’t say in what part of the political spectrum was his father.
Here he mentions that he is the founder of the Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY). It should be noted that this is the most important orgsnization dedicated to the study of Dominicans, Dominican-Americans and Latin Americans in general outside the Dominican Republic. Given that it was founded with a focus on spreading its knowledge to Americans and Dominican-Americans more than to Dominicans in the Dominican Republic and in the United States, most of its papers and findings are in English. Another aspect to note is that this is the main, perhaps the first, institute dedicated to the study of Dominicans with the evident adoption of the USA invented One-Drop-Rule. Perhaps this reflects the founder’s adoption of this American identity after immigrating to the United States. It could also be the intellectual arm in attempting that Dominicans at large and the Dominican Republic in particular break with its history and tradition and adopt the USA-invented identity of the One-Drop-Rule. It should be noted that the One-Drop-Rule is a consecuence of the history and tradition of the United States, so that North American country never had to break from its history and tradition given that its social conditions with racial segregation and the constant attacks of the African American community by their own fellow Americans and even their own American government, lead to the invention of this American identity and, perhaps, later to the invention of Afrocentrism.
Silvio Torres-Saillant while giving a speech on July 17, 2012 at the 15th Annual Leadership Summit of the National Dominican American Council at the US Capitol Visitors Center in Washington DC. In this part, he asks Dominican Americans that they must continue with the ethnic agenda. Since he mention ethnic instead of cultural, it could be assumed that he is implicitly saying that Dominican Americans should continue to adopt the One-Drop-Rule American identity and, perhaps, continue the pressure to have Dominicans and the Dominican Republic adopt this identity itself. One last thing to bring to attention is that the current attacks, and this has been the case since the 1970’s, on the Dominican Republic’s identity mainly comes from organizations based in the United States and mostly in English. They have an underlining premise of feeling discomfort that Dominican identity is not as it would imply in the United States where the One-Drop-Rule invention is still widely held as true and as right.
Silvio Torres-Saillant alleges that there is “negrophobia” in the Dominican Republic, despite the country has had black leaders at all levels of society since its inception and foreigners at different times mention the lack of a “color line” relative to their country if origin. In addition, he refers to the population as “Afro-Dominicans,” which is in tune with the USA invented One-Drop-Rule. This presumably groups both blacks and the mixed race, despite those that are mixed race are “Euro-Dominicans” at the same time. The correct would be reserving the term “Afro-Dominican” to blacks only, “Euro-Dominicans” to white only and “Mixed-Dominicans” to the mixed race, which is the majority of the population. For a mixed race person to apply to themselves the terms “Afro-Dominican” or “Euro-Dominicans” imply by default a negation of a part of them and, perhaps, self-hatred. The Dominican Republic is a country that doesn’t apply the One-Drop-Rule, like most countries and most of humanity. It should be noted once more that Silvio Torres-Saillant has lived most of his life in the United States and not in the Dominican Republic. He hasn’t spent most of his life in countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Cuba, Haiti, Panama and others where the mixed race is allowed to see itself for what they truly are.

Testimony of an African American regarding the Dominican Republic vs the United States

A typical response of an African American that has been acquainted with the Dominican Republic for many years and is considering moving to it in the near future.
He says reality in a few simple words.

Thomas Sowell on the Influence of Intellectuals

Thomas Sowell. “Intellectuals and Society,” 2011; pg. 522.
Thomas Sowell. “Intellectuals and Society,” 2011; pg. 527.

Signs of Change in American Identity and its Implications for the Dominican Republic

Ironically, while this small group of people adopting inventions from the United States, such as the One-Drop-Rule, and attempt to apply it to a mixed race country; at the same time, this American invention is being challenged from within.

The implications this have for the Dominican Republic is tremendous. One more attack on the nonsense of the One-Drop-Rule applied to a nation of mixed people. These are precisely the people most affected by this invention since, as has been said multiple times, the mixed race individual is more likely to engage in self-denial and self-hate of who he or she is. As the world’s first mixed race country (mainly between blacks and whites) and the recent attacks on its identity comes mostly from the United States, a change in accepting mixed race indentity in the United States spells a light at the end of the tunnel.