While I watch my neighborhood change before my eyes and my parents country go backwards in time, I’ve never felt so helpless.
Just so that there is no confusion on this sensitive subject. I, like many, many other Dominicans believe that what we are doing to our Haitian people is horrible and inhumane. We are kicking them out of a home that we ourselves gave them despite our past.
Just as our people are the abusers back in our home country, here in the U.S we are the victims.
However, the problem lies in the complexity of the solution. What is a solution to one of our problems is the perpetrator in the other. We must lower our pride in order to stop victimizing our neighbors, but at the same time we must also have enough pride to stop the gentrification going on in our neighborhood here in New York.
Some people never find a home. And no matter how much I have stated that I am a citizen of the world, it is something else to have no home to relate to. No people to dance with proudly.
There is a difference between pride for where you came from, because it is a huge part of who you are and nationalism. One of the things that disgust me the most is nationalism. To think that the ground you were born on can do no wrong while the nation others were born in is not nearly as good as yours is simply disgusting. However, the fact that many Dominicans who come to the U.S are the complete opposite of nationalistic is a beautiful thing.
There was a reason why our parents left, but we also need to remember that there is also a reason why we go back every year and our hearts light up when we listen to perico ripiao and Juan Luis Guerra. Just Because we don’t sell and buy only to our people or beg others to visit our homeland or create enemies in the U.S from wars being fought back home does not mean that we do not love where we are from.
However, at a time like this where our country is going so backwards with nationalism the ability of Dominicans to see the truth and stand beside it is what we should focus on and do something about. Lets not start to hate ourselves for the actions of the few. Sharing news to those that do not belong to our country is like selling your apartment in Washington Heights to The very people raising the rent.
We need to do something, not add more fuel to a fire we have no idea how to put out.
Lately I have been living my daily life in peace. But it feels like there is a deep hole in my heart that only comes from feeling as if every piece of soil is being taken away from me , as I watch. This existential issue is something that dying relatives and orphans feel. And our parents have worked to hard for us to never have to feel this way.
We must take back our country by allowing those who have helped it thrive live in peace. I don’t know how but we must. And we must take back our neighborhood.
What will we show our children? All they will know are restaurants that will charge $20 for a plate of plantains to those who don’t know they are 4 for a dollar. Or what our Afro Caribbean country is doing to our Haitian people.
Lets not accept the things we can change. Lets fight against it, before our only choice is to accept.
Remember what makes us great and change anything that does not.