Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt: The sad effort to hide our African Roots.

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“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”

Initially I was actually thinking about writing about Dominican music rhythms, specifically about Gaga… I will owe you that Blog on Gaga. Why?? I got infuriated; I got angry on how hypocritical my beloved compatriots are being by denying that we are part África y que todos los Dominicanos tenemos el Negro detrás de la oreja.

This is what happened: In order to write a coherent Blog part of my homework includes visiting Dominican websites, specially those government funded so that I could what do they tell the world about our cultural makeup and our musical patrimony. Now, when it came to Folkloric music all I found out and all I could noticed is the restless effort of some Dominican to “blanquear” or whiten our musical and cultural manifestations. My God, your Quisqueyanos are still in great denial of our African heritage!?

As a matter of fact, in the FUNGLODE supported website http://www.dominicanaonline.org/portal/espanol/cpo_folklorica.asp, which refers to Musica Folklorica Dominicana, several rhythms are notorious due to their absence, by coincidence, those Afro Dominican ones. Those ones they address are addressed very vaguely and superficially. While I applauded their effort I would also have applauded some honesty. Why are we still neglecting our musical assets?

It may be a result of Trujillo’s great effort to erase any vestige of the African heritage in the Dominican Republic. Is so sad to see the efforts of the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo have actually rendered results because many compatriots still deny our African roots. This African root is like a hidden treasure that is found by those who look and those who acknowledge that we are a mixed race, that we are mulatos.

It is a bit of a paradox, but many Dominicans come to learn about our musical heritage one we migrate from Dom. Rep. Like one of my Dominican hero’s, Juan Luis Guerra said  “Una raza encendida negra, blanca y taina, pero quien descubrió a quien?” (We are a burning  Race: black, white and Taino, but who discovered whom?). Let’s not live in denial we have to be proud of who we are. Let’s move away from ignorance and embrace our beautiful cultural makeup.

With Love:

Andre Veloz.

PS: I KNOW I OWE YOU A BLOG ON GAGA. COMING SOON!!!!

http://www.andreveloz.com

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11 thoughts on “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt: The sad effort to hide our African Roots.

  1. Andre: everyday the newspapers write their version of the news. Don’t be surprised that the same has happened with the books of history. We have taught our children to forget about their heritage and their roots. Dominicans are not white in anthropological and genetical terms, there is more african blood in us than white or even aborigine.

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    1. Ohhhhhh mi querida! I could have never said it better than you did Kenia. Let’s pray for a brighter and smarter future in our Latin America. Something is for sure, things have to change or the upcoming generations will face the consequences. By the way, talking about history books, can you recall at all our professors ever teaching us about our African heritage? It was always about the Tainos (I think our DNA makeup has less than 5% of Taino) and about the Spaniards, disregard all the slavery and disease that many Latin countries suffered in their hands.

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  2. interesting post. I’m of mexican decent and proudly carry the label “Mexican-American”. Sometimes when i hear people that seem overly patriotic i remind them that we wouldn’t be who we are if it weren’t for the Spaniards conquering those parts of America. i remind them that most of Mexico was indigenous and not monotheistic. i remind them of the so many languages that exist and have probably died off.

    i guess i just want people to be knowledgeable and understand their history. know the reason they wave that flag with honor, y’know?

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    1. Word my dear!
      Thank you very much for sharing the Mexican-American perspective…It seems we are all on the same boat. The America’s tend to have cases of bad memory. I think is all a matter of how we were educated. The education system at least in my nation tends to “whiten” our history. I wish I had influence or a say on it, because I would surely root for the what we have of good and pure in our DNA. Indigenous people lived in relative peace and in harmony with nature and their surroundings, many of them were wiped out of countries such as mine. African were kidnapped and turned into slaves… Then I don’t understand the level of negation on our ancestors.

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  3. I am Viking-Native American- French Canadian-American. I’m sure there is a little Spaniard and other mystery races mixed in for good measure. I guess I can say my ancestors loved everybody. We didn’t turn our noses up and think we were better or less than anyone else, which made us good candidates for marriage and the blending of races. Embrace all of who you are!!

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    1. Dear Barbara, good point. I must say I envy you: Is fantastic you can trace your Genetic tree, demistify and embrace your own identity. I think that is what many racist people in my country need. That would save so much heartache to the perpetrators of racism and to the victims. In Dom. Rep. unfortunately we have a lot to learn and is such a paradox because we are a predominantly mulatto community. In DR racism is a silent malade.

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      1. Barbara & Pin. Thanks so much for the sharing. I agree with both of you. At the end we are all equal. Skin color is just that, skin color. It does not measures your value as a human being. I think the racism in Dom Rep comes from the efforts of the government that has made no effort on reminding people that we are at minimum 40% African. In the case of Gaga music and other Afro-Dominican cultural manifestaion I think we neglect them because we are afraid of facing our Africannes and is really funny, because to face that Africa in our blood all we need is a mirror.

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      2. I pray it will get better with time. It will only happen when each race embraces their unique talents and skills and accepts themselves for who they are. Then, other people will begin to see the value you have in Christ. Maybe we could stamp out racism for good.

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  4. Oh this is soooo lovely!!!!!!!! I love your mind-you know who you are…you see past the BS and the mejorar la raza crap…When I lived in Panama I had it up to here with black women negando mi amor por ser negro…I couldn’t understand it. I was like yo this doesnt happen where I am from, I am sought after…I am attractive- I get women! I went 4 months without so much as caressing soft skin because women were avoiding the black gringo…I wasn’t able to make their kids lighter with “better” hair, I was like damn you guys had crafty slave master…They did a bang up job with implanting self-hate into your daily life……:(

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    1. So sad to hear that you had to go trough that. Yes, mulato countries tend to be in denial about their identity. I knew it happens in DR and in Brazil for a fact but It sounds like is a Latin America big big gig problem. Many of us are confused because in reality we don’t know 100% where our ancestors came from. Now from there to denying the Africa is scary, specially when is so evident in our faces, in our relaxed and blow dried hair, bleached skin and surgically refined noses.

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