There is an atrocity going on in the Dominican Republic right now. Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent or Haitian immigrants are in danger of being deported to Haiti, thanks to some political maneuvering on the part of the DR government. The relationship between Dominicans and Haitians has been fraught for many years, and this new action against the Haitians (and according to some reports, people who just “look” Haitian) is due in part to systemic and institutional racism that went unchecked for too long.
For what seems to be a major human rights violation, this isn’t being covered as much it should be in the North American media. There’s not a lot of information in the conversation that is happening about what we can do. There’s a petition that you can sign asking our government to step in and pressure the Dominican Republic to stop this “social cleanse.” There are several articles you can read to learn more about exactly what is going on there and the history of tension between Dominicans and Haitians:
Displaced in the D.R., Harper’s Magazine
Dominican Republic to be Socially Cleansed in Two Days, The Daily Kos
Dominican Republic Set to Deport Haitian Migrants, The New York Times
It’s easy to feel disconnected from a society you don’t understand. Books and stories are our first introduction to understanding other people. So what do we do when we need to learn and understand? We read.
I put the call out on Twitter for recommendations for literature about the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the response was fantastic, so thank you to everyone who made suggestions. Here’s a list of all the books that were recommended.
The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier
The Comedians by Grahame Greene
The Masters of the Dew by Jacques Roumain
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Love, Anger, Madness by Marie Vieux-Chauvet
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabelle Allende
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Dominican People: A Documentary History by Ernesto Sagas
The Devil Behind the Mirror by Steven Gregory
Song of Water Saints: A Novel by Nelly Rosario
Dominican Republic and Haiti
Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola by Michele Wucker
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
Madison Smartt Bell
Jacques Stephen Alexis
Check out the storify of all responses for links to more lists of recommended reading. And please feel free to add in anymore books about the two countries that are must-reads in the comments.