Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Laird Bergad

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Caribbean Languages and Societies | European History | Latin American History | Latina/o Studies


Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colorism, Racism, Hispaniola, Slavery, Dominican, Revolution, Haitian


The common misconception is that all Dominicans are racist – that Dominicans live in a Fanonesque reality where we believe we are white, but we clearly inhabit black bodies. These attitudes permeate Dominican society from the highest echelons of power to the everyday experiences of Dominicans on the street. The notion that Dominicans are racist is widespread among Latinos and African-Americans as well. Recently, global attention was focused on the Dominican Republic as the country changed its constitution in order to prevent Dominicans of Haitian descent from becoming Dominican citizens. But, where do these notions of race come from? This thesis explores the different aspects that make up the Dominican racial identity in order to understand the historical context of these notions. To do this, I begin with a historiography of the Dominican Republic to understand the roots of Dominican ideas on race. I then look at the history of Dominican slavery to understand the racial make-up of the island colony and get a full picture of the racial reality of the Dominican Republic. I conclude with possible solutions for ultimately changing this notion that Dominicans are racists.