Updated: May 23, 2020
But I'm sure one of the factors that have kept them together [amongst many others] is that strong, cultural connection. The ability to connect on a level that needs no explanations, laugh at the inside jokes, side-eye without saying a word, because they are in sync with one another. I'm not here saying you shouldn't date anyone outside of your culture but the cultural connection brings something so amazing into a relationship when shared with someone you love. If I were to ask a new Dominican couple how happy they are that their partner is Dominican, they'll likely be 100% positive about it. They may share that it wasn't a requirement but deep down they are glad it has turned out that way.
When I began dating my girlfriend who is Dominican as well, she expressed to me that she never thought she would date a Dominican man again. She listed the reasons and some of them resembled what I've already mentioned: "Dominican men cheat, Dominican men party too much, Dominican men are mommas boys". Her reasoning is her reasoning. These are her very own and valid personal experiences. I showed her that we aren't all the same.
As a people, every time a group of Dominicans get together in any setting such as brunch, bars, clubs, office, church, group chats, etc., we add gasoline to the stereotypes. Stereotypes like: Dominican men cheat. Dominican women are “chapiadoras” or gold diggers and want all their bills paid, these are often shared by Dominican men among their boys. Dominican women? They do the same. And when other Latino groups like Mexicans, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, etc., hear it, it spreads. The Latino language media [La Mega, Univision, Telemundo, Telemicro], doesn't do much to kill the stereotypes either, on the contrary, they reinforce them even further via unfounded gossip, through jokes and skits shared on social media platforms and Television screens. On Youtube, which provides global access, media personalities, comedians, and network televisions use it as another arm of promotion, reaching audiences of mass proportions. Stereotypes are reinforced to the point where you have people who have never been to the Dominican Republic, or a Dominican neighborhood in the U.S. or even met one Dominican, believe everything that is said about us without experiencing it themselves, people approach us with preconceived assumptions based of what they have heard, this is oftentimes hurtful and can dangerous. We as a people have to take responsibility for a lot of that.
Despite it all, in present-day, I know of PLENTY of Dominican couples who do not subscribe to these stereotypes, who are independent, self-sufficient, traveled, healthy, educated, successful individuals. As Dominicans, we are definitely good at promoting our culture, no matter if it's good, bad or ugly. We promote a lot of shit that's cool and 100% representative of us but don't always promote our best qualities and characteristics, specifically, the great examples of Dominican love. I’m not referring to our love for Platanos, Yeah, I get it, we love it…to be continued.
Claudio E. Cabrera is an award-winning audience development expert and journalist, Afro-Latino advocate, and is publishing a book in 2020 titled "Y tu ere/eres Dominicano/a" which focuses on his life, dealing with issues of race and colorism in the Latino community.
This collection of 12 short stories takes you from Cabrera's childhood to present day as he explores a variety of life events, through sharing these stories, relays a similar experience many Afro-Latinos have.
Stories of meeting girlfriend’s parents who still discriminated against him even though he was of the same nationality, to encounters at local stores where his Latinidad was questioned, Cabrera not only takes you through the pain and the insecurities that these events have caused, but also how he came to love himself, his complexion, and being proud of his roots. Follow Claudio on Instagram @claudio.e.cabrera