Updated: May 23
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…
Partying and hookah? Check. Baseball and our music stars? Check. But there are so many 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 year Dominican relationships that we've never applauded, talked about or highlighted but we will quickly highlight when someone goes off "y pega cuerno" aka cheat. I've never gone to a salon or a barbershop in the Heights and heard one man or woman POSITIVELY talk about love within the Dominican community. It's categorically impossible that people are having such bad experiences within one cultural group.
Off top of my head, I can't think of a Dominican couple within our culture that is celebrated for their 'Dominican Love." I know there are positive examples are out there. Here are just a few I know: One of my best friends has a Dominican girlfriend and they live together and are thriving. Another one, just got together and are experiencing that early-stage love on IG, I know of my girlfriend's sister and her husband and how successful they have been and the great family they've created together. I know a Dominican couple who moved to LA and became the sought after couple in the fitness industry. I know my aunt Ingrid and the love she has with her husband. I know relationships where a woman has re-introduced her boyfriend to God. I know a man who has taken his girlfriend's daughter under his wings even if she isn't his and is set on being a positive example for her. I know a woman who has pushed her man to therapy and to explore the issues that are surfacing rooted in his childhood. What I don't know is Dominican relationships where the man is stepping out. Where the woman is asking for her bills to be paid. Where the woman is tied to the kitchen and laundry room after a long 9-5 day. Where the woman has to deal with abuse. I don't know of one. In the end, we may never eradicate these stereotypes and if we can't it doesn't mean we can't start building positive images of ourselves, because love is central to everything we do as Dominicans. Party, the family, have fun and hang out. How can we begin to all also highlighting the love within romantic relationships in our community?
I challenge you all you post, talk, spread the positivity in our Dominican Love, around our culture, let's change the narrative to one of positivity. In the end, we have to realize that we are more than what we think of ourselves. If you or someone you know is in a positive healthy "Dominican Love" relationship post it on IG and tag it #dominicanlove.
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