My navigation through my Black identity as a Dominican woman
My vitiligo became visible at the age of nine, and through this piece, I discuss my navigation of identity considering my race, ethnicity, culture, skin color, and skin condition. I tackle the questions of what defines Blackness—is it skin-tone or culture? If skin tone defines Blackness, does that make me culturally homeless, longing for a home of "in-between"? Within Dominican culture, Blackness and any variation of it are negated, has been for decades, and is engrained in the minds of many, if not all, Dominicans. This piece shows how I reclaim as a Dominican, despite my light skin, due to my vitiligo. This is all to demonstrate that Blackness is not defined merely under the constraints of skin tone. The diaspora does not allow for such a simple definition of Blackness equating to dark skin due to the complex history of diaspora for Indigenous, Black, and white peoples. Blackness includes culture, experiences, and skin tone. In addition, Dominicans as an ethnic group must learn to accept all parts of ourselves, though we have been taught to hate our Blackness. Claiming our Black identity shows strength and resilience.
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