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Dominican Hair - Essay Example

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The overall importance of this book is its contribution to the understanding of the manner in which national and racial identities were generated…
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Dominican Hair
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Dominican Hair This is a pioneering ethnographic and chronological examination of Dominican distinctiveness in the Republic of Dominican and the US. The overall importance of this book is its contribution to the understanding of the manner in which national and racial identities were generated and interpreted. It shows that these incidences and processes not only take place in personal experiences, but also in a number of public and communal sites.
Candelario explores and explains how the Dominican Republic draws its historic ancestry and heredity to the amalgamation of different cultural groups. These groups include the; Taínos (who are the Indigenous group), the Spanish (who were the colonizers), and the Africans (brought majorly as slaves into the country). Nonetheless, the Dominican nation has long ignored its heritage’s African part, in its place describing itself as “Not black,” This is so, even as people accept that almost everyone has some Black heritage and ancestry. This whole idea of national identity presents exacting challenges for Dominican immigrants to the United States, who are over and over again perceived by Americans as black and forced to negotiate for new ethnical and racial landscape.
According to Ginetta E. B. Candelario “the Dominican nation has all along selected to disregard the African customs and traditions”. She says that, the social and racial dynamics of the Dominican identity is majorly promoted by staff, customers and owners of salons. This is in particular with consideration to the concepts of African Vs European hair, further categorized as “bad” and “good” hair respectively. Candelario shows how clients and staff of salons had preferences to certain hair styles which were in photograph form in books. This is an exacting proof and confirmation of the anti- black preferences by the Dominican, and appraisal of the whites. In spite of this, what these women found as being most gorgeous and eye-catching were the people whom they analyze as having the signs of ethnic and cultural mixture connected to Spanish-speaking countries, and in particular those of Latin America. Candelario does well in trying to contradict the entrenched whiteness preference by showing various occasions when these preferences were disregarded, as well as by showing that there was an existence of diverse sorts of whiteness.
Candelario shows that, Salons were the principal places where women were encouraged to internalize and endorse certain manners. The manner of seeing and doing things through racial and nationwide identity. This is done by ways like showing preferences to hairstyles that favor the whites’ hair. In the form of pictures in books and on the salon walls, blacks were discouraged from entering the salons. Furthermore, the staffs were more willing and ready to work with/on the whites’ hair than on the blacks’ hair. Following participant observation and study in a Dominican beauty salon, Candelario herself ascertained precisely how widespread the "anti- black" feelings are. While, in the salon, Candelario observed that the Dominicans would habitually and repeatedly say “We have black behind the ears” in their native language (Tenemos el Negro detras de las orejas), every time they spoke about matters of Dominican and black identity. This way, they were confirming their irresistible desire to "whiten". Quite a number of women who were interviewed by acclaimed a self identity as being both Hispanic and black, unlike the majority who denied the black culture.
Work cited
Candelario, Ginetta E. B. Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. Print. Read More
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