Insociology class, I was once asked which race I thought I was. Someanswers varied according to the geographical place of birth or maybejust with the “race”, we identified more with. After realizingthat no one was really satisfied when sharing what race theybelonged to, it came to mind that race will always be a debated andcontroversial topic that has the power to either bring some togetheror completely set them apart. It carries the power to make anindividual feel less of what they are, but it also has the potentialto make some other individuals feel inferior and better than others. Raceand nationality are two words that people often interchange with outputting thought into it. Not being aware that they have 2different connotations and meanings that derive from them.Nationality refers to the geographic place where an individual wasborn or raised. As for me I was born in Puerto Rico, but shortlyafter being born there I moved to the Dominican Republic, beingraised in the Dominican Republic I identify more with that country,rather than Puerto Rico, but many would argue that I would be wrongto say my race is Dominican. By the definition of race it would be myskin color or tone, hair texture and eye color that woulddetermine whether I"m in fact Black, White or Latino, etc.

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Furthermore,an individual"s nationality might not necessarily have an effect inthe color of your skin. Personally, I know this because being born inthe Dominican Republic does not mean that an individual specificallyneeds to look like the vast population in the island. Dominicanscome from a wide spectrum of skin tones. Light skin tones with blueeyes to dark skin and brown eyes. There is not a certain race tobeing Dominican nor a certain race for any nation. Also,coming from and residing in a notorious neighborhood named WashingtonHeights, it is easy to see a growing Dominican diaspora thatconcentrates specifically in this neighborhood. Washington Heightshas became it"s very own world. It is like having a small piece ofhome with us right here in New York City. When my grandmothermigrated to this country, she moved right into the streets ofWashington Heights, also so did my aunts and uncles. This eventuallylead my parents to come straight to this neighborhood as well. Manyof our parents after settling and somewhat assimilating with thiscountry, where many of them come to work, study and obtain a brighterfuture, little mobility is acquired. This neighborhood knows how toretain you in, it is difficult to leave the known streets where wecall home.
Furthermore,many might argue that race was in fact created by man for one merereason, which is to divide the human race. White European malesprofited from this social division in many ways by dehumanizing,categorizing and enslaving other people from "another race"inferior such as Africans, Native Americans, South American natives.The White man has used this tactic as an excuse to create chaos,conquer land, and to keep themselves in power. For example, Hitlerand the Jews, the white supremacist group named KKK and AfricanAmericans, the conquistadors from Spain and even in contemporaryAmerican society with daily acts of segregation.Thereis not a clearer example of race being misused to ones" advantagethan the enslavement of Africans. The slave trade was chaotic, filledof “racial prejudice”, ruthless and uncalled for. Millions ofAfricans were taken from their homes, with the mere purpose ofbecoming assets, as these colonial countries wanted to expand theirresources and wealth without much effort. These enslaved Africansbecame the new labor force and were dehumanized to such an extremethat they no longer knew who they were, where they came from and whatto stand up for anymore, as hope was completely lost.
Lastly,the enslavement of Africans was uncalled for, many tried to findthemselves and rebel against their masters, but many did not make itto seeing another day. One song composed by Colombian salsa andtropical singer is Joe Arroyo called “No le Pegue a la Negra”,tells the story of an enslaved African that rebelled against hismaster after his spouse was being abused. Negra, is an endearment word in the Caribbean, here it carries a similar connotation.With a catchy and movingrhythm Arroyo was able to capture the pain that these enslavedAfricans felt. Through this song we get a better understand of howsevere the circumstances were and how severe the abuse was towardsthese people, who sadly were no longer humans in the eyes of theirmasters. I believe that we can learn so much about one another, withan open and willing mind and heart we can accomplish anything, weonly have one thing left to do and that is to one day be able to cometogether as one and imagine hope and peace.

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Greene,S. E. (2011). WestAfrican Narratives of Slavery : Texts From Late Nineteenth- and EarlyTwentieth-century Ghana.Bloomington, Ind:Indiana University Press.
Hall,M. R. (2004). Coloring the Nation: Race and Ethnicity in theDominican Republic (Book). JournalOfThirdWorldStudies,21(1), 318-321.
Pantoja,A. D. (2005). Transnational Ties and Immigrant PoliticalIncorporation: The Case of Dominicans in Washington Heights, NewYork. InternationalMigration,43(4), 120-144.