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In America today, there is a large and diverse African-American population. Within this population, there are several ethnic groups. The other ethnic group similar to Afro-Americans is Dominicans. Not only are they both minorities, but they also look similar as well. Both Dominicans and Afro-Americans are originally from Africa, but their slave masters separated them into two different cultures. African-Americans was African slaves of Americans, and Dominicans were African slaves of the Spanish. Hevesi of the New York Times says, “Dominican and Afro-Americans culture was formed from one ethnicity, Africans” (Hevesi 86). As a person of these two ethnic groups, I have two perceptions of my dual ethnicity. Among Afro-Americans? and Dominicans? culture, language, history and values, there are large differences, but there are also several similarities. I will compare and contrast these two ethnic groups which are within me.
Dominicans and African-Americans are similar in their African origin, but they are different "in their newfound slavery-induced cultures." Dominicans were Africans mixed with Spanish culture. Through slave settlements, Dominicans were settled in Hispanola. In Hispanola, Dominicans were influenced between two ethnic groups. As a new ethnic group formed, their African traits were mixed with Spanish traits (Saillant-Torres 131).
African America history was African culture mixed with American culture. As a group, slave masters made their voyage to Africa, took slaves, and formed a group called Afro-Americans. African culture was integrated into Western civilization. Most Africans were slaves in the Southern part of North America. Arnold Rose points out; “Negro?s are not accepted in America” (94). Some Dominicans were settled in America. Many live in New York in a city called Spanish Harlem. Today, over 100 million Dominicans live there. The histories of these two ethnic groups have very little similarity, but the African influence is one unifying force.
The languages of these two ethnic groups are completely different. Dominicans speak Spanish and Afro-Americans speak English. Dominicans don’t speak casual Castillan Spanish. They speak Spanish with a twist of African influences. Gleijeses says, “Dominicans don’t speak true Spanish, so they are not treated as Spanish" (7). African-Americans speak English with a different type of twist. Some African Americans don’t speak proper English. They speak English with slang and make up some words. In a way Dominicans and Afro-American languages are the same because of the content of their language. As being African slaves, Dominicans and African-Americans don’t speak their second language correctly. In the United States today there are Dominicans and Afro-Americans. Some American Dominicans speaks English, with slang as the Afro-Americans do. The African slaves couldn’t pronounce the words of their newfound language. They made other words that they could relate to with one another. Both Dominicans and Afro-Americans did this.
Afro-Americans and Dominicans have different values and different styles of life. Most Dominicans are racist towards African-Americans because "America" perceives them as the same ethnic group. I think that because of this, Dominicans feel insulted that they can?t be viewed as Hispanics. Even though Dominicans have African influences just as Afro-Americans do, they don?t want to be accepted as blacks. For example, some Dominicans don?t want other Dominicans to date Blacks and have interracial relationships. They are not realizing how similar their cultures are. Dominicans believe that they have a full Spanish heritage and they try to forget about their African origins. Dominicans value life as Spaniards. Dominicans were completely brainwashed away from their African background that is really hard for them to escape from. Dominicans eat different types of food and they listen to different types of music than African Americans do. In reality there are still African influences in their music and their food.
On the other hand, African Americans value life as Americans. They have the same customs as Americans, but they are still minorities. Afro-Americans consider themselves as black Americans and they want to be accepted as black Americans. Afro-Americans still have an understanding of their heritage. Some Afro-Americans feel they are still Africans. Some don?t want to be accepted as Americans.
In a way some Dominicans and Afro-Americans have the same feelings towards how America views them. In New York Times Magazine it says, "Dominicans protested to become a single race"(Sontag, Dugger 28). Even though Dominicans were immigrants, they wanted their single ethnicity rights. Both African Americans and Dominicans struggle between maintaining their ethnic identity and becoming part of American culture.
I view Dominicans and Afro-Americans similarly because I am a person of these two ethnic groups. Most of the time people perceive me as Black and other time?s people call me Puerto Rican. I know I shouldn?t get angry, but I feel like others don?t respect me and are trying to label me. My mother is Black and my father is Dominican. Most Dominicans think that it is an odd mixture, but they don?t realize that they have the same origins from Africa. In a way it is hard to be a part of two ethnic groups, but it is very interesting. In my life, I had a lot of criticism from both sides of my family. My mother doesn?t like my father?s family and the feeling is mutual. So, I have many problems with my race, but I am still very proud. I always try to unite my family to become equal.
In America today, I feel every ethnic group should see themselves as equal. Regardless of their heritage, they are still Americans. So, I feel any racism between Americans is very ignorant. In conclusion, I think difference is good, but similarities are better, because you find out the things that you share and how you can relate to one another.
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