The bus arrived at a certain stop and a dark skinned person wanted to enter. The bus driver stopped him and yelled that native persons had precedence. The man remained quiet and waited for the group of native habitants to take a seat. Two seats were available, but before the man had the chance to enter the bus the bus driver closed the doors and continued his trip. “Why did you not allow him to enter?” a man asked. The bus driver looked at this surprised man who was clearly not living in the country since a few decades. “Are you going to defend him?” The man became more surprised and could not help but show his frustration. “Yes, I am” “Well, are you going to suffer his smell?” The bus driver asked.
This situation did not occur in America sometime in the 20th century. This happened in the Dominican Republic in the year 2014. Unfortunately apartheid still exists and the presence differs from one country to another. Currently, Dominican Republic aims to deport Haitians out of the country. Before this decision Haitians endured terrible situations related to racism. The current situation within the Dominican Republic is perceived as immoral by many other cultures, especially the Western Culture.
The question people have been asking is what caused the clash. This is a long story that can be easily explained with the onion model. Every culture has deep rooted values, rituals, heroes, symbols and practices. The values are taught from one generation to another and can be developed by an individual, as he/she grows older. Lots of centuries ago, the Spaniards went to South America and conquered some parts. They developed a system in which white was seen as pure, the mixed persons were seen as having their blood a bit ‘infected’ by the black race and the black persons were seen as having dirty blood.
In the 20th century a person called Rafael Trujillo became the dictator of Dominican Republic. He spread his anti-Haitian ideology through the island. It is believed that his influence on the mind-set of his people was so strong, that he was able to convince people that Haitians have to be seen as the lesser. However, I believe that he created fear in order to make people obey him. Obviously, his ideology has been transferred from one generation to another.
Another factor is that the Dominican Republic scores considerably low on indivualism. This means that the Dominican Republic is a collectivist society and thinks in groups. “We are Dominicans, we are a group. You are not a Dominican, so we do not consider you as part of our group” This thought generally describes the group thinking.
As the years went by people generated knowledge from the apartheid in America. It is immoral, because we are all equal, we deserve to be treated as equals. This knowledge has been shared through education, books, television and in the modern age also via Internet. So, the question is why did the Dominican Republic not develop on this area? The country is not as developed as America and Europe. As explained earlier, there is many group thinking so people will doubt the knowledge from people outside their circle. The elderly within their group are seen as the wise persons.
The surprised man in the bus (in the introduction) was my grandfather. He had been living in the Netherlands since almost twenty years and he is really used to equality and a curious approach towards other cultures. So when he experienced the situation he definitely felt a culture shock.
Not all Dominicans agree on the Haitian deportation and from what I see some Dominicans are actively trying to stop the deportation by spreading the word via social media. So am I, I am feeling bad about what is happening with the Haitians. I believe that no one should be treated in such a way. I think it is unfair that this is not ‘world news’, but news that is spreading mouth on mouth. In Europe, people are not aware of the situation until I ask them if they have heard about it. I believe that this being world news is crucial, because the Dominican government need to get feedback on their behaviour and actions in order to educate themselves and their civilians.