On Dominican Mother’s Day

May 31, 201

Today, on Dominican’s Mother’s Day, I wanted to tell you all about my amazing Dominican (host) mom. Since the evening I arrived at her house over a year and a half ago—a total stranger, with only a shaky grasp of the Spanish language—she has treated me like a true daughter.

She runs our household, teaches kindergarten, and works in the family’s store. She also showers her children, friends, pets, and even strangers with love and affection, going out of her way to support them even while herself batting thyroid cancer and ensuing health complications.

She has made me tea when I’ve been sick and picked bugs out of my lice-infested hair. She has defended me from over-zealous children, helped me connect with the right people in my community, cheered me on in my successes, and empathized with me when I have been frustrated, disappointed, or sad.

Every day she inspires me with her resilience, uncomplaining attitude, and generousness of spirit.

Feliz Dia de la Madre!

Celebrating my host mom’s birthday a few weeks ago.

My best friend has a lot of self hatred. We’re both Haitian and she’s a quarter Dominican because her mom is mixed. She absolutely hates her features. She feels that she got all her dad’s “ugly genes” and she wished she had her mom’s type 3 hair, light skin, and light eyes. When she tells me this I try my best to show her that her features are just fine and just when I think her view of herself is getting a tiny bit better she’ll say something about how she hates that she doesn’t have “good hair” like her mom. She has a strong preference for Hispanic and mixed guys. I wouldn’t see any issue with this if she didn’t have such a set image of what she wants her kids to look like. She’ll talk about how they’ll have silky and curly “good hair” and light skin. When I mention that there’s still a possiblility that the kid could have type 4 hair and dark skin she says

“They won’t. Hopefully my mom’s genes will kick in” This makes me wonder how she’ll view her child if he/she comes out with mostly her features.

“A lot of people are interested in what race I am. Everyone guesses Filipino, [but] my father is Dominican and my mom’s Vietnamese.“

"Do you feel like those cultures have influenced your identity?”

“I think so. People really want you to take the side of one. I didn’t grow up like everyone else. I had both sides - two totally different cultures. I’d say I appreciate things more because my parents told me how they grew up so I know I have stuff handed to me and they had to earn everything they have now. […] Other than my dad I’m the first one in my family to go to college.”

I want Dominicans to stop commenting on my post about black moms saying “this describes Dominican moms too lol” like first all, I’m not sure yall know it but yall black lmao and second, you all don’t want to claim it until yall want the right to say nigga so please stfu hunny…