Cultural Anthropology 1 Elizabeth Pagan Professor Schug Cultural Anthropology January 20th, 2023 Anthropologists define or see power as bringing about results with the potential or use of force. They compare how different types of societies organize power and social hierarchies. For instance, the 1930 dictator General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo of the Dominican Republic used his power to spread Haitian hate and attempted to remove the Haitian race with his power through force. He ordered a massacre of the Haitian people. Another example of power would be through François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture. He ordered and organized a revolution against the French armies to gain Haiti’s independence. Similarly, race and class are ways to construct systems of social hierarchy. Originally the Dominican people were at the bottom of the social hierarchy during the slave trade and were being used for sugar plantations. After the sugar plantations were moved to Spain the social order changed. The Haitians were later brought to the Dominican Republic to work the jobs no one else wanted to do, putting them at the bottom. The hate that they received and the poor treatment eventually led to Haiti’s fight for independence. In the following paragraphs, I will further discuss these two case examples that illustrate how race and class are imposed and challenged in these particular communities. The black race in the Dominican Republic did not have much power at the start of their journey. They were brought over to the Dominican Republic during the slave trade to work on sugar plantations as slaves. When the sugar plantations were brought over to Spain, that is when
Cultural Anthropology 2 the Dominicans began to gain some power and work their way up in the social hierarchy. They were now instead working on cattle ranches. The relationship between master and slave was very different than it was before. The slaves would ride horses, just as their masters did. The slaves now carried machete’s just like their masters. There were fewer white people living in the Dominican Republic now that sugar plantations were moved, leaving a colony of many mixed races. As well, the Dominicans were no longer seen at the bottom of the social hierarchy ladder, the Haitian people were, which I will go further into detail later. However, even though the Dominican population has gained some power through social class, they still don’t claim their heritage. They have no statues of black historical figures, even though 90% of their population is black, and any statues they do have of anyone without European ancestry are altered to appear white. They don’t even identify as black men and women, instead, they call themselves Indo. The Dominican people are in denial of their black ancestry. On the other hand, the people of Haiti are very proud of their black ancestory. Just like Dominicans, Haitians started at the bottom of the social heirarchy. They were brought over to, what was at the time the Dominican Republic, to work the jobs no one else wanted to do. They worked the remaining sugar plantations, and they were now seen as inferior. General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo spread his beliefs about the Haitian people through propaganda and even sent his troops to massacre as much of their population as he could. He killed 15,000 people at Massacre River. In 1791 the Haitians began to fight for their independace against France however with François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture as their leading man. A black man. Eventually they did indeed gain their independanve in 1804 but owed France 1 billion dollars in consequence. This has left Haiti very poor, but their spirits are still high and they value their history greatly. They are proud to be black and theyre proud to be Haitian. They have statues of
Cultural Anthropology 3 black figures and speak Creole, a language of their history. Not only did Haiti gain power through independence, but they have power through their strong will and their resilience. There are many differences between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. They have power in different ways and very different mindsets as well. Both of these countries have been through a lot and have gotten through it leaving them stronger in the end. The people of Haiti value their past and their history whereas the Dominican Republic tries to avoid it. Both have suffered through slavery and racism but are now living much more happily than they were prior. They both have gained power throughout time even if it’s in different ways. Haitians have gained power through political independence and their sense of identity, whereas the Dominican Republic gained social power through climbing the ladder of social hierarchy.