Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos

Los Dominicanyorks - Movements and Politics

Dominicans and Dominican-Americans, among other Latinos, face challenges; namely, the struggle with a binational identity. One important aspect of this is the political participation issue that comes along with it. According to social scientist Luis Guarzino, Migrants between the two countries maintain a “dynamic” relationship that is the basis for multinational participation among business elites, a rapidly developing demographic (83-4). Furthermore, Guarzino posits that:

Migrants have acquired a de facto binational citizenship, expressed in their growing struggle for political and social rights and the expansion of their ethnic economy in the United States and in the maintenance of their social, economic, and political connections with the Dominican Republic (86).

Binational citizenship presents a very interesting situation, as is evident in Guarzino’s assertions about Dominicanyorks. Unlike poorer immigrants who move permanently for employment, as was indicative of Chicago's Latinos in the early 1900s, modern-day business elites accept a fluid, dual national identity. This dual role plays out in daily life, specifically in the way in which Dominicans choose to identify their home. In the 2000 Dominican Presidential elections, “more than 7,000 Dominicans living in New York City” returned to the Dominican to vote (Ricourt 13).  This is an intriguing phenomenon. By maintaining such definite ties to the homeland, but also participating and struggling in politics in the diaspora, Dominicans alter the typical concept of the immigrant. Ultimately, this contributes to the maintenance of individual culture (and some degree of isolation) within the neighborhoods of New York.

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