ASSIMILATION: THE CREATION OF A NEW IDENTITY
I explored the idea of the Dominican Diaspora in New York City by investigating the Dominican people who have migrated to NYC and how they have “assimilated” into American culture, or how they have created a new means of adapting to both cultures, creating a new hybrid identity.
I am a first generation Dominican American woman and this inspired me to do this project. I have been exposed to both cultures at different times in my life. It wasn’t until I attended a predominantly white school that I realized that my identities of being both Dominican and American could alter results based on the situation or place I am in. This observation led to my larger question about the transition and adaptation of Dominicans in New York City.
Through the exploration of these individuals, and myself, I discovered that Assimilation is not the correct term to describe our experiences as Dominican people. Initially, I sought out to box in our identity into an easily identifiable one. However, our stories and identities are much more complex and diverse than I had originally assumed.
The exploration of my community and myself is unfinished.
“WITHOUT ME, NONE OF YOU WOULD BE HERE"
“WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I ALWAYS FELT LIKE I WASN'T DOMINICAN ENOUGH BUT THEN I REALIZED I'M JUST MY OWN COMBINATION; CREATING A NEW AND UNIQUE EXPERIENCE. I CAN'T BE LABELED AND THAT'S FANTASTIC!”
“BODEGAS (CORNER STORES) HELPED BRING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. EVERYONE IN THE HOOD HAS A BODEGA THAT THEY STAY LOYAL TO. MINE WAS AT THE END OF THE BLOCK. THE OWNERS AND EMPLOYEES WERE LIKE DISTANT RELATIVES THAT YOU'RE NOT TOO CLOSE TO BUT STILL CARE FOR YOU. GROWING UP IN A SINGLE PARENT HOUSEHOLD MEANT THAT WE STRUGGLED OFTEN TO MAKE ENDS MEET AND STRUGGLED TO AFFORD FOOD. BUT THE HOMIES AT THE BODEGA ALWAYS HOOKED US UP WITH A FEW BOXES OF CEREAL, HALF A GALLON OF MILK, EGGS, RICE, ETC. AND KEPT A TAB SO THAT MY MOM WOULD PAY THEM BACK WHENEVER SHE WAS ABLE TO”
DE MIS RAICES YO NO VOY A OLVIDARME,
SOY DE UNA RAZA TAN HUMILDE Y TAN GRANDE
QUE DE SU ESPERA HACEN RAYOS DE SOL.
MY ROOTS ARE DOMINICAN MY LEAVES ARE AMERICAN"
“WE ARE A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE GROWING UP IN A COMMUNITY THAT’S FILLED WITH DEVICES DESIGNED TO FAIL”
“I FEEL LIKE I NEGLECT MY DOMINICAN HERITAGE AT TIMES, I KNOW I CAN ACKNOWLEDGE IT MORE, BUT FOR NOW I’M JUST WORKING ON ME”