Monday, October 14, 2013

No Le Pegue a la Negra.

In sociology class, I was once asked which race I thought I was. Some answers varied according to the geographical place of birth or maybe just with the “race”, we identified more with. After realizing that no one was really satisfied when sharing what race they belonged to, it came to mind that race will always be a debated and controversial topic that has the power to either bring some together or completely set them apart. It carries the power to make an individual feel less of what they are, but it also has the potential to make some other individuals feel inferior and better than others.

Race and nationality are two words that people often interchange with out putting thought into it. Not being aware that they have 2 different connotations and meanings that derive from them. Nationality refers to the geographic place where an individual was born or raised. As for me I was born in Puerto Rico, but shortly after being born there I moved to the Dominican Republic, being raised in the Dominican Republic I identify more with that country, rather than Puerto Rico, but many would argue that I would be wrong to say my race is Dominican. By the definition of race it would be my skin color or tone, hair texture and eye color that would determine whether I'm in fact Black, White or Latino, etc.

Furthermore, an individual's nationality might not necessarily have an effect in the color of your skin. Personally, I know this because being born in the Dominican Republic does not mean that an individual specifically needs to look like the vast population in the island. Dominicans come from a wide spectrum of skin tones. Light skin tones with blue eyes to dark skin and brown eyes. There is not a certain race to being Dominican nor a certain race for any nation. Also, coming from and residing in a notorious neighborhood named Washington Heights, it is easy to see a growing Dominican diaspora that concentrates specifically in this neighborhood. Washington Heights has became it's very own world. It is like having a small piece of home with us right here in New York City. When my grandmother migrated to this country, she moved right into the streets of Washington Heights, also so did my aunts and uncles. This eventually lead my parents to come straight to this neighborhood as well. Many of our parents after settling and somewhat assimilating with this country, where many of them come to work, study and obtain a brighter future, little mobility is acquired. This neighborhood knows how to retain you in, it is difficult to leave the known streets where we call home. 
Furthermore, many might argue that race was in fact created by man for one mere reason, which is to divide the human race. White European males profited from this social division in many ways by dehumanizing, categorizing and enslaving other people from "another race" inferior such as Africans, Native Americans, South American natives. The White man has used this tactic as an excuse to create chaos, conquer land, and to keep themselves in power. For example, Hitler and the Jews, the white supremacist group named KKK and African Americans, the conquistadors from Spain and even in contemporary American society with daily acts of segregation. There is not a clearer example of race being misused to ones' advantage than the enslavement of Africans. The slave trade was chaotic, filled of “racial prejudice”, ruthless and uncalled for. Millions of Africans were taken from their homes, with the mere purpose of becoming assets, as these colonial countries wanted to expand their resources and wealth without much effort. These enslaved Africans became the new labor force and were dehumanized to such an extreme that they no longer knew who they were, where they came from and what to stand up for anymore, as hope was completely lost.

Lastly, the enslavement of Africans was uncalled for, many tried to find themselves and rebel against their masters, but many did not make it to seeing another day. One song composed by Colombian salsa and tropical singer is Joe Arroyo called “No le Pegue a la Negra”, tells the story of an enslaved African that rebelled against his master after his spouse was being abused. Negra, is an endearment word in the Caribbean, here it carries a similar connotation.With a catchy and moving rhythm Arroyo was able to capture the pain that these enslaved Africans felt. Through this song we get a better understand of how severe the circumstances were and how severe the abuse was towards these people, who sadly were no longer humans in the eyes of their masters. I believe that we can learn so much about one another, with an open and willing mind and heart we can accomplish anything, we only have one thing left to do and that is to one day be able to come together as one and imagine hope and peace. 


Greene, S. E. (2011). West African Narratives of Slavery : Texts From Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-century Ghana. Bloomington, Ind:Indiana University Press.

Hall, M. R. (2004). Coloring the Nation: Race and Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic (Book). Journal Of Third World Studies, 21(1), 318-321.

Pantoja, A. D. (2005). Transnational Ties and Immigrant Political Incorporation: The Case of Dominicans in Washington Heights, New York. International Migration, 43(4), 120-144.

Posted below there is a link to the video “No le Pegue a la Negra”:

English version of the song:

Rebellion (Don't hit the black woman)

I want to tell you, my brother, a bit
of black history, of our history, gentleman
In the 1600s, when the tyrant ruled
the streets of Cartagena, that history lived
When there came those slave traders, Africans in chains
They kissed my land, lifelong slavery
Que lo diga salome y que te de llego, llego, llego
An African couple, slaves of a Spaniard
He treated them very badly
And hit his Black woman
It was then, that the heroic black man rebelled
He avenged his love
And you can still hear him yelling at the gates:
Don't hit my black woman
Don't hit the black woman
Don't hit the black woman
Hey man!
Don't hit the black woman
Don't hit the black woman
Hey, respect my lady
Ehh, you can still hear, hear him yelling at the gates
Don't hit the black woman
Black woman who tells me..
Don't hit the black woman
Don't hit the black woman
Don't hit the black woman
Don't hit
And with you... little house cello
We're going to see that I stuck it to jeva
Because the soul, the soul, the soul
the soul, the soul pisses me off
Ehh, don't, don't, don't, don't, hit the black woman
Because the soul agitates my lady
The Chombo knows it and so do you
Don't hit the black woman

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