Talk:Culture of the Dominican Republic

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Is it just me, or is this a poster child for speedy deletion? I already gave a msg:sandbox... Pakaran. 18:02, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, if this is a work in progress of someone, please make it look non-delete-worthy in the next few minutes... Pakaran. 18:06, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Maybe I will write a real article to prevent sandboxing. -- Kaihsu 18:06, 2004 Mar 2 (UTC)
This is just the kind of article that leads anons to write insightful things like "There is none!"... Pakaran. 18:07, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Ah, what about a good bottle of Presidente on a cool spring night without electricity, but with a few nice friends outside the billiards parlour.... The Trujillo days are but gone, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide just got to this side of the border.... -- Kaihsu 18:18, 2004 Mar 2 (UTC)
 :-) Nice to see a real article here. Pakaran. 18:20, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)


This article is the definition on un-encyclopedic and looks like an amateur hack job. Whoever wrote this has clearly no understanding of Dominican culture (as in an anthropological knowledge not "I visited once in 97"), but rather is basing whatever "knowledge" on dumb, inconsistent popular media and public perceptions.

I don't know that this is true of me, the original author. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the DR from 2001-2003. I've read a good chunk of the ethnography available in Spanish. Defenestrate

Firstly theres the so called issue of "Confianza". Unless someone is willing to expand on that and make a clear definition, I say we delete it.

Confianza is the perception of a mutual willingness to do favors. It is an endemic cultural trait found in many places in Latin America, just like rugged individualism, Protestant work ethic, and pragmatism are common in the United States. You can find a brief discussion of confianza in Georges, E (1990) _The Making of a Transnational Community_, ISBN 0-231-07096-9, where the author explains the culture of the rural Cibao. I am happy to discuss confianza, and find more references if you'd like. For a thorough discussion of politics, confianza, and power in the Cibao of some time ago, see Walker, M.T. (1972) Politics and The Power Structure. NY: Teachers College, Columbia U. Library of Congress number 72-89624 Defenestrate

And look at this line:

"Dominicans are known by outsiders to be gifted at the art of indirect communication."

WTF? Are you for real?

Well, I acknowlege that this needs a citation. But there is no doubt in my mind that the culture that brought you "Es Ud. que sabe," "?como no?" as alternatives to "no" is much more indirect than, say, the United States. This is what is in all of the Peace Corps training materials. But yeah, I need a citation.

Secondly, the so called "casual rural conversation" is probably the most absurd thing I've ever seen on Wikipedia. A section on the Dominican accent and/or use of language is acceptable, but this so called transcript seems like it was written by a person who was mocking Dominicans as opposed to studying them.

Uh, well, this probably violates the rule on no original research, but my experience would validate this dialogue. The key points are the dropping of /s/, the cultural norm of asking after the well-being of family, and some peculiar diction "abul, abul" and "como 'sta la cosa?" If you can write it better, by all means, step forward. Defenestrate

And what exactly does this line mean?: "The national beer is Presidente, the national drink is rum, and the national game is either dominos or baseball."

We'd say that most people in the US drink Budweiser or another pisswater pilsner, that bourbon whiskey is a common drink, and that the national game here is either American football or baseball. Generally, see Culture of the United States for comparison. See Murray, G. (1996) El Colmado brochure published by Fondo para el financiamento de la microempresa, Santo Domingo, for a discussion of the cultural importance of the colmado and its practices. Defenestrate

Huh? That looks like an ad for the BRAND Presidente and not suited for an encyclopedia. Secondly, what does national drink mean? And for that matter, what does national game mean and why is it baseball? Would it be appropiate to put a section on Guiness and Football on an article on the culture of Ireland? No, it wouldnt. It would look sloppy and amateur-ish.

Actually, the article Culture of Ireland mentions Guinness in the section "Food and drink," and has a whole subsection devoted to pub culture. The section about Sport prominently features football/soccer. Presidente certainly *is* the national beer of the DR, and the neighborhood colmado is a good place to play dominos while drinking it. If I need references for this, I could try to find a published ethnographic work that mentioned it; I think I would succeed. Defenestrate

Someone should really, really modify this article. I'd hate for someone who was genuinly curious about the culture of the Dominican Republic to step upon this and take it for fact.

Before I wrote this, there was only a stub here. (Other DR articles that I started include batey, and Trujillo.) But it needs your comments and help. Please edit it, and include citations, just as you've encouraged me to do. Welcome to wikipedia!Defenestrate

Sorry about my tirade against your work Defenestrate. At the time that I wrote that, I was helping my high school attending girlfriend (im 19, shes 16)out with her homework on "Dominican Folklore" and perhaps the screaming in my ear may have contributed to my outburst. Re-Reading it now, it doesnt seem as dumb or degrading as before.

But I still don't think its really too un-encyclopaedic.

Okay, like, take this:

"Dominicans may regard themselves as being one big Dominican family, la familia Dominicana."

See, this is one of the things I have issues with. This erroneous perception of some sort of always happy island of people constantly dancing and with big, toothy smiles. I can understand the need for the tourism industry to create that image, but I don't think as it stands it has any validation in the article.

For one thing, I've never heard the expression "familia Dominicana". I think that term is use more frequently in expatriate circles in places like NYC, where people of similar ethnic and cultural background form informal families, but I’ve yet to see something of that nature here.

Considering the social, cultural and even racial diversity in the country, I strongly doubt people of my social or economic class (that being the upper middle class Caucasians) would appreciate being called related to the darker, poorer and less educated lower class. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with their stance, but I can tell you that they would in fact take insult to a claim like that.

Secondly, theres this:

"Dominicans value openness, warmth, hospitality, and personableness. In rural parts of the country, residents may be seen offering complete strangers a meal or coffee. On public transportation, people start friendly conversations with people they don't know, in contrast to the norms of Europe or the [[[United States]]. It is good Dominican form to be willing to converse with anyone, and good form to inquire about the health of one's acquaintances' family, even if one does not know the family. In the rural poor areas, anyone can reasonably expect to walk in to a house and be offered coffee or a meal, though the large urban areas are quite a contrast to this form of life."

Ermm.... okay. Again, untrue. I understand that you spent much time in the country during your stint in the Peace Corps, but the truth is that Dominicans are as angry, rude, vile, impolite, un-cordial and nihilistic as any of their developed nation counterparts (this coming from the angriest, rudest, vilest, nihilistic and cynical person in existence).

I've travelled a bit in my life, and I gotta tell you, Dominicans are no nicer then the people I met in Europe or North America. Sure, the French are notorious for their rudeness and superiority complex (specifically with their language and culture. Yes, I've been to France and yes, I was treated like shit by the pompous waiters and snotty hotel workers) but the same can be said with Dominicans as well. Dominicans (at least on the island) are well known for mocking foreigners who may or may not speak Spanish as their native tongue (this includes Cubans, Peruvians, Spaniards, etc.)and many times not understanding them (such as a friend I had who was Argentinean whom Dominicans accused of not speaking Spanish because of his thick accent. “E’ que ey habla Italiano o algo loco”).

That whole hospitality stuff is more myth then fact, and works better in a daytime melodrama with syrupy music then true, hones to God life. Maybe im just being cynical (it wouldnt be the first time) and through the eyes of a foreigner this country and its people may genuinely seem nice and amicable, but my experience is that people from Western Europe and North America are usually treated that way to be exploited for their money and in many cases (read attractive Caucasian women) for sex.

“Actually, the article Culture of Ireland mentions Guinness in the section "Food and drink," and has a whole subsection devoted to pub culture.”

Okay, fair enough. But you hit the deer right on it’s nose: its in the food and drink section, not the general culture area. If you wanna do something on the so called “Bandera nacional” of white rice and read beans or something on fried or mashed plantains or something, I think that would acceptable.

Also, I think you’re forgetting that most Dominicans as of 2006 still consider rum their national drink (if there is such a thing). Remember, beer was brought in the XXth century by Americanized globalization (its origins are German for God’s sake) and before then most Dominicans still drank (and still do) rum (consider pirates, who drank up Dominican rum like it was Kool Aid).

But, I do like this:

"Ethnographers say that Dominicans practice particularist, as opposed to universalist, social ethics. By this, they mean that family networks and friends are more important that universal rights. As a practical matter, this means that Dominicans are more likely to acheive gains through who they know rather than by following strict rules or procedures, the latter being what people in universalist-ethics countries do. Dominicans depend on social savvy, trust, indirect communication, and consensus."

I wish I had an English language source to back it up, but unfortunately I don't. Or maybe I should make some mention of me, a 19 year old college student being offered the opportunity of working in the embassy of DR in Taiwan (I’m serious), regardless of the fact that I don’t speak Mandarin or that I haven’t even finished school yet. On second thought: nahhhh….

Anyways, you know, I'd love to help out here. I've got tons of books on the Dominican Republic and have some general knowledge on all aspects of the country; from its history and people to its geography and politics (lets just say my family is in the know). I really dont know if I'm all that apt to make any real edits here (although I've made some minor ones in the past) and if Spanish language books are acceptable here (I'll admit I havent really read all the rules) but I can seriously contribute lots of stuff to the Dominican Republic in general.

Like, I notice that theres only articles for like 4 of it's Presidents here. Should I start translating all my old school books...?


Juan-- You should revise to your pleasure. This is what Wikipedia is about. The translation of your old schoolbooks would be fine, and I read Spanish, too. Frank Moya Pons, "The History of the Dominican Republic" is available in both English and Spanish. There's a whole list of references, and since we're both (I assume you are a student, no?) at the university, they are available via interlibrary loan.

In speaking in generalities, it is always difficult to portray any group. Cultures, countries, and societies are made up of individuals. The key is to find some sort of general comparison or statement that conveys meaning about the whole without losing the diversity of the parts.

An example of this difficulty is in speaking about confianza and the different system of exchange. It's true, for instance, that customs about being a guest in rural places are very different from those that most US people are used to, and that this includes being offered coffee or being very solicitous of guests. Another example is that while most US people don't talk in public, and avoid eye contact in public transit, Dominicans don't find it odd if someone starts up a loud and public conversation about the weather on a bus.

I would agree with you that the phrase "la familia dominicana" functions on the level of ideology more than as a matter of reality. But it is an important idea that does have consequences. Politicians and salesmen use it, as do people who write about the country. It has real meaning, but I agree with you that it *doesn't* mean that everyone is just hanging out all lovey-dovey.

Dominicans are heterogenous, just like any other group; after all, the largest Dominican cities are Santiago, Sto. Domingo, and Nueba Yol. But something has to be said, some generalizations need to be posited. Please give it a go. You're right-- you're well-qualified.

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:38, 20 May 2012 (UTC) 


All things found in this talk article can be found in the archives or stacks of the Biblioteca Nacional, Santo Domingo, or, in the case of the more common articles, in academic libraries elsewhere. A good overall reference is Defenestrate