The Right to a Haitian Name and a Dominican Nationality: La Sentencia (TC 168-13) and the Politics of Recognition and Belonging
- Journal of Haitian Studies
- University of California, Santa Barbara, Center for Black Studies Research
- Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2016
- pp. 58-82
- Additional Information
In this essay, I examine the historical precedent to la sentencia (TC 169-13), the sentence handed down by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal on September 23, 2013. Aptly described as civil death, social apartheid, and administrative genocide, la sentencia, I argue, is the Dominican state’s most recent attempt to contain race and nation. It reveals a multilayered dispersal of state power—the legislative, judicial, administrative, military, and bureaucratic “right to decide” the fate of generations of Haitian descendants’ right to exist within the boundaries of the nation-state. By centering the testimonies of affected youth, I seek to bring their experiences of fear, uncertainty, and angst to the fore, while also examining how the coalitional politics of this new generation is reframing the meaning of nationality by injecting a discourse of justice and dignity into a politics of belonging and recognition. The grassroots struggle is ultimately an antiracist struggle for the right to a Haitian name and a Dominican nationality.