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Color, Colorblindness, and the Dominican Crisis of 1965

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Abstract:

Brenda Gayle Plummer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, bplummer@wisc.edu

“Color, Colorblindness, and the Dominican Crisis of 1965”

This examination of the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 questions the absence of race in contemporaneous public discourse and published accounts of the event. Historically, at home and abroad, the U.S. government has all too frequently found itself arrayed against popular uprisings mounted by people of color. Presidents authorized punitive expeditions with the understanding that suppressing overseas insurgencies met the criteria of what they perceived to be in the national interest. Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division, already veterans of the riots accompanying the 1963 integration of the University of Mississippi, were deployed to the Dominican Republic, and would be sent to quell an insurrection in Detroit two years later. In a political community where white supremacy had been at least rhetorically discredited by 1965, defining U.S. national security as diametrically opposed to the political will of nonwhites placed officials in an untenable position. Race had to be evacuated as an actor from the Dominican crisis. At home, it was everything; abroad, it could not be mentioned. In the Dominican Republic, national myths of origin that denied African ancestry abetted the U.S. project of concealment. This aided authorities in defining race as a domestic issue only, and foreign people of color as beyond its reach (even when they experienced rank discrimination on Stateside visits or encountered U.S. racism in their home countries). The issue was thus prevented from bleeding through to the international arena. By consensus, racial awareness and racial conflict stopped at the proverbial water’s edge. Based on the logic suggested by carefully constructed difference, foreign “blacks” could not be “black” at all. The sovereign equality of nations, then, could smooth over any cognitive dissonance caused by the sight of a dark face in a top hat and striped trousers.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436478_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Plummer, Brenda. "Color, Colorblindness, and the Dominican Crisis of 1965" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436478_index.html>

APA Citation:

Plummer, B. "Color, Colorblindness, and the Dominican Crisis of 1965" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436478_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: Brenda Gayle Plummer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, bplummer@wisc.edu

“Color, Colorblindness, and the Dominican Crisis of 1965”

This examination of the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 questions the absence of race in contemporaneous public discourse and published accounts of the event. Historically, at home and abroad, the U.S. government has all too frequently found itself arrayed against popular uprisings mounted by people of color. Presidents authorized punitive expeditions with the understanding that suppressing overseas insurgencies met the criteria of what they perceived to be in the national interest. Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division, already veterans of the riots accompanying the 1963 integration of the University of Mississippi, were deployed to the Dominican Republic, and would be sent to quell an insurrection in Detroit two years later. In a political community where white supremacy had been at least rhetorically discredited by 1965, defining U.S. national security as diametrically opposed to the political will of nonwhites placed officials in an untenable position. Race had to be evacuated as an actor from the Dominican crisis. At home, it was everything; abroad, it could not be mentioned. In the Dominican Republic, national myths of origin that denied African ancestry abetted the U.S. project of concealment. This aided authorities in defining race as a domestic issue only, and foreign people of color as beyond its reach (even when they experienced rank discrimination on Stateside visits or encountered U.S. racism in their home countries). The issue was thus prevented from bleeding through to the international arena. By consensus, racial awareness and racial conflict stopped at the proverbial water’s edge. Based on the logic suggested by carefully constructed difference, foreign “blacks” could not be “black” at all. The sovereign equality of nations, then, could smooth over any cognitive dissonance caused by the sight of a dark face in a top hat and striped trousers.


Similar Titles:
Are Latinos’ Networks Segregated by Color?: How U.S. Migration Influences the Color Composition of Dominicans' and Puerto Ricans' Social Networks

The Fourteenth Amendment Through Roe-Colored Glasses: The U.S. Supreme Court`s Recognition of Unenumerated Rights, 1965-2001

Poor Students: Americanized Education and the Immigration “Crisis” in Thai Los Angeles, 1965-1986


 
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