SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (sentinel.ht) – A feat that should have brought joy to sports fans throughout his homeland, reignited a national debate about nationality, race, and who qualifies as Dominican.
Despite being born and raised in Bayaguana, Dominican Republic, Luisito Pie was immediately questioned on Dominican media and social media about his Spanish, his last name, and the fact that his father’s family came from Haiti.
Pie dedicated his bronze medal to “the ten million Dominicans,” and waved a Dominican flag proudly in celebration, but his Haitian heritage meant, for some, that his allegiance to the country could not be trusted.
Luisito and his family, confident in their status as Dominicans, stayed, though they weren’t safe from harassment. Many did flee, fearing violent persecution. Many more stayed, but became legally second-class citizens.
According to his family, Pie was almost denied a passport to go compete at the Central American Games in Veracruz, Mexico, in 2014. The family also said that the Taekwondo Federation interceded, and he was eventually allowed to receive his passport and go to Mexico, where he won a gold medal.
Back then, Pie’s Dominican-ness was also questioned, and many commented that Luisito, despite being Dominican-born and having Dominican citizenship, should be competing for Haiti. He, nonetheless, said then that he felt sure and proud of his Dominican roots, and that he paid no mind to negative comments.
After winning his first Olympic medal (the seventh ever for his country), Pie similarly spoke of the pride he feels for representing the Dominican Republic. But, unfortunately, as a black Dominican of humble background, he’s still victim of a prevalent kind of discrimination that targets both ethnicity and race.
Read full article by Pablo Medina Uribe