Making New York Dominican: Small Business, Politics, and Everyday Life

By Christian Krohn-Hansen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Up Against the Big Money

Politically, the city’s Dominicans are still a relatively weak group. As Torres- Saillant and Hernández concluded as late as the late 1990s, the New York City Dominican community “suffers from a political invisibility that is hardly justifiable in light of the great size of the Dominican population” (1998: 96). But that does not mean that the community’s lack of political visibility has remained unaltered. On the contrary, since the mid1980s (and particularly since the early 1990s), the Dominican immigrants have become more and more visible. Several circumstances may explain this. First, the Dominican community has continued to increase conspicuously in size. Second, with that growth, more and more Dominicans have spent a considerable part of their lives in the United States; many were raised and attended school in northern Manhattan or in other parts of the city, and some obtained U.S. college training. In the early 1980s, the New York City Dominican community, therefore, began to house new types of activists and leaders, persons who were bilingual and bicultural.

Third, it was only in the 1980s that the Dominican voluntary associations with their activists and leaders began to become seriously involved in U.S. politics at the local level. Before that decade, during the 1960s and 1970s, Dominican immigrants created, as we have seen, a network of clubs and voluntary associations, but, as Eugenia Georges has put it, while these clubs and associations clearly

provided the foundation for strong ties and internal cohesion within
and among some segments of the population, they remained [rela-
tively] inward- looking, lacking links beyond the immigrant popula-
tion to sources of political power and information on the political
process, bureaucratic decision- making, resource allocation at the city,

-201-

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Making New York Dominican: Small Business, Politics, and Everyday Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part - I 29
  • Chapter 1 - From Quisqueya to New York City 31
  • Chapter 2 - Origin Stories 47
  • Part II 91
  • Chapter 3 - From Bodegas to Supermarkets 93
  • Chapter 4 - From Livery Cabs to Black Cars 134
  • Part III 171
  • Chapter 5 - Dominicans and Hispanics 173
  • Chapter 6 - Up against the Big Money 201
  • Chapter 7 - In Search of Dignity 230
  • Conclusion 264
  • Notes 269
  • References 285
  • Index 299
  • Acknowledgments 310
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