If the term "apartheid" shames the establishment into acting -- and prompts pundits to utter the word "race" when discussing inequality -- then by all means let's use the unflattering comparison. It's a fitting way of bearing witness to the life and times of Michael B and everyone else who has suffered under this abhorrent system.
The Dominican state is 10 years into a process of constructing a system of legal apartheid for Dominicans born to Haitian parents. This group of second- and third-generation Dominicans has always faced opposition to being fully recognized as Dominican citizens, but their government appears intent on legally cementing this discrimination -- and is increasingly close to this goal.
Although I had seen townships in other parts of the world, there was something about the scale of this place that left me dumbfounded. I later learnt that these tiny boxes made of corrugated-iron, plastic sheeting and scraps of wood, which precariously sat on top of one another, were home to over 2 million people.
The election of Barack Obama was the Lexington and Concord in the latest great battle of race in America. We are a nation at war with itself. For all of our desire to move beyond the narrow confines of many of the events of our tragic history, we cannot. The president's election gave new life to what had been lying dangerously dormant for the better part of 50 years.
From voter suppression laws being passed in the light of day in state houses around the country and the political assault on women's reproductive rights to the racial wealth gap, there are disturbing signs that our nation's baby steps towards political, social and economic inclusion could be stalling.