Digging through the Past to Reconcile Race and Latinx Identity in Dominican-American Women’s Memoirs

In: Latinidad at the Crossroads
Luisa María González Rodríguez
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This chapter explores how two young Afro-Dominican writers, Raquel Cepeda and Jasminne Méndez, articulate their memoirs around diverse and changing experiences and stories that help (re)construct the Latino imaginary. By evoking memories from the past, these writers provide glimpses of the traumatic experiences suffered by Dominican-Americans in the U.S. and try to overcome racialized constructions of identity while delineating new spaces for enacting their polyhedral identities. The authors analyzed in this essay demonstrate that by proposing more sophisticated ways of expressing their Latino/a identity, they can move towards a more open notion of latinidad that enables them both display multifaceted selves and reconstruct/renegotiate their fractured modes of belonging across a variety of contexts. By delving into issues of race, gender, and memory, this chapter sets the stage for the particular notions and formation of pan-ethnicities discussed in this volume and brings to the fore the notion of intersectional latinidad.

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