Chelsey’s piece

My navigation through my Black identity as a Dominican woman


  • Chelsey Minerva Sarante Denison University


Black, diaspora, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Dominican, anti-Blackness, internatlized racism, creative works


My vitiligo became visible at the age of nine, and through this piece, I discuss my navigation of identity considering my race, ethnicity, culture, skin color, and skin condition. I tackle the questions of what defines Blackness—is it skin-tone or culture? If skin tone defines Blackness, does that make me culturally homeless, longing for a home of "in-between"? Within Dominican culture, Blackness and any variation of it are negated, has been for decades, and is engrained in the minds of many, if not all, Dominicans. This piece shows how I reclaim as a Dominican, despite my light skin, due to my vitiligo. This is all to demonstrate that Blackness is not defined merely under the constraints of skin tone. The diaspora does not allow for such a simple definition of Blackness equating to dark skin due to the complex history of diaspora for Indigenous, Black, and white peoples. Blackness includes culture, experiences, and skin tone. In addition, Dominicans as an ethnic group must learn to accept all parts of ourselves, though we have been taught to hate our Blackness. Claiming our Black identity shows strength and resilience. 

Author Biography

Chelsey Minerva Sarante, Denison University

Chelsey Minerva Sarante is a Dominican-American woman born and raised in the Bronx, NY, and is currently a senior at Denison University, majoring in Communication and Black Studies. Chelsey has spent time throughout her undergraduate career navigating her identity through transparent conversations with others and with herself while being at a predominantly white institution. Black Rage Journal inspired this piece, a journal on Denison's campus revived in 2020 for Black students to express themselves.



How to Cite

Sarante, C. M. (2022). Chelsey’s piece: My navigation through my Black identity as a Dominican woman. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 12(1), 117–122. Retrieved from