Friday, October 30, 2009

The Dominican Way?

Dominican stereotypes are strongly represented in the book The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Oscar himself strongly enforces these stereotypes by ignoring and not following the typical stereotypes for a Dominican male. His family and friends mock him for his lack of promiscuity and for his introverted behavior. “Anywhere else his triple-zero batting average with the ladies would have passed without comment, but this is a Dominican kid were talking about, in a Dominican family: dude was supposed to have Atomic Level G, was supposed to be pulling in the bitches with both hands. Everybody noticed his lack of game and because they were Dominican everybody talked about it.” (1) In the book the typical male Dominican is supposed to be an outgoing ladies man with a good physique and short hair. However, Oscar’s nerdy lifestyle leaves him overweight and self-conscious with no hope of getting a girl. He is constantly antagonized and alienated by peers and family for not meeting the standards of the stereotypical Dominican male.

The reflection of Dominican males in Oscar Wao depicts the stereotypes of Dominican men held throughout the United States. The average U.S. citizen’s view of the Dominican male is that of a promiscuous party animal. When asked what the average Dominican man would look like most would describe a dark man with a buzzed head who loves dancing and going to the clubs. Interestingly enough, it is not only outsiders who hold this general misconception, but Dominicans themselves have engrained it into their own society. Not only is this stereotype held within Dominican culture, it is even encouraged. In Oscar Wao, Oscar’s mother is constantly encouraging him to get out of the house and she portrays her disappointment with Oscar’s difficulty with the opposite sex. It is no surprise that Dominican stereotypes are perceived by outsiders as Dominican families encourage each other to live up to them.

1. Diaz, J. (2007) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Riverhead Brooks, New York City. p. 24

No comments:

Post a Comment