This response essay argues that the hyperfocus on what defines appropriate behavior among Afro-descended populations issues from structural white supremacy. One of the messages in the author’s Colonial Phantoms: Belonging and Refusal in the Dominican Americas, from the 19th Century to the Present (2018) is that efforts against antiblackness (and a concomitant anti-Haitianness) in the Dominican Republic cannot be accompanied by the tired chastisement that Dominicans do not perform their African descent in ways appealing to the US gaze. In other words, the faster we can accept that subjects of the African diaspora have been damaged by white supremacy and colonialism differently, the faster we can figure out how to sprout out of the rotting episteme created by Man. Plants can and do grow from rot.

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