All inclusive island resort life is no joke. For six days vacationing in the Dominican Republic (DR) I felt easy breezy like Diana on that yellow brick road. Upon first impression, resort life is all so luxurious, conspicuously efficient and extremely beautiful….right on down to the bronzed, hyper-attractive and overtly-sexualized service staff (#flawless #objectification #imsleeptho).
Interactions with said staff felt a bit shticky/money-grubby at times and the hard selling of adventure excursions, souvenirs, merchandise, and accommodation upgrades exposed the core commercialism behind the grand scheme of the operation. While notoriously problematic (see: sex exploitation, drug trafficking, indentured servitude, et al), I cautiously acknowledge the legitimate income and safe job environment the tourism industrial complex potentially creates. That being said, I hope the tons of generated resort revenue sufficiently flows back into the local economy and community nearby. I also hope the resort in its explicitly stated effort to be socially/environmentally conscious extends its awareness to the civil rights violations happening now against Haitian-Dominicans just miles outside its gated utopia.
Other than buying the initial non-refundable vacation package six months earlier, I severely restricted my spending while in the DR as my own private campaign, albeit small, against the oppression. My solidarity is with the historically marginalized Haitian population as tensions erupted only days before our group’s arrival. Now that I’m back in the United States and resuming the battle against our own brand of never-ending racism, there’s no place like home, I’ll continue watching with intent as the saga unfolds in the DR.
The DR is a truly beautiful place with a majority black population, complicated Transatlantic Slave Trade history, and rich culture. I hope for its sake it figures out how to be an all inclusive paradise to its minority class and not just its capitalizing resort guests.
When is a time you felt conflicted or out of place? How did you manage those feelings in the moment? Share your story with me in the comments section below.