During a discussion at Columbia University in New York, the president responded to a student who raised questions about the potential racist attitudes of Dominicans toward Haitian nationals, as well as other forms of discrimination such as homophobia, transphobia, and colorism in the Dominican Republic.
The student’s question was: “What plans do you have to address racist, homophobic, transphobic, and colorist attitudes in the Dominican Republic?” In his response, the president began by stating that the Dominican Republic is a country where 85% of the population is mixed race, emphasizing that, in his opinion, the country “has never had a problem with racism.”
However, the student interrupted the president, asserting that there is indeed a racism issue in the Dominican Republic, to which Abinader simply responded, “That’s your opinion.”
The young woman persisted and claimed that “anyone darker than you could tell you” whether racism exists in the Caribbean country or not. The moderator intervened, stating that the discussion was intended to be a respectful exchange.
Despite this, during the president’s response, the student chose to leave the discussion without hearing his complete answer.