Notso Ginetta Candelario in her book "Black Behind the Ears" describes the term "Indio" as a way of minimizing the notion of any connection to Africa or "blackness".
This itself is debatable, but I'll allow that its possibly true.
Still, minimizing an ancestral connection is not the same as "denial."
In fact she determined that in the 19th century, and again under Trujillio, there was an attempt to develop an Indio Ibero identity as a way of differentiating from the "Africanness/Blackness" which Haiti represented.
I often wonder what real difference is there between "colorism" and "racism" when under both systems the most African are stigmatized. Under both systems the people on the more Euro end of the continuum are much favored. And under both the more Euro aspects of the culture are most prized, the more Afro least favored, and a fictive exaggeration of Taino influences is often used to explain away the non European aspects, whether ist phenotype or culture.
Well, technically speaking, colorism is not simply applicable to Euro-African ancestral societies. South Asia's colorist tendencies are very well-known, even though the people are neither of European or African descent (at least not directly or recently so).
But, within a colorist society, ancestry is not directly addressed, nor is presumption of an opposite ancestry (or being of a separate "species") necessary; rather, there is a distinct "preference" for traits favoring a certain "model" over others. For example, two siblings could have completely identical ancestry and even be considered the same "race" within a colorist society; however, if one happens to be somewhat lighter in appearance than the other (or perhaps darker; rumor has it that some societies prefer darker skin color and traits), and that is the favored "direction," the society is more likely to treat the lighter (or perhaps the darker one, in an opposite scenario) individual at least slightly better than his or her sibling.
"Racism," from what I understand, seems to presume a complete separation right from the beginning.
It is clear that there is an evolution of Dominican attitudes, maybe since Fernandez became President, towards their African heritage. There seems to be more open willingness to embrace the African aspects of the cultuire. Apparently those on the darker end of the skin color spectrum are making socio-economic progress, but clearly Dominican have, or until very recentkly had complexes about skin color. In fact just as has virtually every single colonial culture in the Americas.
These are all things I applaud and support.
While you might not agree with Gates, and might see some sinister plot behind it,
I disagree with Gates 100% on his view of Latin America, but I think he's well-intentioned.
Unfortunately, I see him as coming from a place of ignorance, which is evident throughout his "presentation" of Latin America. I also see his droppist-tendencies as, ultimately, more of a potentially negative force than a positive one.
to disregard what some Dominicans THEMSELVES are saying on this topic might be trying to sweep this issue under the carpet. Candelaro, Moya Pons and Torres-Saillant have all spoken on this topic.
All of their assessments, as far as I know, indicate something which I already knew, and which is common throughout Latin America: there is a bias towards the European element and to varying degrees against the African element-- in other words, a preference and unfair partiality towards the European roots of the Dominican Republic (and other countries in Latin America).
This is a BIAS, not a denial.
I do not see Dominicans as being in denial of who they are. I don't think most even deny any African heritage; rather, they seem to strongly prefer the European and Amerindian roots over their African ones.
Now, the way I see it, getting Dominicans, and other Latinos, to be just as proud of their African roots as their European (and Amerindian) roots is where the battle lies. And I certainly don't think Afrocentrism or African-based hypodescent is the solution to this by any means (even though it appears to me that Gates favors this approach).