It is difficult to talk about race and class separately in the Dominican Republic . Dominicans see skin color as a definite line between upper and lower class. Perhaps this is an inherited outlook from centuries of ingrained thought passed on from Taíno/Spanish and Spanish/Haitian relations.
Most light-skinned Dominicans (about 70 percent of the entire population) refer to themselves as blanco or white but are usually of “mixed heritage,” showing more European features than African or indigenous ones. There are other terms to define color: Indio claro and Indio oscuro. The first is used to describe a whiter and the second a blacker skin tone and the terms are meant to hint at Taíno blood. This is a near impossibility since barely any Taínos survived the Spanish onslaught. Negro simply means black and refers to those who are of pure African descent.
The wide ethnic variety is largely due to the various waves of different immigrants to come through here—Jewish, Middle Eastern, African, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, English, and other Caribbean islanders, to name just a few. Of course the Haitians have the longest history as immigrants to the Dominican Republic. Thousands of Haitians live and work in the sugarcane fields and live in poverty-stricken conditions despite their great contribution to the Dominican workforce and economy. They are often mistreated and discriminated against.
All you need to do to see the class differential is to take a drive through the country or cities. Luxury cars and shopping malls contrast with dirt roads and poor wages. Look into the faces and you’ll see the color distinctions. The whiter the skin, the higher the class. Although most Dominicans don’t like to say that there is indeed racism and classism, the Dominican Republic  is a nation fragmented along the color lines of its people. A very small percentage of people (5 percent at best) enjoy wealth, status, and power, whereas 80 percent live in poverty. But living in the pressure of the middle (as all middle children do) is the growing and struggling-to-hang-on middle class (roughly 15 percent).