Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Benson, Devyn Spence. Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Benson, Devyn Spence. Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution

Article excerpt

Benson, Devyn Spence. Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016, pp.334, 1469626721

Analyzing the ideology and rhetoric around race in Cuba and south Florida during the early years of the Cuban revolution, the author of this work argues that ideas, stereotypes, and discriminatory practices relating to racial difference persisted in Cuba despite major efforts by the Cuban state to generate social equality. Drawing on Cuban and U.S. archival materials and face-to-face interviews, the book examines 1960s government programs and campaigns against discrimination, showing how such programs frequently negated their efforts by reproducing racist images and idioms in revolutionary propaganda, cartoons, and school materials. And building on nineteenth-century discourses that imagined Cuba as a raceless space, revolutionary leaders embraced a narrow definition of Blackness, often seeming to suggest that Afro-Cubans had to discard their Blackness to join the revolution, thus, this remains a false dichotomy for many Cubans of color which the book demonstrates. Hence, the exercise details that while some Afro-Cubans agreed with the revolution's sentiments about racial transcendence--"not blacks, not whites, only Cubans--others found ways to use state rhetoric to demand additional reforms, as others found a revolution that disavowed Blackness unsettling and paternalistic, and therefore, they fought to insert Black history and African culture into revolutionary nationalism. …

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