Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

I refer to the term Afro-Cuban used to describe the non-white people of the island.

There are people like myself in Cuba today who struggle to eliminate racial prejudices.  Some of them have begun to refer to themselves using a term that to my way of thinking, far from dignifying the struggle obstructs it.

I refer to the term Afro-Cuban used to describe the non-white people of the island.  The expression comes from our neighbors’ use of “African-American”, and every day it is utilized with more frequency.

However, I don’t believe that those of us who make up the Cuban “black race” [personally I don’t believe in the existence of races) should be identifying ourselves with a term that conspires against the very issue we’re trying to resolve.

I have never heard any Cuban of Spanish descent call themselves Hispano-Cuban.  It’s true that the Africans were “brought” to Cuba while the Spanish came on their own.  But if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that we blacks and mulattos born in Cuba are Cubans, if we need to call ourselves something.

The wise Cuban Fernando Ortiz already said it best: “Without the blacks, there is no Cuba.” Going on from there, I can’t consider any other term to designate a person born on the island, except “Cuban.”

These lines were written in response to reading an article by a Cuban antiracist activist, calling a white person born on the island Cuban and a black also from here Afro-Cuban.  I think that the differentiation is unnecessary because the supposed Afro-Cubans are as Cuban as the whites.


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

19 thoughts on “Me, Afro-Cuban?

  • Afro Cuban How i define myself is what it is no one can define me AFRO CUBAN

    Outsiders need to get a life and some biz of thier own because there are no white people yellow people red people or black people We are humans and whatever we define ourselves as In Cuba they call us prieto mulatto negrito negra(0) and every name but our own And guess who brought that and who took our identity? Slave masters When Afrikans wake up and take back thier humanity others may gain thiers

  • yes there is some type of classification.. you can be either or but in the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters

  • I agree somewhat with the author of the article. As a native black American, I do not appreciate being referred to as an “African American”. I have the blood of the Spanish, the French, along with the people of the continent of Africa, not to mention the indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of the continent of America.

  • So how do Cubans define terms such as “white,” “mulatto,” and “black”? It seems to me that nearly all Cubans have racially mixed ancestry to various degrees.

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