Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez
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.