No to Racism, Regardless of the Source

Erasmo Calzadilla

Yes.  There’s racism in Cuba.  Blacks and mestizos are the majority in the jails, but the minority in the country’s best schools.  Much has changed since 1959, but the differences subsist – there’s no doubt.

It’s not enough to facilitate the admission of some black students or mestizos into the few schools that guarantee a decent future, because these institutions continue to be racist in their essence, culturally racist (negritude involves not only skin color).

Why?  Because these are centers of mental colonization where they teach — if not explicit racism — at least a good dose of thick-soled rationalism, positivism and vapid pragmatism; typical products of imperialistic and especially capitalist colonialism.  Such systems don’t have their own colors, but they dirty all of them.

Though people avoid raising it and it’s not popular to talk about the issue, there also exists racism against whites, as a skin color and as a culture.  Is that variety of racism common?  Perhaps not in the provincial capitals, but it is prevelant if we go deeper into the marginalized outer-ring neighborhoods, especially those around the country’s capital.  The proportions of color and forces change there, where racism against whites is becoming a serious matter.

The reggaeton musician Insurrecto says in one of his multi-award-winning songs, “Cerro Cerrao,” that in his neighborhood:

“The few whites there/are married to big black women”

This makes one wonder: Why don’t whites live there?  Did they ever?  Did they move or were they expelled?

It gives me the impression that he’s even saying it with pride…

Well, it’s better not to let one’s self be dragged along by Insurrecto. Racism has to go, no matter where it comes from, whether its aggressiveness comes from whites or blacks.


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

10 thoughts on “No to Racism, Regardless of the Source

  • June 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Sammy I do deny the facts you explained so well. Racism unfortunately is very hard to eliminate. Is something that does not disappear by magic words even if the come from above. Even if it is eliminated by the laws of the nation and unfortunately will be with us for some time to come.
    One thing that surprise me a lot about coming to the US is that I noticed less racism in the US that what I noticed myself in Cuba. But what I wrote above is still true.

    The Cuban government does not have any racist laws and can not be blame for racism that was inherent to Cuban culture. It will take time for that cultural bias to vanish.
    I believe you are correct in believing that the prejudices remain.

    Again. What can a government in such cases do?
    Other than educate people about their wrong attitudes I see no other solution. Would you mind suggesting other solutions or ways to solve the problem?

    Again as I explained the reason why power is in the hands of whites is a consequence of real power in Cuba restricted to very few hands not because of a racist policy by the government itself. I think.
    This is something I am very critical of. To have so much power concentrated in so few people.

  • June 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

    @Sammy… African identity in the Americas has existed since Africans first arrived… I think you misunderstand my meaning about identifying as “Cuban” and not “Black”… early on in the Revolution Fidel proclaimed that the “Cuban people are an Afro-Spanish people”… the acknowledgement of an Africa as an integral component of what it means to be Cuban… he also made it clear that the Cuban state owed a debt to Africa… the Revolution was thus a turning point that began the process of forging a single nation… yes the leadership was mostly “White” but they were doing what was required of them with regards to ending racism… in other words “Blacks” and “Whites” were moving in the same direction and a single national identity was being created that those of African descent could identify with… no longer a nation within a nation… there were faults in this process and these faults are now widening with the change in circumstances… but the crucial point is that those “Whites” that remained on the island were acknowledging their debt to Africa and through aligning internationally, beginning the process of repaying it… in other words they were doing what was required of them voluntarily… risking everything to help the liberation of Africa… in such circumstances the “Whites” ceased to be “White”, at least at the international level, and to be Cuban became an identity that those of African descent could be proud of rather than a permanent reminder of slavery… I hope this doesn’t sound like I am lecturing you 😉 it is to my mind one of the greatest tragedies of the world that the Revolutionary Cuban identity is being eroded…

    I have been accused of living in the eighties with regards to Cuba which is possibly true… that is when most of my childhood memories of Cuba come from… at that time Cubans were fighting the forces of apartheid in Angola… a lot has happened since then… but I refuse to forget or give up on the positive power that Cuban unity brought to the world…

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