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Daily Racism / Fernando Dámaso

Daily Racism / Fernando Dámaso
Fernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated

Some time ago, in the euphoria of Triumphalism, it was constantly
declared that in Cuba the scourge of racism had been resolved, and it
had been eliminated. It is true that, institutionally, in the current
laws and decrees this is so, but the reality is quite the contrary. The
phenomenon was such that they came to to the point of establishing a
percentage of black citizens (30%) that must be taken into the Party,
other political and mass organizations, and even the government bodies.

The bureaucratic, absurd and unnatural measure, instead of resolving the
problem, complicated it still further: many responsible people asked:
Why 30 and not 50 or 70 percent? In its own origin the measure was also
discriminatory. To try to solve such a complex problem in this was was a
childish delusion.

The Cuban nation, forged in a melting pot, began from the original
aboriginal presence before the discovery, rather underdeveloped and
primitive, which had only cassava as food, made crude pictographs in
caves and some pottery as art, daub and wattle housing, and some few words.

The Spanish brought European culture, developing then, the Catholic
religion and something very important: their language. Other
nationalities, the first African slaves captured by Africans themselves
and sold to traffickers, brought their rhythms, some foods and words and
their beliefs, never developed as they did not possess it. The Chinese,
Lebanese, Hebrew, French, Caribbean and South American and even North
Americans, expanded the components of what would be, first the creoles
and then the Cubans. This is the historical reality.

Currently, in a new attempt to fight the existing racial discrimination,
accepted even officially, until it becomes a wandering course, trying to
overestimate the role of the African component to the detriment of the
Spanish and the others remaining, when the right thing would be to
empower people without further discrimination. To suggest that all
Cubans have African roots, is as absurd as to suggest that we all have
Spanish roots. We exist, both one and the other, and also those that are
the result of multiple mixtures.

I have white friends and black and even Chinese, who are doctors,
engineers, lawyers, architects, scientists, etc., as I have also known
whites and blacks who are criminals and marginal. All had the same
opportunities, which is important, but some took advantage of them and
others did not.

Although data are not published, it is common knowledge that the prison
population in Cuban prisons is mostly black. The same happens in other
countries. I will not analyze the causes, it is not the subject of my
writing, but it forces us to think and delve into the reason for this
situation.

The scourge of racism must continue to be fought, but to move this way
and that (to which we are too accustomed), convinced that it is not
eliminated from one day to another, requires time and education on both
sides. Sometimes there are blacks more racist than whites: it is racism
in reverse. I think a prerequisite is to ensure that all citizens have a
decent standard of living, which has nothing to do with false
egalitarianism. Today, unfortunately, as many whites as blacks do not
have it. This makes it difficult.

February 14 2012

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=15252

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