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Cuba is Not Free of Racism

Cuba is Not Free of Racism
August 7, 2013
Carlos Fraguela

HAVANA TIMES — Refusing to acknowledge something is one thing, hoping
that our problems will go away if we simply ignore them is quite another.

Taking the call that Cuba’s current president recently made as my point
of departure, I am going to prove, on the basis of some personal
experiences, that racism does exist in Cuba. It is my hope that, by
acknowledging its existence, we can begin to work together to make this
evil disappear once and for all.

I believe the truth can set us free.

If you’re the type of person who can afford gasoline and has a car to
drive home in when you get off of work, you probably haven’t been
exposed to the racism one runs into in Havana’s public buses. If you
don’t talk to your neighbors that often, you probably haven’t heard the
racist attitudes that abound in our neighborhoods either.

A friend and workmate of mine told me that he recently went out with his
current girlfriend and, by chance, ran into a girlfriend he’d had over
six years ago.

His former girlfriend, bold as brass, told him it was disgusting he
could stoop so low as to go out with a mulatto girl.

Taken aback, he began to insult her, telling her she was an idiot. He
had to hold back his current girlfriend, who lunged towards the cretin
to hit her.

Two of my uncles married people of mixed race. My grandmother, despite
having raised her 13 kids in a tenement building where my parents were
the only white people, did everything in her power to keep my uncles
from brining their spouses home.

Sometimes, my own mother tells me about her day and specifies the skin
color of the people she mentions. I always ask her why she feels the
need to specify such details. As though unable to understand what the
problem is, she continues to do this inappropriate thing.

I have a friend who always asks about the skin color of any person I
speak about whom he doesn’t know. It is a bad habit that justifiably
bothers those who do not understand this behavior.

A cousin of mine of mixed race fell into a heavy depression some years
ago as a result of the discrimination he felt from some people around
him. Apparently, it really got to him. He was a teenager, and that’s a
bad time to feel rejected.

I had to have very serious conversations with him to raise his
self-esteem. I reminded him that he was a good, noble person and that’s
what truly matters, to ignore those who felt superior to him.

Source: “Cuba is Not Free of Racism” – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=97541

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