Tío Tomás’s Cabin: Marco Rubio and White Cubanidad

Tío Tomás’s Cabin: Marco Rubio and White Cubanidad

Latino Rebels

Jason Nichols, Lecturer in African American Studies
University of Maryland

Last semester I had a young man turn in an assignment in which students were instructed to write to a current presidential candidate. This particular student had been outspoken and one of the more socially aware and progressive students in the class. He has a leadership position in a Latino fraternity, and often attempted to find commonality between the plight of African Americans and people of Latino (Latinx) origin.

His paper was interesting to say the least. He directed his letter toward Marco Rubio and expressed disgust that Rubio could be the one to break the glass ceiling for Latinos in this country. He went as far as to refer to Rubio as a ‘sellout.” My comments to him may seem obvious to some, but fundamentally call into question the designation of “Latino” and whether brownness conflicts with whiteness. The young man who completed the assignment is of Brazilian descent, but identifies as strongly as Latino, which is evidence that Latinos are not bound by language. In addition, Latinos are of many different racial backgrounds, and many identify as multiracial. Many Latinos are politically astute, but are far from a political monolith unlike African Americans, who tend to vote as a solid bloc…

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