Así son los cubanos: narratives of race and ancestry

Así son los cubanos: narratives of race and ancestry

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 44, 2021 – Issue 11
pages 2135-2153
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2020.1823447

Elizabeth Obregón, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology
University of Illinois, Chicago

This paper will focus on the ways in which conceptualizations of race are (re)produced through Cuban genealogical narratives in Western Cuba. Ethnographic interviews collected among eleven Cubans in Havana were collected during summer 2017 and are described here. My ethnographic data argue that despite Cuba’s colourblind racial democracy – where race “does not matter” because all races are “treated equally” – the familial narratives of ancestry actively reinforce the complex racial landscape and illustrates the superiority of whiteness that belie this ideal. These same family narratives ultimately highlight the various ways interlocutors negotiate racial self-identities and narrate family ancestry across lingering gendered and racial hierarchies.

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