This book is a welcome addition to the debate on how effectively the 1959 revolution tackled the long-standing problem of racism in Cuba. Devyn Spence Benson joins many scholars and activists in opposing the claims that the revolution abolished racial discrimination and that the so-called “return of racism” in the 1990s was mainly due to the resurgence of capitalist trends after socialism's fall. Her critique is not so much that the revolution did not tackle racism—it did (or thought it did) through social reform policies and an early ideological campaign that yoked racism to counterrevolutionary stances. But, Benson argues, the main impediment to racial equality was ideological: the revolution's (strategic?) embrace of a nineteenth-century race-blind nationalist ideology promulgated by José Martí and Antonio Maceo. It was the revolutionary state's embrace of an allegedly unifying raceless nationalist discourse to fight racial discrimination—not a...
Book Review|August 01 2018
María Elena Díaz; Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 2018; 98 (3): 542–544. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-6933842
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