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Volume One                                                                   Winter 1998-Spring 1999                                                               Numbers 3-4.

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     WHAT COLOR IS CUBAN? COMPLEXITIES OF ETHNIC AND RACIAL IDENTI­TY

 

     Christina Proenza

     Department of Sociology

     New School for Social Research

     65 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor

     New York, NY 10003

     Published online: December 15, 2016

     ABSTRACT

 

This article uses "autoethnography" to illuminate contem­po­rary examples of the negotiation of racial boundaries, the boundaries of whiteness in particular.  By turning the ethnogra­phic gaze inward, the author, a "white" Cuban‑American, decons­tru­cts these qualifiers in order to bring to the forefront processes of identity construc­tion, social location, and cultural politics.  The history of United States immigration and naturalization laws, social network theory, and sociological ap­proaches to ethnicity provide a theoretical foundation through which to examine the shifting mean­ings of the terms Anglo, Latin, American, white, and black.  Through the filter of her own family history, the author traces the rise of Cuban cultural, economic, and political hegemony from segregat­ed 1950s Miami to the present.  Challeng­ing sociology's paradigm of immigrant assimilation, the Cuban community generated a unique process of acculturation in reverse and profoundly influenced the identities of Miami's other ethnic groups.  An examination of the transformation of Miami's ethnic groups brings into relief the micro and macro social forces that shape the negotiation of cultural meanings and social structure, the operations of race and class.

 

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