Saturday August 2nd, 2014, 2:33 am (EDT)

Race in Cuba "Essential" Choice review

Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality

Social & Behavioral Sciences Sociology

Morales Domínguez, Esteban. Race in Cuba: essays on the revolution and racial inequality, ed. and tr. under direction of Gary Prevost and August Nimtz. Monthly Review, 2013. 244p index afp; ISBN 9781583673218, $75.00; ISBN 9781583673201 pbk, $19.95. Reviewed in 2013aug CHOICE.

The appearance of these essays in English translation is an important milestone, because Esteban Morales Domínguez (Cuban Academy of Sciences) is one of the most important and influential commentators on Cuban race relations today. This book brings together, in essay and interview form, Morales’s thinking from the past decade. Resident in Cuba, the author is an insightful critic of simplistic analyses concerning Afro Cubans today. He rejects the view (held by some Cubans) that the revolution solved all of Cuba’s race problems, and that to speak of race or racism in contemporary Cuba is to be divisive. At the same time, he insists on the specific histories and features of Cuban politics and history, which means “racism in Cuba is not like the racism of the US or other countries of the hemisphere.” Morales is also wary of how criticisms of Cuban racism, particularly from within the US, have sometimes become a tool with which to club the Cuban revolution and ignore its achievements. Morales takes complex, thoughtful, and sometimes unexpected positions; his is a voice that ought to be heard in North American discussions about race. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. — K. Dubinsky, Queen’s University