So in the last Castro thread there were a few posters who wanted to hold him up as a champion for blacks and wanted to brush off his activities because "hey he wouldn't let them get Assata Shakur"...read this
I didn’t live in the Jim Crow south, or endure the Great Migration. But that’s my heritage. I wasn’t born in Cuba, and didn’t flee the island. But that, too, is my heritage.
My lineage is that of black people leaving their homelands under stifling oppression and tyranny, from Alabama to the City of Guantánamo. So I understand the U.S.’ tyranny against black Americans, and also Fidel Castro’s tyranny against black Cubans.
In the days since Castro’s death, I’ve read hundreds of hot takes about him. Overwhelmingly, the opinions of Americans who clearly have no connection to or stake in Cuba seem to be based more on Castro’s discourse than his actions. Pseudo-intellectuals, casual observers, and “super fans” seem to understand Castro only as mythologized figure.
To many African-American observers he’s an iconic revolutionary who gave America the middle finger and helped African nations assert their independence. To many people, it seems that’s the only thing that matters. But that point of view implies a total disregard for the lives of ordinary black Cubans.
The hardest commentaries for me to read have come from African-Americans who lionize Castro uncritically, while dismissing criticism with an oversimplified argument that white Cubans hated Castro, and black Cubans adored him.
My attempts to push back on that narrative have been met with accusations that I’m somehow an agent of white supremacy, which is absurd. White supremacy doesn’t need my help. It persists in Cuba without me. And that alone should be enough for African-Americans to reconsider their perception of Castro as a liberator of black people.
“Racism in Cuba has been concealed and reinforced in part because it isn’t talked about. The government hasn’t allowed racial prejudice to be debated or confronted politically or culturally, often pretending instead as though it didn’t exist. Before 1990, black Cubans suffered a paralysis of economic mobility while, paradoxically, the government decreed the end of racism in speeches and publications. To question the extent of racial progress was tantamount to a counterrevolutionary act. This made it almost impossible to point out the obvious: racism is alive and well.
It’s true that the 1980s produced a generation of black professionals, like doctors and teachers, but these gains were diminished in the 1990s as blacks were excluded from lucrative sectors like hospitality. Now in the 21st century, it has become all too apparent that the black population is underrepresented at universities and in spheres of economic and political power, and overrepresented in the underground economy, in the criminal sphere and in marginal neighborhoods.”
Zurbano was removed from his position shortly after the article was published.