Advertisement

“They Would Have Tossed Him Back into the Sea,” Balseros, Elián, and Race Matters in the Miami Latinx Millennium (1990-present)

  • Alan A. Aja
Chapter
Part of the Afro-Latin@ Diasporas book series (ALD)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the waves of Cuban immigrants that arrived after the fall of the Soviet Union (1990), Cuba’s most important political and economic ally. By now, research shows that Cuban immigrants possessed less skills and were darker-skinned than previous arrivals; meanwhile, their search for jobs and housing came amid a more economically and racially diverse city (at the same time, that by the end of the decade, more affluent, socioeconomically mobile white Cubans have moved out of the enclave and vicinity altogether). Census data begin to reveal sharper economic disparities between “black” and “white” Cubans in the region, and geographic differences by race are more pronounced in the region. I complement the data with perspectives by Afro-Cuban informants, underscoring that while their white Cuban counterparts are less ideologically conservative as in the past, ultimately race supercedes common ethnicity within the insular confines of the Miami Cuban community. The infamous Elían Gonzalez custody battle and the subsequent 2000 general presidential election are applied as backdrop to emphasize how anti-black racism became more exposed in the Cuban community, equally affecting the identities of local Afro-Cuban Americans.

Keywords

Racial Identity Median Household Income Ethnic Enclave Latin American Immigrant Cuban Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Ackerman, Holly. 1996. The Balsero Phenomenon, 1991–1994. Cuban Studies. University of Pittsburgh Press, 26: 169–200.Google Scholar
  2. Ackerman, Holly, and Juan Clark. 1995. The Cuban Balseros: Voyage of Uncertainty. Miami, FL: Policy Center of Cuban American National Council.Google Scholar
  3. Aguirre, B.E. 2006. Political Exile, Transnationality and the Racialized Cuban. Cuba in Transition, Association for Study of Cuban Economy (ASCE), Miami, Florida.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, Monica. 2015, April 9. Chapter 1: Statistical Portrait of the U.S. Black Immigrant Population. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/04/09/chapter-1-statistical-portrait-of-the-u-s-black-immigrant-population/#household-income.
  5. Bach, Trevor. 2015. Little Havana Could Become “Brickle West,” Lose Blue-Collar History, Activists Worry. The Miami New Times. Monday, February 16.Google Scholar
  6. Bardach, Ann Louise. 2002. Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana. New York: Random House. Google Scholar
  7. Blue, Sarah A. 2007. The Erosion of Racial Equality in the Context of Cuba’s Dual Economy. Latin American Politics and Society 49(3): 35–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Briody, Blaire. 2011. 9 Worst Recession Ghost Towns in America. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/08/04/9-Worst-Recession-Ghost-Towns-in-America.
  9. De La Fuente, Alejandro. 2008. The New Afro-Cuban Cultural Movement and the Debate on Race in Contemporary Cuba. Journal of Latin American Studies 40: 697–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckstein, Susan. 2009. The Intra-Immigrant Divide: How Cuban Americans Changes the US and Their Homeland. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  11. Farber, Samuel. 2006. The Origins of the Cuban Revolution: Reconsidered. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  12. Feldman, Marcus and Violaine Jolivet 2014. Back to Little Havana: Controlling Gentrification in the Heart of Cuban Miami. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 38 (4): 1266–1285.Google Scholar
  13. Fernandez, Nadine. 2010. Revolutionizing Romance: Interracial Couples in Contemporary Cuba. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Ferree, Myra Max. 1979. Employment Without Liberation: Cuban Women in the United States. Social Science Quarterly 60: 35–50.Google Scholar
  15. Filkins, Dexter and Dana Canedy. 2000. Counting the Vote: Miami-Dade County; Protest Influenced Miami-Dade’s Decision to Stop Recount. The New York Times. November 24.Google Scholar
  16. Gehrke-White, Donna, Georgia East, and Dana Williams. 2012. Blacks in South Florida Suffered Most During Great Recession. Florida Sun Sentinel.Google Scholar
  17. Grenier, Guillermo, and Hugh Gladwin. 1997. FIU 1997 Cuba Poll. Miami: Institute for Public Opinion Research, Florida International University.Google Scholar
  18. Grenier, Guillermo J., and Alex Stepick (eds.). 1992. Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity and Social Change. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press.Google Scholar
  19. Grosfuguel, Ramon. 2003. Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ricans in a Global Perspective. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hay, Michelle. 2009. I’ve Been Black in Two Countries: Black Cuban Views on Race in the United States. The New Americans Series, El Paso: LFB Scholarly Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, Kevin R. 2001. Comparative Racialization: Culture and National Origin in the Latino/a Communities. Denver University Law Review 78: 633–655.Google Scholar
  22. Lantigua, John. 2000. Miami’s Rent-a-Riot. Salon. http://www.salon.com/2000/11/28/miami_8/.
  23. Logan, John R. 2003. How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans. Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany.Google Scholar
  24. Loose, Cindy. 2000. Most Unaccompanied Minors Quickly Sent Back. Washington Post.Google Scholar
  25. Masud-Piloto, Felix. 1996. From Welcome Exiles to Illegal Immigrants: Cuban Migration to the U.S., 1959–1995. Baltimore, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  26. McHughes, Kevin E., Ines M. Miyares, and Emily H. Skop. 1997. The Magnetism of Miami: Segmented Paths in Cuban Migration. Geographical Review 87(4): 504–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meltzer, Joshua, David Steven, and Claire Langley. 2013. The United States After the Great Recession: The Challenge of Sustainable Growth. Global Economy and Development at Brookings, Working Paper.Google Scholar
  28. Miami-Dade Black Communities Assessment. 2007. Thirty-Year Retrospective: The Status of the Black Community in Miami-Dade County. Miami: The Metropolitan Center, Florida International University. https://www.miamidade.gov/economicadvocacytrust/library/final-report-disparity-study.pdf.
  29. Moore, Carlos. 1988. Castro, the Blacks, and Africa. Los Angeles, CA: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California at Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  30. Murty, Komanduri. 2014. The Florida Effect. In Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia on the American Mosaic, eds. Charles Gallagher and Cameron D. Lippard. ABC-CLIO. California: Santa Barbara.Google Scholar
  31. Navarro, Mireya. 1997. Black and Cuban-American: Bias in 2 Worlds. The New York Times.Google Scholar
  32. Newby, Julie A., and Allison C. Dowling. 2010. So Far from Miami: Afro-Cuban Encounters With Mexicans in the Southwest. Latino Studies 8: 176–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Newby, C. Alison, and Julie A. Dowling. 2007. Black and Hispanic: The Racial Identity of Afro-Cuban Immigrants in the Southwest. Sociological Perspectives. 50(3): 343–366.Google Scholar
  34. Oseguera, Bernando. 2012. The State of Working Florida: 2012. Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, Miami: Florida International University.Google Scholar
  35. Pedraza, Sylvia. 1996. Cuba’s Refugees, Manifold Migrations. Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race and Ethnicity in America. eds. Pedraza, Sylvia and Ruben G. Rumbaut. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Press.Google Scholar
  36. Pérez, Lisandro. 1986. Immigrant Economic Adjustment and Family Organization: The Cuban Success Story Reexamined. International Migration Review 20(1): 420.Google Scholar
  37. Pérez-Stable, Marifelo and Miren Uriarte. 1997. Cubans and the Changing Economy of Miami. In Hamamoto, Darrell, Rodolfo D. Torres. (Eds.) New American Destinies: A Reader in Contemporary Asian and Latino Immigration. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Portes, Alejandro, and J. Borocz. 1989. Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical Perspectives on Its Determinants and Modes of Incorporation. International Migration Review 23(3): 606–630.Google Scholar
  39. Portes, Alejandro, and Steve Shafer. 2006. Revisiting the Enclave Hypothesis: Miami Twenty-Five Years Later. The Center for Migration and Development, CMD Working Paper, #06-10. Princeton University.Google Scholar
  40. Portes, Alejandro, and Min Zhou. 1993. The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants. The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science 530: 74–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ramirez, Deborah. 1996. Cubans Scramble to Win Lotto. SunSentinel. April 26. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/
  42. Román, Miriam Jiménez, and Juan Flores (eds.). 2010. The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Sahlins, Marshall. 2004. Apologies to Thucydides: Understanding History as Culture and Vice-Versa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. Sawyer, Mark Q. 2005. Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan A. Aja
    • 1
  1. 1.Brooklyn College, CUNYBrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations