Jose Marti On Racism

July 19, 2015

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Jose Marti is Cuba’s national poet and one of the heroes of Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain. He died in 1892 at the age of 42, less than 10nyears after Cuba’s abolition of slavery in 1886. Slavery was an integral part of Cuba’s agrarian society, and like in the US, discrimination against Afro=Cubans was pervasive even after slavery was abolished. Before the Cuban revolution, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was barred from certain country clubs in Havana because it was known that he had some African blood. Although Cuba’s communist government prides itself as being a champion of the oppressed, the Cuban communist leadership is far whiter than would be a cross-section of Cuban society.

Jose Marti was far ahead of his time. He wrote as follows about the subject of race.

Racist” is a confusing word, and it should be clarified. Men have no special rights simply because they belong to one race or another. Whey you say “men,” you have already imbued them with all their rights. Negroes, because they are black, are not inferior or superior to any other men. Whites who say “my race” commit the sin of redundancy; so do Negroes who say the same. Everything that divides men, everything that specified, separates or pens them, is a sin against humanity.”

Read more of Jose Marti’s thoughts on race, which remain as relevant today as they were back in 1890.

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