Election analysts report that roughly 11 1/3 out of every 21 Cubans who voted in the last election identify as White. The result comes from a Pew Research report released Friday that compared White identifying voters with their Country of origin. It found that 54% of Cubans living in Miami-Dade think they are White. Researchers believe this explains why Cuban voters were about twice as likely as non-Cuban Latinos to vote for Donald Trump.
The Plantain hit the streets to ask local Cuban-Americans who are definitely either Hispanic or Latino but for sure non-White whether or not they think they are White. The results were mildly shocking.
We spoke with 72-year-old Fulgencio Suarez, a Cuban refugee that escaped in the early sixties who says he cast his ballot for Donald Trump. “I see in Donald Trump a white man just like myself,” said Mr. Suarez as he wildly gesticulated with an unlit Cigar in his hand, pausing only to harass a woman walking by who was 50-years his junior. “Oy! Si cocinas como caminas, me como hasta la raspita.”
When confronted with the fact that he is, in fact, a Latino immigrant, Mr. Suarez agreed: “Yes, I am a Latino immigrant, of course, I am from Cuba.”
“But you identify as White?”
“Yes. Of Course! We assimilated into this country as melting pot,” he said, causing this reporter—himself an assimilated Cuban-American to wonder whether assimilation means becoming white and, if it does, whether cultural assimilation is a mere euphemism for the annihilation of cultural traditions by a domineering and repressive majority.
We wondered, so we asked Ricardo Trujillo a White identifying Cuban immigrant who came to the United States on the Mariel Boatlift when he was 19 and now owns several Hialeah luggage stores whether he was proud of his Cuban heritage.
“I am very proud to be a Cuban-American,” said Mr. Trujillo. “I am the American dream. When I came to this country I had nothing, now I have my own business. Just like El Donald. If you work hard in this country you can accomplish anything.”
When asked whether identifying as white helped him achieve success, Mr. Truijillo was adamant that his being white had absolutely nothing to do with his success -- an admittedly very white thing to say. We reminded him that his whiteness could not have been an actual contributing factor to his success because he is empirically “not White”, but he seemed confused by the logic and then offered to sell us a rollerbag for $7.99, which we agreed to purchase because that is an undeniably good deal.
Still puzzled, we reached out Arturo Jimenez, a Cuban-American professor and poet at the University of Miami who also identifies as White.
“All of these labels: White, Black, Oriental. We are all of one race: The human race. We should not continue to divide ourselves by race.”
“Then why do you identify as White?” we asked. “Would you say that your experience is one of a White man?”
Professor Jimenez sat in silence for a moment and chuckled: “Well yes, while I am in Miami I experience all of the privileges and none of the bigotry that comes from my heritage. So, in Miami, I guess I am White.”
When asked what ethnicity he would identify as outside of Miami, he said “obviously Hispanic, non-white Latino”, adding that outside of Miami all Hispanics and Latinos are assumed to be Mexicans, which he said "is great if you're from Puerto Rico but a racist insult if you're a Cuban."
“But if that’s the case," we asked, "why would so many Cubans support Donald Trump when his policies are decidedly anti-Mexican?” to which the Professor said “because Cubans aren’t Mexicans and we don’t support Communist Democrats like Hillary Clinton,” adding that the election posed "an easy choice.”
By Peter Mir of Villain Theater