Leah P. Hollis


Cuban racism, self-determination, American Civil Rights


After touring Havana, Cuba, with a group of African American Scholars in the fall of 2019, I am inspired to identify the subtle and explicit racist experiences that we endured. A common message from those in the tourism industry is that Cubans love African Americans. This message was constant, yet it rang like a gong in our ears because the message did not match the treatment we received. In truth, this love was not for the African aspect of our identities but for the financial prosperity in the American part of our identities. The Cuban tour guide constantly announced the propaganda publicly that when Castro came to power in 1959 the government formally abolished racism. However, the undercurrent of racism saturated our visit. Proclaiming racism is abolished does not make it so; instead, the proclamation was an ostrich’s head in the sand. The obvious was ignored for the postulated utopian racial harmony indoctrination.