By Michelle A. Gonzalez
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Additional resources for Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity
Even so, I propose that Latino/as critically examine the consequences of “Latino/a” and “Hispanic” as discursive categories, as well as the essentialist inclinations such categories contain. Mestizo/a History Latino/a theologians, as stated above, often ground their notion of Latino/a identity historically. The strongest historical link that unites Latino/as is their 22 / Afro-Cuban Theology common Latin American heritage, including Spanish, African, and indigenous elements. Underlying all Latin American cultures is the Spanish colonization of these lands and the consequent imposition of Iberian Roman Catholic culture.
53 De la Torre argues that due to the influence of Latin American liberation theology, Cuban-American theologians ignore political reality, because they want to erase their privilege and stand in solidarity with the oppressed. In other words, to reflect theologically from the Cuban-American context would challenge the stereotype of Latino/as as poor, brown, and marginalized. While I agree with Torres’ assessment of the ambiguous relationship between the Cuban-American political context and some of the principles of Latin American liberation theology—especially its early infatuation with Marxism—I find his depiction of the Cuban-American community limited and erroneous.
37 Mestizaje/mulatez function together to designate the mixed reality of Latino/a peoples. The term can also be transformed to describe Latino/a hybridity in Are We All Mestizos? / 27 general. ”38 This new conceptualization of mestizaje/ mulatez, Isasi-Díaz argues, opens avenues for discussions with other marginalized groups and grounds an understanding of difference which is not exclusive or oppositional. However, in expanding the function of mestizaje/mulatez to represent Latino/a hybridity, Isasi-Díaz robs these categories of their historical value as terms that specifically designate indigenous/Spanish and Spanish/African mixture.