Nineteenth-Century Cuban Counterpoints
This chapter examines the question of whitening as a process that required both family and nation to force ideological and behavioral commitments on individuals. Focusing on race-making behaviors in nineteenth-century Cuba, it interrogates the historical ambiguity of blanqueamiento, or whitening process, using a methodology that emphasizes the social construction of race. More specifically, it proposes the concept of “sexual economy of race” as a means to elucidate the conjunction between reproductive behavior and the social construction of race. It also explores the restriction of interracial marriages in Cuba as part of its whitening agenda, along with the ways in which racialized reproductive choices influenced the standard system of racial classification and fostered whitening in some cases and discouraged it in others. The chapter shows that whitening efforts in colonial Cuba were not as predictable or linear as previously theorized.
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