Topics: Gender, Homosexuality, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (925 words) Published: December 5, 2013

Jafari S. Allen’s book Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-Making in Cuba was my favorite book I read in this class. I not only liked the way he wrote the book, but I also liked some of the aspects he brought to light. I felt like I could see exactly where he was coming from with some of the issues that Cubans faced when it came to identity. He looked at the intimacies between man and man, woman and woman, and man and woman to help better explain and understand queer identity in Cuba. He also showed how different races represented different femininities.

When he spoke of the black women’s identity it was pretty discerning. Black women really had no kind of identity. I feel like they found themselves trapped by a discourse of external differences, like what shade their skin tone was and also their sexuality. These women are objectified as objects of hegemonic, white males’ desires. Allen says “To call on black womanhood is to signify the non-Christian African woman whose body was bought and sold—constituted as sexual chattel” (page 60). Black women were unseen in not talked about in public discourse on sexuality. They are also condemned by a narcissistic, “mixed-people’s” nationalism’s hegemonic notion of beauty. Allen talks about how “In Cuba and elsewhere, differences appears subtly colored by celebration of the mulata as an intervening character with less honor than the white woman but more than the dark-skinned negra” (page 61). This is completely true because I see it here in Louisiana with the “creole” people that are light-skinned. They are seen as more attractive and as having more freedom, but do they really? Stuck between two worlds, a black and white one, I’m not sure where they feel they fit in but they are desired by both races. Allen says “As the consummate liminal figure, the mulata is desired by white and black suitors alike, who seek to exploit what is posited as the mixture of respectable European femininity and beauty with...
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