Patria, April 16 1893
"Racist" is a confusing word, and it should be clarified. Men have no special
rights simply because they belong to one race or another. Whey you say "men,"
you have already imbued them with al their rights. Negroes, because they are
black, are not inferior or superior to any other men. Whites who say "my race"
commit the sin of redundancy; so do Negroes who say the same. Everything that
divides men, everything that specified, separates or pens them, is a sin against
humanity. To what sensible white person would it occur to be vain about being
white, and what do Negroes think about whites whoa re vain about being white and
think they have special rights as a result? What must whites think about Negroes
who are vain about their color? To insist on racial divisions, on radial
differences, in an already divided people, is to place obstacles in the way of
public and individual happiness, which can only be obtained by bringing people
together as a nation. Nothing inherent in Negroes prevents them from developing
their souls as men, and nothing that happens to them can limit their innate
ability. This fat should be stated and demonstrated, for there is much injustice
in this world and ignorant prejudice which passes for wisdom: there are still
those who, in good faith, believe that Negroes are not capable of the same
intelligence and courage as whites. It does not matter if you call this defense
of Nature racism, because it is no more than natural honesty and heartfelt cry
for peace and the country's well being. It is alleged that slavery does not
imply inferiority in the enslaved race, sine Gauls with blue eyes and blond hair
were sold as serfs with shackles around their necks in the markets of Rome. This
example helps make ignorant whites less prejudiced. Negroes have the right to
maintain and prove that their color does not deny them any of the skills and
rights of the rest of the human species.
What right do white racist, who believe their race is superior, have for
complaining about black racists, who see something special in their own race?
What right do black racists, who see a special character in their race, have for
complaining about white racists? White men who think their race makes them
superior to black men admit the idea of racial difference and authorize and
initiate black racists. Black men who proclaim their race-when what they are
really proclaiming is the spiritual identity that distinguishes one ethnic group
from another-authorize and incite white racists. Peace demands of Nature the
recognition of human rights; discrimination is contrary to Nature and to the
enemy of peace. Whites who isolate themselves also isolate Negroes. Negroes who
isolate themselves incite and isolate whites.
In Cuba, there is no fear of a racial war. Men are more than whites, mulattos
or Negroes. Cubans are more than whites, mulattos or Negroes. On the field of
battle, dying for Cuba, the souls of whites and Negroes have risen together into
the air. In the daily life of defense, loyalty, brotherhood and shrewdness,
Negroes have always been there, alongside whites. Negroes, like whites, are
divided by their character-timid or brave, self-sacrificing or selfish-into the
diverse parties in which men group themselves. Political parties form around
common concerns, aspirations, interests and characters. Essential similarities
are sought and found beneath superficial differences; the common purpose is the
fusion of that which is basic in the analogous characters, even though they may
different in incidentals. In sum, the similarity of characters, which is a
superior uniting factor, outweighs the inner frictions between men of varying
color and the difficulties that, at times, result. Affinity of character is more
powerful than the affinity of color. Negroes, consigned to the unequal or
hostile pursuits of the human spirit, will never be able to join, nor will they
want to join, against whites in like position. Negroes are too weary of slavery
to enter voluntarily into the slavery of color. Ostentatious men who are
governed by self-interest will combine, whether white or black, and the generous
and selfless will similarly unite. True men, black and white, will treat one
another with loyalty and tenderness, out of a sense of merit and the pride of
everyone who honors the land in which we were born, black and white alike.
Negroes, who now use the word "racist" in good faith, will stop using it when
they realize it is the only apparently valid argument that weak men, who
honestly believe that Negroes are inferior, use to deny them the full exercise
of their rights as men. White and black racists would be equally guilty of
racism. Many whites have already forgotten their color, as have many Negroes.
Whites and Negroes are working together to develop men's minds, to spread virtue
and to promote the triumph of creative work and sublime charity.
In Cuba, there will never be a racial war. The Republic cannot go backwards.
Ever since the day of redemption for Negroes in Cuba, ever since the declaration
of independence in Guáimaro on April 10, civil rights, granted by the Spanish
Government for political expedience, were already practiced prior to Cuba's
independence and cannot now be denied-either by the Spaniards who, as long as
they breathe in Cuba, will continue dividing black from white Cubans, or by
those fighting for independence, who could never deny in freedom the rights
which the Spaniards recognized in servitude.
As for the rest, everyone will be free in the sanctity of his home. Merit,
the manifest and continuous evidence of culture, and inexorable trade will
eventually unite all men. In Cuba, there is much greatness, in both Negroes and
Race in Cuba