So far from Miami: Afro-Cuban Encounters with Mexicans in the US Southwest

Julie A. Dowling, C. Alison Newby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the experiences of Afro-Cuban immigrants in non-traditional settlement sites in the Southwest. Drawing on 45 interviews with Afro-Cubans in Austin, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico, we explore how our respondents position themselves relative to the local Mexican-origin population. Specifically, we focus on the implications of "Hispanic" identity in these cities as a category that is heavily tied to Mexican origin, "brownness", and the suspicion of illegality. As Afro-Cubans, our respondents face a different racialization process than many non-black Latino immigrants, in that their blackness marks them as outside the bounds of regional constructions of Hispanic identity. Furthermore, the absence of significant numbers of Afro-origin immigrants creates an immediate association with citizenship that accompanies blackness in these locales. Our respondents recognize that they are assigned very different identities than the Mexican immigrants who work alongside them. Moreover, as they articulate identities in a US context, many of our respondents look to Miami Cubans as an example of their anticipated trajectory. Contrasting their perceptions of the success of Miami Cubans with the problems they perceive in the local Mexican-origin community, our respondents further distance themselves from a stigmatized Hispanic identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-194
Number of pages19
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Cubans
  • blackness
  • ethnicity
  • immigration
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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