Miguel A. De La Torre
The focus of Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre’s academic pursuit is social ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. Since obtaining his doctoral in 1999, he has authored over a hundred articles and published forty-one books (five of which won national awards). He presently serves as Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. A Fulbright scholar, he has taught in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Germany.Within his guild he served as the 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics. He is the recipient of the 2020 AAR Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2021 Martin E. Marty Public Understand of Religion Award. Within the academy, he served as past-director to the American Academy of Religion, and served on the editorial board of JAAR.
Additionally, he was the co-founder and executive director (2013-2017) of the Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion and the founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion. A scholar-activist, Dr. De La Torre has written numerous articles in popular media and has served on several civic organizations. Recently, he wrote the screenplay to a documentary on immigration (http://www.trailsofhopeandterrorthemovie.com/) which has screened in over eighteen film festivals winning over seven awards.
“Through the ‘Door of No Return’ to Havana Bay: The Voyage of Cuban Racism”
My core concern is how the works of José Martí, influential in the construction of Cuban socio-philosophical thought, and among the most progressive voices throughout the Américas, remained complicit with white supremacy by elucidating the colorblind structure he established through his often-quoted phrase: “more than being white, more than being a mulatto, more than being black.” By blackening whites, they were relieved of any responsibility concerning racism, because race as a construct, in the minds of white Cubans, means whites are also black.
The paper will begin with the Yoruba goddess Oshun sitting by the river watching her African children boarding slave ships, and how she whitens herself to become the mother of all Cubans before joining them on the Middle Passage. The paper will then discuss the role Africans played as Cubans began to fight for their liberation from the Spanish empire. We will then explore Martí, the late-nineteenth century revolutionary, and his construction of race, also paying attention to how the Indian must first disappear so whites could also become indigenized. The paper ends with how this construction of race played out in two events, the 1912 Race Riots and the 1959 Castro Revolution.
In keeping with the goals of the conference, the paper with pay attention to the trans-thematic study of justice and peace demonstrating how centuries of racial violence been the main reason the island has yet achieved peace. Also, the paper will be trans-sectional by bringing into conversation Yoruba and Taino spirituality with a Medieval Spanish Catholicism during the rise of a secular humanism. The paper will rely on minoritized narratives to unpack intra-Latinx racism.