Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos


The dynamism of Cuban, and thus Cuban-American culture, is due in large part to its ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity. In their introduction to Cuban-American Literature and Art, editors Isabel Alvarez Borland and Lynette M. F. Bosch write that “cultural pluralism is a marker of Cuban identity (Borland and Bosch, 2).” With influences from places so different and disparate as Spain, China, and West Africa, as well as a sizeable Jewish constituency and the deeply embedded aboriginal/indigenous legacy, there is ample sociocultural material for the synthesis of customs and traditions that we associate with Cuba and Cuban-Americans today. As different waves and generations of Cuban immigrants come to the US and to South Florida, they “continue to change the tenor and meaning of the cultural synthesis that defines lo cubano-americano, an ever-shifting concept of identity defined by time, place, class, race, and ethnicity within an American matrix (Borland and Bosch, 2).” The plurality of Cuban culture shines in every sphere of life and society - history, politics, economics, and the struggle for identity - but it shines in few better places than in the arts, whether it be visual art, literature, or theatre.

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