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creative writing report and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Write a 2-3-page, single-spaced critical summary? reading report on at least two of the 5 attached readings. You can freely decide which two (or more) readings to focus on.
In terms of structure, the reports should be critical and comparative. That is, they should include:
a) a clear introduction that identifies the title and author the readings being reviewed along with an indication of your focus or argument or point;
b) a short summary of the two (or more) readings being covered, highlighting the main arguments and evidence presented by the author(s);
c) a critical, comparative assessment of the readings contribution to the topic under discussion that week; and
d) 2 or 3 stimulating discussion questions related to the readings.
Kasinitz, Philip. 1992. Caribbean New York:Black Immigrantsand the Politics of Race.Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Mintz, Jerome. 1992. Hasidic People:A Place in the NewWorld.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Smith, Anna Deavere. 1993. Fires in the Mirror:CrownHeights,Brooklyn,and Other Identities.New York:Anchor Books.CUBAAny inquiry into the meaning and significance of raceand ethnicity in Cuba, a nation with an estimated 2007population of 11.2 million people, must begin with anawareness of the fundamental difference between NorthAmerican notions of racial purity and distinctiveness, onone hand, and Latin American and Caribbean under-standings of racial mixture (or mestizaje), on the other. Itwould be grossly misleading to apply to Cuba formula-tions derived from the character of racial and ethnic rela-tions in other national contexts, particularly that of theUnited States. Unlike in the United States, where AfricanAmericans have long constituted a clear, distinctive, andfairly unified ethnoracial group, in Cuba, the notion thatAfro-Cubans? exist as a distinct social or ethnic groupwith its own separate racial identity is not commonlyaccepted, even among those with African ancestry.Blacks in Cuba often think of themselves as Cubanfirst and foremost, with their racial designation playinga secondary role in their identity. While a distinctiveAfro-Cuban identity (especially in its socioculturaland religious aspects) has reemerged since the begin-ning of the economic crisis in 1990 (partially due to the reemergence of racial inequalities), the NorthAmerican notion of two nations, separate andunequal? is quite foreign to the Cuban reality. Thisentry looks at how race is defined in Cuba and brieflyexamines the position of Afro-Cubans over time.The One-Drop? RuleThe long history of legal segregation and biracial think-ing in the United States has led to the internalization ofwhat is known as the one-drop rule? of racial identity;that is, one drop? of African blood/ancestry defines aperson as Black, with blackness? traditionally under-stood as a contamination of whiteness.? In Cuba, onthe other hand, racial identification is much more flexi-ble and context dependent. Indeed, if there is a Cubanequivalent to the one-drop rule,? it is that one drop? ofEuropean blood/ancestry defines a person as non-Black.Thus, many Cubans who would not think of themselvesor be identified by others as Black in Cuba (because ofthe European element of their mestizoancestry) wouldbe considered Black in the United States (based on theAfrican element of that same mixed ancestry).Furthermore, given the great extent to which thecultural, religious, and linguistic characteristics asso-ciated with Africans have been absorbed into the veryidea of what it means to be Cuban, all Cubans practiceat least some of the cultural traditions that originallycame to Cuba from Africa. This reality is reflected inthe popular expression, He who has nothing of theCongo, must have something of the Calabar? (El queno tiene de Congo,tiene de Carabalí?). This popularbelief that all Cubans share in the islands African her-itage (regardless of their particular ancestry or pheno-type) has been captured even more emphatically byJuan de Marcos, the Cuban music impresario behindthe musical success of the Buena Vista Social Club.?Get one thing straight, man,? de Marcos declared toWashington Postreporter Eugene Robinson, Cubanmusic is Afro-Cuban music. There are no Whites inCuba. There are people who think they are White, butthey are all African.?This more dynamic and flexible racial categoriza-tion scheme has given way to a rich popular lexicon of352???CubaUnited StatesColombiaVenezuelaHondurasMexicoCubaNicaraguaGuatemalaPanamaHaitiCosta RicaBelizeDominicanRepublicEl SalvadorJamaicaThe BahamasCayman Is.Turks & Caicos Is.GulfofMexicoCaribbean SeaPacificOceanAtlanticOceanC-Schaefer-45503.qxd 2/18/2008 12:52 PM Page 352
mixed ancestry based more on color and context thanactual ancestry. Some of these racial? terms includeblanco(White), jabao(high yellow), trigueño(wheatcolored), mestizo(mixed race), mulato(mulatto),mulatoadelantado(advanced mulatto), mulatoblan-conazo(light mulatto), pasa(raisin), negroazul(blue-Black), indio(Indian), prieto(dark), and negro(Black). Thus, in Cuba and in most of the rest of LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, it is not a question of onedrop? or taint? of blackness making a person Black,but an equally racist economic and sociobiologicalquest to improve the race? by adding whiteness to it,giving rise to the common Cuban/Caribbean expres-sions of mejorar(better) or adelantarlaraza(advancethe race) and blanquear(Whiten). Thus, while in theUnited States, Black? has been categorized as distinctfrom (and inferior to) pure whiteness, in Cuba, the tra-dition has been to measure oneself in terms of degreeof distance from (and superiority to) pure blackness.Transculturation and the Cuban AAjjiiaaccooAlthough Cuba was one of the last countries in theWestern Hemisphere to abolish slavery (in 1886) andracism and racial inequality have still not been com-pletely eradicated by the revolutionary government(since 1959), during the course of the 20th century,Cuba has gradually redefined itself as a transculturizednation of Afro-Hispanic origin. This key term, transcul-turation,coined in the 1940s by eminent Cuban anthro-pologist Fernando Ortiz, attempts to describe Cubannational identity as the combination of many distinctethnic groups, Spaniards and Africans being the mostprominent. The American melting pot? ideal oftenpresupposes a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant main-stream into which new elements (or ethnic groups?)gradually melt, adding distinctive flavors and accentsin the long process of acculturation and assimilation.Like the U.S. population, Cubans think of them-selves as a people melded into one from many diverseorigins. However, unlike the American melting pot,the Cuban notion of the ajiaco(a tropical stew)reflects a single national identity shared among allCubans (whatever their specific ethnic origin or racialancestry). This transculturalized identity recognizesAfrican and European (as well as Indian, Chinese,Jewish, English, French, American, and YucatecMaya) cultural elements as cocontributors, without claim-ingany single one as the mainstream. Interestingly,even the well-known Cuban term for a rural White?farmer, guajiro(as in the famous song, Guajiraguantanamera?) is thought to originate with the factthat those indigenous people who did not die of dis-ease, from overwork, or in battles against the occupy-ing Spanish forces ended up assimilating into theSpanish population. Thus, the emblematic Cuban gua-jiro(a word borrowed from the Arawak language ofthe Taíno) is itself a transculturized combination ofboth Spanish and indigenous heritage.Race in Early Cuban HistoryThe difference between the American melting pot andthe Cuban ajiacoshould come as no surprise, giventhe fact that the single island of Cuba received moreAfrican slaves (1.3 million) than all of North America.Furthermore, the slave trade and the institution ofslavery itself survived far longer in Cuba than in theUnited States, constantly revitalizing the variedAfrican elements of Cuban culture. Finally, thoughCubas White Creole population (born in Cuba, ofSpanish origin) was notoriously reluctant to admitfree Blacks or mulattoes (not to mention Africanslaves) as equal members of colonial society, thisdynamic shifted after Cuban independence wasachieved in 1902. During these years of frustratednationalism in the face of repeated U.S. interventionsunder the Platt Amendment, Creole nationalists beganto symbolically recognize and actively embraceAfrican cultural elements (that had always been there)in their effort to forge a unified, specifically non?North American national Cuban identity.However, this new mestizo national identity hasalways been a highly ambivalent construction. On onehand, the myth of racial democracy could be used bymarginalized Blacks as a way to claim full and equalrights as Cubans.On the other hand, the very exis-tence of the ideology of racial equality made it diffi-cult, if not impossible, for Afro-Cubans who didsuffer from systematic discrimination under theRepublic (1902?1958) to fight for their rights asBlacks.This dilemma led to decades of discriminationagainst Afro-Cubans as second-class citizens duringthe first half of the 20th century. Rights routinelygranted to White Cubans were systematically deniedto Blacks, especially in the areas of housing, educa-tion, health care, employment, political participation,and membership in private clubs and professionalassociations.Cuba???353C-Schaefer-45503.qxd 2/18/2008 12:52 PM Page 353
Castro Takes PowerIn response to the desperate economic and social situ-ation of many Afro-Cubans, soon after Fidel Castrocame to power in January 1959, he declared that erad-icating Cubas systematic racial discrimination wasamong the revolutions highest priorities. Castrospecifically singled out discrimination in employmentand segregation in social life. Setting the stage for anunprecedented assault on institutionalized racism, therevolution reversed Blackslack of access to jobs anderadicated their exclusion from most social clubs,parks, and beaches. Achieved largely through thenationalization of private property, henceforth jobs,education, and social facilities would be open to allCubans regardless of class or skin color.Despite this frontal assault on racial discriminationin the initial years of the revolution, after 1962, theefforts of the revolutionary government to do awaywith racial discrimination had the effect of demobiliz-ing any independent activity on the part of Blacksthemselves. Subsequently, Afro-Cuban leaders whodared point out remnants of racism and discriminationwere accused of being ungrateful racists themselves,sewing division in a nation under attack. Since theproblem of racial inequality had supposedly beensolved by the revolution, speaking of it was inter-preted as a counterrevolutionary threat to nationalunity. Ironically, while in the past, being racist hadbeen considered counterrevolutionary, now claimingracism had not been totally eradicated was consid-ered counterrevolutionary.By the 1990s, when the economic crisis forced thesocialist Cuban economy to open up to internationaltourism as never before, many young Black Cubansbegan to feel relegated to second-class citizenship intheir own country once again. As inequality expandedacross the island, so did the racial demography of thatinequality. For example, because the vast majority ofCuban exiles are White, few Blacks on the islandreceive remittances from abroad. Similarly, jobs in theexpanding and lucrative tourism sector often excludeAfro-Cubans with the requirement that potentialemployees possess good presence? (code for lightskin?). Finally, when young Afro-Cuban men andwomen refuse to be excluded from participation in themost lucrative sector of the economy by going under-ground as hustlers and prostitutes, their behavior isimmediately used against them as evidence of theirnatural? criminality and inferiority. This cycle ofblaming the victim leads to a self-fulfilling prophecythat traps Afro-Cubans in a no-win situation.Ted HenkenSee Appendix A; Appendix BSee alsoBrazil; Caribbean; Cuba: Migration andDemography; Cuban Americans; Diaspora; Melting Pot;One-Drop Rule; Santería; Self-Fulfilling ProphecyFurther ReadingsCasal, Lourdes. 1989. Race Relations in ContemporaryCuba.? Pp. 471?486 in The Cuba Reader:The Making ofa Revolutionary Society,edited by P. Brenner, W. M.LeoGrande, D. Rich, and D. Siegel. New York: la Fuente, Alejandro. 2001. A Nation for All:Race,Inequality,and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Moore, Robin D. 1997. Nationalizing Blackness:Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana,1920?1940.Pittsburgh, PA: University of PittsburghPress.Ortiz, Fernando. 1995. Cuban Counterpoint:Tobacco andSugar.Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Pérez Sarduy, Pedro and Jean Stubs, eds. 2000. Afro-CubanVoices:On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba.Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Robinson, Eugene. 2004. Last Dance in Havana:The FinalDays of Fidel and the Start of the New Cuban Revolution.New York: Free Press.Sawyer, Mark Q. 2006. Racial Politics in Post-revolutionaryCuba.New York: Cambridge University Press.CUBA: MIGRATIONANDDEMOGRAPHYOver the centuries, migration to and from Cuba, begin-ning with the slave trade to the Americas, has playedan important role in its society and in the social con-struction of race within Cuba. Its proximity to Floridahas also meant that the United States is a primary des-tination for people seeking to leave the island, anddepartures over the course of the Castro regime havehad a significant impact. This entry examines howslavery and immigration have combined to influencethe demographics of the Cuban population.354???Cuba: Migration and DemographyC-Schaefer-45503.qxd 2/18/2008 12:52 PM Page 354

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