Monday, May 29, 2006

best of friends, worlds apart

Best of Friends, Worlds Apart is about two men, best friends from Cuba, Joel and Achmed, one black, one white, and how their relationship changed when they got to the US.

When I first skimmed this article I thought it was a gimicky human-interest story, but after rereading it, I saw that it was more nuanced than that. It gets into both the positive and negative aspects of race relations in Cuba and looks at the factors which can "guide" Cuban immigrants (whether black or white) to find a place in the US' system of racial identity.

The article made me think of an uncle who once told me that white Cubans were the most racist people on Earth. I would have expected a piece like this to oversimplify and paint a picture of two best friends living in a racial utopia coming to the US and suddenly growing apart. But the article did a half-way decent job of showing that many of the attitudes held by white Cubans in Miami weren't just a result of Americanization but came with them in their luggage (especially when presenting the perspective of Bill Brent, the former Black Panther living in Cuba).

1 comment:

sj-the-infamous said...


I remember when this series was published by NYT a few years back. I found it to be quite the educational piece for more than a few folks....

Cuba is an interesting place. I'd love to get there. One day, soon come. But Miami, it wrecks my nerves LOL