New York Times journalist and 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones called Cuba “the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere.”
In a 2019 interview with Vox co-founder Ezra Klein unearthed by The National Pulse, Hannah-Jones lauded socialism as a factor behind Cuba’s purported equality.
“Are there candidates right now or even just places that you think have a viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda, and if so, what is it?” Klein asked Hannah-Jones. After noting that she is “definitely not an expert on race relations internationally,” she alleged that “if you want to see the most equal, multiracial democ… it’s not a democracy — the most equal, multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba.”
“Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people of any place really in the hemisphere,” she added. “I mean the Caribbean — most of the Caribbean, it’s hard to count because the white population in a lot of those countries is very, very small, they’re countries run by black folks, but in places that are truly at least biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality, and that’s largely due to socialism, which I’m sure no one wants to hear.”
The Cuban regime, however, has long been recognized as one that favors white Cubans.
As The New York Times reported three years ago:
The Cuban government under the Castros has historically been viewed as one made up mainly of white men, especially those of advanced age. Although it has generally had at least one Afro-Cuban in a high-ranking position, cynics dismissed them as symbolic figures.
The Minority Rights Group International confirms:
Yet, however radical the assault on institutional racism, little was achieved in eliminating racial discrimination. Attempts by intellectuals to raise the issue of racism in revolutionary Cuba were harshly dealt with in the 1960s, and the government insisted that it had eliminated racial discrimination.
On various occasions, Castro explicitly condemned racism and affirmed his government’s commitment to equality. However, critics alleged that educational policy and official culture remained strongly Euro-centric. Afro-Cubans were not, for example, widely represented in the higher echelons of the ruling Communist Party or in the upper levels of the civil service or state industries. And, with few exceptions, Afro-Cuban women have not yet reached the highest professional strata.
Hannah-Jones — who won a Pulitzer Prize for the introductory essay of the 1619 Project — was recently the subject of controversy as trustees at the University of North Carolina weighed the possibility of hiring her as a tenured journalism professor. After much deliberation, the university offered Hannah-Jones tenure; nevertheless, she rejected the offer in favor of a position at Howard University.
In the introductory essay, Hannah-Jones expressed ire toward her father for flying an American flag at their childhood home.
“I was deeply embarrassed by this outward show of patriotism from my father,” Hannah-Jones said. “I understood that Black Americans were still second-class citizens. This was a man who was born on a cotton plantation in apartheid Mississippi, one of the smartest men that I knew but who had never had any real opportunities in this country. And yet, here he was exhibiting patriotism. He was a veteran.”
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