In a new installment of Wednesdays at the Center 2020-21, Professor Monika Gosin spoke about the "interethnic struggles for legitimacy" within the immigrant communities in Miami, before and after the 1980 Mariel boatlift exodus, when around 125,000 Cubans migrated to the United States by boatlift.
Professor Gosin is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Latin American Studies Program at the College of William & Mary. The event was moderated by Holly Ackerman (Head, International & Area Studies Dept. and Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino/a Studies, Duke Libraries).
In the book: The Racial Politics of Division: Interethnic Struggles for Legitimacy in Multicultural Miami (Cornell, 2019), Professor Gosin shows how the preferential treatment reserved for the first wave of (mostly white, mostly wealthy) Cubans migrating to the U.S. (the "model migrants") was caused by the Cold War politics of acceptance for Cubans escaping Communism. This first wave of Cuban Americans wasn't interested in joining the Civil Rights fight of the African American community in Miami, a fact that fueled—in addition to the preferential treatment—interethnic conflicts among the minority groups.
When Black Cubans started reaching the coast of Florida during the big 1980 exodus, they didn't enjoy the same treatment experienced by the first-wave Cuban migrants. By then, both the waning of the Cold War and the effects of the mass exodus had shifted the U.S. policy towards migration.
The event was part of the 2020-21 "Wednesdays at the Center" special series: "John Hope Franklin | Global Anti-Racism (Histories of Action.)" The event was co-sponsored by the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS), the John Hope Franklin Center, the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and by Duke Libraries.
Watch the video of the event: