Chapter

The Costumbristas' Views of Manly Black Males

Rafael Ocasio

in Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041643
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043913 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813041643.003.0005
The Costumbristas' Views of Manly Black Males

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This chapter examines the resolution among Costumbristas to bring Black characters to the forefront, particularly freed urban Black men. In contrast to a basic and rather monolithic representation of Black female types, these male figures had remarkably different sociopolitical values as literary characters. The section entitled “The Uppity Blacks and the Black Thugs in Urban Cuban Life” illustrates the Costumbrista's handling of two specific types of urban activity pursued mainly by male Blacks: (1) that of the calesero or driver of fashionable calesas, coaches that crowded in large numbers the streets of Cuban cities and (2) that of the curro, the Black thug, who dared to roam the streets of Havana as a cold-blooded criminal. As the opposite of the calesero, the curro remained marginal to mainstream attempts (if, indeed, there were any) to incorporate him into acceptable social behavior.

Keywords: nineenth-century Cuba; Gelabert, Francisco de Paula; Betancourt, José Victoriano; Cuban Black males; curro; calesero; mataperros

Chapter.  17804 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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