Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Notable & Pedantic: Cubans Are Now "Cubands"

"Cubands is an elastic and all-inclusive term I developed in order to simultaneously take account of the layered presences that constitute Cuban cultural and national identity (such as those of Spain, Africa, Ireland, France, the United States and the former Soviet Union, etc.) as well as allow room for the hybrid identities that are continuously transforming in an ever-changing diasporic context, which is at once global and transnational... Added to the mix are the experiences and expressions of Cubands, either born or raised outside the island, who claim to possess a Cuban consciousness that has been shaped as a result of what I term a second-hand experience of exile... The diversity that exists within the Cuban diasporic population, coupled with the permutations and transformations that have occurred outside the island, thus speaks directly to the need to relinquish and move beyond a monolithic idea of nation or cultural identity, or the misleading binary of island and diaspora, aquí y allí. The emphasis then is not so much on locating 'home,' but on the fluid process of voyaging between identities and worlds; in other words, the journey is 'home.' In this sense we as Cubands — on and off the island — are at once post- and trans-national. " Andrea O'Reilly Herrera, author of Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced, quoted in The Miami Herald, November 14, 2007

Professor O'Reilly is the very proud of herself. Proud of her Irish extraction. Proud of being the chairman of the department of "Ethnic Studies" at Colorado University. Proud of her theory that there is no such thing as a static Cuban nationality. But proud, above all else, of having invented the word cuband. You don't understand this professor's "cutesiness?" Well, let me parse it for you: Cuba + and = nothing. This formula may be too easy for the professor to understand and she would certainly disavow it if she could. But, in a nutshell, that is her philosophy. We are nothing because we are nothing in particular, just hybrids. Second-generation exiles are the biggest nothings of all, because they received their national and cultural consciousness at second hand. In fact, according to Professor O'Reilly, they even experienced exile at second hand. O'Reilly Herrera believes that our "journey" (read exile) is home and that we had better resign ourselves to this fact. On the other hand, "Cubands" are in the vanguard of the post-national world. For her, statelessness is the promised land and perfection of human existence. And we happy, happy Cubans and "Cubands" got there first.

Of course, Professor O'Reilly Herrera is herself a cuband. Which is to say, a specter, an illusion, nothing. Yet this "nothing" is very vocal about her ideas of what constitutes a Cuban nationality and what does not. Shouldn't "nothing" be more circumspect? Shouldn't "nothing" know her place or her "non-place?" Nothing certainly should.


Charlie Bravo said...

Ok, it's now past noon.
I mean, it's past the accepted hour in North America to pour oneself a drink without being considered a dipsomaniac. Because.... that "Cuband" drivel of hers calls for a stiff drink en plein mid-reading!

Anonymous said...

Forget the point, notice the academic jargon. Someone give that woman a copy of Strunk and White.

Agustin Farinas said...

one must excuse Professor O'Reilly Herrera as this essay was written this past March 17th, St. Patricks Day, and the good Professor O'Reilly Herrera was obviously feeling the effects of the liquor she had ingested that day during the celebrations. Her use of all of those high fallutin words, gave the game away. Now please excuse me, while I go and stretch (pardon the pun) my "Cuband elastic legs" and go for a walk with my "hybrid and diasporic wife", to clear my "hybrid and diasporic brain."

Vana said...

What an ass, this woman is only 1/2Cuban, how dare she put a nothing monicker on us.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The difference between Professor O'Reilly Herrera and an illiterate is that the illiterate is intelligible in the only medium of communications which he uses (speech). If the professor speaks English as she writes it, then she would be twice as illiterate as the illiterate.

Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

Great gods of Babble-on, this semi-coherent account adds nothing but vapid jargon to a debate that doesn't exist. Perfect, almost stereotypical Academia in action.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Yes, it is true; she is seeding new seeds of dissension within the Cuban-American community and among Cubans on the island and in exile. But I think it will be for naught as nobody could understand her, which makes being taken seriously all the harder and all but neutralizes her capacity for mischief.