Throughout history, certain concepts essentially influence social behavior of every people or region. My country is no exception, and culture, race, politics and religion, rather than mixing, create conflict and confusion.

I am Yoruba, live in Cuba, and I know that my religion has been confined, previously to slave barracks and now to slums. Religious discrimination is as subtle as a cannon– you just have to go for a walk with a desire to discover things, and start talking. Black Cubans see themselves first as Cubans, and then as black, and the white Cuban sees himself first as Cuban, and then as white, but there is some subtlety in this. The white Cuban sees the black as black first, and then as Cuban. There are not many blacks on the pulpits, or on the benches of the temples, shrines, synagogues or churches.

Racism is an ideology of intolerance and exclusion that is based on ignorance and malice. It uses the visible features of people to justify and emphasize their religious and social differences.

Since time immemorial, the census published by the different governments have been manipulated using misconceptions to identify blacks by the width of their nose, the kinkiness of their hair, the religion they practice, or the color of their skin. La racist tries to Europeanize our African roots and faith to make us appear more fine, or more educated. And the mass media, a part of the same state, repeats the stereotypes related to being “black” with words such as thief, brute, dancer, pimp, stink, and when talking about faith, emphasizes the wearing of bizarre clothes with colorful necklaces or other attributes that are seen as “ornaments of a sect ” and not as religious objects.

There are places in the world where there is segregation by race or by religion, but in Cuba there is both. And even today, people who want to talk about it, which is an old taboo among Cubans here or outside the island, are automatically accused of being conflictive or of being racist.

To gain breathing room at the expense of compromising, or to manipulate parishioners is a kind of cheating. To change our perspective, it is necessary to modify our view. And we must also accept that it is unrealistic to speak today of Freedom, State, or Nation without first sitting down to talk seriously about race, ethnicity and religion. These topics are as safe as walking through Baghdad.

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