Adaptation and Identity Formation in the Cuban American Community: Reflections and Considerations

  • Kenneth E. Bauzon


This essay takes a comparative look at the migrant experiences of Cuban Americans, e.g., those who arrived before 1980, those after 1980, and the second-generation Cuban Americans. It also takes a critical look at the various, often divergent, claims to Cuban national identity in the United States as well as the various ideological, political, economic, and social roots of these claims. It explores the mechanisms and evaluative criteria with which identity is expressed, and attempts to identify particular groups associated with one claim or another for illustrative purposes. The aim is to show the transformation of the conception of identity among members of the Cuban American community, the factors behind this transformation, and the underlying implications of this transformation on the dominant theories of assimilation, pluralism, and multiculturalism. Observations drawn from this study would necessarily be related—critically—to the larger theoretical literature on these themes in the United States, particularly on issues pertaining to immigration policies, socioeconomic adaptation, and political participation. The contributions of existing empirical and analytical studies on the Cuban American migrant community would be assessed and classified in terms of their respective theoretical and conceptual perspectives. Governmental sources would be used whenever appropriate, particularly statistical information and applicable laws and policies affecting the Cuban American community.


Cuban American; identity; assimilation; pluralism; multiculturalism