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The Politics of Race in PanamaAfro-Hispanic and West Indian Literary Discourses of Contention$
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Sonja Stephenson Watson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049861

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049861.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

National Rhetoric and Suppression of Black Consciousness in Poems by Federico Escobar and Gaspar Octavio Hernández

National Rhetoric and Suppression of Black Consciousness in Poems by Federico Escobar and Gaspar Octavio Hernández

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 National Rhetoric and Suppression of Black Consciousness in Poems by Federico Escobar and Gaspar Octavio Hernández
Source:
The Politics of Race in Panama
Author(s):

Sonja Stephenson Watson

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049861.003.0002

This chapter conveys how poets Escobar and Hernández promoted nationality over race. In the few poems that evince racial consciousness, the writers primarily subordinate their blackness to either spirituality or whiteness. Hernández expresses disdain for West Indians who refuse to learn and/or speak Spanish. He also criticizes them for trying to be North American instead of Panamanian because of their ties to the Canal. Hernández distinguishes West Indians from Afro-Hispanics based on linguistic and cultural differences illustrating that tensions heightened between the two groups grounded on perceived distinctions of nationality. Escobar is most intriguing because, while a majority of his poetry manifests a patriotic discourse, in a few poems he sharply criticizes his fellow Panamanians for the inferior status held by blacks and exhibits a racial pride uncharacteristic of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Panamanian verse.

Keywords:   Racial consciousness, Nationality, Spirituality, Panama

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