By Verena Martinez-Alier
An research of marriage styles in nineteenth-century Cuba, a society with a wide black inhabitants the vast majority of which was once held in slavery yet which additionally incorporated massive numbers of freedmen. Dr Martinez-Alier makes use of as her major resource of facts the documents in Havana of administrative and judicial court cases of circumstances within which mom and dad antagonistic a wedding, of instances related to elopement, and of situations of interracial marriage. Dr Martinez-Alier develops a version of the relation among sexual values and social inequality. She considers the significance of the price of virginity in assisting the hierarchy of Cuban society, according to ascription instead of success. due to the excessive evaluate of virginity, elopement was once frequently a profitable technique of overcoming parental dissent to an unequal marriage. notwithstanding, in situations of interracial elopement, the seduced colored lady had little likelihood of redress via marriage. during this conflict of the sexes and the races, the unfastened colored men and women performed roles and purchased values which clarify why matrifocality grew to become attribute of black unfastened households.
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Additional resources for Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society
In the Cienfuegos case, however, there are two additional reports, one by the Syndic and the other by the local chief of police, both raising serious objections to the marriage. As the latter argues, 'it may lead to presumptions on the part of the coloured class who on account of their extreme ignorance may derive from the said marriage the idea of equality between the classes; and in my view this mistaken idea will bear dismal consequences for the future and the established good order*. 71 He shares Arango y Parreiio's and Saco's view of the positive effects of racial intermarriage.
Social prestige did not derive from each individual factor independently but was determined by the combination of all. Disadvantages in one scale of evaluation could be offset by advantages in another. e. a wealthy moreno could hardly aspire to ever marrying a white woman, nor would a nobleman ever consider marrying a parda. 31 The most frequent union was that between a white man and a free parda woman. 32 The result of all this was a highly complex gradation of status, and a considerable measure of fluidity in the middle sector, to the dismay of many.
Thus in a report of 1863 it is argued that Even though the progress of the enlightenment has brought about a great change in the ideas one had on matters of this nature, in a country organized socially as is ours, quite some time must pass before public opinion marches in accord with these ideas. In effect, as a result of this same organization the coloured class here has always been at a great distance from the white, and any measure towards getting them closer and mixing them not only has disadvantages of great import, but being opposed to our customs will be looked upon disapprovingly.
Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society by Verena Martinez-Alier