By Michelle A. Gonzalez
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Extra resources for Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity
Alejandro García-Rivera’s The Community of the Beautiful offers a funda- Are We All Mestizos? / 23 mental theology grounded in theological aesthetics and informed by the ecclesial history of Latin America. In it, García-Rivera reclaims symbolism and beauty as key contributions of the Latin American church. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe forms the centerpiece of his aesthetics, where her apparition evokes the importance of popular religion in Latin America and its underlying cosmology. “The role of the cosmic in the popular religion of the Latin American Church finds exquisite expression in Mary of Guadalupe.
While I resonate with Valentín’s concerns, I also support what many of the authors already discussed here clearly imply: that to speak of identity is a political, public act. When considering questions of identity politics, however, Latino/a theologians, would do best to turn their attention to building coalitions with other marginalized groups than to distract themselves with internal squabbles. The Dominance of Mexican-American Experience in Latino/a Theology The construction of Latino/a identity within Latino/a theology leans heavily on Mexican-American experience and thus homogenizes the diversity of Latino/a peoples.
Whether directed by ecclesial leaders or academic theologians, the official narrative of a people is often in the hands of the few. This narrative is quite often the same one accessed by “outsider” groups. As theologians informed by a preferential option for the marginalized and by the contextual nature of all theology, Latino/a theologians must be vigilant over the identities we tradition. We must be especially Are We All Mestizos? / 33 careful not to deny the identity and humanity of some of our Latino/a brothers and sisters.
Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity by Michelle A. Gonzalez