By Michelle A. Gonzalez
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Additional info for Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity
Conclusion Latino/a theologians must become more nuanced in their elaboration of Latino/a identity. We cannot afford to erase and marginalize portions of our population in favor of a more generalized description of our identity. To do so is to do violence to the communities we ignore and forget. An emphasis on particularity within community is both theological and ethical. Latino/a theologians must embrace a principle of unity amidst diversity as a central feature of their theology. As a Christian theology that is grounded in a trinitarian understanding of God as one and diverse, Latino/a theologians must better articulate the diversity within the unity of Latino/a peoples.
There are, however, two sources that are central within the work of a significant body of black theologians: black experience and slave religion. The importance of black experience to theology was announced in the work of one of black theology’s fathers, James H. Cone. It is the emphasis on black experience that makes black theology black. For Cone, the primacy of black experience is tied to all aspects of theology, including the ontological and the Christological. There is no truth for and about black people that does not emerge out of the context of their experience.
Davis presents Esteban as a forerunner of the black presence in the United States. “For us, he is a reminder that the first black man to traverse what is now the territory of the United States was Spanish-speaking and a Catholic. ”11 Davis similarly foregrounds the early-seventeenth-century Jesuit, Peter Claver. Claver performed his ministry in Cartagena (present-day Colombia), where he baptized slaves upon their disembarkations. Over thirty years, Claver ministered to slaves, not just on their arrival, but throughout their lives, while Are Afro-Latins Black?