“Pero tu no eres cubana”: northern Havana and the other Miami(s) in Joan Didion’s Miami and Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood
McInnis, Tatiana Danielle
Miami, Florida is a uniquely situated city. Though it is technically located in the US American South, since the latter half of the 20th century, it has been radically transformed in the wake of substantial waves of immigration. This thesis explores representations of Miami in Joan Didion’s Miami and Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood as diverse and culturally rich on the one hand and rigidly segregated and racist on the other. Using a comparative examination of different immigrant groups to show the favorable treatment of Cuban exiles and refugees, I focus primarily on the representations of Cuban and Haitian refugees in these two works. I argue that Cuba exiles in Miami have received preferential treatment, which I call “selective Cuban-American favoritism.” I use this idea to expose biases in US immigration policy and to argue that there are shared racial and socio-economic hierarchies in the US and in Cuba. Throughout this project, I employ sociological, anthropological, and historical works to contextualize the cross-cultural conflicts that Didion and Wolfe depict. This contextualization helps me show how these conflicts speak to the broader US structures that have set parameters on Miami’s diversity.