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A young Afro-Cuban performance artist transformed a Havana cultural center into the stage of a black hairstyle competition this weekend in a rare public commentary on racial beauty standards in Cuba, where prejudice remains widespread and largely undiscussed.Contemporary Cubans are descended mostly from Spanish colonists and their West African slaves, and Cubans categorize themselves as black, white or mixed-race. Sixty-four percent of Cubans identified themselves as white in the country's last census in 2012, 26.6 percent as mixed-race and 9.3 percent as black -- figures that wildly undercount the number of Cubans identified as black by themselves and others in their daily lives. Behind closed doors and even in public, white Cubans have been known to talk disparagingly about black Cubans in ways that have become socially unacceptable in many other countries, describing them as criminals and forbidding their children from dating Afro-Cuban schoolmates.
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