Racism In The Caribbean

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Is it not funny that whenever you ask a person about the Caribbean the only elements they can speak of are the sea, sun, sand and food? Oftentimes, the culture of the Caribbean is mentioned as well but nine out of ten times, it is just based on pre-conceived notions. Ask anyone to define the region and the answers will astound you. Since territory is a crucial topic, a geographical definition of the Caribbean is the region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts (UWIOC 1). Ergo, this region consists of the Greater Antilles (Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti), the Lesser Antilles , the archipelago of The Bahamas and other coastal countries of South and Central America (such as Guyana, Belize,…show more content…
Social stratification means the differentiation of a given population into hierarchically superimposed classes (sociologyguide.com). Due to ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one’s personal ethnic group is superior to the other, classism, racism and prejudice is evident throughout the region. In Jamaica, there is a saying that goes ‘if you white you awright, if you brown you can stick around but if you black you affi tan a back’. This issue stems not only from the days of slavery when European plantation owners treated their slaves with disdain but also from the period of the Neo-Indians whom had a class system. The Taínos were divided into three social classes: the Naborias (work class), the Nitaínos or sub-chiefs and noblemen which includes the Bohiques or priests and medicine men and the Caciques or Chiefs (toppuertorico.org) and though they did not have slaves, the Caciques were placed on higher pedestal than any other member of the tribe. There are many factors that contributes to social stratification: hair texture, skin colour, ethnic background, education etc. Texture and complexion of the skin may indicate peasant class as against urban class (Alleyne 6) thus people with a lighter skin tone are considered to be of a higher class than those with a darker skin tone. This issue occurs throughout…show more content…
2. Artifact illustrating social hierarchy Fig. 3. Artifacts of celestial Gods Fig. 4. A celestial God The history of religion in the Caribbean is similar in many respects to the history of many religions in all colonial systems (Pulis 14). With Christianity being the most dominant of all the religions in the region, there are some islands that still practices traditional African religions such as Revivalism (Jamaica), Santeria (Cuba) and Voodoo (Haiti). The images above shows a mélange of deities that were worshipped in the pre-Columbian period (the Tainos had similar deities to that of the Mayans) and conveys the message of the religious background of the Caribbean. In conclusion, the Caribbean region though needing more development, possesses a great and rich cultural history and as such, is worthy of its own

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