Caribbean Identity and Integration in The Work of
Global Tourism and Caribbean Culture
David Bennett with Sophie Gebhardt
Woodrow Wilson and Nicaragua
Marcus Garvey, Race Uplift and his Vision of
Revisiting Chinese Hybridity: Negotiating Categories
and Re-constructing Ethnicity
in Contemporary Jamaica a Preliminary Report
005 Yoshiko Shibata
VOLUME 51, No. 1
(Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden)
Caribbean Identity and Integration in The Work of Nicolas Guillen
Global Tourism and Caribbean Culture 15
David Bennett with Sophie Gebhardt
Woodrow Wilson and Nicaragua 25
Marcus Garvey, Race Uplift and his Vision of Jamaican Self-government 37
Revisiting Chinese Hybridity: Negotiating Categories and Re-constructing 53
Ethnicity in Contemporary Jamaica a Preliminary Report
Book Reviews 76
Books Received 88
Notes on Contributors 94
Information for Contributors 95
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
The Hon. Rex Nettleford, Vice Chancellor Emeritus, UWI, and Editor.
Sir Roy Augier, Professor Emeritus, History, Mona.
Professor H. Beckles, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal, UWI, Cave Hill.
Professor L. Carrington, PVC, Non Campus Countries and Distance Education
Professor B. Chevannes, Research Fellow, Mona School of Business, UWI, Mona
Professor K. Hall, PVC and Principal, UWI, Mona.
Professor Wayne Hunte, PVC Research, UWI, St. Augustine
Professor B.Lalla, Dept of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Arts and Education, UWI,St.Augustine
Professor the Hon. E. Morrison, PVC, Granduate Studies and Research, UWI, Mona
Dr. H Simmons-McDonald, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Education, UWI, Cave Hill
J. R. Periera, Vice Principal and Director, Cultural Studies, UWI, Mona
Linda Speth, General Manager, UWI Press
Dr. B. Tewarie, PVC and Principal, UWI, St. Augustine
Dr. V.Salter, CSI, Managing Editor, Ex Officio
All correspondence and contributions should be addressed to: The Editor,
Caribbean Quarterly, Cultural Studies Initiative, University of the West Indies,
PO Box 130, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica. Tel. No. and Fax 876-970-3261
Email: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Manuscripts -We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommend subjects
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Exchanges: Exchanges are conducted by the Gifts and Exchanges Section,
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Back Issues and Microfilm : Information for back volumes supplied on request.
Caribbean Quarterly is available on microfilm from Xerox University Microfilms
and in book form from Kraus-Thompson Reprint Ltd.
Abstract and Index 1949-2003 Author Keyword and Subject Index available as
a hard copy and shortly on the website. The journal is abstracted by AES and
indexed by HAPI
Caribbean Quarterly, Volume 51, No.l, March 2005 contains five
articles examining diverse but distinct aspects of our Caribbeanness. The first
article by Keith Ellis, Caribbean Identity and Integration in The Work of
NicolAs Guillen, uses examples of Guill6n's works to demonstrate that in his
poetry, his essays, as well as in his personal relations, he demonstrated a desire to
build throughout the Caribbean the kind of consciousness that would facilitate its
meaningful integration. With current spirited discussions on CCJ and CSME
(Caribbean Court of Justice and Caribbean Single Market Economy) it would be
useful to irevisit Guill6n's oeuvres, which give credence to the idea that it is life
that indeed mimics art. The article by Bennett and Gebhardt, Global Tourism and
Caribbean Culture, illustrates the essentially symbiotic as apposed to parasitic
relationship that can exist between the region's main economy and its principal
resource its culture. The next essay takes us to Central America. In the essay,
Woodrow Wilson and Nicaragua, Benjeman Harrison, examines Wilson's atti-
tude toward businessmen. Progressive reform is seen as largely in response to
economic corruption and opportunism. The irony is that Wilson's dream of pro-
moting democracy and economic fairness never materialized in Nicaragua. Nicho-
las Patsides' paper, Marcus Garvey, Race Uplift and his Vision of Jamaican
Self-government, examines Garvey's rhetoric in relation to his hopes and dreams
for colonial society, and aims to offer a new perspective on Garveyism by recon-
structing his ideology around one primary goal, namely Jamaican self-govern-
ment. The discussion should indeed stimulate further debate. The final essay,
Revisiting Chinese Hybridity: Negotiating categories and Reconstructing
Ethnicity in contemporary Jamaica a Preliminary Report, by Yoshiko
Shibata, re-considers the hybridityy' of the 'Chinese' in contemporary Jamaica and
also is possibly the first essay to address the ambivalent relationship between the
established Chinese community and the influx of new Chinese 'immigrants' into
Free Zone factories, and in Chinatown in downtown Kingston. The non-Chinese,
Shibata asserts, have also been caught -up in this ambivalence.
Three book reviews complete the issue.
Caribbean Identity And Integration In The Work Of Nicolas
In his essay entitled "Haiti: la isla encadenada" (Haiti: The Shackled
Island) of 1941, Nicolas Guill6n recalls approvingly that more than half a century
earlier the Haitian Antenor Firmin had conceived along with Cuba's Jos6 Marti,
the Colombian Jos6 Maria Torres Caicedo and the Puerto Rican Eugenio de
Hostos, an Antillean Confederation in order to unite politically the islands that
already shared a common geographic, economic and social condition. Political
union would be the path to economic and social progress. In Guill6n's description
of the Haitian condition in 1941 it is clear that the dream of those illustrious
thinkers had not been realized; and in fact he concludes his essay by urging the
liberation of that supposedly independent country. Besides, two decades later he
witnessed the failure of the attempt to achieve this kind of confederation between
the Caribbean islands that still belonged to the British empire. On several occa-
sions he expressed his disappointment that so much psychic distance continued to
separate the Caribbean islands, a heritage of their different colonial patronages.
And while he recognized that all these islands shared historical experiences,
essentially colonialism and slavery, he dedicated his thoughts and actions to the
task of exposing the contradictory characteristics of his own country, with the aim
of achieving its liberation, following principles he considered to have relevance
beyond Cuba and the Caribbean. In reaching out beyond the Caribbean to engage
his poetry with an African issue in this context Guill6n provides the opportunity
for fruitful comparison with Derek Walcott who, as we shall see, deals with the
From his first publications in the Cuban organs of national circulation,
both in prose and in poetry, in essays such as "El camino de Harlem" (Harlem's
Way), "La conquista del blanco" (The White's Conquest) and "El blanco: he ahi
el problema" (The White: There is Where the Problem Lies), all of 1929,2 and the
books of poetry Motivos de son (Son Motifs) and S6ngoro cosongo of 1930 and
1931, he demonstrates that the core of his artistic ideology, displayed in a Cuban
context, would derive from a unifying impulse, a centripetal force that in practical
life would be translated into what he came to characterize as "convivencia y
connivencia"3 (togetherness and conspiratorial solidarity). This last quality indi-
cates that he was always alert to the presence of powerful adverse forces that
promote division. Guill6n's awareness of this impediment reveals itself in two
structural paradigms in his poetry. Constantly found in it are, on the one hand,
lines that reveal a rigid social stratification that maintains'a condition of injustice
that is really intolerable if well-being, dignity and cooperative togetherness are
going to be within the people's domain. The poem "Cafia"4 (Sugar Cane) from the
book Sbngoro cosongo, is illustrative of this model, with the black man and the
land as victims and the Yankee as victimized, in a system of economic and racial
exploitation constantly occupying the sane fixed positions while the nation suf-
junto a Caaveral.
sobre el canaveral.
bajo el Cafaveral
que se nos va/
"La canci6n del bong6" (The Song of the Bongo Drum) of the same book
focuses on the fallacy of racial purity and of attempts at segregation by those who
considered themselves pure "en estA tierra mulata de africano y espanol" where
"siempre falta algun abuelo/cuando no sobra algun Don/ y hay titulos de Castilla
con parientes en Bond6" (in this mulatto land of Africans and Spaniards/ [where]
there is always a missing grandfather/ when there isn't an extra Don/ and there are
aristocrats from Castille with relatives in Bond6. There emerges in the poem the
other paradigm, the rectifying one that offers the alternative of the acceptance of
values that reflect the authentic reality in which the confluence of various currents
comes to constitute the essential Cuban identity. On this basis, the bongo drum in
its function as the humble voice of the poem and of the people is able to project a
future where it is decisively included and can tell the segregationist "ya me pediras
perd6n,/ ya comers de mi ajiaco,/ ya me daris la raz6n,/ ya me golpearas el
cuero,/ ya bailanis a mi voz,/ ya pasearemos del brazo,/ ya estiras donde yo estoy;
ya vendras de abajo arriba :/ que aqui el mas alto soy yo!/" (you'll soon be begging
my pardon,/ you'll soon be eating from my ajiaco,/ you'll soon be saying I'm
right,/ you'll soon by beating my leather,/ you'll soon be dancing to my voice,/
we'll soon walk arm in arm,/ you'll soon be where I am:/ you'll soon be moving
up,/ for the highest here is me/). These poems illustrate ideas that Guill6n had
expressed in the prologue he had written for the book S6ngoro cosongo and where
he says of the ethnic composition of Cuba "se cruzan y entire cruzan en nuestra bien
regada hidrografia social tantas corrientes capilares que seria trabajo de miniatur-
ista desenredar el jeroglifico"' (so many capillary currents cross and crisscross in
our well-irrigated social hydrography that it would take the work of a miniaturist
to unravel the hieroglyphics).
Guill6n has quoted on several occasions a letter written in 1836 by Fl6ix
Tanco to his friend, the complicated Domingo del Monte, in which Tanco tells
him: "los negros de la Isla de Cuba son nuestra poesia y no hay que pensar en otra
cosa, pero no los negros solos sino los negros con los blancos, todos revueltos"6
(the blacks of the island of Cuba are our poetry and we should never think
otherwise, but not the blacks alone but the blacks together with the whites, all
mixed together). In a parallel way Guill6n insists in exposing in his poetry this
well-founded aspect of Cuban reality, echoing it in 1947 in his poem "Son numero
6" (Son Number 6) from his book El son entero (The Whole Son), in which he
says: "estamos juntos desde muy lejos,/ jbvenes, viejos,/ negros y blancos, todo
mezclado;/ uno mandando y otro mandado,/ todo mezclado;/ San Berenito y otro
mandado,/ todo mezclado;/ negros y blancos desde muy lejos/ todo mezclado"
(We are together from far away,/ young people, old people,/ black people, white
people, all mixed together;/ some commanding and others obeying,/ all mixed
together;/ San Berenito and others obeying,/ all mixed together;/ blacks and whites
from far away,/ all mixed together). And if Guill6n suggests an integrated strategy
to resolve the racial question, in the economic sphere he also proposes dissolving
the barriers of stratification; and in fact he came to celebrate that dissolution when
he wrote a second poem entitled "Cafa" (Sugar Cane) that appeared in his
penultimate book Par el mar de las Antillas anda un bareo de papel, 1979 (A
Paper Boat Sails Along the Antillean Sea), in which he recalls the first poem and
writes in the final verses of this later one: "Ayer llorindote estuve/ una dolida
canci6n/ pero hoy ya tu coraz6n/ su libre sangre levanta/ y ardiendo en tu pecho
canta/ cantos de Revoluci6n" (Yesterday over you crying I bowed/ and in song
bemoaned our opposition,/ but today your hearts full circulation/ its free blood
raises/ and burning in your chest it praises,/ singing songs of revolution).
Guill6n could not point with such insistence to the multiple components
that constitute the population and the culture of Cuba without being sensitive to
other societies and to the problems and conflicts that exist in them. It can truly be
said of him that the trunk of the tree of his poetry is firmly rooted in Cuba and that
the branches are like antennae, which point to various parts of the world and which
are especially sensitive to the vulnerable subaltern sectors when they are threat-
ened by hegemonic forces. This internationalist spirit leads him to identify himself
in several ways: as a son of Africa, a son of the Americas, a son of Spain and as a
West Indian; and to lend the service of his pen to sectors in Asia, North America
and Europe. Yet his poetry in its championing the idea of social justice, including
the full acceptance of Cuba's racial mixture, so that a unified and sovereign nation
may prevail, is first of all patriotic and humane. For this reason it wouldn't be just
to classify him as a poet of the Caribbean, of Spain, of Africa, of the Americas or
of any of the already mentioned areas without remembering always that it is
largely his Cuban patriotism that leads to his concern for other parts of the world.
This is explicitly the case when he goes to Spain's defence with his prose and his
poetry at the time of the great crisis in that country, the Spanish Civil War, or when
he dedicates his Son de Angola" (Angola Son) to that African country, or when
he sings to Puerto Rico.
If the poem Espaira: poema en cuatro angustias y una esperanza (Spain:
Poem in Four Anguishes and a Hope) is the work in which Guill6n most concen-
tratedly expresses his adherence to Spain, West Indies Ltd. is the book that
expresses with greatest intensity his Antillean ties, especially in two of the sixteen
poems published in the original edition of 1934, "Palabras en el Tr6pico (Words
in the Tropics) and "West Indies Ltd.," the title poem. In this latter poem he
condemns the historical and current exploitation of the people and their resultant
devastating situation: their hunger, the drugs, the incessant humiliations, the
negation of the humanity of vast sectors, the neglect in which they live, the
brutality of the police and the soldiers, and, at the same time, the pretensions of
the haughty bourgeoisie and the tendency of some of the exploited people to
believe in the superiority of their exploiters. Guill6n uses here the two structural
strategies already mentioned to indicate the antagonism between mixture and
stratification, together with other formal techniques; for example, the variety of
verse forms, the popular son alternating with the neo-classical silva. Again he
attacks, as he is going to do in other contexts, the notion of purity; and, in order to
reveal the centrally Cuban focus of the poem, he introduces words in English to
point to the state of alienation that accompanies this unpleasant reality:
aqui estan los servidores de Mr. Babbit.
Los que educan sus hijos en West Point.
aqui estan los que chill an hello baby,
Y fuman Chesterfield" y Lucky Strike"
aqui estin los bailadores de fox trots,
Los boys del jazz band
Y los veraneantes de Miami y de Palm Beach[...]
aqui estA 10 mejor de Port-au-Prince,
Lo mis puro de Kinston, la high life de La Habana...
Pero aqui estin tambien los que remain en lagrimis,
Galeotes dramiticos, galeotes dramiticos.
(Here you'll find the servants of Mr. Babbit.
Those who educate their sons at West Point.
Here you'll find those who yell hello baby,
And smoke "Chesterfield" and "Lucky Strike."
Here you'll find the fox trot dancers,
the boys of the jazz band
and the summer vacationers from Miami and Palm
Here you'll find the best of Port-au-Prince,
the purest of Kingston, the high life of Havana.
But here you'll find too those who row in tears,
dramatic galley slaves, dramatic galley slaves.)
The poem "Guadalupe W.I.," written in 1938 when Guill6n, on returning
from Spain, had come to know this island, was later added to the book. We have
here also a strict segregation of various elements of the country that in this case
results in no one answering when the poet shouts the name of the island, a shout
that occupies precisely the centre of the poem. There is an absence of nationhood;
and while the country is losing its resources "quedan los negros trabajando,/ los
arabes vendiendo,/ los franceses paseando y descansando,/ y el sol ardi6ndo[...]"
(the blacks keep on working, the Arabs selling,/ the French strolling and resting,/
and the sun blazing).
In fact, if examples of integration are to be found in the book West Indies
Ltd., they exist in the sector of the oppressed in which representatives of all the
groups can be found, for
aqui hay blancos y negros y chinos y mulatos.
Desde luego, se trata de colors baratos,
Pues a traves de tratos y contratos
Se han corrido los tintes y no hay un tono estible.
(El que piense otra cosa que advance un paso y hable.)
[Here there are whites and blacks and Chinese and mulat-
Of course, we're dealing with cheap colors,
since through contacts and contracts
the colors have run and there's no stable shade.
(Let whoever thinks otherwise step forward and speak.)
The book West Indies Ltd, then, is part of a consciousness-raising project
to which Guill6n dedicates himself throughout his literary work. The book contrib-
utes significantly to promoting the idea that liberation is achieved with the erasure
of the lines that demarcate social strata and that frustrate the union of people, a
union that is necessary to combat the hegemonic powers that function like persist-
ent and ingenious snakes 7 or tigers, ready to attach themselves to an accommo-
dating stratum. His rebellious and humane poetry, attached to the interests of the
broad misses, seems to suggest that true Caribbean integration will be possible
when liberation based on this kind of awareness is attained. Besides, the wide
scope of manifestations of his empathy implies that Caribbean integration has an
important global dimension to which Caribbean people ought to be alert.
In his personal relations with Caribbean people, Guill6n lives the princi-
ples revealed throughout his literary work. The observations and actions that
sustain his concern for Haiti represent well his disposition to serve the cause of
Caribbean integration. As he tells us in his autobiography entitled Pdginas vueltas
(Turned Pages), in 1942 he visited that neighboring country for the official
purpose of delivering a Cuban flag that the Cuban Anti-fascist League was
presenting to President Lescot, in recognition of Haitian-Cuban unity against
fascism. He did it in a splendid ceremony that included the intrusive participation
of the U.S. ambassador in those moments of the war against Nazism, an intrusive-
ness that Guill6n rebuffed when he declined to give to the ambassador information
that he had requested from him about Cuba. Guill6n, who had acknowledged with
pleasure the official and popular reception that he had received in his cooperative
mission during his time in Haiti, nevertheless did not fail to observe the social
situation prevailing in the capital of that country. He noticed the absurdity of the
social and economic stratification based now not on the division between French-
men, Arabs and blacks, as was the case in Guadeloupe, or Yankees and blacks as
in the first poem "Sugar Cane," but on the skin complexion of Haitians. He
observed segregation between blacks and mulattos and a discrimination that
victimized the blacks so systematically that it was comparable with South African
Guill6n had tried to build a friendship with the poet Roussan Camille, but
that relationship foundered when Camille attached himself to the dictatorship of
Paul Magloire (seen by Guill6n as a faithful servant of U.S. interests) and tried to
make Guill6n an accomplice in his error. Guill6n rescued another Haitian, the poet
and novelist Rene Depestre from another dictatorship, that of Francois Duvalier,
but this relationship also ended badly when the Haitian abandoned his principles
and his dream of a united Haiti integrated in the Caribbean. The most intimate and
sustained relationship that Guill6n had with a Haitian was with the novelist and
poet Jacques Roumain. He had met Roumain in Paris in 1937, and immediately the
two struck up a friendship which was strengthened through visits by Guill6n to
Haiti and Roumain to Cuba and that would last until Roumain's death in 1944.
Guill6n made him the protagonist of one of his great elegies, a poem in which
images of everyday life reflect stable intimacy and real acquaintance with the
simple and firm essence of his character. It is precisely Roumain's stability, in
contrast with the fickleness of his just-mentioned compatriot writers, that allows
Guill6n to see in Roumain an existence that will endure beyond death, a focus of
awareness that is capable of putting an end to the bloody divisions prompted and
exacerbated by imperialist interventions, that have held back Haitian progress.
With his usual artistic mastery, Guill6n has known how to extract the
maximum effect from the formal elements of the poem. He begins with a sonnet,
a classical form appropriate for establishing the idea of stability in Roumain's
character. He continues with irregular rhyme, indicating the diverse reminiscences
of the daily life of his Haitian friend. Then come anaphoras which give promi-
nence to the preoccupation with the insistent shedding of blood in Haiti that is the
central theme of their conversations. The use of geographical elements not bound
together by any kind of rhyme emphasizes the stratification based on skin colour
in the lines
Negros descalzos frente al Champ de Mars,
0 en el tibio mulato camino de P6tionville,
0 mis arriba,
En el ya frio blanco camino de Kenskoff.
(Barefooted blacks outside the Champ de Mars,
or on the cool mulatto road to Petionville,
on the really cold white road to Kenskoff.)
And there is the concluding song whose lines are linked by pronounced
consonantal rhymes that underline the belief in a future of real integration.
Guillen's relations with the English-speaking Caribbean are not as close
as those with Haiti but are nevertheless significant. He participated in Carifesti, a
West Indian cultural festival, as leader of the Cuban delegation, and visited some
of the islands. He was a great admirer of the Jamaican poet Louise Bennett and he
received cordially people of the English-speaking Caribbean on their visits to
Cuba, even though some of them were not well known in that country, the poet
and novelist Neville Dawes, for instance.
Dawes visited Cuba in 1973 in his capacity as director of the Institute of
Jamaica, the most important cultural institution in that island. Prior to his visit, his
knowledge of Cuban poetry was slight, but thanks to the cordial and constructive
welcome that Guillen gave him, to the sample of Cuban literature and Cuban
writers in their true context that he came to know during his brief visit, Dawes,
who was a specialist in English literature of the time of Chaucer and very knowl-
edgeable about English West Indian writing, became a truly Caribbean writer. A
product of that visit is his brilliant essay, Prolegomena to Caribbean Literature, in
which he studied some of the principal poets, Derek Walcott of St. Lucia, Edward
Kamau Brathwaite of Barbados, and Guillen, taking into account also the Martini-
can Aime Cesaire, the Guyanese Martin Carter and the Jamaican George Camp-
bell. He concludes that, by giving an authentic voice to the black sector in
Caribbean life and by championing a constructive and dynamic mixture of people,
Guill6n is the great poet of the Caribbean. In the following years and before his
premature death, Dawes talked to me frequently about how important it was for
him to have met Nicolas Guill6n in Cuba.
Dawes's perception of the difference between Guill6n and Walcott, espe-
cially Walcott's superficial consideration of race, leads me to consider an aspect of
the two writers in the light of the inclusive and integrative characteristics of
Guill6n's poetry that I have been discussing. In particular I should like to compare
their approach to a phenomenon about which they wrote at the same time: the
struggle of the Mau Mau to free the Kikuyu people from British colonialism and
to reclaim their land. Walcott's poem "A Far Cry from Africa" published in many
anthologies and celebrated for its powerfully anguished expression reveals an
imagination besieged by reports of the conflict between the British armed forces
and the Kenyan guerrillas. The text of the poem is:
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
But still the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
'Waste no compassion on these separate dead'
Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews?
Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break
In a white dust of ibises whose cries
Have wheeled since civilization's dawn
From the parched river or beast-teeming plain;
The violence of beast on beast is read
As natural law, but upright man
Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain.
Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars
Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum,
While he calls courage still, that native dread
Of the white peace contracted by the dead.
Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again
A waste of our compassion, as with Spain.
The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
Betray them both, or give back what they give?
How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
How can I turn from Africa and live?
A determining trait in the poem is the psychic position of the speaker who
is a transmitter of images of the war familiar to those who listened to BBC reports
during the 1950s. This speaker looks down on the conduct of a war in which
"brutish necessity wipes its hands/ Upon the napkin of a dirty cause." At the same
time, as the urgent questions that constitute the climactic end of the poem indicate,
he is obsessed with the conflict and cannot close his eyes to its horrors. The poet is
in an intense state of ambivalence that results from the attractions and the repul-
sions that both antagonists reveal to him. Nevertheless, scrutiny of the language
that attempts to project this state reveals certain imbalances. The semantic field
from which the terms that symbolize the antagonists are chosen belongs to the
world of the lower animals. Words like "flies," "worm," "carrion" appear as
similes or metaphors designating the combatants. But the paradigm that represents
the Mau Mau for whom the word "flies" serves as a simile is extended with other
negative uses, such as "savages" and "gorilla." On the other hand the negative
terms applied to the colonizers are mitigated by the word "superman," by the
adjective that indicates a transitory incapacity "The drunken officer of British
rule," and by the image that naturally evokes sympathy: "the white child hacked in
bed." And the only unequivocal declaration of love in the poem is directed at an
aspect of colonial heritage, the English language.
All this obliges the reader of the poem to realize that the ambivalent
stance claimed by the poet is refuted by the demonstrably favourable treatment
given in the poemlI to the colonizers. Their blood seems after all to be less toxic
than the other blood. Four lines from the end of the poem, the poet tries to choose
between an Africa burdened with negative connotations and "the English tongue I
love." This declaration of love deserves some scrutiny. The poet here had several
lexical options available to specify the object of his love. For example, he might
have used synonyms of "tongue" such as "language" or "speech." The former,
without altering the rhythmic pattern, would have provided another instance of the
alliteration which so frequently adorns this poem; while "speech" would have lent
assonance to "English." Walcott chooses "tongue," which is less sonorous but so
alive with meaning that it becomes difficult to limit it to a single reference. Unlike
"language" or "speech," "tongue" has active synecdochic force. It ties the idea of
language to the physical organ of articulation, thus evoking contiguity between the
English language and the English people as speakers. "Tongue" thus comes to
extend the expression of love to the English people, revealing further an attach-
ment that undermines the poet's professed difficulty in choosing between this
"English tongue" and the base, disorderly and wicked entity that Africa, a "para-
dise" before the uprising, has become. The English tongue and Africa in fact
function antithetically here; and, when the word "Africa" is repeated in the last
line of the poem, it has lost all possibility of being attractive. The speaker of this
poem, inflamed by cruel images of the war and by repulsive visions of the Kikuyu,
declares that he is "divided to the vein" and loses himself in a confused mulatto
identity which is historic and lacks a true Antillean consciousness. The unpleas-
ant division that Guill6n had observed between strata of the population and that
impeded progress in the Caribbean is found here manifesting itself dramatically
within a single person.
Guillen's poem, "Mau-Maus" (Mau Mau), written in 1953, displays none
of the ambivalence that complicates and imperils Walcott's poem. Guill6n's poem
offers a keen awareness concerning the point of view that controls the presentation
of information and a lucid understanding of the interests served by such presenta-
tion. The poem deals primarily with propaganda, specifically British propaganda,
the objective of which is to distract attention from imperial terror in Kenya, a terror
that is at the service of depriving the people of that country of what rightfully
belongs to them. The text is
speaks of the Mau Mau;
Blacks of teeth and fingernails,
of cannibalism and totem.
The ink grunts, it reports,
it says that the Mau Mau
killed an Englishman....
(Just between us: it was the same Englishman with his de-
kepi, his rifle
civilized and Remington,
who into the lung of Africa
with one crisp hard blow
thrust his imperial dagger,
of school-book sword,
of syphilis, of gunpowder,
of money, business, yes.)
Letters of tall ink
report that the Mau Mau
seized British tropical
and in their barbarous assault
a hundred Englishmen succumbed
to fire, blood, death....
(Just between us: they were
the same hundred Englishmen
to "whom London said:
Kill, eat Mau Mau;
sweep, bur Kenya;
leave not a single Kikuyu *
alive, and let their women
forever have only
ashes on their tables
and dryness in their bellies.)
reports that the Mau Mau
flatten crops like
a savage river,
burn fertile lands,
kill bulls and deer.
(Just between us: they used to be
owners of ten thousand huts,
of trees, of the rain,
of the sun, of the mountain,
owners of seeds,
of furrows, of clouds,
of the wind, of peace )
It is something plain and simple
oh Englishman of hard kepi!
plain and simple: owners.
The overall structure of the poem is determined by two perspectives on
the struggle: the colonial point of view, followed by the confidential, rectifying,
anti-colonialist point of view of the speaker. The reader never doubts the moral or
political position of the speaker. The first line of the poem "Poisoned ink"
characterizes immediately as vicious the colonialist version. This version is pre-
sented with unyielding insistence, as the four verbs of communication "speaks,"
"grunts," "reports" and "says," used within the next five short lines, indicate. And
"grunts" associates the colonizers with lower animal life. Variations on the initial
line point to the two other stanzas of the poem in which the first parts also convey
the perspective of the colonizer. These reports, discredited by the speaker, form
the context for the use of words like "cannibalism," "barbarous," and "savage"
referring to the Mau Mau, consistent with the sensationalism based on synchronic
and distorted elements that characterizes propaganda. The expression "Just be-
tween us" that begins confidentially the second part of each stanza is directed at
anti colonialists, and serves to create anti-colonialists by exposing the aggression
and barbarity of the foreign invaders. These antithetical parts raise the level of the
content to include historical and concrete elements which otherwise would be
suppressed by the persistent fabrications of the controllers of information. And the
poem acquires solemn dimensions in the final refutation in which the present is
explained by linking the past to the future, causing history to give the basis for the
desire to recover what has been lost, showing that those who were owners of the
land will possess it again. Because of all this, one does not see in this poem an
attempt to resolve a personal dilemma, as in Walcott's case, but an act of altruism
in which the presence of an "I" without the use of the first person singular
exemplifies the way in which, as is typical in Guill6n, the "I is converted into a
"we" in a pact of intense solidarity with those who find themselves besieged by
racism, imperialism or fascism. The difference between Guill6n and Walcott is
further clarified when one examines a detail of Walcott's poem, his allusion to the
Spanish Civil War in the line "A waste of our compassion, as with Spain." The line
suggests the censuring of those who were motivated by events in Spain to sympa-
thize, as Guill6n had done by word and deed, with the antifascist forces, and it
seems to validate poets such as T.S. Eliot, who, along with Britain and other
imperialist countries, had counselled neutrality during that war.
Guill6n brings to the humanist tradition a keenness of percep-
tion that is exceptional. For example, he wrote the poem "Mau-
Maus" ih Rio de Janeiro in 1953 at the beginning of his long
period of exile from Cuba that ended in 1959 with the triumph
of the Revolution. He had no privileged information concerning
the details of what was happening in Kenya. Nevertheless, years
after the conflict, when in England the sensational had given
way to the analytical, some serious scholars there corroborated
Guill6n's perspective. For example, Malise Ruthven in her book
Torture: The Great Conspiracy, of 1978, provides a description
of British fabrication of cases of Kikuyu terror that without her
knowing it almost copies the structure of Guill6n's poem,12
Walcott's "a curse on both their houses" posture and his pre-
sumed ambivalence are not supported by the vastly dispropor-
tionate toll taken by the Africans in the conflict. Black rebels in
their thousands were killed directly and other blacks were used
as cannon fodder by the British, while very few whites died.13
The focus of the Cuban poet in his poem "Mau-Maus" on the question of
the role of the information media in the abuse of colonized people was keenly
relevant in 1952. It also anticipates the alarm of many in the Caribbean and in
other parts of the world in the face of the ever stricter control of an information
system that propagates a world order that is quite different from that which Guill6n
considers to be appropriate for our countries.
And so, Guill6n did not simply make observations about the tardiness in
achieving Caribbean unity such as those he made in 1941. He showed in his
writings, with their rich mixture of perspicacity and imagination, rationality and
emotion, as well as by his actions, decisive paths to this achievement. Like Jos6
Marti he suggested that in cultivating integrative developmental ways and eschew-
ing divisive ones, common cause must first be made with the sectors that tradition-
ally face the injustice of oppression and exclusion. His contribution to effecting
this in his own country has earned him his popularly acclaimed status as National
NOTES and REFERENCES
1. Nicolas Guill6n, Prosa deprisa, Vol. 1, p. 157.
2. These essays may be found in Nicolas Guill6n, Prosa de prisa, Vol. I, pp. 3-11.
3. Prosa de prisa, Vol. 3, p. 381.
4. All the poems by Guill6n mentioned in this article and their translations into English may be
found in Nicolas Guillen, A Bilingual Anthology, Havana: Editorial Jose Marti,2004.
5. Obra poetic. Vol. 1, p. 92.
6. Prosa deprisa, Vol. 3, p. 289.
7. The image used by Guill6n in his allegorical poem "Sensemaya" from West Indies Ltd. (1934).
8. The image used allegorically by Jos6 Marti in his essay "Nuestra America" (1891).
9. The text is from Derek Walcott, In A Green Night.
10. Walcott critics have habitually overlooked this feature of the poem, or they have done worse.
For example, in her analysis, Heather M.Bradley writes of an "objectivity [which] allows Wal-
cott to contemplate the faults of each culture without reverting to the bias created by attention
to moral considerations. He characterizes the African Kikuyu in a negative light: 'flies/Batten
upon the bloodstream of the veldt' [...].The Kikuyu resemble primitive savages who abuse the
fertile resources of their native plains. In this sense, the entrance of the British appears benefi-
cial not only to the inhabitants, but also to the suffering land. However, Walcott contradicts this
savior image of the British through an unfavorable description in the ensuing lines: 'The worm
colonial [sic, this word should be 'colonel'] of carrion, cries: /'Waste no compassion on these
separate dead/'[...]. The poet casts the authoritative British figure as a worm, a creature which
exists below the fly on the evolutionary ladder"
(http://www.postcolonialweb.org/caribbean/walcott/bradley2.htlm). But "worm" does not serve
in the poem as a metaphor for the British. It is an earthworm, given the superior rank of"colo-
nel of carrion," and is thus endowed with militarized personification and the power of speech
to comment with cool equanimity on the "separate dead," the British and the African. Thus
"worm" does not cast a negative image on the British that counterbalances the indisputably
negative images of the Kikuyu people.
I1. The original text is:
Habla de los mau-maus;
Negros de diente y una,
De antropofagia y totem.
Grufla la tinta, cuenta,
Dice que los mau-maus
Mataron a un ingles.
(aqui en secret ; era
el mismo en ingles de kepis
profanador, de rifle
civilizado y remingon,
que en el pulm6n de Africa
con golpe seco y fire
clav6 su daga-imperio,
de hierro abecedario,
de sifilis, de polvora,
de money, business, yes.)
Letras de larga tinta,
cuentan que los mau-maus
casas de sueno y tr6pico
y a fuego, sangre, muerte,
bajo el asalto barbaro
cien ingleses cayeron...
(A qui en secret eran
los mismos cien ingleses
a quienes Londres dijo
-Mitad, corned mau-maus;
barred, incendiad Kenya;
que ni un solo kikuyus
viva, y que sus mujeres
por siempre de ceniza
servida vean su mesa
y seco vean su vientre.)
Tinta de largas letras
cuenta que los mau-maus
arrasan como un rio
salvaje las cosechas,
envenenan las aguas,
queman las tierras pr6vidas,
matan toros y ciervos.
(A qui en secret : eran
dueflos de diez mil chozas,
del arbol, de la lluvia,
del sol, de la montana,
dueflos de la semilla,
del surco, de la nube,
del viento, de la paz...)
Algo sencillo y simple
oh ingles de duro kepis!
Simple y sencillo: duenos.
12. Malise Ruthven, p. 283. At the political level, in 1959, news of the deaths of many Mau Mau
prisoners of war from malnutrition, beatings and overwork at the British-run Camp Hola in
Kenya could not be suppressed. Barbara Castle representing the opposition Labour Party was
joined by rightwinger Enoch Powell in urging the Conservative government of Harold Macmil-
lan to disband the detention camp. At that time, when the Soviet Union existed and there was
some sensitivity to "world opinion" and to "winds of change" in Africa, the government com-
plied. The political process then began that led to Kenyan independence in 1963.
13. The following account entitled "Mau Mau Rebellion," from ]Microsoft Encarta On-line Encyclo-
pedia 2001) is standard: "Before the rebellion was quashed three years later, 11,000 rebels had
been killed, and a total of 80,000 Kikuyu-men, women and children-were confined in detention
camps. On the other side some 100 Europeans and 2000 pro-British Africans lost their lives."
Global Tourism and Caribbean Culture
DAVID BENNETT with SOPHIE GEBHARDT
A recent report by the World Tourism Organisation projects that by the
year 2020 roughly a quarter of the worlds 7.8 billion people will take a foreign
trip.' The great majority of international tourists, however, currently come from
just a handful of countries the USA, Britain, France, Germany and Japan and in
the Caribbean for much of the past half-century the tourist industry has been
characterized by white, expatriate management, catering to a mainly white, mid-
dle-class American and European clientele, providing low-wage jobs for local
black majority populations and repatriating profits to the home bases of interna-
tional firms (Gayle and Goodrich 2; Holder 21). Add to this repetition of the
colonial syndrome the fact that most of the images of the Caribbean promoted by
local organizations such as the Caribbean Tourist Association (established in
1951) were initially created and sold by Madison Avenue (Holder 21), and it is
inevitable that debates about tourism impact on Caribbean identity should be
haunted by the spectre of cultural, no less than commercial, neo-colonialism.
It would be presumptuous for Australians such as ourselves to try to
comment on the costs and benefits (economic, political, social, environmental) of
tourism to different groups in the region; what we do want to risk, however, are
some reflections on the competing conceptions of "culture" at stake in debates
about tourism as an agent of globalization in the Caribbean. In the first part of our
paper, we consider how these debates have typically been structured around such
opposition as local/global, rooted/displaced, authentic/i
nauthentic cultures, and the tension between aesthetic and anthropologi-
cal usages of the term "culture" itself, or culture as reified "heritage" versus
culture as a "way of life", a distinctive form of community. In the second part of
the paper, we propose a rethinking of the position of the tourist in these debates,
considering the tourists relation to "Caribbean culture" from our own perspective
as travellers from Australia and suggesting that the particularities of the tourists
own experiences of travel and cultural difference can offer a model of self-reflex-
ivity that destabilises the opposition examined in the first part of the paper.
In most discussions of globalization and cultural identity, tourism figures
as an agent of inauthenticity and alienation. Reifying and aestheticising regional
differences, the tourist industry contributes to the globalization of consumer cul-
ture by redefining social practices and the physical environment as commodified
spectacle and prepackaged "experience" both for the tourist and for the corre-
spondingly self-alienated "host" population. Two recent discussions of Caribbean
culture, by Rex Nettleford and Stuart Hall, will illustrate some of the conflicting
positions that have been taken on the relationship between "local" and "global"
culture in the region, each with a defensive eye on what Hall calls the "Coca-col-
onisation" or "Nike-faction of the world" (32), to which tourism is seen as a
In his 1993 essay, "Heritage Tourism and the Myth of Caribbean Cul-
ture," Rex Nettleford observes:
Cultural tourism to many people is, in any case, a camouflage
for touristicc culture" which any West Indian who is serious
about his [sic] heritage and the integrity of its authenticity and
autonomy would not wish to adopt. And understandably so! For
where cultural tourism works best is when the culture genuinely
belongs to the host people, where it is very much in place,
active, alive and available in the normal circumstances for their
guests (the visitors) to come and enjoy. [A] people... [should]
never dig out their heritage for someone else, least of all for
tourists. Dig it out for themselves first and then invite guests to
come in and enjoy it with them. (143-44)
While Nettleford describes festivals such as Trinidad Carnival, Goombay
and Sunsplash as only incidentally touristic phenomena, and as "all com[ing] from
the organic roots of the respective peoples who have created them," his organicist
conception of aesthetic culture as the spontaneous self-expression of an embedded
community does not prevent him encouraging local entrepreneurs to invest in
Caribbean music and dance to assist them in becoming, as he puts it, "marketable
as part of the tourism product" (145). In other words, Nettleford is untroubled by
the prospect of culture as commodity or industry (and, after all, when was "cul-
ture" in the aesthetic or Arnoldian sense not a function of the social division of
labour?); his only concern is that it should be an industry catering primarily to
indigenous Caribbean needs and tastes, and only secondarily to tourists. Others
have insisted that cultural tourism can be integral to the role of cultural policy in
building nationhood and identity; yet the tourist industry potential to drive culture
industries to stimulate regional cultural production and self-differentiation as an
industry is typically seen as an agent of inauthenticity or denaturing self-con-
sciousness, as if industrial-strength culture, so to speak, were somehow simulated
culture. This, for example, is how Malcolm Waters describes tourism role in
the objects of the tourist gaze are obliged to relativize their
activities, that is to compare and contrast [them] to the tastes of
those that sightsee; in certain circumstances this may imply
local cultural revival if only in simulated form. (155-56)
Since UNESCO popularised the term "cultural tourism" in the mid-1960s, such
"simulated" cultural revivals have been on the economic agendas of many emerg-
Stuart Hall's vision of local Caribbean cultural revival or, better, "sur-
vival"- is in striking contrast to Nettleford's, and it revels in precisely the relativ-
ism and self-reflexivity that Waters describes. In "Caribbean Culture: Future
Trends" (1997) Hall reflects on the natural tendency of decolonised peoples to
practice culture as a resistance to globalization, viewing it as a tendency that
should be resisted. The Caribbean itself, Hall insists, was a product of globaliza-
tion produced by the process of colonial exploration, conquest, and forced
transportation of indigenous peoples around the globe, which went into the mak-
ing of a world market. African Caribean culture has been disaporic since its
inception, then, and what should be valued in Caribbean cultural history are the
strategies of survival of a diasporic people always already in the embrace of
globalization: strategies of appropriation, pastiche and transcoding, rather than
resistance to exchange. In Hall's view, the ethno-essentialist reaction to globaliza-
tion, which seeks to revive cultural roots or rebuild traditions interrupted by
colonialism, represents less a resistance than a capitulation to the "terrors of
globalization" a retreat "inside the bunker" of tradition (32). Hall's exemplary
postcolonial cultural survivors are what he calls the "mobile phone generation" of
young African Caribbeans living, not in West Kingston, but in West London and
practising "local" culture as bricolage and translation rather than fidelity to roots
or origins. Connected via their cell phones to the global variety of local cultures,
this new generation of "global ethnics" self-reflexively reinvents African Carib-
beanness as a distinctive hybrid identity in "a now irrevocably multicultural
London", and its "cultural interchange with this often hostile white society is fluid
and open and constantly being reconstructed in an astonishing way" (28). Nettle-
ford's "integrity", "authenticity and autonomy" are not for Hall. In the letters
orthodoxly modernist view, cultural value, or the culturally valuable, comprises
discontinuity and inventiveness, not loyalty to tradition; the hybrid or synthetic,
not the pure; and the culturally self-reflexive (expressive practices that represent
reflection on the nature of culture itself). (Daniel Segal has meanwhile shown
how the representation of African Caribbeans as lacking in tradition because
uprooted, or culturally disinherited because displaced, served the interests of a
colonial society that constructed Africanness as a void or absence in order to
legitimate its exploitation of people of African descent as mere labour power, and
denied them social standing unless they filled their presumed lack and hence
masked their blackness with the cultural values of white society.)
Granted, Hall's essay does not consider the affinity between diasporic
culture and touristicc culture," but his characteristically "postcolonial" celebration
of what Homi Bhabha calls "mongrelity" participates in a discourse of Caribbean
racial and cultural hybridity that has been actively promoted by some local elites
as part of their effort to attract foreign tourism and intensify their region's involve-
ment in the international market. In a telling case study of tourism's role in identity
politics in Cartagena, Colombia, Joel Streicker has demonstrated how this dis-
course of hybrid Caribbean identity appropriated by middle-class intellectuals
for an oppositional cultural politics serves the interests of economic elites by
helping to mask racial discrimination and the class divisions it sustains, rendering
blackness all but invisible, and reassuring and attracting a white North American
tourist clientele for whom blackness is potentially threatening. In the rhetoric of
Cartagenas tourist promoters, the so-called "Caribbean" qualities of "racial and
cultural hybridity, peacefulnness, extroversion, sincerity, love of music and
dance" (Streicker 532) are a synthetic product of African, Indian and Spanish
influences, which have displaced racial differences with a distinctive regional
identity one that actively discourages political organization around blackness. In
this sense, Streicker argues, "a discourse of hybridity forms part of a strategy of
domination, rather than liberation" (525).
In tension with the discourse of cultural hybridity in the Caribbean is a
discourse of ethnic exclusivism grounded in heritage, which is no less entangled
with the tourist industry. The ethnologist Karen Olwig has contrasted the view of
culture as a way-of-life that she encountered on the Caribbean island of St. John
with the conception of culture as reified "heritage" promoted both by those with
vested interests in the tourist industry and by a global heritage movement that
views the documentation and preservation of the past as a value in itself.
Olwig's informants interpreted St. Johnian cultural identity as a matter
"of actively participating in the moral community of mutual exchange" that
traditionally sustained the islands family-land system, and to which the systems of
wage labour and real-estate ownership on other islands were foreign; they were
consequently resistant to pressures from the tourist industry and heritage move-
ment to represent their cultural identity in the reified form of historical sites,
monuments, museums. The heritage industry, which treats cultural tradition as a
form of property and its ethnic "bearers" as property-owners, encourages some
indigenous groups to reinvent, package and sometimes sell their culture as heri-
tage whether in the form of an aesthetic performance, an object of display, or a
museum-piece divorced from everyday life. Such "heritage" typically links a
people with a place, and it has provided fourth-world peoples with an important
platform for arguing for special privileges or rights, including land rights; but the
downside of the heritage-as-property discourse is that culture which is not tied to
place, or not place-specific, tends to be seen as discontinuity or lack of tradition.
Place being a metaphor for rootedness in culture and tradition, those who are
labelled as dis-placed (such as refugees) are effectively decultured. Moreover, as
Olwig points out with regard to the heritage industry's construction of culture as
property: "divorcing cultural display from the relations of everyday life meant that
[some] St. Johnians could present themselves as committed to local culture while
nonetheless pursuing North American ways a pursuit that further undermined the
very culture they meant to preserve" (378).
Such controversies over culture as embedded or diasporic, integral or
hybrid, enriched or impoverished by tourism are neither peculiar to the Caribbean,
of course, nor resolvable at the level of theory. But alongside the familiar critiques
of tourism as an agent of globalization or neocolonialism, we have seen the
emergence in recent years of a theoretical discourse that valorises the tourist as an
exemplary figure of modernity and a prototype of the self-reflexive, postcolonial
anthropologist. Theorists associated with this development in cultural studies
include Dean MacCannell, James Clifford and John Urry, the last of whom
identifies tourism with a self-reflexive cosmopolitanism which, he says, presup-
poses "a stance of openness to others, a willingness to take risks and an ability to
reflect upon and judge aesthetically between different natures, places, societies,
both now and in the past" (145). In the controversial book which inaugurated this
theoretical trend, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class, Dean MacCan-
nell defended tourism as that form of unalienated leisure activity in which indi-
viduals experience cultural interaction as social integration. Reflecting on the
"scientific" form of this interaction, James Clifford has pointed out that since
Franz Boas's time the "field" of anthropological fieldwork has been "seen as a rite
of passage, a place of personal/professional initiation, learning, growth, ordeal,
and the like" (99), while the object of study itself- anthropological "culture" has
come to be conceived as "a site of travel encounters as [much as] of residence", of
inter-communal exchanges and "cosmopolitan experiences as much as rooted,
native ones" (101). It is from such encounters and exchanges that the concept of
culture itself arises. To borrow a phrase of Fredric Jameson's, culture is "the
nimbus perceived by one group when it comes into contact with and observes
another" (33), and just as one group's "core" is another's "periphery", so a culture
is always a site of travel for someone. Travel, or movement, is central to the idea
of modernity; from Baudelaire to Benjamin to Virillio, the modem subject is the
mobile subject, one who travels, and a corollary of increasing mobility is both an
aesthetic relation to place and culture and what Urry terms "an aesthetic cos-
mopolitanism" (145) or "aesthetic reflexivity" (146), for the more mobile people
are, the better they "are able to monitor and evaluate their society and its place
within the world, both historically and geographically" (145). In Urry's account,
nowadays this "aesthetic reflexivity is at least in theory open to all" (146), since
the mobility that enables or produces it can take many forms, simulated as well as
real, and is no less available to consumers of magazines, television and the Internet
than it is to transcontinental airplane passengers. In an era when "people are
encouraged to gaze upon and collect the signs and images of many cultures to act
as tourists, in other words", whether they are literally mobile or not, the specificity
of tourism as an activity and experience has dissolved. Adding the "end of
tourism" to the numerous other "ends" supposedly characteristic of postmoder-
nity, then, Urry suggests that we have entered the age of the "post-tourist" (140).
Given the disparate views of tourism and the tourist that we have been
canvassing, how can we situate ourselves, as both cultural theorists and tourists
from Australia, in relation to the interests that give rise to a conference on the
theme of "re-thinking Caribbean culture"? This is the question to which we turn in
the second part of our paper, speaking now from the position of the subject of
discourses on tourism.
From Australia to the Caribbean there is no direct route, either literally or
imaginatively. Even the Lonely Planet guidebooks to the Caribbean, despite being
published from Australia, are addressed to a northern-hemisphere (if not primarily
North American) readership, and discovering how to get from Melbourne to
Bridgetown involves a degree of committed research, including enlightening
Australian travel agents about the existence of a Bridgetown that is not in Western
Australia. So, whilst the Caribbean has operated, at least since the early
eighteenthcentury, as a powerful signifier of pleasure/leisure and cultural differ-
ence for middle-class Europeans and North Americans, most Australians would
know little about the cultural and historical diversity of the region, relying on hazy
images of sun, sand, cricket and reggae, sharpened by occasional glimpses from
popular culture: a James Bond movie, say, or the syndicated British TV produc-
tion, Pleasure Island, which constructs Jamaica as an inhibition free and duty-free
zone for bored Brits.
In travelling to Barbados we are no doubt contributing to the reproduc-
tion of these stereotypes of Caribbean culture. As semiotic theories of tourism
have shown, however, our experience of the object will never repeat or be equiva-
lent to the representations of the object; and as the postcolonial or postmodern
refigurings of"culture" have shown, another culture can never be experienced as
unitary. Rather, the postmodern or global tourist arrives at the object via a number
of converging and conflicting routes (or identifications) and with baggage contain-
ing a variety of ideas, knowledge and stories about the culture visited. For
example, we are, at once: tourists, an Australian-born and a British-born cultural
theorist, a feminist and a post-marxist, with divergent interests and reasons for
coming here. Each of these routes and personal histories articulates a different
relation to the destination, such that our experience of the "object" can never be
reduced to one or another historical or theoretical model just as the object itself
(the Caribbean) resists or transgresses attempts to resolve it into its idealised form.
The tourist, we suggest, is a more complicated figure than much theory so far
allows; and this figure finds his/her historical origins in a number of practices of
place, mobility and knowledge-production that cut across the narrative in which
he/she is most often contained: the narrative of colonialism and neo-colonialism.
This narrative, we would argue, cannot answer to the current need to discover
fresh ways of thinking about, and living with, the relations brought about by
globalization. What we want to suggest, instead, is that historical precedents for
the contemporary tourist can be found in certain figures who occupy sites of
dislocation in the dominant narrative of colonialism, and that the tourist might
consequently be re-conceived as participating in practices of self-reflection and
knowledge-production that work to reveal, rather than obscure, the complexity of
One of the key assumptions in the construction of the cultural "other"
throughout colonialism was that the "other" did not travel, and therefore had not
experienced the kinds of cultural exchange and transformation that travel pro-
duced. Throughout colonialism, this conceit functioned as a way of subordinating
other histories, knowledge and cultures and maintaining the hegemony of Euro-
pean culture. Similarly, in the present, the idea that under- or un-developed
cultures are somehow "naturally" that way, due to an inherent resistance to
modernisation, provides the necessary "other" for the modern subject, and hence
tourism object. This is what Arjun Appadurai calls the metonymicc freezing" of
cultures, wherein they come to stand for particular and necessary tropes of other-
ness for Western subjects. This Western conceit also assumes that most tourism
that pursues cultural difference moves in one direction: from centre to margin,
from developed to under-developed, from first world to third. But if we begin to
unpick this conceit, as much postcolonial writing has begun to do, then we begin
to transform the idea of colonialism as the only history of mobility (indeed the
only history), and by extension, the idea of tourism as the contemporary manifes-
tation of colonial travel. Appadurai writes: "Natives, people confined to and by the
places to which they belong, groups unsullied by contact with a larger world, have
probably never existed" (39). And James Clifford has gone some of the way to
rewriting colonial history through studies of "native" subjects who transgressed
their literal and metaphorical containment. Clifford calls this the "Squanto effect"
(97), after the Native American whom the Pilgrims encountered in 1620 and who
helped them through a hard winter.
Squanto spoke good English, having himself just returned from Europe,
and in this unexpected figure of the well-travelled New World "native", the
Pilgrims encountered the familiar in the space of the radically different. Such
figures disrupt the tropes around which the colonial world view is structured.
In V.S. Naipul's A Way in the World, Don Jos6, the Amerindian who
travels back to England with a dying Raleigh, says to the Spanish historian who
marvels at his worldliness: "I think, father, that the difference between us, who are
Indians, or half-Indians, and people like the Spaniards and the English and the
Dutch and the French, people who know how to go where they're going... [is] that
for them the world is a safer place" (204). Though Don Jos6 is a similar figure to
Clifford's Squanto the worldly "native" who disrupts colonial narratives of travel
Naipaul's portrait checks any uncritical celebration of such moments of disloca-
tion. Don Jos6 is a self-reflexive traveller who draws attention to the ways in
which different kinds and degrees of mobility, enabled by differing degrees of
cultural/colonial capital, determine one's relationship with the world.
June Jordan's "Report from the Bahamas" constructs a contemporary
tourist who is similarly self-reflexive and conscious of how degrees of privilege
structure relationships between things, cultures and people. In Jordan's essay,
which traces her thoughts as a black American woman holidaying in the Bahamas,
it is clear that the experience and mark of race brokers no "natural" affiliations
with black Caribbeans in a context where class, nationality and geography deter-
mine the relation between tourist and toured. While Jordan and her black hotel
maid, Olive, have both experienced their identities as partly inscribed in the
histories of slavery, abolition,emancipation and the narratives of independence
and civil rights, their shared experience is not immediately present across a divide
enforced by the relations of the global tourist industry.
Jordan has knowingly fallen prey to stereotypical representations of the
Caribbean, and as a tourist she experiences some of the classic dislocations and
discomforts of being in a foreign place: the heat, the harassment, the bargaining,
the language. As a black American woman, Jordan experiences another kind of
dislocation in knowing that what appears as tourist "privilege" in the Bahamas is
only enabled by a cheap weekend package deal, which she has taken advantage of
alongside other Black Americans. Yet in the Bahamas she finds herself in an
unfamiliar affiliation with "white" Americans, shopping with them, laughing with
them, learning "ruthless rules" of haggling. However, Jordans generic identity as
tourist does not erase the specificity of her experience as a Black American;
contemplating the price of hand-woven goods on a market stall, she notes, "We are
not white after all. The budget is limited" (225).
Jordan demonstrates how ones subjectivity is made up of a network of
identifications ethnic, cultural, political, national and global that will always cut
across any construction of the tourist as a homogeneous or homogenising force of
neo-colonialism. Her tourist is an affective figure, who, like Don Jos6, is not
white, not rich, but who cannot avoid recognizing the ways that race, class and
gender mean differently in different contexts a recognition inflected by her own
irreducible position within the global culture and economy. As tourists we, like
Jordon, cannot avoid implications in the relations of economic inequality that the
tourist industry aestheticises, obscures and, to that extent, helps to sustain. How-
ever, we are suggesting that it is necessary to formulate ways of thinking about
tourism both its subjects and its objects that do not merely repeat older, opposi-
tional and unnecessarily reductive frameworks of analysis.
As tourists from Australia (rather than Australian tourists) our own
relations to British colonial history and to our national identity inform our experi-
ence of the culture we are coming to see: the Caribbean. That is, the route we take
to arrive here does not mirror a colonial route, or move uni-directionally from a
centre to a margin. While Australia is supposedly a developed nation, geographi-
cally it is a marginal one, and, with its older colonial ties coming undone, it has
recently reformulated its place within a regional (Southeast Asian) framework.
This has demanded a re-thinking of national identity that takes account of the
variety of ethnic groups and cultural influences that make up the country's popu-
lation and cultural life. One of the effects of this re-thinking of what it is to be
"Australian" is a belated attention to the place of indigenous Australians within the
cultural imaginary and political economy. A recognition of the mythical status of
the terra nullius doctrine, which gave Europeans the ideological ammunition to
invade and occupy the continent, has also entailed a recognition of pre-colonial
and colonial Australia's heterogeneous history the fact that multiple travels,
contacts and exchanges had taken place prior to European "discovery", and contin-
ued to take place throughout colonialism. These travels, contacts and exchanges
disrupt the monolithic version of colonialism in similar ways to Squanto and Don
Jose antecedents of a certain type of tourist.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, whaling ships, variously owned by the
British, Dutch and Americans, berthed on Australian shores. These ships were
peopled with ex-slaves, many of them from the Caribbean, who often jumped ship
and remained in Australia; sometimes they lived in white communities, often in
Aboriginal communities. Recently, a prominent Aboriginal identified writer re-
vealed his heritage to be Caribbean; similarly, a well-known Australian footballer
is half-Aboriginal, half-Caribbean. These moments where the Caribbean, and
Caribbean culture, have penetrated Australian culture reveal that people can and
do move outside or across the "visible" paths of colonial history, implicitly
transforming that history and the culture in the process. Perhaps the most powerful
imaginative effect of the history of Caribbean whalers in Australia is the idea that,
long before an Australian middle-class could have conceived of the Caribbean as
a tourist destination, the Caribbean was visiting "us"
1998 report for the World Tourism Organisation, cited in Cheong and Miller, p. 371.
2. A first draft of this paper was presented at the (Re )thinking Caribbean Culture conference, Univer-
sity of the West Indies, Barbados, 5-7 June, 2001.
Appadurai, Arjun. "Putting Hierarchy in Its Place." Cultural Anthropology 3.1 (1988): 36-49.
Cheong, So-Min, and Marc L. Miller. "Power and Tourism: A Foucauldian Perspective." Annals of
Tourism Research 27.2 (2000): 371-390.
Clifford, James. "Traveling Cultures." In Cultural Studies. Ed. Lawrence Grossberg et al. New York
and London: Routledge, 1992.96-116
Gayle, Dennis J., and Jonathan N. Goodrich. "Caribbean Tourism Marketing, Management and De-
velopment Stategies." In Tourism Marketing and Management in the Caribbean. Ed. Dennis J.
Gayle and Jonathan N. Goodrich. London and New York: Routledge, 1993.119.
Hall, Stuart. "Caribbean Culture: Future Trends." Caribbean Ouarterly 53.12 (1997): 25-33.
Holder, Jean S. "The Caribbean Tourism Organization in Historical Perspective." In Tourism Market-
ing and Management in the Caribbean. Ed. Dennis I. Gayle and Jonathan N. Goodrich. Lon-
don and New York: Routledge, 1993.205-219.
Jameson, Fredric. "On Cultural Studies." Social Text 34 (1993): 17-52.
Jordan, June. "Report from the Bahamas." In Ethics: A Feminist Reader. Ed. Elizabeth Frazer et al.
Oxford and Cambridge, 1992.223-236.
MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books,
Naipaul, V. S. A Way in the World. London: Heinemann, 1994.
Nettleford, Rex. "Heritage Tourism and the Myth of Caribbean Paradise." In Tourism Marketing and
Management in the Caribbean. Ed. Dennis 1. Gayle and Jonathan N. Goodrich. London and
New York: Routledge, 1993. 143-146.
Olwig, Karen Fog. "The Burden of Heritage: Claiming a Place for a West Indian Culture." American
Ethnologist 26.2 (1999): 370-388.
Segal, Daniel. "Race and Colour in Pre-independence Trinidad and Tobago." In Trinidad Ethnicity.
Ed. Kevin Yelvington. London: Macmillan, 1993.81-115
Streicker, Joel. "Remaking Race, Class, and Region in a Tourist Town." Identities-Global Studies in
Culture and Power 3.4 (1997): 523-555.
Urry, John. Consuming Places. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Waters, Malcolm. Globalization. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Woodrow Wilson and Nicaragua
BENJAMIN T. HARRISON
Much has been written about Woodrow Wilson and Latin America, but
little attention has been paid to his policy with Nicaragua. What attention it has
gathered amounts to a footnote among most scholars who dismiss Wilson and
Nicaragua as more of a big stick and dollar diplomacy. Could a man who referred
to foreign interests in Latin America as "predatory interests" really practice dollar
diplomacy?2 What scholars have ignored is the attitude toward businessmen not
only by a deeply religious Woodrow Wilson but also by a strongly skeptical public
in the Progressive Era. After all, progressive reform was largely in response to the
economic corruption and greedy opportunism of the previous Gilded Age. It
would be the 1920s before the business community regained the respect of the
general public. What the Wilson administration did with Nicaragua is much more
complicated than simply a case of another politician being a tool of Wall Street's.
Wilson did inherit a situation in Nicaragua that left little room for change, but
alternatives were considered to limit economic exploitation. The irony is that
Wilson's dream of promoting democracy and fair economic investment abroad
never materialized in Nicaragua.
President William Howard Taft left Wilson a minority government in
Nicaragua that was economically irresponsible but placed in power mainly by the
United States.3 The Taft administration negotiated a loan arrangement to keep this
pro-American, but unpopular, government in Nicaragua in power. Wilson could
scuttle the arrangement and throw Nicaragua into chaos and instability or fulfill
the commitments and preserve stability. Order and stability were major themes of
progressive reformers. William Jennings Bryan, Wilson's Secretary of State,
shared the president's hatred of foreign economic exploitation of Latin American
countries. But, like Wilson, he would find few options for United States-Nicara-
gua relations. Other options were pursued and the agenda of promoting democracy
was sought without the desired outcome. Good intentions do not necessarily
produce good results. As the preeminent Wilson scholar, Arthur Link, expressed it
long ago, "the formation of the Wilson administration's Nicaragua policy reveals
the way in which a complexity of factors utterly frustrated Bryan's good inten-
tions." More recent scholars have lost sight of that simple reality and tried to
portray Wilson as an apostle of capitalist greed. Woodrow Wilson was far too
complicated to be described in such simple terms.
American intervention in Nicaragua has its origins in the Theodore
Roosevelt presidency. Nicaragua's long-term dictator, Jose Zelaya, incurred the
wrath of Theodore Roosevelt because he tried to replace the United States as the
dominant force in Central American politics and also because he sought European
investors for a rival to the Panama Canal to be located in Nicaragua. By the time
of the Taft administration, Zelaya had become persona non grata in the United
States and rebel factions were supported by this government in order to overthrow
his regime. The problem was that the revolution did not immediately bring to
power a government in Nicaragua acceptable to the United States. Therefore Taft
supported a second revolution which brought to power a former bookkeeper in an
American mining company by the name of Adolfo Diaz and he was more to the
liking of the United States. Diaz may have been pro-American but be was sup-
ported by a small minority ofNicaraguans and therefore political unrest continued.
By the time Wilson arrived in the American presidency, the only thing that kept
Diaz in power was American economic and military support. The new president
had to make some tough decisions if he was going to "teach Latin Americans to
elect good men" as Wilson was fond of saying. The "good men" Nicaraguans
wanted to elect to power were not so pro-American.
The Taft administration had worked out a classic dollar diplomacy ar-
rangement with Diaz that would keep him in power regardless of his lack of
popular support and, even with his squandering funds from the national treasury.7
American bankers were to supply Diaz with a lucrative loan in exchange for a
major interest of the Nicaraguan National Bank and National Railroad among
other profits. The only problem was that Taft had to leave office before the
arrangement could be finalized by the Congress. So Bryan and Wilson found the
deal lying on their desks when they took office awaiting final approval. The new
American administration immediately began looking for ways to limit the exploi-
tation of Nicaraguan resources by American bankers. Bryan considered the Brown
Brothers and Selligman bankers, who provided the loan to Nicaragua, to be
"thieves."8 He tried to persuade other bankers to provide money on better terms
for Nicaragua but found no takers. So he pressured the New York bankers to make
the loan with more generous terms to Nicaragua. When this failed also, the
Secretary of State did not forsake his goal of fair economic investment. One idea
he developed was for the United States government itself to make the loan,
something common today but unheard of in the beginning of the twentieth
century. Bryan argued such a loan would provide Nicaragua with a low interest
rate and give the American government "an increased influence, that we could
prevent revolutions, promote education, and advance stable government."10 Be
that as it may, Wilson considered the idea too "radical" and it died as quickly as it
One other idea was considered which turned out to be a near fatal
proposal for the entire loan arrangement. Shortly after Wilson took office, the
Latin American Division of the State Department produced a long memorandum
for the new president and secretary of state on the Nicaraguan situation. The
memorandum argued that too many commitments had been made for the United
States to back out of a loan arrangement of some sort.12 One way of fulfilling such
an obligation was making a Platt Amendment arrangement with Nicaragua, which
would give the United States the right to intervene when it believed it was
necessary. Bryan argued that such conditions would provide the stability neces-
sary to secure a loan at reasonable terms. Furthermore, he believed a Platt Amend-
ment would "give our country such an increased influence and an influence
welcomed because obviously beneficial- that we could prevent revolutions, pro-
mote education, and advance stable and just government."13 However, the Span-
ish-American War had left such a bitter taste in the body politic that the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee voted eight to four against any treaty with Nicara-
gua containing a Platt Amendment.14 Bryan and Wilson both contacted senators
with arguments to revive the treaty.
Bryan argued that it was in the national interest of the United States to
make the loan arrangement because Germany was considering an agreement
which would have provided that country with a naval base in Nicaragua. Wilson
said that the treaty would prevent revolutions and other countries intervening in
Nicaragua.ls Bryan believed that Latin American republics like Nicaragua "are
our political children. "16 The president shared similar views which were
conveyed to Congress stating that his "purpose is to protect the weaker govern-
ments on this hemisphere" from "concessions granting." Bryan worried that the
treaty would be killed by congressmen "because they think it provides for an
interference on our part in Nicaraguan affairs."l1 Still, the two men tried to
rationalize that the agreement was in the best interest of all concerned. They were
well aware of the perceptions by many that the treaty made dollar diplomacy
"more nearly resemble ten-cent diplomacy."19 In a press conference on July 21,
1915, the president stated that his administration was searching for a way that the
United States could "render some assistance [to Nicaraguans] without submit-
ting ourselves to the suspicion of our taking possession of them or preventing them
from acting. However, Senator William Borah led the campaign in Congress
against the treaty on the very grounds that the arrangement led to intervention in
Nicaraguan domestic affairs. It was one of the most serious debates of the period.
Should the United States pursue an imperial policy of dominating Latin American
countries? The treaty with Nicaragua brought this concern to the national attention
and the political debates ensued.
There were protests in other Central American countries over the treaty.
Public demonstrations against the United States were held in countries like El
Salvador and Costa Rica primarily because of the possibility of a Platt Amend-
ment sanctioning American dominance south of the border. Wilson even admitted
he was "somewhat doubtful about going ahead with the treaty in the face of
Central American opposition."21 To make matters worse, Senator William A.
Smith publicly attacked the administration for what he considered to be collusion
between the State Department and financiers because of the business affiliations of
Boaz Long, the head of the Latin American Division of the State Department.22 In
the Progressive Era, even the appearance of a conflict of economic interests could
be fatal to a career. There is no evidence Long's financial status had any influence
on American policy. But such perceptions intensified the debate at the same time
that the Nicaraguan Minister to the United States, Emiliano Chamorro, told the
United States Senate that Germany had offered to pay more for canal rights in
Nicaragua than the United States.
W orld War I loomed on the horizon and Germany was feared by most
Americans at the time. Coupled with this fear was a growing concern among
isolationists of the day that the United States might get drawn into a European
conflict if it did not forsake its policy of interventionism. Sending troops into Latin
American countries frequently alarmed many leaders such as Senator William
Borah. However, even after the Platt Amendment provision was removed from the
treaty, it failed to be voted out of Senate Committee. Wilson again wrote the
chairman urging action before "serious complications" developed, but no action
was taken.2 Seldom has the country had more serious debate over intervention
abroad. The experience with the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American
War, and the growing tension in Europe in 1914, must have had a profound impact
on the American psyche. Congress was so opposed to any hint of American
imperialism that the treaty could not even get out of committee. Indeed, as the war
in Europe developed, Americans would become convinced that European imperi-
alism was one of the causes of that conflict.
The Platt Amendment had been a simple matter of preventing economic
exploitation in Nicaragua to the Wilson administration. Bryan believed it was the
best way to get bankers to offer Nicaragua reasonable loan terms.
It has been customary for the money loaners to collect a high
rate of interest because of the risk taken in those countries, and
then have the risk eliminated by the action of foreign powers. If
we can eliminate the risk before the loan is made, the people
will receive a pecuniary benefit from the lower rate of interest
that stability will secure.
Congress did not see it in those terms. For most congressmen at the time,
intervention provisions opened doors to imperialism. Senator Borah and his allies
believed intervention abroad led to American control of foreign countries and
imperialistic ambitions.26 The two sides were miles apart even though both be-
lieved they had the best interests of Nicaragua at heart.
Nicaragua was so desperate for the funds that Diaz was all for the Platt
Amendment provision.27 The government in that country hired an American
attorney by the name of Charles A. Douglas as counsel to persuade the United
States of the need for the treaty. The Nicaraguan president had used funds in the
national treasury to pay the expenses of his revolution. In order to keep the
economy afloat, the government was willing to agree to generous terms for the
bankers. The New York bankers proceeded to use the funds of the Nicaraguan
national bank to create a new company. That in turn gave the financiers control of
several Nicaraguan exports.28 Inflation spiraled out of control in that country with
disastrous consequences for the economy and mostly "harmed the country's many
poor."29 United States Minister to Nicaragua, Benjamin Jefferson, warned his
State Department about the incompetent management of finances by the Diaz
government. 30 But the warnings seemed to have fallen on deaf ears or else the
United States government looked the other way in order to keep Diaz in power.
Perhaps Bryan's lack of experience and Wilson's lack of interest in
foreign affairs took its toll on United States-Nicaraguan relations.3! Clearly the
security of the Panama Canal in that region dominated American diplomatic
concerns. But the bankers came to benefit from the end results and anything but
democracy was promoted in Nicaragua. Bryan tried to pressure the bankers to
limit their profits to a reasonable interest rate alone.32 Wilson fully supported his
secretary's efforts, but the interest rate was not the sole profit for the financiers.33
The new treaty "fastened the control of these banking houses over the Nicaraguan
economy more firmly than before."34 Bryan worried that if he failed to make an
arrangement with Nicaragua, foreign investors would reap the benefits:
They have to borrow money, and it is the money borrowed by
these governments that has put them under obligation to foreign
financiers. We cannot deny them the right to borrow money,
and we cannot overlook the sense of gratitude and the feeling of
obligation that come with a loan.35
The problem arose with the terms for rescuing Nicaragua from foreign
investors of other countries. In the beginning bankers asked for 49% of the stock
in Nicaragua's national bank and railroad. When the funds were slow in coming,
Diaz quickly accepted financiers' ownership of 51 % of said stocks.36 Nonethe-
less, Wilson proclaimed in this famous Mobile, Alabama, address of October 27,
1913, that "foreign interests are apt to dominate their [Latin American] domestic
affairs, a condition always dangerous and apt to become intolerable." His ad-
ministration sought an end to such concessions but ended up increasing them in
Nicaragua. Perhaps the alternatives were few and far between, given the situation
he inherited from the previous administration. Nevertheless, it would be hard to
argue that there was no American economic exploitation of Nicaragua during the
The treaty languished in the Senate and the Wilson administration strug-
gled with the situation in Nicaragua. Bryan wrote Wilson that part of the reason for
the opposition to the treaty was that the Diaz government did "not represent the
people. "38 Even one of the original architects of U.S. policy towards Nicara-
gua, Theodore Roosevelt's former Secretary of State, Elihu Root, said that the
government in that country did "not represent more than a quarter of the people of
the country" and furthermore that it was "really maintained in office by the
presence of the United States marines. ... "3 Indeed, those marines would incur
the wrath of Augusto Sandino during the 1920s. The hatred for United States
military presence in the region would engender a nationalistic backlash against the
Big Brother of the North throughout Central America. Eventually the American
government would pursue a "Good Neighbor Policy" in order to reduce that
hostility. Even Bryan could see the seeds of that discontent. He wrote his president
that "there are some powerful influences working against the treaty in Nicaragua.
The heart of those "powerful influences" he believed was the former president
who had been driven out of power by the United States and his followers.
Nonetheless, he assured Wilson that provisions of the treaty were in the national
interest of the United States, such as the optional canal route and access to Fonsica
Bay for a naval base. Furthermore, the Secretary of State concluded without the
treaty there would be "an invitation [to] have another revolution. "40 Without
the treaty, instability; with the treaty there was no doubt anti-American hostility in
Latin America. Wilson believed that the United States was giving more than it was
receiving with the treaty deal and concluded that it was "wise and indeed, in the
circumstances, [ a] necessary agreement. "41
The situation in Nicaragua itself continued to deteriorate. Not only was
Diaz a minority president but a greedy one. The American minister in Nicaragua
insisted that the money paid for the costs of the revolution was "much exagger-
ated" and indeed the interest rate agreement with the bankers that began with six
percent, by 1914 had risen to eighteen percent.42 Bryan referred to the bankers as
"reactionaries" seeking unreasonable profits abroad.43 The loan was basically
secured by the presence of United States marines but the interest rate was three
times the going rate at the time. So Diaz and his followers, along with the bankers,
made fortunes at the expense of the majority of Nicaraguans who were living ili
poverty. Reports of graft in the Diaz regime were commonplace and yet his
government was kept in power by the presence of American marines.4 Most
Nicaraguans believed that Diaz was "acting wholly in the interests of the bankers
[and conservatives] and with the tacit support of the United States government."45
In one ofhistory's many ironies, the liberals in Nicaragua who were supposedly the
anti-American party came to hope that the United States would supervise upcom-
ing elections because they knew that otherwise Diaz and conservatives would
control the outcome. The majority party needed United States intervention to
return to power!
Prior to the elections of 1916 in Nicaragua there was reason to question
whether or not Diaz was really in control of that country. American Charge d'
Affairs, Cyrus Wicker, believed that Nicaragua was controlled by the Cuadra
family using Diaz as a figurehead. Diaz's Minister of Finance was don Eulogio
Cuadra and Wicker insisted he had "dictatorial control of the Executive and his
policies." He went on to argue that Cuadra family members held most of the
important government offices "with no popular support whatsoever." Further-
more, both the Minister of Finance and President had been "in serious financial
difficulties" before coming to power and "both are now financially well off." He,
too, argued that it was "firmly believed by 99% of the Nicaraguans that the
marines are here in support of the present Administration in the direct interests of
At the same time that it appears control of Nicaragua was changing
hands, so was the helm of the State Department. William Jennings Bryan resigned
because the controversy of Americans traveling on belligerent ships in W world
War 1. Bryan believed American citizens had no business traveling on such ships
because it placed pressure on the United States government to protect them,
increasing the possibility of America's entry into the war. Ironically, he shared
more of Senator Borah's sentiments than he would have admitted. Wilson dis-
agreed and Robert Lansing became Secretary of State.
He continued to have headaches with American bankers in Nicaragua. As
elections drew near in both countries, Conservatives in Nicaragua and Progres-
sives in the United States maintained power through markedly different electoral
processes. Throughout 1915, the treaty was hotly debated in the Congress. Boaz
Long in the State Department believed it was because the Diaz regime was a
"minority government" and kept in power solely by the United States marines. He
argued it was considered to be unconstitutional because it was "not representative
with the consent of the governed.'7 However, as the year drew to a close, the
treaty began to be seen in a more favorable light in Congress because of reports of
Canadian investors planning to build a railroad across Nicaragua. Added to this
possibility were the constant rumors of German intrigues in Nicaragua which
turned the fortunes of the treaty around.4 Now it appeared all the more important
to keep a pro- American regime in power and the Wilson administration "wished
that a conservative victory could be assured" in "the upcoming election.49 Diaz
resisted United States supervision of those elections but with American pressure
he came around to the conviction that such an arrangement could be in the best
interest of Conservatives in Nicaragua.
The election in Nicaragua in 1916 proved to be much more complicated
than had appeared on the surface. The Conservative Party was anything but united.
Constitutionally, Diaz could not succeed himself and the Cuadra family had no
one for the presidency that could meet public and United States acceptance, so that
meant Emiliano Chamorro was the logical Conservative candidate. However,
Chamorro and Diaz were personal enemies and Diaz actually conspired with the
Liberal Party to prevent Chamorro's rise to power.50 It was concluded in the State
Department that the Liberal Party was "comprised in great part of the ignorant
masses of the people" and not in the interests of the United States. So Lansing
informed Wilson that the Liberals should not be permitted to win the electio-
under any circumstance. 52 In May, 1916, Chamorro returned to Nicaragua from
the United States courtesy of an American warship, making it clear whom the
United States government supported in the upcoming election. The American
minister informed the Liberal Party that no candidate associated with the Zelaya
regime would be recognized if elected and the Liberal Party candidate withdrew-
from the election. As added assurance the United States sent two warships to
persuade all Conservatives to unite behind Chamorro and the outcome of the
"election" was assured.
Ironically, once in office Chamorro fought the control of Nicaragua by
the bankers and marines. He even encouraged violent attacks on the bankers.
However, the power of the United States proved to be too much for Chamorro and
the two parties eventually came to an understanding. As events leading to Ameri-
can entry into W orld War I became more ominous with Germany and military
leaders decided a naval base in the Gulf of Fonseca would be helpful, Congress
approved the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty during the election year. Even with all these
developments, Lansing still had problems with the bankers just as Bryan had had.
He wrote President Wilson that he had come to the "reluctant conclusion that the
bankers are not. lending the Department of State" their full "cooperation.
Furthermore, he insisted "the bankers are well secured in their loan to Nicaragua,
as they admit, and the Department has reason to believe that their investments in
Nicaragua have yielded a handsome profit."54 Profit or not, their lack of coopera-
tion led the Secretary of State to pursue other financial sources for the loan just as
Bryan had done. However the president told Lansing that he could not simply
"brush aside" commitments Bryan had made and the Treaty was approved.
Elihu Root concluded at the time that "I am so disgusted with this administration
towards Latin America its hypocrisy and humbug and its destruction of the basis
of really friendly relations that I have become inarticulate."56
Despite the Treaty's approval, Wilson's attitude towards foreign business
investors in Latin America did not change. In his acceptance speech for the
nomination of the Democratic Party in 1916, he said:
Outsiders, men out of nations and with interests too often alien
to their own, have dictated what their privileges and opportuni-
ties should be and who should control their land, their lives, and
their resources, some of them American, pressing for things
they could never have got in their own country.57
Exploitation or not, problems in Nicaragua did not all go away once the
treaty was signed. Indeed during World War I, the treaty created such ill will in
Central America that it had an impact on the war effort. The Central American
Court of Justice (which the United States had played a major role in creating) ruled
that the treaty violated the rights of Nicaragua's neighbors. Consequently, the
United States ignored the decision and the court went out of business. El Salvador
refused to join the war effort when the United States pressured it to enter the
conflict. At the Peace Conference of Versailles, Costa Rica and Honduras were
embarrassments to the American peace efforts due to protests over intervention-
Problems persisted with Chamorro, who resented the domination of
Nicaragua by the United States. The American government pressured Chamorro to
accept a financial advisor from the United States and he resisted. Chamorro even
threatened to seize the custom houses under American control but he eventually
backed off and accepted Col. C.D. Ham as the financial advisor. The earlier
mismanagement of Nicaraguan finances became a thing of the past. 59 Chamorro
tried to get additional funds to build a new railroad but bankers refused the request.
There was some protests from the State Department that the bankers were being
too unfair but compared to earlier complaints, these were minor and ignored. The
Financial Plan of 1920 increased the Nicaraguan budget and repaid bankers for
stock in the Pacific Railroad.60 Chamorro wanted to run for re-election in 1920 but
the United States made it clear that it opposed such a possibility because it violated
the Nicaraguan constitution. Despite a desire to keep the Liberals out of power
Chamorro was informed that the United States would "absolutely forbid his
candidacy."61 Chamorro simply nominated his uncle, Diego Manuel Chamorro,
and controlled the election with the military. The new government received
diplomatic recognition from the United States despite concerns about election
Wilson did not leave office without a major incident towards the end of
his administration. The American Legation Guard attacked and destroyed a pro-
Liberal newspaper but one marine received a dishonorable discharge and twenty-
one others were imprisoned for two years.63 Wilson remained ever wary of
American businessmen with investments in Latin America. He wrote his new
Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, on November 5, 1920, that he was not to
give into pressures from economic interests in Latin America.64 Weeks later he
was more specific in instructions to the new Undersecretary of State, Norman
Davis, insisting: "men. .[with investments in Latin America] who are deeply
involved in the... [economic] intrigues, have shown more and more recently their
somewhat desperate anxiety. But he cautioned the United States must be
"careful not to serve these predatory interests, because they intend the demoraliza-
tion of our policies and the control of. [Latin American] politics."65
Wilson's deeply religious views governed his policy towards Nicaragua
from beginning to end. It pained him to see economic exploitation of the poor by
the rich. He tried to prevent it and hoped to promote constitutional government and
economic fairness in Latin America. However, he inherited a situation from his
predecessors that made those good intentions merely pipe dreams. He may have
preached egalitarianism and democracy but dollars and bullets were the realities of
Wilsonian policy in Nicaragua.
1. See for example, Arthur Lick, Wilson: The New Freedom (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University,
1956), p 331; G. W. Baker, Jr., "The Wilson Administration and Nicaragua, 1913-1921," The
Americas, 22 (1966), p 339-376; David Healy, Drive to Hegemony: The United States in the
Caribbean, 1898-1917 (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1988), p 183; and Dana G. Munro,
Intervention and Dollar Diplomacy in the Caribbean (Princeton, N. 1.: Princeton University,
1964) p 388. Hereafter cited by author and short titles.
2. Woodrow Wilson to Norman Davis, November 23, 1920, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed.
By Arthur Link, 66 (1992), 413. Hereafter cited as Wilson Papers.
3. See Benjamin T. Harrison, "The United States and the 1909 Nicaraguan Revolution,"
Caribbean Quarterly, 41 (1995) 45-63.
4. Link, Wilson, 331.
5. See for example, Karl Berman, Under the Big Stick: Nicaragua and the United States Since
1848 (Boston: South End, 1986), p 167 and William Walker, Nicaragua: The Land of Sandi no
(Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1991), p 19-23.
6. See Benjamin T. Harrison, "Theodore Roosevelt and Nicaragua," Business History Studies, 2
7. Benjamin Jefferson to William Jennings Bryan, February 8, 1914, The Private Papers of the De-
partment of State, National Archives, 817.51/635. Hereafter cited as S. D. with the file num-
8. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, August 13, 1913, The Private Papers of
William Jennings Bryan, Library of Congress. Hereafter cited as Bryan Papers.
9. William Jennings Bryan to Brown Brothers, August 27,1913, SD 817.51/560.
10. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, Augustus 16, 1913, The Private Papers of Woo-
drow Wilson, Library of Congress. Hereafter cited as Wilson Papers.
Woodrow Wilson to William Jennings Bryan, Marche 20, 1914, Wilson Papers (Link), 29, 360.
12 Dated May 22, 1913, The Foreign Relation Papers of the United States, 1913, 1040-1042. Here-
after cited as FRUS.
13. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, July 20, 1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 28, P 48.
14. Healy, Drive to Hegemony, 185.
15. William Jennings Bryan to Senator W. J. Stowe, July 12, 1914, SD 817.812/84a.
16. Quoted in a speech before the Nebraska State Association, New York World, August 13, 1913.
17. "Wilson's Views Paraphrased for Congress," November 4, 1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 28, 489.
18. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, May 24, 1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 27, 470.
19. New York Times, July 21, 1913,6.
20. Wilson Papers (Link), 28, 55-6.
21. Woodrow Wilson to J. B. Moore, November 21,1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 31,115.
22. New York Times, June 17, 1914,4:4.
23. Baker, "Wilson" The Americas, 22 (1966), 352.
24. Woodrow Wilson to Senator W. J. Stowe, October 1, 1914, Wilson Papers (Link), 31, 115.
25. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, January 15, 1914, Wilson Papers (Link), 29,
26. Samuel F. Bemis, The Latin American Policy of the United States (New York: Harcourt Brace,
27. See Wilson Papers (Link), 29, 222.
28. U. S. Congress, Senate Committee on Foreign Relation, Foreign Loans: Hearings Before the Sub-
committe of the Committee on Foreign Relations, 69th Congress, 2nd Session (Washington:
29 Berman, Under the Big Stick, 172.
30. Benjamin Jefferson to William Jennings Bryan, February 8, 1914, SD 817.51/635.
31. Selig Adler, "Bryan and Wilsonian Caribbean Penetration," Hispanic American Historical Re-
view, 20 (May, 1940),203.
32. William Jennings Bryan to J & W Seligman and Company, August 27, 1913, SD 817.51/560.
33. Woodrow Wilson to William Jennings Bryan, June 19, 1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 27, 552.
34. Link, Wilson, 338.
35. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, October 28, 1913, Wilson Papers (Link), 28, 456.
36. Healy, Drive to Hegemony, 185.
37. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. By Ray Stannad Baker and William E. Dodd, (New
York: Harper & Brothers, 1925),3,66. Hereafter cited as Wilson Papers (Baker & Dodd).
38. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, January 12, 1915, Wilson Papers (Link), 32, 59-60.
39. Elilia Root to Senator William Borah, January 7, 1915, read on the floor of the Senate, January
13, 1927, U. S. Congress, Congressional Record, 69th Congress, 2nd Session, 1557
40. William Jennings Bryan to Woodrow Wilson, January 12, 1915, Wilson Papers (Link), 32, 60.
41. Woodrow Wilson to William Jennings Bryan, June 13, 1914, SD 817.812/168.
42. Benjamin Jefferson to William Jennings Bryan, February 8, 1914, SD 817.51/635.
43. The Private Papers of Chandler P. Anderson, Library of Congress, Diary, June 1, 1915.
44. Munro, Intervention, 407.
45. Cyrus Wicker to Robert Lansing, January 31, 1916, SD 817.00/2435.
46. Cyrus Wicker to William Jennings Bryan, December 15, 1915, SD 817.60/2428.
47. Memo by Boaz Long, December 16,1915, SD 817.60/2428.
48. New York Times, November 21,23,24, 1915.
49. Munro, Intervention, 406.
50. Healy, Drive to Hegemony, 235.
51. Butler Wright Memo, February 28, 1916, SD 817.00/2440a.
52. Robert Lansing to Woodrow Wilson, March 29, 1916, SD 817.51/815.
53. Munro, Intervention, 412-414.
54. Robert Lansing to Woodrow Wilson, August 19, 1916, SD 817.51/815.
55. Woodrow Wilson to Robert Lansing, December 8, 1916, SD 817.51/883.
56. Elihu Root to Chandler Anderson, October 25, 1916, Anderson Papers.
57. Wilson Papers (Link), 38, 133-134.
58. Baker, "Wilson," The Americas, 22, (1966), 370.
59. Benjamin Jefferson to Robert Lansing, June 18, 1917, SD 817.51/969.
60. Munro, Intervention, 416-417.
61. FRUS, 1920, III, 292ff.
62. Munro, intervention, 421-424.
63. Benjamin Jefferson to Bainbridge Colley, February 20,1921, SD 817.00/2770.
64. Woodrow Wilson to Bainbridge Colley, November 5, 1920, DS 812.00/26464.
65. Woodrow Wilson to Norman Davis, Wilson Papers, 66, 413.
Marcus Garvey, Race Idealism and his Vision of Jamaican
Marcus Garvey arrived in Kingston, Jamaica aboard the SS Santa Marta
on 10 December 1927. Though a deportee and convicted felon of the Unites
States, whose organization had splintered during his incarceration in Atlanta
penitentiary, he was greeted with "deafening cheers" from his supporters.' Tem-
porarily free from the public and personal drama that engulfed his life in America,
he emerged from behind the popular banner of race idealism, immersed himself in
parochial democratic reforms, and subsequently reached the height of his ideologi-
cal evolution. By the time he departed for London on 26 March 1935, he had
engaged in a flurry of political activity under the banner of his People's Political
Party (PPP) and its pledge to "bring about a better Jamaica under a happier
populace." As chairman of the PPP, he was elected municipal councilor of the
Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) in October 1929, reelected for a
two year term in October 1931, and contested the Legislative Council elections in
St. Andrew parish in January 1930, losing narrowly to G. Seymour-Seymour the
former Councilor, Representative and Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew parish.2
Garvey's appetite for progressive island politics led to (i) the reorganiza-
tion the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in the form of the
UNIA, August 1929, Of The World, which he launched in Kingston under his
leadership; and (ii), the launch of the Edelweiss Park and Amusement Company in
April 1931 a "sort of social park" for indigenous art and culture in the image of
Hyde Park in London. 3 These were central planks of his pro-reform agenda that
dominated the sixth and seventh 'International Conventions of the Negro Peoples
of the World' in Kingston in August 1929 and 1934 respectively.
Back home Garvey renewed his trade in print journalism to inform
Jamaicans and Garveyites across the world about these island affairs. He published
a daily newspaper, Blackman, between March 1929 and February 1931, and a
daily evening newspaper, New Jamaican, from July 1932 to September 1933.
Both papers carried his vision of national self-determination and urged Jamaicans
to take an active role in colonial reform. The Blackman was launched carrying a
front-page tribute to Jamaica as "a model in racial tolerance and goodwill"; the
New Jamaican made "its bow to the Jamaican public" by appealing for a "spirit of
national comradeship to create a better order of things for everybody." These
practical aspects of Garvey's pro-reform agenda reaffirmed his pledge to make
Jamaica a "better place for all of us."
Garvey said this much during the last few hours of his stay in America. In
a rare personal admission to his closest allies, he spoke freely about his future
work and true ambitions:
I think America was the best place to start the movement. ...but,
somehow or other, I feel that I should go where Negroes are in
the majority instead of the minority I should go where the
Negro has a chance to work out his own destiny... [my italics] 5
This statement shows he was prepared to abandon autonomous commu-
nity control for national self- determination and resurrect his pro-reform agenda
for the British West Indies. His comments also demonstrate how his public
remarks on behalf of the UNIA were not always congruous with his personal
opinions. His elected leadership of the UNIA entailed that "I had to fill it" and
"speak not only my sentiments, but the sentiments of the organization." 6 His
decision to launch the PPP manifesto as his personal platform reveals his readiness
to defy his public duties and sacrifice the unity of the UNIA for his vision of
regional reform. This indistinguishable mix of public and personal sentiment tends
to mask the real meaning of Garvey ideology, leaving its clearest expression in the
practical and progressive schemes of the UNIA. Nowhere was his personal vision
more visible than during his political and cultural activity in Jamaica between
December 1928 and March 1935.
The true meaning of Garveyism
Garvey's politicization began with the inception of the Universal Negro
Political Union (UNPU) in America (August 1924) and culminated in his defeat in
the Jamaican Legislative Council elections (January 1930). But his vision of
Jamaican nationhood was conceived years earlier during his brief association with
Sandy Cox's National Club (April 1910-1911) and framed by the established West
European intellectual precepts and cultural standards that pervaded colonial soci-
His faith in metropolitan values as the benchmark of modem civilization
was matched by his indebtedness to "a cluster of ideas that were in vogue in
America" in the first two decades of the twentieth century. 8Despite his adherence
to popular and classical intellectual currents such as Social Darwinism, New
Thought and Washington's capitalist ideology of self-help among many others,
Garvey was not a redeemer of a globally-flung race. He remains indebted to an
amalgam of ideas, but his appetite for universal ideas was tuned to the cultural
needs of his colonial constituents and his desire to politicize their incipient na-
tional consciousness as a vehicle for self-rule. Garvey used these popular intellec-
tual currents from without to service parochial reforms from within. In other
words, he hoped to democratize Jamaica and vindicate the island's capacity for
self-rule by moving between established ideas and local progressive political
reforms. These ideas could work in tandem to this end only in Jamaica, which
marked the apogee of his ideological development.
Two key UNIA documents give meaning to Garvey ideology: the state-
ment of UNIA 'General and Local (Jamaica) Objects' that followed its inception
in August 1914, and the 1920 'Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the
World. Both articles knit together universal and regional goals which gives
Garvey ideology its global reach and local focus. These statements of "What We
Believe" are the basis for a reinterpretation of Garvey philosophy, in which race
idealism and universal race uplift form a popular rhetorical veneer that facilitates
his search for democratic reforms in his colonial constituency. 9However, the task
of identifying Garvey's principal object is less than straightforward because his
rhetoric "did not forgo the dividends of ambiguity." 10 Thus the search for the real
meaning of Garveyism remains as problematic as identifying his primary constitu-
ency. In fact, it is this second debate between Garvey scholars that gives some
clarity to his ideological focus.
Judith Stein, in her sophisticated neo-Marxian interpretation of Garvey,
has argued that although his capitalist rhetoric appealed to a variety of social
groups, his commercial enterprises favoured the bourgeois aspirations of the
unestablished black petite bourgeoisie; likewise, the progressive economic planks
of his political manifesto in Jamaica. Rupert Lewis, on the other hand, sees the
black proletariat as the real beneficiaries of Garvey's economic nationalism, since
the benefits of race enterprise eventually reach the black labouring classes. Lewis
highlights Garvey's defense of worker rights in general to support his thesis.
Garvey rhetoric relied on generalizations and speculations, and consisted
of protean exhortations on behalf of the race, black communities and the 'Negro-
self, therefore his supporters could interpret his rhetoric in many different ways,
which served to swell his popular appeal as well as his movement's coffers.
Unfortunately for Garvey, the same technique that captured the imagination of
blacks across the world also attracted opposition from various quarters govern-
ment officials, the black press and black intellectuals who dogged his public
career and personal life.
More serious than any misreading of Garveyism is the deliberate exag-
geration of his vision by purveyors of his legacy, such as Amy Jacques Garvey in
her self-ascribed role as "Garvey's comforter and surrogate." I As author and
"literary executor of the works of Marcus Garvey," Amy Jacques has attempted to
reposition Garvey ideology within the annals of racial thought by relating it to the
resurgence of African nationalism in the 1960s and the emergent Black Power
movement in the United States. 12 However, the case for Garvey's contribution to
the launch the Black Power concept in America or his influence among leaders of
the African Independence movement remains flawed by an "unreflecting presen-
tism," or "...the tendency to interpret other historical periods in terms of the
concepts, values and understanding of the present time." 13 This is not to deny that
in a way the myth of a pan-African Garveyism has been self-confirming: he
succeeded in being declared to be of "significance to all American and West
Indian Negroes and his influence inspired a response as far afield as West and
South Africa." His boundary was thus wider than Jamaica as it was felt to be so by
blacks and other intellectuals.
Richard Hart's reading of the universal reach of Garveyism remains
incontestable, not least because Garvey spoke about his influence in every corer
of the black world. But his assessment of Garvey ideology is based less on its goals
than its meaning to Garveyites. In fact, Garvey scholars in general have viewed the
proliferation of UNIA branches across the globe, which was inspired by his
rhetoric of race pride and patriotism, as a measure of his commitment to universal
race uplift and African Sovereignty. For example, Wilson J. Moses has stressed
the importance of race idealism in Garvey ideology and describes him as "the last
and most significant of the Classical Black Nationalists," whose race rhetoric
aimed to create national identities as the basis for autonomous nation-states. Yet
by focussing on the importance of his race rhetoric to this end, Garvey's national
goals have been misinterpreted as racial goals. 15
Moses defines this contiguity between race idealism and nationhood as
"pan-racial national consciousness", which, though a useful description of the
relationship between Garvey's general and local objects, is used to reach the same
(rather implausible) conclusion as Robert Weisbord and Tony Martin years earlier.
He maintains that Garvey endorsed race nationalism in order to liberate Africa and
create an African super-state to which all dark-skinned people could claim citizen-
ship. Apart from his rhetorical flourishes on the subject, Garvey never advocated
African empire building because he realized that nation-states were not based on
skin colour alone and that blackness was not the only source of national culture.16
Despite the fact that African sovereignty was never more than a 'shining star' to
elevate individual ambition, Moses has clarified the causal relationship between
race idealism and national self-determination as a global means towards a national
goal. But in doing so he wrongly identifies nationhood as a precondition for the
creation of a Pan African political empire in the image of the European imperialist
Like Moses, Rupert Lewis has applied a literal reading to Garvey's race
nationalism in order to highlight the universal dimension of his ideology. Lewis
has used the closeness between his race rhetoric and his political agitation in
Jamaica to demonstrate how Garvey pursued the joint goals of African liberation
and regional self-rule. Lewis has argued that the "dual national and international
roles of the UNIA had been a feature of the organization since its inception."
These joint objectives informed his pledge to represent the interests of the black
people of Jamaica and the black people of the world, which signalled his prefer-
ence for "the supra-national arena of political activity to the confines of a national
political lobby." 17
The case for Garvey's joint pursuit of twin goals is a compelling one.
Lewis maintains that his "eyes were still set on the international horizon" during
his political activity in Jamaica between 1929 and 1931 18 and further, that there
was "no contradiction between the struggle for Africa and the fight for democratic,
economic and political rights in the colonies...." Nevertheless, Garvey's endorse-
ment of both African liberation and domestic reforms does not necessarily equal
the simultaneous pursuit of twin goals. 19 Rather, his rhetoric swung towards
pan-Negroism on account of (i) his intellectual conception of national self-deter-
mination; (ii) his bid to evoke national sentiment among colonial subjects; and (iii)
in response to the global dynamics of European Imperialism.
It is equally conceivable that his race idealism and African nationalism
were preconditions for democratic reform in colonial society. Thus, in order to
direct colonial society towards authentic nationhood, he sought to Jamaicanise
Jamaicans and to achieve this end, like other Jamaican nationalists before and after
him, he tried to conflate race and national consciousness. His vision of democra-
tizing Jamaica turned on race consciousness and the universal right of all people to
self-rule, which was neither synonymous with an internationalizing of his focus,
nor constituted a joint pursuit of race globalism and regional, progressive reform.
In fact, Pan Africanism was "only an idea on paper;" a loosely defined
intellectual concept without concrete goals of its own that Garvey annexed to his
local progressive reform agenda. 20 His support of Pan Africanism reveals as little
about Garvey's ideological focus as his public endorsements of Lenin, Hitler and
Mussolini. That he shared their intellectual conception of self-determination and
endorsed their brand of nationalistic rhetoric did not make him a Marxist, Nazi or
Fascist; likewise, it is erroneous to define Garveyism in terms of Pan Africanism
on account of his race-oriented vision of regional self-determination. The same
argument might apply to Robert Hill and Barbara Bair's assessment of Garvey's
indebtedness to the popular intellectual and political currents of his time. Garvey
borrowed ideas from wherever he could find a convincing intellectual case to
validate his conception of regional reform, and thus his interest in an idea was not
always matched by his commitment to the cause.21 He looked to global ideas to
both rationalize and furnish his conception of self-rule, and understood that race
idealism was a useful intellectual reference point for national self-determination,
although it never featured as an object of the UNIA in its own right.
Garvey's universal conception of nationhood
The statement of UNIA objects and aims, as it appeared in its "Constitu-
tion and Book of Laws," reads as a series of general pledges in support of local
goals. The UNIA could endorse such grand themes as race unity, pride and love
because they were never definitive goals in their own right, but broad intellectual
ideas necessary for the "development of Independent Negro Nations and Commu-
nities." In this sense, the general objects of the UNIA served to facilitate Garvey's
practical, pro-reform agenda leading to Jamaican self-rule. 22
Garvey said this much in his maiden speech to Jamaican Garveyites
following his deportation. He promised to safeguard the interests of colonial
subjects by going "beyond the little dominion to get the rights that are belonging
to the people...." He spoke of his "international duty" less as a global undertaking
on behalf of all blacks than as a way to inform the world of the "dirty and diseased
condition of the people of this country." In this way, he intended to argue the case
for Jamaican self-rule on the international stage and justify regional self-determi-
nation "along the broadest lines possible." 23
Though his critique of Crown Colony rule was etched on an international
canvas it was a typically nationalistic expression of protest, as colonial society was
"at the same time both Jamaican and part of the greater Imperial totality." Jamaica
was just one instance of "capitalism as an exploitative world system" that was
simultaneously lauded and reviled by its colonial subjects. His opposition to
colonial capitalism "could be fed with ideas from within or without the island."24
His address to Kingston Garveyites on 11 December 1927 reveals how he
planned to democratize Jamaica by using this blend of universal intellectual
precepts and insular reforms. Although he was eager to repair his public reputation
following his incarceration in Atlanta penitentiary and watchful of his opponents,
Garvey declared his intention to "get what I want in my country" by appealing to
England "to see that right and justice are done to the people of the empire." He
continued his pledge to democratize Jamaica, by urging "you people" to "find
yourselves. Get to know yourselves.25
His self-avowed duty on behalf of all people of the empire, juxtaposed to
his exhortation for all native Jamaicans to resurrect their self-identity, illustrates
how he took global ideas from without to engender change from within. First, he
appealed to the conscience of England to grant her colonial subjects their constitu-
tional, legal and humanitarian right to representative self-government; and second,
he refracted the strength and beauty of the race to relieve native Jamaicans of their
obeisance to white bias and imbue them with a positive self-image. 26
This causal relationship explains the precise timing of Garvey's entry
into Jamaican politics. He launched his parochial, political agenda with a flurry of
public promises within days of returning from his (eight month long) speaking
tour of Europe and Canada on 23 November 1928. He announced that (i) Kingston
would host the 1929 International UNIA convention; (ii) Jamaica would receive a
new daily newspaper to be called Blackman; and (iii), the People's Political Party
(PPP) would be organized to sponsor reform candidates to the Legislative Council
of Jamaica. The speed with which Garvey initiated his political programme during
December 1928 mirrored the fluency with which he launched the UNIA on 20 July
1914 -just 12 days after returning to Jamaica from England. Both initiatives show
how he used his time abroad to explore international intellectual standards and
translate them into a regional pro-reform agenda that was acceptable to both
colonial subjects and metropolitan colonizer.
Clearly, Garvey's pledge to democratize Jamaica and his political plat-
form to this end were based on his observations abroad. Indeed, at his first political
meeting in Kingston on 9 September 1929, he demonstrated how his knowledge of
the international capitalist system informed his personal vision of a "better Ja-
maica." Speaking "under the auspices of the People's Political Party," he sub-
scribed to the French model of colonial authority, which gave its colonial subjects
political representation. 27 Yet if parliament refused to grant Jamaica equal repre-
sentation in its chambers, he claimed it would be "right for England to give us...
Dominion status as they have given to Canada." 28
Garvey set his case for Jamaican self-rule against the standards of colo-
nial rule of other democratic countries, which reveals his motives for traveling
across Europe and Canada in 1928. On the international stage, he could (i) project
his appeals for "common justice" and a "fair compromise" for native Jamaicans;
(ii) mobilize liberal democratic opinion in England against the state's unreason-
able consideration of her colonial subjects; and (iii), sponsor colonial reform in
Jamaica as a legitimate intellectual doctrine. 29 The elaboration of his rhetoric
served to conflate his international agenda and regional focus and highlights his
universal conception of national self-determination. This deliberate "overlap of
focus" the contiguity between African sovereignty and local democratic reform -
underlined his personal, and therefore primary, goal of Jamaica self-rule.30
The duality of Garvey ideology
One still has to ask: why was Garvey's local reform programme sub-
sumed in global ideologies? Mervyn C. Alleyne's observations on the covert
aspects of Jamaican culture are significant here, because these intangible cultural
traits probably shaped Garvey's impulse to conflate global and local reform.
Distinct from the normative value system that classifies behaviour as good/bad or
right/wrong, Alleyne has identified the "world view of Jamaicans" as the subjec-
tive "set of assumptions, understandings and interpretations of the world around us
which we hold without necessarily placing any value judgment on them." 31
For Alleyne, something distinctly Jamaican lies at the core of this world
In all phases of life in the traditional community, there is a
oneness, not only with the whole universe because we are all
linked by the same creative spirit; not only in the community
where each person's problems become the problems of the
whole community... but also through the oneness of the individ-
ual. [my italics]
These varying degrees of oneness permeate all levels of the Jamaican
identity. Both self-conception and perceived place in the world reflect this search
for unity that ultimately conflates the individual, the community and the universe.
This tenacious aspect of Jamaican culture infused Garvey ideology, giving his
rhetoric its global, local and individual dimensions; likewise, the statement of
UNIA general and local objects and its motto 'One God! One Aim! One Destiny!'
Garvey scholars like Weisbord and Martin have used Garvey's world view to
stress his international importance as a race leader, and thus mistake his subjective
view of the world as a commitment to redeem Africa.
Yet the covert sense of oneness explains the duality of Garvey's ideol-
ogy, which served to resurrect the Jamaican cultural identity as the touchstone of
national consciousness. To this end, he attached Jamaican "hopes to the stars" in
the belief that this sense of universal oneness could reinvigorate the racial-self and
thus enhance their capacity for nationhood. 33 The real opportunity for democratic
reform turned on this inextricable link between race unity and the racial-self,
which transferred a sense of unity from without to instill self-unity from within.
Thus, when Garvey rebuked colonial subjects for their lack of ambition,
or challenged their subjugation under colonial rule, he looked to the international
stage to instill belief in their own unique qualities. Katrin Norris has identified the
absence of self-confidence among colonial subjects as a corollary of white bias
and labeled it "apologetic" national pride. Without the "mental comfort" in their
own attributes to dismiss Europhilism, native Jamaicans learn to imitate the white
man and believe that any deviation from this imported standard is uncivilized, not
decent and obstructs social and economic mobility.34
The black intelligentsia was no less exempt from metropolitan values and
standards as their measure of development, and believed it to be "inconceivable
that native Jamaicans... could be mobilized in antipathy to the people and govern-
ment of Great Britain."35 Despite his exhortations for Jamaicans to resurrect their
true identity through education and an appreciation of indigenous culture, Garvey,
like other intellectuals who belonged to neither traditional nor western society,
learned to absorb metropolitan standards as his organizational and ideological
point of reference.
Garvey's nationalist discourse continued to reflect the Anglophile orien-
tations of the Jamaican people. His support of English citizenship and respect for
all constituted authority, coupled with the UNIA's mimicry of imperial symbol-
ism, typifies Jamaica's peculiar veneration for "things and ways British." Yet,
the UNIA also parodied things English. When Jamaican Garveyites followed the
singing of English National Anthem with their own Ethiopian Anthem, they
displayed their mixed feelings towards Crown Colony rule; in other words, they
simultaneously lauded and reviled their colonial masters, which seriously weak-
ened any appeal for national loyalty, not least along racial lines.
Garvey understood the importance of a special culture group identity as
the "ultimate basis of nationalism." He thus expressed both the individuality of
Jamaicans and acceded to English constitutional authority as "the standard by
which the more important values of society were allocated." 37His support of both
metropolitan standards and race idealism reflected the peculiar duality of Jamaican
cultural identity, and helped to engender a firmly rooted badge of identity that was
distinct from, but equal to, any values associated with western culture as the
bedrock of political action. Herein lay Garvey's central difficulty in attempting to
democratize Jamaica: how to reconcile Anglophile sentimentalism and African
Fundamentalism. To meet the challenge of these countervailing sentiments that
produced Jamaica's apologetic nationalism, Garvey pinned his rhetoric to the
Mindful not to rupture Jamaican self-identity by breaking their heritage
of Anglophilism, Garvey continued to imitate metropolitan standards, but he also
cultivated an "alternative Europhilism" based on the laudable aspects of their
racial heritage.38 In this way, he could engender national loyalty by identifying
their distinct cultural identity and mobilize Jamaicans towards self-rule convinc-
ing them of their competence to govern without compromising their engrained
Anglophilism. To this end, he simultaneously masqueraded his nationalist rhetoric
as race idealism and absorbed metropolitan values as the benchmark of modern
civilization to protect all people.
Garvey's case for national self-determination
Like successive Jamaican self-government movements, the UNIA solic-
ited western theory on the principle of self-determination and located its national
ideals on the international canvas to validate its conception of nationhood as a
universal (human) right and the "highest ideal of all peoples." Nowhere was this
expression of self-determination as an inalienable entitlement more visible than in
the UNIA's "Declaration of Rights of the Negro People of the World." Described
by Garvey as the "Magna Carta of the race," the document was signed by 122
delegates and observers attending the First International UNIA Convention in
Harlem, New York City on 13 August 1920.39
The document is clearly Pan African in scope. Garvey proclaimed it to be
the "property of every Negro in every corer of the world," since it both cata-
logued the "wrongs and injustices" suffered by the race at the hands of whites and
demanded "fair and just rights" for all blacks. 40 Weisbord and Martin have
focused on the document's language of universal race uplift to inform their
compensatory accounts of Garvey's crusade on behalf of Africans, those blacks in
the diaspora as well as those still in the motherland. For Martin, the document
formalises Garvey's international importance as a revolutionary nationalist. Nev-
ertheless, Garvey's global message also underlines his pledge to orientate the
Jamaican people on the question of race and national consciousness as a precursor
to self-government. This strategy for self-determination applied to all blacks, but
it was especially propitious to colonial subjects, which is why later national
political groups, such as the Jamaican Progressive League of Kingston, embraced
this same humanitarian appeal for self-rule, without internationalizing their local
The UNIA's 1920 declaration of rights of "all Negroes" called for (i)
nationhood on the basis of the natural and legal equality of all people; (ii) the equal
entitlement of all races to moral and international justice; and (iii), the right of all
human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These demands were
based on the original right of all people to decide their own form of government,
appealed to international morality to restore everyone's right to self-expression
and alluded to democratic principles of representative government. 41
Garvey brought these principles of self-determination to the Jamaican
people by insisting that they "assume a definite stand in relation to politics." With
political knowledge they could demand the rights and privileges accorded to all
civilized people and thus force England to loosen its control on moral and legal
grounds. In the spirit of common justice, parliament would have little option but to
grant Jamaicans their constitutional rights as British subjects and "recognize the
inalienable rights of those whom [it] calls the subjects races.2 This was Garvey's
rationale for retaining his British citizenship. He urged native Jamaicans to "obey
the laws of your country," because as peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the
Crown, with the capacity for political participation, England could not defy
western ideals that "enthroned the nation-state" and deny the Jamaicans their right
to national self-determination.4
Though his conception of nationhood was framed by western principles
of self-determination, his call for universal rights and privileges did not always
amount to the pursuit of these same rights across the globe. For example, Weis-
bord has stressed Garvey's significance across Africa by demonstrating his influ-
ence in Kenya and Nigeria. Yet his influence rests less with his fight for African
nationalism than his commitment to the principle of nationhood: he was a source
of inspiration for nationalist leaders like Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah,
mostly because he endorsed nationhood as a basic human right.
Garvey and race idealism
In other ways, too, Garvey's global vision of race uplift was less than it
seemed. His rhetoric dealt increasingly with global issues following his return to
Jamaica in December 1927, which was less a measure of his grand vision of
reform than a way to restore his international reputation as a 'Negro' spokesman
and to gain financial support for his political ambitions in Jamaica. Mindful not to
jeopardize his privileged access to the mass of Jamaicans, he used his early
addresses to deflect attention from his failures in America. His focus on global
affairs now served to lessen the impact of his deportation on the general well-being
of the UNIA and to dispel any doubts about his capacity to lead the association
In an attempt to silence his critics, Garvey told a Kingston audience: "I
have friends enough in England, in its Parliament and in its public life... On this
occasion, he tactfully warned his Jamaican opponents that they were no match for
his "millions of friends" across the globe; their criticism was pointless because his
influence stretched far beyond Jamaica.4 Indeed, what better way to capture the
imagination and support of the Jamaican people than by exaggerating the strength
of his support around the world?
These early addresses in Jamaica resonated with race idealism because he
needed financial support from abroad to pursue his political ambitions at home.
This continued to be the case until he departed for London on 26 March 1935. His
reputation as an international "Negro" leader and the "noble cause" itself were
persuasive tools to solicit funds for his Jamaican-based UNIA and its local pro-re-
form programme. To this end, he also launched a daily newspaper called the
Blackman on 30 March 1929, which, as its title suggests, sought to reach "every
civilized and populous centre where blacks live.'45
As editor-in-chief, Garvey welcomed "A New Era for Negro People of
the World," which Jamaica would lead as "a beacon of race tolerance and fellow-
ship and goodwill." He proclaimed Jamaica to be the vanguard of race uplift in
order to justify his insular political manifesto and to solicit funds from black
Americans for his forthcoming election campaigns. At this stage, his appeals for
financial aid were still speculative; he merely apologised for the "diminutive" size
of the publication, which with proper investment could sponsor Jamaica's pivotal
role in the "new movement to aid the Negro race.46
Unsurprisingly, Garvey abandoned this portrait of Jamaica as a model of
understanding between the races following his defeat in the Legislative Council
elections. He was loath to accept that his race rhetoric had failed to deliver political
office, and thus blamed his defeat on "an ignorant community; ... almost to the
point where one can honestly say that the country is ridiculous." 47
The disappointment of political defeat was compounded by the threat of
personal bankruptcy. Faced with the "calamity" of losing his home and "every-
thing," he resorted to "urgent" appeals for financial help from "My Friends,
Acquaintances and Well-wishers in America" and urged supporters in America to
raise $10,000 to "save me from further embarrassment." 48 Though his race
idealism had failed to furnish the coffers of his newly formed Jamaica UNIA, his
dire financial situation was, in no small way, facilitated by his detractors in
America, namely William Ware (President of Cincinnati UNIA division #146)
and J.A. Craigen (Executive Secretary of Detroit UNIA division).
Throughout 1931, Ware informed the US authorities of Garvey's
"wholesale robbery and unscrupulous methods of fleecing the American Negro
out of thousands of dollars." 49 Following an investigation into these claims by US
Postal officials in June 1932, postal laws were enforced to prohibit the transmis-
sion of all postal money orders and correspondence from America to Garvey in
Jamaica until April 1934. By this time he faced financial ruin.
Ware had alerted the US authorities to Garvey's pecuniary interest in
America, because he mistrusted his insular activities in Jamaica. He sought to
obstruct the flow of money from black members of the UNIA, Inc. in America to
ventures that only served Jamaicans, namely the Edelweiss Park and Amusement
Company. Ware urged the Department of Justice to "do something as quick as
possible" to block Garvey's financial solicitations in America, and questioned
why black Americans should "furnish the entire island of Jamaica with high-class
This battle for funds fuelled Garvey's estrangement from American
UNIA leaders, and reflected the ideological fissure between his Jamaica-based
UNIA and the UNIA, Inc., in America. For critics like Vere Johns, his insular
activities in Jamaica signalled a "general cooling off towards the Negro cause...
which, given his endorsement of race idealism, was only partly true. Nevertheless,
Johns rightly identified Garvey's indifference to many domestic issues facing
black Americans; writing in the New York Age, he ridiculed him "as a humble
Jamaican riding a straddle plank between the colonial Englishman and the col-
Garvey abandoned all veiled attempts to solicit funds from abroad by the
time he launched the new monthly magazine, Black Man in December 1933:
If the [Black Man] is to succeed and fulfill its mission, this will be due
chiefly to the American Negroes.... It should be the duty, therefore, of every
serious-minded and thoughtful Negro to get behind the publication of this Maga-
These same financial demands on black Americans had brought Garvey
to America in March 1916. In a letter to Emmett Jay Scott, Secretary of Tuskegee
Institute, he wrote of his impending trip as a way to "get a little help" from black
Americans to teach Jamaicans the ways of Booker T. Washington. His request for
funds to build an "Industrial Farm and Institute scheme at this end" was later
superseded by personal appeals for financial help.53 Garvey always saw black
Americans as a financial surrogate for the Jamaican people and a rich source of
funds to sponsor both his private ventures and the interests of his colonial constitu-
ents. By 1933, he spoke freely about the inextricable link between race idealism
and his solicitation of funds from black Americans because his vision of Jamaican
self-rule depended on it.
In the end, Garvey's rhetoric remains unmistakably universal in scope
because it appealed to the imagination of race conscious persons of African
descent. His contribution to the black world is equally assured as a result of his bid
to resurrect their psychology of self-worth. Yet his attention to race globalism was
less than it seemed: his race rhetoric facilitated Jamaican self-rule above and
beyond black liberation in general because it was always tuned to the (self)
identity needs of Jamaicans as a way to engender national consciousness in his
colonial constituency. This gives his rhetoric more than a regional dimension. His
local pro-reform agenda was never merely a precondition for African liberation,
but the core of his philosophy around which he added the loftier notions of Pan
Africanism. Perhaps this insular focus explains his absence from African soil
during his lifetime and his indifference to many domestic issues affecting black
1. Daily Gleaner. 10 December 1927, in Rupert Lewis, Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion
(London: Karia Press, 1987), pp.197-8. Convicted of using the mails for fraudulent purposes on
18 June 1923, Garvey was sentenced to five years in prison, fined $1,000 and billed for court
costs. His bail was posted on 10 September, and his lawyers set to the task of preparing his ap-
peal. The appellate court rejected his appeal on 2 February 1925; likewise the Supreme Court
on 23 March. The following day Garvey was behind bars. In a bid to prevent his eventual re-
lease in the United States, the Justice Department recommended commuting his sentence to de-
portation, which President Coolidge granted on 18 November 1927. On 2 December, Garvey
boarded the SS Saramacca bound for Panama.
2. "Marcus Garvey Holds First Political Meeting at Cross Roads [Kingston]," 9 September 1929,
printed in Blackman. 12 September 1929, in Robert A. Hill ed., The Marcus Garvey And Uni-
versal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Vol. VII, November 1927-August 1940 (Lon-
don: University Of California Press, Ltd., 1990), p.328. The PPP was formally organized
during sessions of the sixth UNIA Convention at Edelweiss Park (Cross Roads, Kingston) in
September 1929, but the decision to launch a political party was made as early as December
3. Hill ed., The Marcus Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.338
4. Blackman, 30 March 1929, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.301; "Editorial by Marcus Garvey in the
New Jamaican" 9 July 1932, Garvey Papers. vol. VII, pp.514-15
5. E.B. Knox, Personal Representative of Marcus Garvey, recounting Garvey's farewell message
from New Orleans (2 December 1927), Liberty Hall New York, II December 1927, Garvey
Papers, vol. VII, p. 13
6. E.U. Essien-Udom and Amy Jacques Garvey, ed., More Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus
Garvey (London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1977), p.62
7. The motion to form the UNPU was carried unanimously on 5 August 1924 by delegates attending
the fourth UNIA International Convention (Harlem, New York City); they agreed that it should
"promote and secure all the aims and objects of the UNIA not only in this country [United
States] but throughout the world where Negroes dwell." Hill, ed., The Marcus Garvey Papers,
vol. V. p.664
8. Adam Lively, "Continuity and Radicalism in American Black Nationalist Thought, 1914-1929,"
Journal ofAmerican Studies. 18. 2. (1984), p.220
9. E.U. Essien-Udom & Amy Jacques Garvey, eds., Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey
(London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd., 1967), part 2, p.81
10. Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society (Baton Rouge &
London: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), p.109
11. Stein, p.151
12. John Henrik Clarke, ed., Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa (New York: Vintage Books,
13. Michael Banton, Racial and Ethnic Competition (London: Cambridge University Press, 1983),
14. Richard Hart, "Changing Attitudes to the Concept of Self-Determination in Relation to Jamaica,
1660-1970," University of London, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Postgraduate Seminar:
"Decolonization in Small States, with Special Reference to the West Indies, 26 May 1970,
15. W. J. Moses, Classical Black Nationalism: from the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey
(New York: New York University Press, 1996), p.3 I, p.1, p.20 & p.5
16. Moses, Classical Black Nationalism, p.5 & p.6; Robert G. Weisbord, Ebony Kinship: Africa, Afri-
cans and the Afro-American (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1973), pp.55-6; Tony
Martin, Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggle ofMarcus Garvey and the
Universal Negro Improvement Association (Westpoint, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1976),
17. Rupert Lewis, Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion (London: Karia Press, 1987), p.204-6.
18. Lewis, Marcus Garvey, p.199
19. Rupert Lewis, "The Question of Imperialism," in R. Lewis & M. Warner-Lewis, eds., Garvey: Af-
rica, Europe, The Americas (Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1986), p.99
20. W.E.B. DuBois to George Finch, I February 1941, DuBois Papers, University of Massachu-
setts, in Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garveyv p.267
21. Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair, eds., Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons: A Centennial Compan-
ion to the Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p.xxiv-lxi
22. The "Constitution and Book ofLaws ofthe UNIA and ACL" was published in July 1918. It was
revised in August 1920, 1921 and 1922, though its statement of"Objects and Aims" remained
23. Garvey's address to Ward Theatre, Kingston, 11 December 1927, printed in Daily Gleaner, 12
December 1927, in Hill, ed., The Marcus Garvey Papers, vol. VII, (1990), p.26 & p.23.Jamaica
was a Crown Colony and not a dominion as Garvey suggested.
24. Lewis, Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion, p.89; Ken Post, Arise Ye Starvelings: The Jamaican La-
bour Rebellion of 1938 and its Aftermath (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1978), p.16 & p.2
25. Garvey's "Message to the people of Jamaica through the columns of the Daily Gleaner" con-
cluded: "I am glad to be back and to make friends with everybody. Front-page article in the
Daily Gleaner, 12 December 1927 in Garvey Papers, vol. VII, (1990), pp. 20-21; Report of
Garvey's address to the Ward Theater in Daily Gleaner, 12 December 1927, Garvey Papers,
vol. VII, p.26, p.24 & p.28
26. Presenting his case for decolonization at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Garvey struck a concili-
atory tone by reminding his English audience: "We have laid our hearts and our souls bare be-
fore you. We have always been willing to suffer and to help you in all circumstances;... and
therefore we are only asking you now for a reasonable consideration of our case." "The Case of
the Negro for International Racial Adjustment." Royal Albert Hall, London, 6 June 1928, in
E.U. Essien-Udom, ed., More Philosophy and Opinions, pp.44-58
27. "Marcus Garvey holds First Meeting at Cross Roads," 9 September 1929, printed in Blackman,
11 & 12 September 1929, in Garvey Papers, vol. VII, (1990), p.328.
28. Blackman, II September 1929, in R. Lewis, Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion, p.214 Do-
minion Status offers a "kind of voluntary and non-coercive partnership or association with
Great Britain" that blends autonomous national sovereignty and continued Mother Country con-
trol. This guidance involves (i) retaining the English Monarch as head of state; (ii) continued
subjugation to the cultural and economic interests of Great Britain; and (iii), the maintenance
of the Westminster system of Government. See Louis Lindsay, The Myth of Independence:
Middle-Class Politics and Non-Mobilization in Jamaica (University of West Indies: Institute of
Social and Economic Research, 1975), Working Paper no. 6, pp.42-43
29. "The Case of the Negro for International Racial Adjustment." Royal Albert Hall, London, 6 June
1928, in E.U. Essien-Udom, ed., More Philosophy and Opinions, p.55 & p.56
30. Lewis, Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion, p.204
31. M. C. Alleyne, "The World View of Jamaicans", Jamaica Journal. 17, 1984, p.2 & p.3
32. Alleyne, "The World View of Jamaicans", p.4
33. A. Jacques Garvey, ed., Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, part one, p.5
34. Katrin Norris, Jamaica: The Search for an Identity (London: Oxford University Press, 1962),
p.93 & p.99
35. Louis Lindsay, The Myth ofIndependence. pp.13-14
36. Louis Lindsay, The Myth of Independence, p.16. Speaking at the UNIA Liberty Hall in Kingston,
Jamaica, 4 January 1928, Garvey conceded: "I feel at home in a British Colony, standing on a
British platform, for the simple reason... theree is no other safe Constitution and people you
can appeal to for justice, but the Constitution of England.... Nothing is wrong with the British
Constitution." "Report on Marcus Garvey by Detective Charles A. Patterson," in Hill, ed., The
Marcus Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p. 92. This is just one example of Garvey's irregular terminol-
ogy. He often referred to England and Britain interchangeably, even though the latter refers to
England, Wales and Scotland.
37. John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State (Manchester University Press, 1982), p.28 & p.19; John
La Guerre, "The Moyne Commission and the West Indian Intelligentsia," University of Lon-
don, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Postgraduate Seminar: Decolonization in Small
States, with Special Reference to the West Indies, May 19, 1970, p. 16
38. Breuilly, Nationalism, p.28
39. E.U. Essien-Udom & A.J. Garvey, eds., More Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, p.6;
W.L. Van DeBurg, ed., Modern Black Nationalism: from Marcus Garvey to Louis Farrakhan
(New York & London: New York University Press, 1997), p.23
40. W.L. Van DeBurg, ed., Modern Black Nationalism, p.23 & p.24
41. DeBurg, ed., Modern Black Nationalism p.26
42. Blackman, 2 April 1929 & 4 April 1929, in Essien-Udom, ed., More Philosophy and Opinions,
p.158 & p.169
43. Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.92; Boyd C. Shafer, Nationalism: Myth and Reality (London: Victor
Gollancz, 1955), p.165.
44. Ward Theatre, Kingston, I I December 1927, printed in Daily Gleaner, 12 December 1927,
Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.24, p.8, p.26
45. Blackman, vol.1, no.l, 30 March 1929, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.301 The daily Blackman news-
paper was an organ of the local UNIA and the PPP. Not to be mistaken for the monthly Black
Man magazine, which was published between December 1933 and 1939.
46. Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.301
47. Garvey to the Daily Gleaner, 6 February 1930, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.365. George Seymour-
Seymour, owner of the Jamaica Mail, defeated Garvey and his pro-reform platform in the 1930
General Election. Seymour-Seymour represented the interests of upper class white landholders
and polled 1,667 votes; Garvey came second with 915 votes. Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.339 &
48. Appeal by Garvey printed in The Negro World, 17 June 1933, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, pp.547-48
49. Ware to W.N Cault, Assistant Secretary of State, 16 March 193 I, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.454
50. W. Ware to Nugent Dodds, Acting Head, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, 10 February
1931, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.444; Ware to W.N. Cault, 21 December 1931, Garvey Papers,
vol. VII, p.479
51. Vere Johns, New York Age, 10 September 1932, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.536-40
52. Black Man, 1, no.1, December 1933, Garvey Papers, vol. VII, p.566
53. Letter from Marcus Garvey to Emmett J. Scott, 4 February 1916, Garvey Papers, vol. 1, (1983),
p.173. Emmett J. Scott was Booker T. Washington's private secretary (1897-1915), principal
political advisor and personal friend.
Revisiting Chinese Hybridity: Negotiating Categories and
Re-constructing Ethnicity in Contemporary Jamaica a
Chinese Jamaican or Jamaican Chinese are categorized as Old Chinese
whose ancestors came to Jamaica as indentured labourers in sugar plantations
since 1854, as a result of Emancipation in 1838, initially via British Guiana or
Trinidad. A little later, small numbers surviving from Panama (railroad building)
opened grocery and wholesale stores. Soon, other Chinese joined again as inden-
tured labourers, who usually went into retail trades instead of returning to China
after the expiration of contracts.
While Chinese scattered across the island, sometimes being only one
family (usually operating a multi-functioned shop) in an entire local community,
especially in the country, they have created a strong ethnic community as 'Chi-
nese' in Jamaica with a notable centre called Chinatown in downtown Kingston2
As the majority of such Chinese were Hakka, namely 'guest people,' a distinct
migrant ethnic group, originally coming from Kuangtung/Cuangtong (or Guang-
dong in Hakka) in southern China, their sense of being Hakka has remained
Despite a stereotypical image of unchanging ethnicity and bearers of
'traditions,' Chinese Jamaicans in reality have changed both physically and cultur-
ally. Often believed to have 'remain[ ed] the closest to a distinct, identified and
organized community' (Kuper 1976:64) in Jamaica, they have not only strived to
retain their Hakka-based Chinese ethnicity but also ventured to accommodate
themselves into a predominantly Black society. Such a process may have been
slower, for instance, than East Indians, another visible minority, who have not
formed a persisting ethnic community with a clearly demarcated boundary. How-
ever, Chinese Jamaicans on the whole have accepted their way of living as a
creolized one but with distinct ethnicity.
This does not mean that they have become integrated into Jamaican
society smoothly. Nearly all Chinese, both men and women, young and old, have
had negative experiences with the wider society. Many have still faced occasional
unpleasant prejudice and ridicule, but not so much hostility, of various degrees.
Undoubtedly previous aggression, including ethnic riots3, has brought these scat-
tered Chinese closer and tighter as a group with mutual help, enhancing their
Chinese-ness. They came to be very aware of their sensitive position in a predomi-
nantly Black society.
However, even such a generalized picture may give a false impression. In
fact, creolization took place not only without much consciousness but also out of
necessity, as a strategy to survive as the most visible minority. Some of those who
luckily did not encounter continuous repulsive biases and disdain, but only a little
bitterness, have interpreted their experiences and identities, as well as their posi-
tions in society, in different ways.
Some may hold an opinion that keeping a duality as Chinese and Jamai-
can, or what might be seen as a double standard, has not been so difficult. In fact
they have managed to nurture their own unique Creole identity, emphasizing their
Jamaican-ness with Chinese-ness of a sort. Some may alternate and/or appropriate
their national identity and Chinese ethnicity tactfully, according to a situation.
In addition, inter-racial marriage was unavoidable, especially with Black
women. Their children, authentic Creoles, might or might not resemble typical
Chinese. Nevertheless, such 'mixed' Chinese called 'Half Chinese' have tended to
keep some Chinese identity, however 'Black' -like (s)he might appear and even
though (s)he might have very little link or no contact with other Chinese.
Since the early stages of their settlement, we can safely say that the
Chinese were far from homogeneous in experiences and their interpretations as
well as the composition, nature and orientation at their collective level as an ethnic
More recently, the Chinese community has been rapidly changing, espe-
cially with the increase of intermarriage. Also, since the 1980s, new sets of
Chinese have come from mainland China and Hong Kong (especially before it
became a part of the present China), mainly as Free Zone workers (mostly in
garment factories), or traders or seekers of any possible promising work. China-
town in downtown Kingston, once deserted during the 1970s, has been revived,
primarily by such New Chinese.
Then to what extent has the increase of intermarriage and 'Half Chinese'
influenced Chinese ethnicity? Facing New 'Pure' Chinese, how have creolized
Old Jamaican Chinese felt, responded and interacted? How has ethnicity been
negotiated within and without Chinese community? How has Chinese ethnicity
been appropriated and re-constructed in this rapidly changing environment under
These questions in fact include complicated and delicate issues, which
beg detailed, intricate research. My research is still a work in progress, hence the
present paper provides only a brief preliminary report and tentative analysis,
dealing partially with such questions and issues. The following observations and
argument are primarily based on my field research in Jamaica in 1991, 1998, 2001,
and 2003, all of which were conducted in very short periods of time. I will focus
on the Chinese in Kingston as a case study to investigate the current state of ethnic
negotiation and the re-construction of ethnicities among Chinese.
I. Questioning Chinese Ethnicity
In the Caribbean, 'race' and ethnicity are sometimes inter-changeably
used with an emphasis on physical, biological or phenotypical traits for 'race.' In
the case of Chinese, they may be referred to as a 'race' both in literature and in
popular discourse, especially when phenotypical characteristics matter, but in this
paper I use ethnicity for the description and discussion on the Chinese as my
primary interest lies in the dynamics of contacts, negotiations and changes within
the wider Chinese Diaspora communities.
Ethnicity has never been unanimously approached and dealt with both in
the academia and in popular usage, hence refusing simple definitions. In many
current usages in the Caribbean, however, it tends to be dealt with as something
homogeneous and monolithic, essentially defined and deterministically pre-
scribed. This seems to also be true for the Chinese in Jamaica.
With two distinct 'schools,' primordialists (with an emphasis on affec-
tion) and constructivists (with an emphasis on interest), previous ethnic studies
have still remained within such frameworks and parameters, albeit not necessarily
polarized as such. Ethnicity is a very dynamic phenomenon, socio-culturally
constructed, which is never been static and fixed, influenced by both internal and
external forces, contexts and situations. And yet, 'emic' discourses and interpreta-
tions show undeniable affectionate aspects in ethnic identity and identification.
Ethnicity, therefore, should be approached as containing an inherent multiplicity
and hybridity of invariable levels and dimensions of both constructivism and
primordialism. My attempt here is an initial part of a larger study of examining
changing Chinese ethnicity in contemporary Jamaica, thereby re-considering both
primordial and constructive approaches.
A. Identifying the Changing Chinese
The Chinese are the smallest ethnic minority group next to the Leba-
nese/Syrians, roughly 0.2 % of the total population of Jamaica. Stereotyped
physical characteristics have been used as the most compelling criteria to identify
Chinese over the years. In reality, however, the Chinese have exemplified a variety
of physical traits, even though such differences are not counted so much.
The Chinese used to be the slowest in integration and creolization into the
Jamaican society, a reflection of their strong attachment to and their will to
maintain their 'traditional' culture as well as their different sense of belonging in
society. This however is only partially true today. It is becoming more difficult to
delineate the Chinese community as a separate entity.
It is no longer easy to identify Chinese by their names, either. All
Jamaican-born Chinese have English-sounding first names. Even first generation
Chinese carry English first names. The great majority of first generation Chinese
gave their children both Chinese and English names, with English for registration
in Jamaica, while they put their children's names in their 'family books' and
engraved these on family tombs upon birth back in China. Many allowed their
children baptized as Anglicans or Catholics, however nominal. Some children
were given English names by their Jamaican godparents. Some may keep their
Chinese names as middle names.
They have used Chinese names only among family and kin members,
while using English ones otherwise. When double standards were adopted, some
have experienced a kind of schizophrenic identity crisis, yet also learned to
manipulate their identification. Now they mayor may not remember the original
meaning of their Chinese names, depending on the orientations or intentions of
their parents and themselves.
Family names are also controversial: some have kept their original Chi-
nese names, but others changed them upon landing as officials could not pick up
the sounds correctly and demanded them to change their names to English names,
or simple ones that were easy to pronounce, hence many plain names such as
Chang, Chen, Chin, Lee, Lyn or Ho, have proliferated. Such a changing of names
ironically facilitated non-Chinese to tease them. Obviously some changed their
names voluntarily so as not to be ridiculed and discriminated against, showing
their keen desire to be totally integrated or at least avoiding obstinate ethnic
Religious traditions also changed after their settlement in Jamaica, which
created incongruity at first between the generations with parents who used to be
either Confucian or Buddhist. But Chinese religious traditions became more
personal and private matters in due course, and even the first generation started to
adopt some Christian ways, exhibiting syncretistic inclinations. Now Buddhist
and Confucian worship and rituals have almost disappeared as a living tradition,
and almost all are Christian however nominal. Some well-known Chinese priests
and preachers are well recognized and well beloved even outside of the Chinese
community in Jamaica.5
Chinese have difficulty in English, has been an old-fashioned myth.
Those children who were sent to Jamaican schools mastered English fairly soon
while they needed to use the language of their parents) when speaking to them at
home. Many Chinese, both boys and girls, have excelled in school performances
and used available resources with specific purposes to achieve their goals.
The majority of the Jamaican Chinese have established themselves in
many respectable professions like doctors, lawyers, academic staff, the Christian
ministry, or economically successful occupations such as owners of retail and
wholesale stores, restaurants, now rapidly expanding supermarkets and even a big
bank; in fact, their ambitions have been achieved in all possible areas including
sports and art. Many have become so wealthy that one of the stereotypes of
contemporary Chinese has changed to something like 'Chinese are rich and keep
their wealth to themselves.
Occupations and socio-economic status or class may no longer be the
undeniable signifiers for Chinese ethnicity. Class-based divisions and stratifica-
tion have become much more widespread among the Chinese. Despite long-stand-
ing prejudices, the Jamaican Chinese can now ignore insolent attitudes from the
wider society to stigmatize them with the previous stereotypes and old myths. In
other words, in addition to phenotypical varieties, with changing names, religious
'conversion,' English competency, educational excellence, and occupational
achievement, the previous criteria have no longer validated a test for Chinese-ness
in Jamaica. The label 'Chinese' is not a stigma but something they can be proud
of. And yet, unfortunately, their history or the process of their creolization has
little been known to the wider public. The shifting orientation of the Chinese
community has required re-interpretations of Chinese ethnicity by the estab-
lishment. Then why have the Chinese in Jamaica long been treated with such
unchanging stereotypes? Why has so little research been done, including the
current situations? For this, I will look at the previous research on the Jamaican
Chinese as a reflection of the positionality of ethnicity.
B. Previous Research as a Reflection of the Positionality of Chinese Ethnicity
On the whole, academic research on the Chinese in Jamaica has remained
at a low key. None has been done on New Chinese. The reasons seem to be not so
simple and in fact tell partially how Chinese and their ethnicity has been posi-
tioned and dealt with.
First, Jamaica is basically a 'Black' country with more than 90 % of the
total population inheriting African 'blood,' including a mixed population. Since
Independence in 1962, especially with the increasing awareness and upsurge of
the Black Power movement, Afro-Creole perspectives, if not always Afrocentric,
have dominated both popular and academic scenes. Hence serious research on
non-Blacks has tended to be neglected or left behind unless some initiatives came
up from within or abroad.
Secondly, the Chinese presence is now appreciated, with their undoubted
economic contribution and cultural enrichment, beginning with cuisine, to Jamai-
can society and culture. However, we must never forget there has long existed
resentment and even antagonism against the Chinese since they settled, whose
memories and stories have continued to be remembered. Such aggressive attitudes
have diminished, but negative sentiments have still lingered on.
This has in turn influenced Chinese self-images, views and feelings
towards Blacks, shaping their orientations and aspirations in society, overcoming
their uncomfortable-ness and so-called inferiority complex. The fact that there has
seldom been an equal, harmonious and mutual understanding or intimate inter-re-
lationships between them at a collective level, seems to have reflected the lack of
zeal for serious research.
Thirdly, the Chinese are known to keep their own matters within the
ethnic boundary at large, not letting out or sharing their private, honest, inner
views and feelings with' outsiders.' In addition, there are differences and differen-
tiations within the Chinese community, and some Chinese even don't trust other
Chinese either, only depending on their family and kinship network, which they
believe are trustworthy. So it might have been rather difficult for 'others' includ-
ing local non-Chinese, unless they have close connections, to investigate the
Chinese community and culture in depth.
Fourthly, in recent years, even among local Chinese, there has not been
much concern raised, nor much desire or a feeling of need to do academic research
about themselves. More and more Chinese are said to have become increasingly
'simply business-oriented' and 'individualistic,' forgetting about the welfare and
interest of the entire Chinese community. This trend may be reflected in the recent
membership6 and activities (both regular and occasional) of Chinese associations,
i.e., the Chinese Benevolent Association and the Chinese Cultural Association,
both of which have headquarters now in uptown Kingston. For the vice-president,
secretaries and other leading officials of the associations, a large majority of
contemporary Chinese have lost the 'traditional' spirit and practices of mutual
help, 'benevolence' and collectiveness, narrowing their interest into private busi-
ness or family matters, hence little concerns about the associations. 7
Fifthly, New Chinese have been added to the contemporary 'ethnoscape,'
but are regarded as still too new to be researched. They have never been many and
generally believed to be temporary workers who could be ignored. They have
occupied business sectors, staying long hours inside shops or workplaces, often
behind wire nets or in secluded Free Zone factories. Their encounters and social
interactions with local Jamaican Chinese as well as other Jamaicans have been
very limited. Unless they have become a 'problem,' giving 'noises,' the news
media have not reported about them. However they may appear visibly, they have
on the whole remained socio-culturally 'invisible,' reflecting their locations in
society. With ready-made stereotypes passing as current, rumours about them have
Perhaps only to Jamaican Chinese eyes, the New Chinese may be 'prob-
lems,' on top of those co-workers who came to regard them as latent 'opponents'
or nuisances. Because the Old Chinese and New Chinese tend to be branded
altogether as simply 'Chinese' by non-Chinese, both Chinese have become very
sensitive to cultural and other differences between them, which are not easily
converted into a research target.
Further, and perhaps foremost, there is a language barrier, which also
reflects a complicated Chinese ethnicity. With English as the official language and
Creole English or patois as their spoken language, Jamaicans generally have not
made much effort to learn other languages systematically. Even among the
younger generation Chinese, there has not been much enthusiasm for learning
Chinese. There used to be a Chinese school in downtown Kingston, but it was
closed just before Jamaica's Independence as if to show Chinese collective inten-
tion to be totally integrated into the new nation. S
The first-generation Chinese are basically Hakka (a dialect of Cantonese)
speakers. Some have mastered English, but others speak very little or only basic
English. New Chinese are either Cantonese and/or Mandarin speakers. Many of
them seem to struggle with English and with queer accents, and only some
ambitious hardworking ones can manage it without difficulty. Some Jamaican-
born Chinese communicate with the older folks in Hakka, but the majority of the
third-generation Chinese have lost it to a large extent. Reading and writing in
Chinese is obviously most difficult even for second-generation Chinese, unless
they learn it anew with a reinterpreted Chinese awareness and longings for their
imagined root( s).
The language issue is so important that it must have limited research
If the research on Chinese has not been done much with those possible
reasons as mentioned above, how to uncover the stereotyped masks of the Chinese
may be done fust of all by looking at how the Chinese are heterogeneous and
hybrid in reality. In the next section, we will examine how controversial and
misleading ethnic categories are.
II. Chinese Hybridity
A. Controversial Ethnic Categories: Hybridity of Meanings
In Jamaica, the popular perception is that the census categories are taken
for granted as current ethnicities and that ethnic groups are distinguishable with
each other' The official census categories are Blacks or Afro-Jamaicans, Col-
oured or Mixed, Whites or Europeans, Lebanese or Syrians, Chinese, East Indians,
and others. These six are believed to keep fairly clearly demarcated boundaries
with distinctive 'racial' traits and cultures, and each category is presumed to
exhibit essentialized homogeneity.
On the other hand, boundary-making and keeping is controversial.
For example, even though the category 'Black' is distinguished from
'Mixed' or 'Coloured,' the fact that 'Mixed' or 'Coloured' people share the
'blood' of 'Blacks,' is well-known. While the boundary between the two is very
ambiguous, people tend to think there exists an invisible line that is commonly
accepted, however ambivalent they feel about such a dividing line. And yet, they
may move across such lines fairly freely.
In addition, hybridity in blood and culture is also a well-accepted notion
together with Creole identities, which may fluctuate. The reality, therefore, does
not fit for such fixed and simplified classification, but people still depend on these
ethnic categories. Since the given categories are not at all elaborate and often too
vague, they leave space for appropriation according to one's shifting identifica-
Interestingly, the category 'Mixed' in theory means anyone whose
'blood' is 'racially mixed,' yet it normally signifies those whose parents are White
and Black. Hence, those 'Mixed' people whose parents are of different combina-
tions may not identify with this specific category. They are called by different
names sometimes. Or they may simply appropriate either of the parents' racial/eth-
nic categories according to the situation. Obviously there has always been more
space for arbitrariness and manipulation in racial and ethnic identification for
those 'Mixed' blood people, including 'Half Chinese.'
This means plainly that these categories had better be seen as one's
choice of temporary identification. They can be taken as seemingly fixed indices
yet containing various kinds of differences within, incongruous to the imagined
homogeneous 'essences.' This is also true for 'Chinese,' who are usually believed
to be most homogeneous ethnic group in Jamaica.
Some Jamaican Chinese, especially if their identity as Jamaican appears
more often, more persistent and more significant than Chinese ethnicity, may not
cultivate their so-called Chinese-ness as much, utilizing Chinese networks, for
example. They seem to prefer to avoid developing deep inter-relationships within
the Chinese community and try to detach themselves from such ethnocentric
condensation. Nevertheless, this is not equal to their denial of Chinese identity,
which may be embedded in the deeper level of their consciousness and thought,
accompanied by some cultural orientation.
For some others whose Chinese identity is of prime importance, focuss-
ing on their networking among Chinese, both at home and abroad,comes first. We
must never forget that many Chinese have retained their linkages with Diasporic
communities, mostly depending on family and kinship ties. Ethnicity is prioritized
than nationality in such cases. This tendency may be more salient for Hakkas than
non-Hakka Chinese as they tend to regard themselves as still nomadic or 'in
transit,' regarding the host society as a temporal one. For them, national identity
may matter most only when they have to deal with political, legal, and tax issues
as well as transnational movements, which requires visa and passport holding,
while Hakka ethnicity never disappears.
In daily usage, those whose features resemble stereotyped 'Chinese' are
called 'Mr. Chin' or 'Miss Chin' instead of 'Chinese' by non-Chinese. When
non-Chinese imply a little ridicule, contempt, derision and disdain, they may use
'Chiney"10 'Chiney-man,' 'Chiney-bwoy,' 'Chiney-gal.' Alleyne (2003:236)
claims that there is "neither pejoration nor amelioration implied in the choice of
any of these [chinee and Chinese]" and that the difference is "purely sociolinguis-
tic," with chinee as "the vernacular." However, many of my informants see more
value-added differences between the two. They cannot deny something derisive in
the term 'chiney,' and it is not the issue of either 'official' or 'vernacular' for them.
Even though these terms are addressed without deprecation, many Jamai-
can Chinese, including some of those whose name is 'Chin,' do not like them at
all. Some still won't get rid of the old belief of Blacks trying to make fun of them,
having long endured such name-calling. Nowadays, however, a large majority of
Chinese may disregard them while some may respond with a joke or even insult
back, showing their sense of ethnic pride.This attitudinal change mirrors their
changing identity as Chinese, even though some still carry resentment against
Blacks and disclose such negative sentiments behind their backs.
The ethnic label 'Chinese' (including 'vernacular' expressions) is just a
nominal category to capture the broadest 'members' who mayor may not share the
same sense of belonging and orientation. They may not use 'minor' sub-categories
to outsiders and carefully discern how to use which (sub-) category, to whom, in
what kind of context, etc. The category 'Chinese' remains controversial but
convenient for appropriation. This is also a reflection of Chinese hybridity.
B. Chinese Diaspora: Hybridity of Roots and Routes
It is important to remember that before the Chinese left China, they were
never, or had hardly ever been, called 'Chinese.' Among Old Chinese, the first
generation usually came from the same province, Guangdong (K wangtung), and
even from the same village, and in some cases they belong to the same wider
The fact the great majority of them are Hakka, has played an important
role in building Chinese community and ethnicity as 'Chinese.' Hakkas, after
migrating to various parts of the world, have maintained a distinct ethnic identity
among the Diasporas. While their migratory routes are fairly complex, diasporic
experiences have created a new kind of ethnic 'Chinese' in the host society. They
knew their socio-economic position in China was low and rather looked down
upon by surrounding ethnic groups, not to mention the dominant majority Han,
hence still remembering and telling of how poor their families and villagers used
Emphasizing such a gloomy past has effectively contributed to their
contemporary success stories as Chinese. Successful Hakka can proudly show
their achievement and wealth with toilsome stories, hence being Hakka is no
longer a stigma, albeit Hakka identity may not surface. Through such narratives,
their constant discipline and diligence are referred to as attributes, not necessarily
to Hakka ethnicity, but surely to a more enlarged 'Chinese-ness.' The process of
becoming ethnic Chinese seems to have condensed localized Hakka-ness and
sublimated it to a non-localized Chinese-ness.
Interestingly, in Jamaica there are two types of Chinese according to the
'purity' of 'blood': 'Pure' Chinese and 'Half Chinese. Though sounding tauto-
logical, 'Pure' Chinese are those whose parents are not 'racially' mixed. Those
whose parents are inter-ethnically married but within the same 'race,' are also
regarded as 'Pure' Chinese. Self-claims of ethnic Chinese in the Diaspora are also
believed to belong to this category. They seldom question their ancestral lineage
very far back, and if they can trace themselves back somewhere in China, usually
such a quest ends with comfort. Naturally, 'Pure' Chinese have been valued
wherever they came from.
Often popular discourse has mingled the purity of blood and the place of
birth and/or origin for assessing their 'purity.' As long as one or one's parents and
grandparents were born somewhere in China, one's Chinese purity is certified.
While it is not simply the place of origin that matters, the fact remains that many
share the same or similar geographical backgrounds, and this similar sense of
belonging seems to be cherished most. This leads to occasional specification and
differentiation of locations while never forgetting to share the sameness of their
background. In other words, those who were born in China, those whose parents
belong to such a category, those who were not born in China but born out of 'Pure'
Chinese in the Diaspora are classified as 'Pure' Chinese.
In addition, there is also an invisible division among 'Pure' Chinese, i.e.,
between 'China-bor Chinese' (CBC) and 'Jamaica-born Chinese' (mC), which is
not strictly the same as the criterion of the purity of blood. The emphasis on the
place of birth lies solely in either Jamaica or China. The latter also contains the
obvious category 'Creole,' but the angle of classification there is again slightly
different from the one which deals specifically with the place of origin.
Labelling has been misleading, yet this may aid the proliferation of
hybridity from within. For example, those from mainland China were shipped
from Hong Kong to come to the New World, hence they were usually referred as
'people from Hong Kong,' but meaning born in Hong Kong. Especially in the
contemporary scene, New Chinese coming from Hong Kong without doubt de-
mands the distinction, and such an ambiguous phrase 'people from Hong Kong'
may include more than triple meanings. After the annexation of Hong Kong with
the Republic of China, those originally from Hong Kong became sensitive to the
use of the term Hong Kong and normally refuses to be identified with the 'main-
landers.' For them, Hong Kong is still a different place from China.
There are also a variety of routes to residence in Jamaica. Even among
the early immigrants, including indentured labourers, some went first to British
Guiana, Trinidad or even Suriname and other Central American countries such as
Panama before migrating to Jamaica. Later more varied places of origin and ports
of embarkation were counted.
Some even re-migrated again to other destinations, including China, both
mainland and Hong Kong, after settling in Jamaica. Such a diversity of roots and
routes, quoting James Clifford and Paul Gilroy, resulted in a proliferation of the
differences among Chinese, both China-born and foreign-born. They have kept
such invisible boundaries among themselves subliminally, while re-delineating
the dividing lines as well as re-uniting the divisions multifariously according to
roots and routes.
Regrettably, but understandably, those rich experiences are only known
among certain sections of the Chinese community, basically either within family
and kin groups or their close friends. Stories of emigration to the various Metro-
poles and meetings with a variety of similar 'Ohers' in the Diaspora, certainly
colour the hybridity of Chinese-ness. Often, submerged dissimilarities within the
Chinese community may surface as clearer differences at times.
C. Intermarriage and Chinese Ethnicity
Chinese are long believed to have maintained rigid boundaries by ethnic
endogamy. Preference for ethnic endogamy has not diminished for the sake of the
maintenance of Chinese ethnicity. In fact, intermarriage has been a fact of life
since the early stages of their settlement. When the early Chinese faced the crisis
of not finding appropriate marriage partners in Jamaica due to the scarcity of
Chinese women among the indentured labourers, one practical way to solve the
problem of 'diluting' Chinese blood was to recruit a Chinese candidate from
outside Jamaica and/or send their children back to China for education and finding
a 'Pure' Chinese wife, while becoming' authentic' Chinese, reinforcing or renew-
ing theirChinese-ness. Many did this, but others did not.
Strong disdain, resentment or even ostracism was targeted for those who
had married out because arranged marriage was the norm. However, such sanc-
tions did not stop the increase in intermarriage and 'Half Chinese.' The varieties of
experiences of finding a partner and family formation among Chinese multiplied,
both within the group whose partner is classified as Chinese and the other whose
partner is non-Chinese.
Intermarriage, not necessarily with Black Jamaicans, has been continu-
ously on the rise. In general, as long as intermarried couples are happy and the
family continues to have 'success' stories, intermarriage can be told as a positive
view of this 'Creole' way. However, even though many Chinese Jamaicans show
tolerance about inter-racial unions, there are still those married-out Chinese being
'disowned' by their families who have needed to 'hide.13 If one's intermarriage
breaks up, especially with a Black partner, the cause of the failure tends to focus
on racial and ethnic incongruity, which is usually interpreted as a lesson for
'racial' endogamy. And importantly, intermarried families tend to maintain link-
ages with Chinese and are usually regarded still as a part of the 'Chinese' commu-
If a Chinese father (as this is usually the case) makes efforts to initiate his
children to be Chinese, 'Half Chinese' tend to be incorporated within the broader
sense of Chinese. A Jamaican mother on the other hand became a key facilitator
for her Chinese partner and their children to be almost fully accepted in the wider
society.14 This did not automatically change a Chinese to Jamaican, but his
'Jamaicanization,' as well as that of 'Half Chinese,' would be furthered more
speedily and steadily.
It is true that the increase of intermarriage and 'Half Chinese' has contin-
ued to blur racial and ethnic boundaries and made Chinese ethnicity more ambigu-
ous. Surprisingly, this trend is now often accepted both within and without the
Chinese community, whereas it may be yet felt threatening, especially among the
older 'Pure' Chinese, albeit as something they themselves admit inevitable.
Boundary maintenance is no longer possible by 'traditional' control.
This also adds to the previous issue, that physical features are no longer
the determining indicators or undeniable signifiers to classify Chinese. Another
problem is that even though physical variations have dramatically increased, the
typical phenotypical characteristics have remained as the persisting stereotype,
lacking Caucasian types of curves and turns, which easily turns them into either
targets of ridicule, or images of the still-mystical Oriental "Other." With the
increase in the variety of Chinese, there seems to be no unanimously agreed-upon
version of Chinese aesthetics, either, including how to assess 'Chinese beauty.15
The positionality of 'Half Chinese' can be a marker for ethnic boundaries
and a criterion for 'Othering.' As explained above, there is a wide variety of'Half
Chinese,' who can be very dark and have very few Chinese physical traits and yet
may be treated as a member of the wider Chinese community.
How they have been called in part suggests their very ambiguous position
in society. The expression 'Half Chinese' is commonly used both within and
without the Chinese community, while 'Half-past Eleven,16 and 'Chiney-Dougla'
were used only within, and 'Part Chinese,' 'Black Chiney,' 'Half Chiney,'
'Chiney-royal,' were used invariably.
'Dougla 'is a derogatory term to mean children out of miscegenation, or
'bastard' in Bhojpuri, a Hindi dialect. This may be a clue that those Chinese who
had Black partners were disdained very much not only among Chinese but also by
(East) Indians, who despised and disgraced those who had Black partners and
produced 'mixed' blood children since the indenture period.
The etymology of the suffix 'royal' of'Chiney-royal' (and 'Coolie-royal
'), albeit vague, seems to designate a new species produced by 'cross-breeding' of
different kinds of livestock, such as 'mule-royal. Curiously, Jamaican socio-lin-
guist Alleyne (2002:236), who spells the word as 'rayal' rather than the more
popular form 'royal,' mentions that the "resulting phenotype in a female is well
appreciated aesthetically and sexually, but the parallel male enjoys no particular
value in these regards." However, my informants gave me different opinions,
which suggests his statement should not be generalized.
Those derogatory terms are now almost obsolete as these people have
become more or less integrated into the society, being accepted either within the
Chinese community or by Blacks, and in many cases, by both.
Recently, while ethnic endogamy is preferred, class endogamy has be-
come a priority, especially for the middle class and upper-middle class, which is
also a proof of creolization. Such intermarriage is observed almost regardless of
the partners' race and ethnicity as long as their class boundary is maintained,
though people of lighter colour have been favoured, again largely influenced by
the deep-rooted colour prejudice in society. Even social mixing may reflect such
Creole cultural values. Nevertheless, Chinese ethnicity has never been trivialized.
This, however, does not indicate that they did not experience 'double
prejudice.' Prejudice of all possible kinds seems to be an inevitable part of their
daily experiences, but many of them seem to be able to overcome them in due
course, cultivating 'Creole' identity. Of course,one's ethnic identity is not neces-
sarily the same as that of other 'Half Chinese.' 18
With such increasing hybridity, Jamaican Chinese have encountered
other kinds of new situations, which have problematized and let them re-assessed
their ethnic identification. The main issue here is the introduction of New Chinese
and to a lesser extent, the settlement of returnees. I will deal with the encounter
with New Chinese in the following section.
III. New Chinese and Ethnic Negotiation
A. New Immigrants and Chinese-ness
One of the most notable changes in relation to ethnic negotiations is the
recent introduction of many foreign workers since the 1980s. This became very
conspicuous because of the previous massive emigration, or 'exodus' primarily to
North America (Miami, New York and Toronto are the big three) in 1970s under
Michael Manley's (democratic) socialist regime.19 The two big movements in
fact were also partial reflections of the recent trend towards globalization, and they
have energized ethnic negotiation and re-configurations, especially within the
Quite a few foreigners, with numerous nationalities, have come into a
wide variety of occupations, according to statistical data available from the Minis-
try of Labour and Social Security, which issues work permits?O The most numer-
ous among those who were approved of work permit (both new and renewal) have
been Asians during the 1990s, and the last few years, composing between 33 % or
862 people (1995) and close to 44 % or 1,175 people (1997)21 Among these,
Chinese and Indians stand out as the most numerous entrants.
Needless to say, those whose physical features resemble the existing
ethnic groups, including Chinese and Indians, are likely to be categorized or at
least called automatically according to these respective categories. Some do not
necessarily fall into given ethnic categories but tend to be classified according to
their proximities to these categories.
In general, Jamaicans do not distinguish between Chinese and other
'Asians,' except 'Indians' (East Indians), who are often regarded as 'the Other' by
the Chinese. Moreover, there is hardly any recognizable distinction between Old
Chinese and New Chinese, at least in appearance. Unless they speak, it is almost
impossible for non-Chinese to distinguish between them. Generally, they were just
branded as 'New Chinese' by Jamaican Chinese and some non-Chinese Jamai-
cans, who again cannot distinguish between people from mainland China and
those from Hong Kong.
Often both Old and New Chinese have been categorized simply as
'Chinese' altogether by non-Chinese, which is tolerable for the New Chinese as
they are 'authentic' Chinese anyway. But they are not comfortable to be confused
with creolized Chinese, who to them are far from 'Chinese.' Old Chinese, too,
have expressed embarrassment, concerns and complaints against New Chinese.
The physical proximity seems to increase a sense of difference and 'Otherness' all
the more, as well as a kind of congeniality (but not to the extent of intimacy).
It is important to remember that for most Jamaican Chinese, including
'Half Chinese,' New 'pure' Chinese are more or less 'foreigners.' The great
majority of New Chinese are either young 'businessmen' who settled in down-
town Kingston or young unskilled girls who were employed in Free Zone facto-
ries. Their business or work has no or very little direct connection and contacts
with the established Jamaican Chinese.
Jamaican Chinese firmly believe that New Chinese originally belong to
the lower class, either in China or Hong Kong. Apparently, class matters most to
the Jamaicans. Many wealthy or successful Chinese Jamaicans try to dissociate
themselves from such lower class Chinese, emphasizing cultural incongruity.
Some of the New Chinese may come to Chinese restaurants to eat and
meet with other Chinese, but New Chinese and Old Chinese do not mix at a deep
level. Rather they tend to observe differences with each other even while they may
greet each other.
With such new encounters with New Chinese, Chinese ethnicity seems to
have been shifting. This has in a way problematized the 'authenticity' of Chinese-
ness, once essentialized within the Chinese community, with more ambiguity
being seen when it comes to ethnic boundaries. Both Old and New Chinese have
begun to re-consider their Chinese identity through their differences and similari-
ties. At present, it seems very important for both groups to keep some distance
from each other and differentiate between themselves delicately, while in some
instances they may also make an alliance.
B. Encounters with New Chinese
1. Businessmen in Chinatown
When Chinatown was left like a ghost town, New Chinese saw it as an
opportunity. Though it was not just Chinatown where New Chinese came to
live,22 they have exhibited visible changes there, however difficult it has been to
tell whether the shop owners are New Chinese or Old Chinese.
Those men (and women) tend to work in downtown Kingston, known to
be a 'very dangerous' and 'rough' area, 'sensible' middle class Jamaicans won't
approach. Hence, no knowledge of such Chinese is available by personal observa-
tions and direct encounters. They may not hesitate to believe any rumours about
them, as well, which is likely to consolidate their negative images of New Chinese.
New Chinese shopkeepers and entrepreneurs appear to be successful,
some more so than others, and accepted by many downtown residents and shop-
pers. Some employ Black Jamaicans as attendants so that they may limit speaking
their broken English to their local customers. Local shoppers witness that some
such Chinese deal with Jamaicans (mostly lower class Blacks) simply saying
"OK," trying to look friendly, but are also rather too "direct" in communication,
speaking very simple words and using body languages, etc.
On the other hand, there is an accusation against the mannerisms of New
Chinese, that they treat locals with contempt, rudeness and an-ogance as if they
were the real 'boss.' Their attitudes seem to be a combination of prejudice against
both Blacks and the lower class (Jamaicans)23 Their mannerisms have emban-
assed middle class Jamaican Chinese and even some New Chinese, for example,
with their spitting in public, squatting or 'sitting-down' on the street while waiting
instead of standing, etc. Some Old Chinese and a few New Chinese have also
pointed out the shabbiness or untidiness of their clothing: "Some men don't care
about what they wear and how." The clothing code is obviously important in
Middle class Chinese Jamaicans feel uncomfortable and fearful of losing
the good reputation they have already gained. For Jamaican Chinese, distancing
themselves from them has been a natural course, demarcating their differences
even with superiority, feeling more 'cultured' and 'civilized.'
There is a similarity between them such as a latent distrust of Black
Jamaicans among New Chinese. Whether or not such racial and colour prejudice
was picked up as soon as they came to Jamaica, is unclear. They employ 'trustwor-
thy' Blacks, but only Chinese who they trust are dealt with as cashiers, who are
either the owners' immediate family members, relatives, or those recruited
through their kin network, in retail and wholesale stores, or restaurants. They have
found quite a few cases of their earnings, goods and utensils stolen from the shops
and restaurants. They don't report these to the police simply because they don't
trust them, the majority of whom are Blacks anyway. Though Jamaican Chinese
never try to express such feelings in public, some still keep them.
A few owners and managers confessed that not all Chinese are trustwor-
thy, showing how important it is to be careful in relationships, in business and
otherwise. Even among New Chinese, there is a submerged suspicion between the
mainlanders, the majority of whom are Mandarin speakers and people from Hong
Kong, who are Cantonese speakers. And among the mainlanders, too, they some-
times try to differentiate among themselves according to the place of origin. The
selectivity among Chinese Jamaicans also seems to have been stimulated since the
introduction of New Chinese business people.
In addition, the final destination of New Chinese is believed to be North
America, regarding Jamaica just as a midway point. With increasing free trade and
globalization, competition has become fierce, and already some have emigrated or
gone back simply because they aimed for another chance in North America or lost
in the competitive arena. Though (old) Hakkas are known as 'wanderers,' they
themselves think new non-Hakkas are more mobile than themselves. "They stay
here just to make money," some Jamaican Chinese laugh, with a combination of
scorn and envy.
2. Free Zone Workers
Cheap Chinese labour used to be introduced in bulk, hence their presence
was frequently talked about. It is interesting to know that the official statistical
figures for those who obtained work permits are a lot less than frequently-quoted
numbers of workers in factories during interviews. At the peak period, up to 'four
thousand' Chinese are said to have worked if we believe in popular discourse and
local observations. However, a great majority of such workers have been made
redundant in the past few years and sent back because of a closing down of
factories caused by the negative influence of globalization24 Jamaica's worsening
socio-economic conditions, the government's policy on the minimum wage,
working conditions, and workers' attitudes have become increasingly hostile to
foreign investors, on top of a rapidly aggravated crime situation.
Workers stay in assembly lines for long hours and are carried by com-
pany-arranged vans between 'dormitories' and factories. About 15 may be
crammed into a house to save the cost of accommodation. They shop and walk in
groups,25 even at night, which appears very conspicuous for Jamaicans. They are
seen to have had very little time for themselves and socializing with locals due to
the nature of work, which has again reinforced a negatively 'Othered' image, with
them remaining as total 'aliens.'
Those whose dormitories are close to the headquarters of the Chinese
Benevolent Association, may go there on Saturday nights, when members usually
have 'functions.' They do not mix with them, however. They just watch Chinese
cable TV, which to Jamaican Chinese is unintelligible, spend some time at a
Karaoke room in the basement, singing Chinese pop songs, or just watch Jamaican
Chinese men playing dominoes or playing badminton from afar. One or two who
understand English reasonably well and can speak a little might join in hesitantly
only when a few local Chinese men who may remember a little Hakka, try to invite
them repeatedly out of friendship and pity. The rest of the girls may just remain
looking or withdraw themselves.
The members in the association emphasize that the language difference
has hindered mutual communication. The majority of these girls are Mandarin
speakers, and English required at factories is minimal because whatever problem
arises, a translator will help. Since a polite request or suggestion was expressed
from the Embassy of China to initiate a language class, that is, of China's official
language Mandarin, this association introduced an evening class, inviting a 'na-
tive' speaker. However, the demand has not been so great, and the classes are not
progressing as was planned. For a great majority of Jamaican Chinese, learning
Mandarin can be done merely out of curiosity, but not out of necessity.
Interestingly, the 'rival' compatriot Chinese Cultural Association has
started English classes for Chinese speakers, mainly to facilitate those New Chi-
nese to settle in Jamaica more smoothly. This again seems to have been requested
or suggested by a manager of a Free Zone factory, according to a key member of
the association. Only some seem to have come to learn English and meet other
compatriots who may share the purpose of visit. While the majority of Free Zone
workers have gone, other New Chinese have joined in.
In terms of the inter-relationships between Chinese and other co-workers
(lower class Jamaicans) in Free Zones, it is interesting to hear the factory managers
talk.26 "These girls understand English well," and whenever in trouble, a Chinese
translator provides instructions and help, hence there is "no language barrier"
between them. They emphasize mutual compatibility; "Chinese and Jamaicans get
along well." Obviously they need to convey politically correct images to outsiders
to counter-balance stereotypical negative images of Free Zone workers.
However, there were complaints and grievances against Asian girls (not
necessarily Chinese) who usually bear harsh conditions. Such charges were ex-
pressed even through radio talk shows. The New Chinese became a kind of threat
for Jamaican co-workers to challenge their bargaining power and negotiation
skills in dealing with working conditions and wages. In other words, New Chinese
were welcomed only by such Free Zones while they have become increasingly
un-welcome by their Jamaican co-workers, and have caused bewilderment among
Old Chinese. As long as they remain as familiar 'Others,' they may be welcome.
They were expected to go back after a few years, but a few stayed on and
even married locally?? Once they are married to Jamaican Chinese, they will be
accepted by the local Chinese community, and then even expected to be Jamaican-
C. Language issues and Chinese Associations
The original idea for the establishment of the Chinese Benevolent Asso-
ciation was to further mutual assistance for more creolization into Jamaican
society, with an emphasis on being Jamaican Chinese. The members of this
Association claim it has a one-hundred fifty year's history, since this spirit was
there from the inception of their forefathers' settlement.
This seems to have functioned as the central connecting point and cen-
tripetal force among the variety of Chinese in Jamaica. But recently they have also
begun to emphasize encouraging social and cultural enrichment in Chinese-ness,
re-recognizing their Chinese roots and re-appreciating 'traditional' culture, how-
ever vague these meanings are.
The beginning of Chinese language classes and holding an annual
Karaoke contest, and singing Chinese pop songs, are interpreted as an extension of
such an orientation. The Karaoke contest is an important event to understand how
Old Chinese and New Chinese meet in one large place, communicate among
themselves and assess the contestants' 'ability' language-wise and otherwise,
however unintelligible their lyrics may be to the large majority of Jamaican
On the other hand, the purpose of establishing the Chinese Cultural
Association, as an offshoot or 'faction' for some, was to aim in an opposite
direction. Their primary identity was, and to a large extent, still is, more Chinese
than Jamaican, though they would not deny their Jamaican-ness if they are Jamai-
can-born or spent many years in Jamaica, adopting Jamaican citizenship, since
China is yet the country of origin, however imagined, for the majority of the
members, who advocate their Chinese-ness foremost. They have conveyed se-
lected news in China through their Blue Mountain Journal, published both in
Chinese and English as well as editing some Jamaican news.They have continued
to encourage 'traditional' mutual help, the spirit of collectiveness and close bonds
within the Chinese community. The older generation Old Chinese and New
Chinese emphasize the importance of maintaining their languagess, too.
They are not totally against creolization since they see it as an inevitable
process. Perhaps because they have witnessed an accelerated creolization within
the Chinese community, beginning with language, they see it as a critical turning
point to be alert to Chinese-ness. Chinese-ness for them should be consciously
maintained with language usage and other cultural values, which must be passed
on as 'family' traditions.
Many New Chinese however seem to have not had enough time or space
to utilize those opportunities. The situations of the current language classes offered
at both associations suggest that these two groups might possibly merge together
in the near future (again).
Speaking is one thing, and reading and writing is another. Forgetting
their written language has caused a schism among Chinese along a specific literacy
line, which is not necessarily identical with a generation-based division.
There is also another important group which has recently influenced
Chinese ethnicity in Jamaica, that is Chinese 'returnees.' Those who have emi-
grated to North America and the UK, where they have encountered a wide variety
of'Chinese' from different parts of the world, including of course mainland China
and Hong Kong, and Caribbean nationals and their descendants, again of all sorts,
including their 'Mixed' offspring, and come back for various reasons. Their
multiple diasporic experiences have without doubt influenced greatly their ethnic
negotiations, ethnic identification and re-construction of ethnicities, within and
without the Chinese community in Jamaica, as well as national identity. Their
return movement is also partially related to the contemporary movement towards
globalization. But since my focus in this short paper is on the relationship between
the Old Chinese and the New Chinese from China, I will leave the issue of the
'returnees' for a separate paper.
Concluding Remarks: Multiplying Hybridity and the Re-construc-
tion of Ethnicity
Such diversified experiences of 'being Chinese' and the encounters with
New Chinese have increased not only differences but also the furtherance of a
re-working of ethnic identity among themselves.
Recently, some Chinese Jamaicans have seriously investigated their own
'roots' and family trees in detail, tracing and re-constructing their forefathers'
micro-history of their survival and development both as a kin group and as an
ethnic community, for example as Hakka.
Some have tried to re-connect themselves with the present homeland in
China, experiences which can be either "eye-opening" and fill one with enthusias-
tic about being welcomed back 'home' and received as "one of us," or "shocking"
and "disastrous" about feeling totally "alien," and remaining categorized as the
'Other.' Whichever their responses may be, such experiences and feelings have
only recently begun to be voiced.
The important point is perhaps that they have more resources, time, and
space in mind to be able to express self-affirmation and confidence to re-position
themselves in society, re-claiming their respective locations, ethnicity and nation-
ality simultaneously. They can objectify their joumey-experiences with rich emo-
tions, combined with a laugh, to show their strength as Chinese.
This growing genuine interest in their cultural heritage, as well as the
re-investigation of genealogy, must have a lot to do with the coming celebration of
the 150th anniversary of the Chinese arrival in Jamaica in 2004. Already various
events are planned and announced. With this initiative, the other ethnic communi-
ties might renew their own respective ethnicities and re-work their identifications
The Chinese community has become more inclusive while exclusiveness
may be represented in cultural bargaining, too, with diversified experiences and
ideas related to Chinese identification. Though it may be impossible to coin a new
label/category, it is very important to understand how hybrid and multi-layered as
well as changing 'Chinese' ethnicity has been. Chinese of all kinds have refused to
be homogenized and essentialized, even though they themselves have incorpo-
rated and appropriated stereotyped (ethnic) essentialism whenever necessary with
As was explained above, contemporary Chinese ethnicity is not just
'hybrid.' The content of such hybridityy' is changing and increasingly multiplying
in its diversity and its interpretations. Complex negotiations of ethnicities and
diasporic identities have long been a part of their strategy to survive as a 'visible'
minority, often obliged to live in 'liminal' and marginal situations, and also in the
arena of power politics and identity politics. Crossing, transgressing, and tran-
scending ready-made boundaries and re-forming them have always been a part of
1 In Jamaica, there are typically three different types of unions: (legal)
marriage, common-law relationships and visiting relationships. Jamaica is known
for the large number of common-law unions though its stability may be almost the
same as marriage. In this paper, whenever I use 'intermarriage,' I include 'com-
2. For the early settlement of Chinese, see, e.g., Bryan (1991, 1996), Horton (1941), Johnson (1979),
Lind (1958), Lee (n.d.), LookLai (1998), and Tortello (2003).
3. 'Ethnic riots' may be interpreted in different ways, but those attacks and looting against Chinese
in 1918, 1930s, 1950s and 1960s seem to be well-known.
4. The length of my stays varied between 10 days and four weeks, and the main purposes of my visits
were different from the research on Chinese, except the last one. In 2003, 1 could conduct inten-
sive quality interviews about contemporary ethnic negotiations of Chinese, especially between
Old Chinese and New Chinese. The rest of the years were more document-based research and
observations, together with brief interviews about Jamaican Chinese/Chinese Jamaicans in gen-
5. 1 will deal with the Chinese cemetery in a separate paper.
6 The biggest Chinese Benevolent Association currently (early September, 2003) holds about 200 ac-
tive members. Active members pay annual membership fee JS 1,000 (roughly 1 USS = JS 56 -
60 in late August and early September, but the vice president of the association quoted
"roughly 20 US$' during my interview. The members have a right to vote for the annual assem-
bly. They claim it has 150 years history.
The Chinese Cultural Association, on the other hand, has currently fewer active members and
seems dormant for various reasons. For the most costly 'activity' of publishing the Blue Moun-
tain Journal for those Chinese readers, the association needs to ask for (financial) contributions.
These are largely distributed to shops and restaurants and other business places whose owners,
their family and even some customers can read Chinese.
Some hold dual memberships.
7. Whatever important information and 'knowledge' arise, they will be smoothly passed on through
the family and kin networks, which may be enough for the maj ority.
8. The 'official' reasons for closing down the School were different. For example, see Horton
(1941). I will deal with issues relating to 'exclusive' Chinese institutions and organizations in a
9. Therefore, the national motto' out of many, one people' was created and made for the newly inde-
pendent, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic Jamaica, however controversial the idea to forge such
one-ness or 'unity' out of many or diversity has been.
10. Some spell it as 'chinee
11. There is a folk song called 'Chiney Get to Love Me.' According to Olive Lewin (1975: 20), the
world-famous musicologist, who collected and arranged many folk songs including this one,
comments on this song as follows: "Jamaica has many Chinese people living in the community.
The singer of this song has fallen in love with one of them and is delighted that her love is re-
turned. The mingling together of many races has led Jamaica to adopt the motto 'Out of Many
One People' "
She does not mention anything of the term 'Chiney,' which can be derogatory, but how the sounds
are played in this song suggests that this song contains something of ridicule, portraying the dif-
ficult balancing between the two 'races' as well as the position of Chinese men.
The song goes as follows:
Chinky, chinky, chin chin my darling, Chiney get to love me. (repeat twice) When I cross de ocean
Chiney get to love me.
12. They held a 'big' Hakka conference in Toronto recently.
13. If a family background is of a typical Chinese pattern, i.e., having strong bonds, close relation-
ships and networking with mutual help, (s)he may be likely to be expelled from such a closely-
or tightly-knitted family and kinship. I heard a few stories of those who even became mentally
ill because of suffering from exclusion and abandonment with a sense of loss and loneliness.
14. In the case of first generation Chinese intermarriage, while she helped him to settle and be more
accommodated into a local community, acquiring patois, she also tried her best to make sure
her children would be first of all Jamaican but can be equally both.
15. They used to hold a 'Chinese Beauty Contest' among Chinese. The 'real' reasons why they
stopped it are not yet clear. It might be related to the increase of intermarriage and 'Half Chi-
nese,' which might have raised issues ofessentialistic 'authenticity' and caused some incongru-
ous attitudes and values. Or it may be a 'political' decision not to deal with Chinese aesthetics
as the criterion of assessment and/or the judgement as to Creole beauty had already related to
more or less Westernized standards through colonialism. Interestingly, in the 1973 national
'Miss Jamaica' beauty contest, a Chinese, Patsy Yuen, won the crown, which may be a politi-
cal decision. However, she later even brought the Miss World crown to Jamaica.
16 The original meaning in Chinese is 'it is not quite twelve (full) yet.' However, lacking something,
intrinsic or absence of some essence to make a whole Chinese has not been regarded so seri-
ously for those 'Half Chinese.'
17 This information was given through a University radio education programme, given by Mr. Robin
'Jerry' Small, then a research fellow in Folk Philosophy in the Dept. of Government at Mona
Campus, University of the West Indies, according to a staff at the Radio Education Unit.
Alleyne (2002:237) explains the same meaning, adding some more information quoting the fa-
mous socio-linguists Cassidy and Le Page, who compiled the well-respected Dictionary of Ja-
maican English. (Alleyne doubts their citation of Spanish origin ibidd.])
In fact, a large majority of both Indians and Chinese, or Jamaicans in general, do not know the
etymology of 'royal.' Some others who advocate Afrocentric views of Jamaican Creole culture
may claim that such intermarried Black Jamaicans might have some origins or linkages with a
royal lineage in Africa.
18 They mayor may not use 'Chinese' as a label.
19 It was a disastrous brain-cum-finance-cum-technology drain to Jamaica. 20 As seen in the Refer-
ences, in some years, the ministry had different names.
21 The total Asians whose applications approved were 33.8 % (1994) [14.8 % (384) from China, 9.2
% (238) from India]; 32,8 % (862) (1995) [15.2 % (398) from China, 10.6 % (278) from India];
44.1 % (1,175) (1997) [61.1 % from China]; 39 % (1999) [17.9 % (423) from India, 16.3 %
(384) from China]; 39.8 % (2000) [18.0 % (451) from India, 17.9 % (448) from China; 40.8 %
(2001) [18.5 % (533) from India, 17.7 % (510) from China].
22 A popular perception is that the New Chinese went everywhere (every local grocery and other re-
tail and some wholesale shops) where previous owners, most of whom were Old Chinese, had
emigrated.23. A popular perception is that the New Chinese went everywhere (every local gro-
cery and other retail store and some wholesale shops) where previous owners, most of whom
were Old Chinese, had emigrated.
23 Similar comments are expressed from a few New Chinese who have learned that mutual respect
as a human being plus politeness (not just as a shopkeeper and a client, or between employer
and employee) should be central to any inter-relationships.
24 Many factories have geared towards the Dominican Republic and Honduras, for instance, where
they can exploit cheaper labour.
25 I have seen groups of young Chinese women and men shopping together in a big supermarket, us-
ing very little English at the cashier.
26 Managers at factories normally dislike outsiders to check on their workers.
27 I heard of only one case of a Free Zone worker married to a Jamaican Chinese.
Alleyne, Mervyn 2002: The Construction and Representation of Race and Ethnicity in the Carib-
bean and the World. Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago: The University of the West In-
Bouknight, Gail A. 1991: "A Study of the Chinese Retail Grocery Trade and its Impact upon Chi-
nese Ethnicity and Sino-Jamaican Relations." M.A. Thesis, Dept. of Anthropology, Brown Uni-
Bryan, Patrick 1991: The Jamaican People, 1880 1902. Race, Class and Social Control. London &
Bryan, Patrick 1996 "The Creolization of the Chinese Community in Jamaica."In Rhoda E. Red-
dock (ed.), Ethnic Minorities in Caribbean Society. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Institute of Social
and Economic Research (presently Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies),
Univ. of the West Indies. pp. 173-271.
Clifford, James, 1994: "Diasporas," Cultural Anthropology, 9:3, pp.302-338.
Dunn, Leith L. 1987:"The Free Zone and Caribbean Women: Employment or Exploitation." Paper
presented at Symposium: Issues Concerning Women. Dept. of Economics, University of the
West Indies, Mona. pp.1-42.
Horton, v.P. Oswald 1941: Chinese in the Caribbean. (30th Anniversary Publication for the Republic
of China) Kingston: Published by the Author.
Johnson, Howard 1979 "The Anti-Chinese Riots of 1982" Caribbean Quarterly, Vol.28, no.3 1982.
Gilroy, Paul 1993: The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press.
Kuper, Adam 1976 :Changing Jamaica. Kingston: Kingston Publishers.
Lee, Easton n.d."The Chinese in Jamaica: A Personal Account." (mimeographed) Kingston.
Lewin, Olive 1975:(collected & arranged for schools) Dandy Shandy. London: Oxford University
Lind, Andrew W. 1958: "Adjustment Patterns Among the Jamaican Chinese." Social and Economic
Studies 7:2 (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies, Mona,
Jamaica), pp. 144-164.
Look Lai, Walton 1998 The Chinese in the West Indies 1806-1995, a Documentary History. Bar-
bados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago: The Press University of the West Indies.
Tortello, Rebecca 2003 :"The Arrival of the Chinese." The Gleaner (Kingston), Sept. 1. p.A2.
(Statistical Data) Ministry of Labour & Social Security Statistical Bulletin, 1977 (by Ministry of La-
bour), 1980 (by Ministry of Labour), 1982 (by Ministry of Labour), 1992 (by Ministry of La-
bour & Welfare), 1993 (by Ministry of Labour & Welfare), 1993 (by Ministry of Labour &
Social Security & Sports), 1994 (by Ministry of Labour & Social Security & Sports), 1995 (by
Ministry of Labour & Social Security & Sports), 1999, 2000,2001,
Local newspaper for Chinese Chinese Cultural Association Blue Mountain Journal (sporadically
from September 2001 to August 2003)
Taped lecture Chang, Victor 1999 "Coming of Age as a 'Chiney Man' Lecture series on 'Races
in the West Indies' organized by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in the Faculty of Humani-
ties and Education. Kingston/Mona: Radio Education Unit.
Degrees of restructuring in creole languages [Creole Language Library 22], edited
by Ingrid Neumann-Holzschuh & Edgar W Schneider. Amsterdam/Philadelphia:
Benjamins, 2000. pp492.
Theme & organisation
Many of the 18 chapters in this volume, almost all originally presented at
a 1998 conference of the same name, consider important issues in the genesis of
creole languages, in particular those of the Caribbean. The conference organizers
cum editors of the volume asked authors to address questions of the suitability of
different theoretical frameworks for the description of restructuring, the features
that are mainly affected by it, the relation of creole restructuring to tendencies
towards restructuring in their European lexifiers, the relationship between degrees
of restructuring and sociolinguistic conditions, etc. Despite the broad sweep of
these questions, the general focus is on processes of creole formation, in contrast
with other conference volumes in the Creole Language Library, which frequently
combine papers on rather disparate topics. The result is a collection including the
(i) Holm's state-of-the-art paper on semi-creolization provides a survey
of relevant scholarship on AAVE, Afrikaans, and nonstandard varieties of Brazil-
ian Portuguese, Caribbean Spanish and R6unionnais French.
(ii) Seven chapters are included under the heading "theory" These in-
clude articles by Baker, who sets out his "diffusionist" position, which has St Kitts
as the starting point for both Atlantic English Creoles and Antillean French
Creoles; by Mufwene, who articulates his superstratist view, claiming "that lin-
guis's' self-license to go around the world baptizing some new vernaculars 'cre-
oles'" constitutes a disfranchisingg act by which some vernaculars are
marginalized from other normal, natural developments of their lexifiers"-thereby
ignoring the intuitions of native speaker linguists of the Caribbean who do not
consider it disfranchisingg" to acknowledge that their languages are morphosyn-
tactically independent of their lexifiers; by McWhorter, who elaborates his creole
prototype, but admits that "as products of gradient language contact phenomena,
creoles conform to the hypothesized prototype in degrees"; by Alleyne, who
considers the different developmental paths of English- and French-based creoles
(see below for details); by Detges, who considers the rise of some tense markers in
French creoles as the result of rhetorical discourse strategies; by Michaelis, who
examines the development of third person singular pronouns into clitic subject
markers and copula forms in languages as far apart as Tok Pisin, Cape Verdean,
Seychelles Creole and Reunion Creole; and by Parkvall, who attempts to establish
whether a correlation exists between a language's typological distance to its
lexifier and the extent of demographic "disproportion" in the social context of its
(iii) Ten chapters are presented as "case studies", five on English-based
varieties (by Winford, Kautzsch & Schneider, Huber, Plag & Uffrnann, Mihl-
hausler), two French-based (by Chaudenson, Neumann-Holzschuh), two Spanish-
based (by Schwegler, Lipski) and one Portuguese-based (by Lang).
Below I will focus on contributions from two well-known Caribbean
scholars, Mervyn Alleyne and Don Winford. But first, the term "restructuring"
needs some clarification.
According to the editors, most creolists take the term restructuring "to
relate to the fundamental processes of structural modifications that affected and
radically altered predominantly non-standard varieties of European languages as a
consequence of the specific sociolinguistic conditions in former colonies" (p4).
From this perspective, degrees of restructuring pertains to the extent of alteration
of the European "base" This approach assumes an essentially superstratist view,
taking the lexifier as the starting point of the pertinent processes. It is perhaps
closer to the truth to say that most creolists would interpret the term restructuring
to bear on the relation between a lexifier and creole, but that not all creolists would
agree that the central process in creole genesis is one of modification of a Euro-
pean base. Thus, the list of authors includes Alleyne, Winford and McWhorter,
who have articulated substratist positions in past publications; in the Caribbean
context, this means that the West African languages spoken by enslaved Africans
are considered the source of the structural properties of Caribbean creole lan-
Philip Baker's chapter on Theories of creolization and the degree and
nature of restructuring specifically addresses the superstratist implication of the
term restructuring, elaborating on his (1990) position, which holds that European
languages did not constitute targets in the plantation context. The early Melane-
sian and Polynesian Pidgin data which he presents clearly illustrate his point that
the parties in the process of "language construction" draw on the range of re-
sources available, in these cases including both indigenous languages and English
(e.g., New Zealand 1814 tungata tihi no good 'the thief is bad'; p50). Over time,
the Melanesian Pidgins came to draw their vocabulary increasingly from English,
leading to his contention that where we lack language data representing the first
decades of colonial contacts, our image of creolization as drawing mainly on a
European lexifier may well be skewed by an inherent bias in the later data.
Although several authors maintain that the processes which created dis-
tance between creole languages and their lexifiers "do not differ in principle from
diachronic changes in non-creole languages" (Michaelis, p163), only Detges and
Michaelis examine the actual mechanisms by which such changes come about.
Both argue that processes of grammaticalization account for the development of
some grammatical forms in creoles. But Bruyn's (1996:29) caution that thereee
may be aspects in which processes of grammaticalization in Creole languages
differ from grammaticalization in languages with a longer history" seems applica-
ble here; her work has shown that a dominant substrate rather than restructuring
accounts for some unusual grammaticalization paths in the formation of Sranan,
including the apparent "skipping" of steps in grammaticalization chains, and for
the speed at which grammaticalization appears to have proceeded.
Alleyne's two pathways to creolization
The editors specifically aimed to bring together scholars working on
English-lexified and Romance-lexified creole languages. Someone who has
worked on both throughout his career is Mervyn Alleyne, professor emeritus in
linguistics of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Many who have
long seen him as the main proponent of the substratist view will be surprised by his
contribution on "opposite processes in creolization", which presents a departure
from the substratist position. Yet, even in Alleyne (1980), which represents his
most elaborate statement of the substratist view, he suggests that Caribbean Creole
(CC) languages can be plotted on a scale representing degrees of preponderance of
African-derived elements (p 8), and that other explanations may be able to con-
tribute to a fuller understanding of their emergence. His less cited but perhaps
more seminal (1971) paper points out that someoe forms may be considered to be
pure European in their derivation, and others pure African, but the majority are
reinterpretations" (p178); whether the latter are reinterpretations of European
practices in an African mold or the reverse is a question which may, he claims, "be
unanswerable or irrelevant" (ibid.).
His present article, which elaborates a paper first presented at the 1992
meeting of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics, in fact argues that such a
distinction can be made, as illustrated by the contrast in evolution between Eng-
lish- and French-lexified creoles. Alleyne claims here, as he has done before, that
English-lexified languages can be ranked on an evolutionary scale which has its
starting point at the "earliest or primitive layer of English-based creole in the
Caribbean" (p127), of which he takes Saramaccan to be representative; "early" is
equated, in his view, with displaying the most pervasive continuities of African
language structures. A language such as Jamaican, which seems closer to English
on the scale, is in that position as a result of a process of convergence towards
English. The case of the French-lexified languages is the reverse: Alleyne places
their evolutionary starting point with (popular varieties of) French, claiming, for
instance, evidence that early Haitian was closer to French, and that modern Haitian
"carries to the furthest point a number of divergent changes which occurred in
popular French" (p128). As he points out, his view of the evolution of French-
based languages is compatible with the position articulated by the French super-
stratist school (p133).
Alleyne's willingness to consider alternative views is to be applauded,
but he may have conceded the point too easily. For instance, his discussion of the
Haitian postnominal determiner is very cursory indeed, completely glossing over
its use as a clausal determiner (e.g., Lefebvre & Massam 1988)-something which
is not easily accounted for as carrying through tendencies already present in
French. In general, his arguments are based on scant data of structural phenomena
which seem to have been randomly selected from the relevant languages. Those
who have not been persuaded by the "hard-core" superstratists are unlikely to be
persuaded by this article.
The case of Bajan
Don Winford's chapter on Bajan argues for its status as an "intermediate"
creole, contrasting with basilectal and radical creoles in the degree of retention of
features of Niger-Congo substrates. For Bajan and other such intermediate creoles,
he claims, there is a sense in which they might be regarded as restructured versions
of their European lexifiers, in contrast with radical creoles, which are better seen
as restructured varieties of the substrate languages. However, despite modem
appearances, there is now a substantial body of work which points to the earlier
existence of more "basilectal" creole forms of Bajan. Winford's view is that this is
likely to constitute a separate development from the intermediate creole, and he
spends some time considering the historical social and demographic contexts
which favoured the emergence of both a basilectal creole and an intermediate
variety, arguing that not only did these emerge separately, but via separate mecha-
The view that more than one variety may have emerged in some Carib-
bean contexts is inherent, for instance, in Alleyne's (1971) view that the degree to
which enslaved Africans acculturatedd" to the European language in the plantation
context was not uniform; the resulting variation is assumed to have given rise to
Creole continuums which survived in Jamaica and Guyana. Winford's view of the
Bajan case suggests that the different "ends" of these continuums emerged via
different mechanisms. This contrasts sharply with the more prevalent views,
which either have the basilectal end emerge first, followed by gradual change
towards the standard, or have the acrolectal end emerge first, followed by gradual
restructuring as the slave population grew and access to the standard diminished.
Neither scenario allows for multidirectional developments. And yet, in view of the
fact that basilect and mesolect do not make the same distinctions of grammar (as
argued, for instance, by Winford 1990), it seems evident that their development is
at least partially independent.
This volume shows that the superstratist view has finally abandoned the
side-lines to enter the arena in which the different hypotheses pertaining to the
emergence of creole languages compete. As is perhaps to be expected in the initial
rounds, many of the positions taken by the contributors to this volume are some-
what single-minded. Winford's argument that a distinction can be made between
processes which create "prototypical" creoles (in Thomason's 1997 sense) and
processes which create "restructured" varieties of the lexifier, and that these can
both apply in a given contact situation, avoids the oversimplifications inherent in
the more monolithic approaches taken by other contributors to this volume.
Alleyne, Mervyn 1971 Acculturation and the cultural matrix of creolization. Hymes, Dell (ed) Pidg-
inization and creolization of languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 169-186.
1980 Comparative Afro-American. Ann Arbor: Karoma.
Bruyn, Adrienne 1996 On identifying instances of grammaticalization in Creole languages. Baker,
Philip & Syea, Anand (eds) Changing meanings, changing functions. Papers relating to gram-
maticalization in contact languages. London: University of Westminster Press, 29-46.
Lefebvre, Claire & Massam, Diane 1988 Haitian Creole syntax: A case for DET as Head. Journal of
Pidgin and Creole Languages 3 (2), 213-243.
Thomason, Sarah 1997 A typology of contact languages. Spears, Arthur & Winford, Don (eds.) The
structure and status of pidgins and creoles. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 71-88.
Winford, Don 1990 Copula variability, accountability, and the concept of"polylectal" grammars.
Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 5 (2), 223-252.
My Jamaica, The Paintings of Judy-AnnMacMillan, by Edward Lucie-Smith,
MacMillan Caribbean, MacmillanPublishers- Education, UK, 2004, pp155
Edward Lucie-Smith, in introducing the book "My Jamaica" which fea-
tures the landscape paintings of Judy Ann MacMillan, is more than an art histo-
rian who is primarily enmeshed in the issues of art. I see him as collaborating with
her in a serious attempt to help Jamaica see itself. Lucie-Smith, in his writing, and
MacMillan in her painting both suggest that the way to get at Jamaican culture is
to lovingly and passionately observe the landscape (so affected by history as it is)
and the people who inhabit it.
Lucie-Smith begins with an overview of the Caribbean's divergent his-
tory and how the current art scene reflects this: "One of the fascinating things
about the major Caribbean islands is that the art of each of them has a separate
story, and this story is a response to the colonial past" He contrasts the neighboring
Greater Antilles territories of Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, which represent the
cultural effects of domination by Spain, Britain and France, respectively. Cuba,
which the Spanish chose as their regional headquarters due to its large size,
eventually produces a prominent international art movement that includes the
renowned 20th century painter, Wilfredo Lam. Lam used African motifs that were
filtered through Picasso and the world of international art. Haiti's turbulent
history, fueled by the French and Haitian revolutions, resulted in its heavy reten-
tion of African cultural patterns and development of a strong folk art tradition that
operates outside the sphere of international "high art." Jamaica is somewhere in
between. Constrained as today by its small size, it gradually emerged as a major
strategic and economic resource for the British colonizers. Its art is at a crossroad.
There is a long-standing realist tradition, which, especially as practiced by Judy
Ann MacMillan, now has a renewed respectability within art theory: "(l)n a
fragmented Post Modem situation, (it is unnecessary) to assert that a valid Jamai-
can art must, at all cost, conform to metropolitan fashions in Europe and the
Beyond this simple explanation we are made aware of the many artistic
challenges MacMillan faces in painting Jamaican landscapes, and this provides
more objective reasons to appreciate her legacy as helping to position Jamaican art
internationally. Lucie-Smith also lays out the colonial history of Jamaica, helping
us to understand the landscape through the eyes of Columbus (who crumpled a
piece of paper to show the island's ruggedness), through the heritage of sugar-cane
plantations, and through the freehold system of small-scale subsistence agriculture
by rural Jamaicans.
He shows how MacMillan grapples with all these elements, including her
appropriation of techniques used by 19th century British printmakers who made
the first contributions to the tradition of representing the Jamaican landscape.
MacMillan's realist tradition is nourished by several roots. Lucie-Smith mentions
the 17th emergence in the Netherlands of a "pure" landscape, where "topography
took the upper hand." The "scientific" realism of her work, like her Dutch prede-
cessors', aims to show us the world as we think we see it ourselves. Netherlandish
realism emerged in tandem with early efforts at photography, such as break-
through discoveries in lenses and advanced use of the camera obscura by artists,
notably, Vermeer. Painters used craft and artifice to present the illusion of the
actual non-stylized world, and so, too, does MacMillan. Other realist influences on
MacMillan came from her art training in Scotland, where realism remained en-
trenched, and from her association with Albert Huie, who was her early mentor.
Lucie-Smith points to "at least four elements that a painter of Jamaican
landscape (must) deal with." Among these are: the abrupt and tightly pressed
together forms, as in Columbus's crumpled paper; the complexity and variety of
the Jamaican weather; the human interaction with the landscape, as with perva-
sive small-plot agriculture; and "through the incorporation of species not native to
the island." He says, furthermore, that "The real problem for an artist who paints
Jamaican landscape...is that both forms and textures are subtly at war with estab-
lished landscape convention, which is necessarily something imported from
Europe." MacMillan has grappled with light and the unusual vegetation that
contracts space.She has developed herown system to meld the landscape tradition
with a nonconforming landscape. She has created her own way to make order on
two dimensions while representing her own perceptions of landscape.
Jamaica is focused on a post-independence emergence of a folk ("intui-
tive") art tradition that contrasts sharply with a substantial realist tradition that
Judy Ann MacMillan's art epitomizes. Lucie-Smith seems to be saying that
Jamaica has a range of artistic approaches, and that both the realist and recent
modem trends derive, in different ways, from the mainstream of international art.
His caution against the exclusive embrace of the intuitive as authentic Jamaican art
is well taken. It may be that Jamaica cannot see its history in honorable terms, and
feels compelled to substitute a pseudo-African art form to compensate for a
perceived cultural deficit in the colonial experience. Through his writing and her
painting, Edward Lucie Smith and Judy Ann MacMillan point to an alternative
direction: "There is another totally different, equally authentic tradition in Jamai-
can art to which the work of Judy Ann MacMillan belongs. This tradition is based,
not on enabling fictions about Africa, but on the physical presence of Jamaican
landscape and seascape, and also on a keen eye for both the character and physical
appearance of Jamaicans of the present day."
MacMillan would hardly make the claim to be a portrayer of African
retentions in Jamaican culture. But it is hard to rule out that possibility, if only
because it is unavoidable if one portrays Jamaica with honesty and absorption.
Lucie-Smith mentions her "mad people" paintings, which "give glimpses of
atavistically African elements in Jamaican society (that seem) likely to be the
result of recovery, through the breakdown of rationality,of things deeply rooted in
the national psyche." He also mentions the smallholding "patch" agriculture,
emblematic of the "strong element of individualism in the Jamaica national char-
acter." He observes that MacMillan has been uniquely attentive in her paintings to
the nuances ofthe"extremely intricate patchwork visual pattern." Is it possible that
this patterning of the landscape relates to African agricultural customs?
Bending European forms to reflect the enormous influences of African
transplants seems to be at the cultural heart of Jamaica. The resulting "creoliza-
tion"has parallels in MacMillan's landscapes. The European landscape tradition
is modified to serve very different topography and light. Creolization in colonial
19th century architecture also bears attention.
Architecture is touched on in "My Jamaica." Judy Ann MacMillan's
19th century country property, Rockfield is included as a pretext for many of her
landscape paintings. But Rockfield, which I have seen, can stand as art in its own
right. The freedom, care and sensibility with which she simultaneously preserves
and abandons (to the workings of time) the house must be seen as one of the
triumphs of her total artistic experience.
That approach to historic Spanish Town and other 19th century locations
would provide an affordable way to preserve much of Jamaican heritage that is
now being squandered. MacMillan does not see her work as promoting causes; she
is the least political of painters. She welcomes or accept changes in the landscape
that would worry opponents of deforestation. Nevertheless, one so appreciative of
the lushness of Jamaican vegetation, or who chooses to live in an idyll like
Rockfield, is at least extending one hand to those who would seek to preserve
Judy Ann MacMillan, by her steadfastness, solid training and refusal to
follow fashion, has given Jamaica a picture of itself.By being at once wildly
appreciative of what she see, yet conservative in how she represents it, she strikes
the right balance between accessibility to the broad public as a "democratic" artist
and being a seminal force for a new Jamaican art.
Visually the book is a delight to the eye, the photographic representation
of her paintings is of the highest quality. The artist's favourite portrait, the nicely
understated "The Red Bow" (selected from among the portraits at the start of the
book) adorns the dust jacket. The book's 115 illustrations (predominately land-
scapes), each with a caption written by the artist, take us on an enjoyable journey
around Jamaica. MacMillan's comments provide insight into techniques, proc-
esses, problems and joys regarding the creation of her paintings and this enriches
appreciation. The comments also paint a picture of her as extremely erudite in
matters of international art and in the culture and history of Jamaica. She will go
from talking about the "ackee seed eyes" of one sitter to the resemblance of
another (Kore) to a particular kind of Greek sculpture. One painting has a very
Jamaican nameShi Draw Mi Foot Yet?, while actually portraying an image that is
much like the Infanta which is the title for another picture that clearly refers to
17th and 18th century Spanish painting. Her command of the names of Jamaican
flora is formidable. MacMillan is disarmingly frank about her struggles and
problems, the effort to escape the conditioning of her art training being prominent.
She makes this clear in her captions for Reclining Nude (p. 34) and Young Girl
With Frangipani (p. 35) -"trying to soften the austerity of the art school study" -
as if she is trying to personalize and Caribbean-ize her figures. She generously
creditsAlbert Huie and Colin Garland, among others, for helping her overcome
Jamaica and the full revelation of Judy Ann'sMacMillan's art has con-
tributed much to my sense of where the Jamaican art movement might be head-
The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana, Kean Gibson, Maryland, University
Press of America, 2003, 97 pages, ISBN 0-7618-2469-3
Kean Gibson's book The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana is fairly
short and so it can be read in a single afternoon. But make no mistake, the contents
of the book are thought provoking to say the least. The crux of the book is that
Africans in Guyana have been oppressed by East Indians particularly after 1992
under Guyana's East Indian People's Progressive Party (PPP) government. Gib-
son claims that this attitude was brought from India under the racial rubric of
Hinduism, which has a resemblance to European racism. In Guyana, "there has
been a similarity between European racism and East Indian racism as practiced
since 1992" and that "Hinduism a religion that sanctifies racism" is responsi-
ble for this "neo-ethno-supremacists" behavior (1-2).The rest of the opening
chapter of the book sketches the definition of race and tries to connect race and
politics to the Guyana's political history. The argument, however, is strained. The
author also gives us a history of international oppression in regard to the "power
of language" beginning with colonialism in Third World and ending with contem-
porary international terrorism. Name calling, it was argued, is a technique of those
in the position of power to dehumanize the other. While these views are welcom-
ing they add nothing new to the literature of world oppression in terms of theory.
The author just reiterates a list of world problems. But the chapter set the tone as
to what will follow. Gibson writes "African-dominated People's National Con-
gress (PNC) was only the political party with an economic development plan and
a vision for Guyana" in the 2003 general election. There is something sinister
about this statement. Mind you, much the same was said when Guyana achieved
its independence from Britain 1966. The PNC embraced the policy of cooperative
socialism, but the record shows that Guyana was transformed from a bread basket
to a begging bowl of the region.
The second chapter examines the history of Guyanese people in regards
to labor. Gibson correctly states that European attempts to enslave the Amerindi-
ans were not successful and so the Europeans not only traded with the Amerindi-
ans but they shifted their colonial enterprise from the interior region to coastal
lands. Then the Europeans Dutch and British engaged in plantation agriculture.
African slaves were subsequently brought to provide the bulk of the labor. In this
process, the Amerindians and Africans were enslaved in which their languages,
among other things, experienced enormous pidignization and creolization or what
Gibson calls "linguistic dehumanization" (9). Gibson also summarizes Guyana's
post-emancipation experience. After the gradual withdrawal of Africans from
plantation labor there was a labor shortage which the planters supplanted with
immigrants from Europe, Portugal, Africa and Asia. Like everywhere else in the
Caribbean that brought in indentured laborers soon after emancipation, Guyana
was also subsequently transformed into a multi-ethnic or plural society. Each
group developed or settled in its own enclave and interacted with each other when
necessary. The planters played one ethnic group against the other to secure their
safety. The end result was that various stereotypes emerged, which the author
highlights (17-21), that hampered race relations in Guyana forever. One common
theme that emerged, in layman term, was that light skin was good and dark skin
was bad. This view was the jurisprudence of not only Guyana's post-emancipation
society but the entire New World experience following European exploration and
expansion in the fifteenth century. This section adds nothing new to the scholar-
ship on Guyana's post-emancipation experience. It is essentially a review of
previous works, mainly that of Professors Alvin Thompson and Brian Moore.
Gibson informs us in the third chapter about the formation of the PPP in
the late 1940s and the subsequent political- ideological split between Cheddie
Jagan and Forbes Burnham. The former a communist and the latter a socialist, but
because of the Cold War, Burnham was favored by Britain and the United States
to "defend democracy." Burnham was seen by the imperialists as a lesser of the
two evils. As a result, Jagan was kept out of power while Burnham rigged the
general elections to stay in power with little criticism and interference from the
United States and CARICOM nations.
Kean Gibson also provides a detail description of the caste system (racial
elements based on color, pure and impure and the concept of good and evil) in
India and claims that the caste system was successfully transferred and maintained
in Guyana by East Indians, including Jagan and his followers. The author states
further that all the negatives aspects of the caste system and Hinduism have been
placed on Africans since they seem to fit the criteria of the caste system. "But the
implication in the application of caste to Guyana lies in the definitions and
restrictions placed on the Shudra caste who are black..." (26).These views, how-
ever, are misleading. The East Indian indentured servants who were brought to
Guyana and the Caribbean came predominantly from the low caste. Their incen-
tives to maintain the caste system would be inconsistent with Gibson's argument.
Indeed, the low caste indentured servants resisted the reformulation of the caste
system in Guyana, particularly during the indenture period (1838-1917) because it
was an impediment to personal advancement. If dark skinned is considered evil, as
Gibson argues, then how come there are so many dark skinned Indians and
Africans in important positions in Guyana. The fact that there was and still is
intermarrying between dark skinned and light skinned Indians as well as Africans
shows that the caste system was not successfully transferred to Guyana. Instead,
the caste system diluted at a rapid rate despite the influx of fresh Indian immi-
grants during the indenture period. By a decade after indenture emancipation, the
caste system and other East Indian customs (language, fire walking, hook-swing-
ing, for example), had become a thing of the past. Furthermore, plantation and
contemporary work routines (western work standards) undermined any attempts to
re-construct the caste system in Guyana. A majority of East Indians in the Carib-
bean do not even know what caste means.
The idea that the current PPP administration is a Hindu government and
adheres to the scriptures of Hinduism, including the caste system as known in
India, is too far-fetched, if not a wild allegation. The Guyanese constitution,
drafted/modified under the leadership of Burnham, is a secular one. Most of
Guyana's parliament members are not Hindus. In fact, they are diverse in religion
and race. So Gibson's argument of pure and impure, good and bad, dark and light
skin disfavoring Africans is not borne out with evidence.
The rest of the chapter provides a litany of Guyana's political problems
mainly between the PNC and PPP (35-53). There is quite a bit of finger pointing
towards the current PPP administration while sentiments have been given to the
ousted PNC regime. While it is good to know what has been going in Guyana, the
author offers no solution to these problems, and thus, tends to marry the tradition
of providing problems without giving any remote suggestions. Some of the prob-
lems listed in this section and other areas of the book were substantiated by
sources drawn from letter writers to local newspapers, call-in talk show hosts, etc.
This is a major shortcoming of the entire book. It appears that little scientific
method was used and so the book can be easily placed in the category of a
pamphlet of" they say."
The final chapter evaluates the PPP administration and other East Indian
organizations in Guyana since 1992. A few evaluations on the PNC and some
African organizations were also made. The fundamental message, which it appears
to be, in this chapter is that while Africans ruled Guyana for twenty-eight years
through a dictatorship and African groups look out for African interests, they
never sought to destroy East Indians like the current PPP administration is doing.
"Burnham's tenure was based on oppression due to his desire to retain power
which he knew he would not have retained if he held free and fair elections. Thus,
as a group, East Indians were sent into the political wilderness from 1968-1992. In
spite of his shortcomings Burnham worked for the nation and his ultimate aim was
to create equality" (55). This excuse for Burnham's oppression in Guyana is
ludicrous and absurd. Furthermore, Burnham chanted cooperative socialism for
Guyanese but in reality most Guyanese were excluded from his aims unless one
acquiesced and succumbed to his party's demands. On the same page, Gibson
writes "Desmond Hoyte also worked for the nation and he seemed to have felt that
it would have been in the best interest of the nation to have free and fair elections"
(55). Actually, Hoyte was pressured by various political groups in Guyana and the
United States to hold free elections because Guyana was no longer an important
actor in the East-West confrontation due to the collapse of the former communist
Soviet Union. In fact, it was like pulling teeth trying to have Hoyte hold free
elections, which he eventually did in 1992 and lost.
This chapter is riddled with statements that are difficult to justify. Let me
list a few.
(a)"The fundamental difference between ADCA (African Cultural De-
velopment Organization) and GIFT (Guyana Indian Foundation Trust) is that the
former sees their function as looking after the interests of their own group and
living well with those of whom they share the same space, the latter sees itself as
looking after the interests of their own group but also with the ultimate aim of
destroying the Africans with whom they share the same space" (58-59). How can
someone come to such conclusion without thorough research?
(b)"A caller to a television Talk Show was against the disbanding of the
TSS (Target Special Squad is alleged to have carried out extra-judicial killings, my
emphasis) because it will prevent crime against East Indians" (60). Isn't this the
very thing we try to avoid when doing sound research? Anyone familiar with
Guyana will tell you that the press has moved from muzzled to kangaroo. The talk
show programs are a league of their own unreliable.
(c)"During the oppressive regimes people from one's own ethnic group
often suffers. During the PNC'S regime, especially during Burnham's tenure, it
was Africans who suffered the most for opposing him, and it was Africans who
were the major players in fighting dictatorship" (66). There are numerous contra-
dictions in this statement. If one's own ethnic group suffers more under oppression
as Gibson claims, then this would mean that Africans were marginalized under the
PNC not the PPP. The PPP has been entrusted the responsibility of de-marginaliz-
ing Africans and other ethnic groups, which many critics believe they are doing.
Additionally, if the current PPP administration is oppressive then this would mean
that East Indians are currently being marginalized under the PPP not Africans. For
the record, all ethnic groups opposed Burnham dictatorship in Guyana using overt
and covert actions.
(d)There are numerous statements in the book like the ones provided
above. Let me list one more. "There are similarities between Hindu racism as
practiced in Guyana and Nazis" (74).
Before we close, a couple of points should be emphasized since they are
characteristic of the entire text. The first two chapters add nothing new to Guy-
anese literature. They are just a review of other works. The contributions of this
book, if any, are minimal. It attempts to create further divisions and intensify racial
animosity in Guyana. Finally, this book does not belong to an academic setting but
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called 'Half Chinese,' and the other is contacts with new Chinese 'immigrants'
either in Free Zone factories or in Chinatown in downtown Kingston.
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shows their accelerated creolization, making ethnic boundaries more blurred and
ambiguous than before. While 'Pure' Chinese may still prefer ethnic endogamy,
class endogamy has become prioritized for the middle class and above. Intermar-
riage between Old and New Chinese has been witnessed along class lines.
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Chinese has been incongruous and negative.
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uplift. This article examines Garvey's rhetoric in relation to his hopes and dreams
for colonial society, and aims to offer a new perspective on Garveyism by recon-
structing his ideology around one primary goal, namely Jamaican self-govern-
Despite almost twelve years of agitation and organisation in the United
States, Garvey remained indifferent to many domestic issues confronting black
Americans. Equally telling was his absence from African soil during his lifetime,
which raises questions about his commitment to African sovereignty. These were
more than missed opportunities. Garvey never lost sight of his colonial constitu-
ents as he campaigned for universal race uplift; rather, he hoped to democratize
Jamaica along the broadest possible lines, which is why he should be restored to
his rightful place in black history as Jamaica's first national hero.
Caribbean Identity and Integration in The Work ofNicolds Guill6n, Keith Ellis.
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extended to other countries in the Caribbean certain preoccupations he had shown
in his previous books with respect to Cuba's social condition. In subsequent
books of poetry, in essays, as well as in his personal relations, he demonstrated a
desire to build throughout the Caribbean the kind of consciousness that would
facilitate its meaningful integration. Among his many poems that demonstrate
this consciousness is "Mau Mau's" (1953), in which he treats a subject dealt with
simultaneously in a poem by Derek Walcott: a conflict involving colonized Afri-
cans and their colonizer. The divergent approaches have significant implications
for the understanding of Caribbean identity.
Woodrow Wilson and Nicaragua, Benjeman Harrison,
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little attention has been paid this policy with Nicaragua. What scholars have
ignored is the attitude toward businessmen not only by a deeply religious Wilson
but also by a strongly skeptical public in the Progressive Era. After all,progressive
reform was largely in response to the economic corruptionand greedy opportunism
of the previous Gilded Age. What the Wilson administration did with Nicaragua is
much more complicated than simply a case of another politician being a tool of
Wall Street's. Wilson inherited a situation in Nicaragua that left little room for
change, but alternatives were considered. The irony is that Wilson's dream of
promoting democracy and economic fairness never materialized in Nicaragua.
Global tourism and Jamaican culture, David Bennett
This paper examines the impact of global tourism on Caribbean culture,
with specific reference to Jamaica.The first part of the paper examines how
debates have been structured around opposition such as local/global, auth-
ernic/inauthentic. whereas in the second part the authors propose a rethinking of
the position of the tourist in these debates and suggests that the tourists' particulari-
ties of experience can offer a model which destabilizes the opposition examined
in the first part
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
is Director, Post Graduate Studies, Dept. of English with
Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia
is Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto, Canada
is a graduate student, Dept.of English with
Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia
is Professor of History, University of Louisville,
is Production Manager, The Press Association, UK
is a researcher in cultural Studies, University of Kobe,
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