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Table of Contents
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Full Text

ISSN 008

S Quarterl
Vol. I,N.

Wact' Muat Aesheic


Ai Acin in Reovn Cofiti3 h e

4.. ~ E A. PHILLIPS .
S3 S

VOL. 52, No. 1

MARCH 2006


(Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden)

Foreword iv
Indo-Caribbean Social Identity 1
Lomarsh Roopnarine

The Redness of Blackness:Revisiting Derek Walcott's Mulatto Aesthetics 12
Motayo Oloruntoba-oju

African Caribbean Immigrants in The United Kingdom: The Legacy of Racial
Disadvantages 26
Marcia E. Sutherland

Recognising The Language of Calypso as "Symbolic Action" in Resolving Con-
flict in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 53
E. M. Phillips

Books Received 89
Abstracts 91
Notes on Contributors 93
Information for Contributors 94



Editorial Committee
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: veronica.salter@uwimona.edu.jm, or cq@uwimona.edu.jm
Manuscripts -We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommend subjects
which they would like to see discussed in Caribbean Quarterly. Articles and book
reviews of relevance to the Caribbean will be gratefully received. Authors should
refer to the guidelines on this web page. Articles submitted are not returned.
Contributors are asked not to send international postal coupons for this purpose.
Exchanges: Exchanges are conducted by the Gifts and Exchanges Section,
Library, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
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

Volume 52, number 1, March 2006, comprises four essays. Details of the
papers can be found in the abstracts.Two papers examine aspects of the Trini-
dadian socio-cultural reality with Lomarsh Roopnarine's discourse on the Indo-
Caribbean social identity and E.M. Phillips recognition of the importance of ypso;
as a tool for the resolution of conflict in contemporary Trinidad and Tobago. Maria
Sutherland journeys further afield to inform our readers of the legacy of racial
disadvantage in all its various ramifications in the United Kingdom. Derek Wal-
cott's 'mulatto aesthetics' is analysed in Omotayo Oloruntoba-Oju's essay "The
Redness of Blackness.."
Four Book Reviews complete this double issue.

Indo-Caribbean Social Identity



At the International Indian Diaspora Conference in Trinidad in May
2004, attendees were asked who really is an "Indian" with regard to how one
defines an Indian or what makes someone an Indian. A year later at another
conference, Caribbean Migrations: Negotiating Borders, at Ryerson University in
Toronto, a similar question was asked: what does "Indo-Caribbean" mean? Did
the term Indo-Caribbean issue from, and was it used only in, the Caribbean
Diaspora? There were no definite answers to these questions, but they raised issues
that are an integral part of the global trend. How do ethnic groups like Caribbean
East Indians see themselves in an ever-globalizing world? Have they become
increasingly interconnected with other world cultures through the forces and
facets of globalization? Or have they resisted assimilation and instead show a
quest for a separate identity, be it racial, ethnic, or regional?
Perhaps more interesting is how East Indians are perceived by other
ethnic groups in a multi-ethnic and multi-racial globalized society like the Carib-
bean. The answers to these questions are complex.
This article examines the formation of Indo-Caribbean social identity. It
will address the following themes:

* It proposes that Indo-Caribbean people are not really creolized and thus
their identity sets them apart from other ethnic groups in the Caribbean.

* It recognizes that some East Indians have become creolized (fragmented
creolization), which cannot be used to explain the social structure or identity
of Indo-Caribbean people.

* It shows that Indo-Caribbean identity can be conceptualized at four levels:
ethno-local, ethno-national, ethno-trans-Caribbean, and ethno-universal.
What is Identity?
Identity is the perception of one's self. This perception comes from
consciousness, a form of intelligence that enables skills such as foresight, recogni-
tion of the self as separate from others and empathy towards others (Strada 2003:
144). Identity allows individuals to identify where and with whom they fit so-
cially. Identity encourages questions like Who Am I? What am I? Who are you?
What are you? These questions emerge from social interactions. According to
symbolic interactionist Charles Cooley, people's sense of self develops from their

interactions with others through the "looking-glass" The looking-glass self con-
tains three elements: (a) we imagine how we appear to those around us; (b) we
interpret others' reactions of ourselves; (c) we develop a self-concept about
ourselves based on how others react to us (Cooley 1962). From Cooley's view of
the self we can say that the perception of the self does not have to be accurate. If
we misjudge how others think of us, those misjudgements become parts of our
self-concept. The self also develops in childhood but continues into adulthood,
which means the perception of one's self is neither static nor completed; it is an
ongoing process until old age (Henslin 2002: 62).
Another symbolic interactionist George Mead added play to the develop-
ment of the self. He states that in play children learn to take the role of the other in
which the development of the self goes through three stages: (a) imitation or
preparatory stage, that is younger children imitate the people around them, espe-
cially family members; (b) play, children at the age of six or seven learn to take
roles by mentally assuming the perspective of another person; (c) game, children
at the age of eight or nine organize play in order to respond to numerous tasks at
the same time in which the individual attains selfhood (1934).
But why do some individuals feel an intense sense of identity while
others simply do not care? Ashley Doane (1997) claims that there are four reasons
why people feel a heightened or reduced sense of ethnic identity: size; power;
appearance; and discrimination. If your group is small in numbers, looks different
from the majority population, and holds little power, then there is a heightened
sense of identity and an increasing search for a feeling of "we-ness." By contrast,
if your group is the majority, looks like the majority, and controls the levers of
power, then there is a reduced sense of identity. It is important, however, not to
confuse a majority or a minority with a dominant group. Regardless of size, the
dominant group has the greatest power, privileges and status in society.
Social identity facilitates bonds of cooperation and makes us feel ac-
cepted. Paradoxically, identity also unleashes violent aggression when displaced
or marginalized. Ralph Premdas writes that ethnicc group identity is relational
and conflictual. It is often marked by an intensity of emotion that is at once
community-building and annihilating. It bears its own collective internal logic,
compelled by its own peculiar formative needs, and once it picks up momentum,
it rarely can be denied. To some it is a marauding monster while to others it
embodies the finest creative spirit of a community." (1993:3).
Historical Background of East Indians
Like so many ethnic groups who were brought to the Caribbean region,
East Indians were the last wave of emigrants brought in to fill a so-called labour
shortage following the final emancipation of African slaves during the nineteenth
century. Their arrival into the Caribbean corresponded with the expansion of
world capitalism and the mission of colonialism sweeping through the nineteenth

and twentieth centuries. East Indians were brought to the Caribbean under the
indenture system in which they were required to provide contract labour for the
planter class. This system was manipulated and abused. Specifically, the planters
were concerned about productions and profits rather than the general welfare of
East Indian emigrants. The planters pushed for East Indians to stay in the Carib-
bean mainly to retain seasonal labourers around the plantations and to dispense
with the financial responsibility of sending back time-expired East Indian emi-
grants to their homeland.
By the 1870s, the colonial government was offering or inducing East
Indian emigrants to settle in the Caribbean. The colonial government granted East
Indian emigrants pieces of land in lieu of return passages to India. Many East
Indians accepted this offer and stayed in the Caribbean in light of deplorable
conditions in India. So when the indenture system finally collapsed in 1917, about
500,000 East Indians were brought to the Caribbean. More than one-third of them
stayed and accepted the Caribbean as their new-found home while the remainder
returned to India.
As expected, East Indians tried to hold on to the social structure of their
ancestral home, mainly the caste system. Caste is an enclosed form of social
stratification wherein status is determined at birth and is life long. Individuals are
born to stations of life with no opportunity for social mobility. Status cannot be
achieved; it is ascribed. Boundaries between castes are firm. There are four main
castes within Hinduism: Brahmin (priest), Kishatriya (warriors and rulers),
Vaishya (business and agricultural caste) and Sudras (menial caste). In Hinduism,
the caste system is part of the social body. The heads of society are the intelligent
priestly Brahmins, the advisors. Then there are the arms of the body, the Kshatri-
yas, who act as defenders and administrators of the communities. The Vaisyas are
the stomach of society, acting as providers. The Sudras are the legs and feet of
society, supporting the three other castes in service.
Several factors mitigated against the maintenance of the caste system in
the Caribbean: western forms of work routine which did not respect nor facilitate
caste rules; western education; Christian missionary efforts; shortages of East
Indian women; their small population size (except in British Guiana and Trini-
dad); opportunities for social and economic advancement; and cultural assimila-
tion. Consequently, the caste system became diluted and two extreme forms
emerged: "high nation" and "low nation," and the continuum in between vanished
(Roopnarine 2004).
By a decade after the abolition of indenture servitude, Caribbean East
Indian communities had exchanged one form of social stratification for another.
Essentially, the caste system was transformed into a class system in which internal
caste characteristics decreased and class status differentiation based on education,
economic power and profession emerged. Caribbean East Indian communities
were perceived to be no different from other communities. They were also strati-

fled according to power, privilege and prestige in which a stratified three-tiered
system was noticeable: a small elite class at the top, a larger low class at the bottom
and an invisible middle class in between. The consequence of this social experi-
ence was that the gap between East Indians from India and Caribbean East Indians,
between Caribbean East Indians and the Creoles, and between East Indians on the
plantations (at work) and East Indians in the communities (at home) widened.
Cultural Retention or Cultural Assimilation
By the 1960s, social scientists were interested in how successful the
plantation system was in isolating Indo-Caribbean societies from their old culture
and how these societies were able to maintain certain aspects of their traditional
culture in an environment they never previously knew. This thesis was actually
drawn from earlier debates on the African school of cultural change and continuity
which explained African experience in the New World. The crux of the argument
was that on the one hand, slavery caused a severe rupture between African and
Caribbean societies, which created new truncated cultures in the Caribbean (Fra-
zier 1939). On the other hand, it was argued that African Caribbean societies
retained, reinterpreted and adapted West African cultural forms. Africans in the
Caribbean held on to their core cultural beliefs such as animism, folklore, and
myths, in spite of the pressure to acculturation (Herskovits 1941).
As far as the Indo-Caribbean experience is concerned, Joseph Nevadom-
sky (1980; 1980) argues that the culture of East Indian emigrants has experienced
continuous structural change, especially in education, social life, language and
caste. The East Indian family was not able to maintain or integrate their tradi-
tional system in the face of social change. The caste system, in particular, barely
survived the indenture system. The customs that did survive, like the extended
family, were faced with the consequences of continuous social change and devel-
opment in rural communities. By contrast, Morton Klass (1961) argues that
Caribbean East Indians have maintained some important homeland social institu-
tions such as marriage and joint family patterns with some modifications. Their
home life and some private affairs have remained the same. Their social location
has changed but some aspects of their non-material culture (beliefs and values)
have remained. East Indians were individual carriers of their own culture through
their strong family institutions and values, especially in the face of pressure to
change. The Niehoffs (1960) claim that despite the great disadvantages the East
Indian family experienced in Trinidad, it stood apart from other ethnic groups in
that it has retained a remarkable degree of Indianness. Much of this cultural
persistence and retention had to do with the plantation policy of rural isolation and
neglect that began under the indenture system. Rural development and educational
opportunities were limited in East Indian communities. Consequently, some basic
forms of Indian life marriage customs, rarity of divorce, unequal status between
men and women were not truncated but transplanted to and retained in the

In the 1980s, there was another development with regards to Indo-Carib-
bean cultural identity. The argument was that the social stratification of East
Indians had changed from a caste to a class status. Caribbean East Indians,
therefore, had to come to grips or adjust to new western forms and interpretations
of race, class and gender relationships. Scholars have explained this new social
arrangement in relation to the plural society theory. Specifically, Caribbean East
Indians live in a plural society in which they maintain their "transformed" customs
and culture (institutions), and interact with other ethnic groups at the work and
market place, but at the end of the day retreat back to their own neighborhood
(Smith 1965). This way of life was perceived to be no different from other ethnic
groups and therefore East Indians have become creolized like other Caribbean
ethnic group.
The term creolization deserves a brief explanation. It is a process
whereby post-emancipation Caribbean people developed a way of life different
and distinct from the culture of their original homeland. Accordingly, new forms
(in social organization, language, religion, attitude and values) emerged and old
ones were reshaped. This transformation has more to do with some colonial
arrangement or power (mostly related to institutions) and the African or later East
Indian adjustment to this process (see Brathwaite 2001; Mohammed 1988). This
would imply then that when an East Indian has become creolized he or she has
experienced a social process that is not only western and African (African as in
assimilating according to western values) but he or she has given up most of his or
her "Indianness." Indo-Caribbean scholars have criticized this creolization con-
cept for being insensitive to the maintenance of East Indian traditional cultural
ways in multiethnic societies like Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname. Caribbean
scholars have traditionally grouped Caribbean people, irrespective of their ethnic
background, into various broad identities, mostly into the category of creolization.
According to Ralph Premdas (1996:4), "some designations can be dangerous
when ascribed collective identities assume the form of hegemonic cultural claims
that omit or marginalize other communities."
While recognizing these diverse views, Indo-Caribbean social identity
can be conceptualized at four levels: ethno-local, ethno-national, ethno-trans-Car-
ibbean, and ethno-universal. Although it is difficult to separate the concept of race
(biological differences) and ethnicity (cultural differences) since both are a collec-
tive part of a group's consciousness, Indo-Caribbean people tend to see or identify
themselves along cultural lines. This is not to say that Indo-Caribbean people do
not conflate ethnic and racial feelings. When East Indians are politicized along
ethnic utopianism, especially around general elections, racial identification does
surface. Suriname is an example (apanjaht or consociational politics). Nonethe-
less, Indo-Caribbean people tend to identify themselves culturally particularly
around religion and social customs.

Ethno-Local Identity
This is essentially a localized form of identity in which East Indians have
retained substantial aspects of their ancestral customs, particularly their attach-
ment to ecology (land) and extended family networks. They have been able to
extol the virtues of tradition, adhering to the cultural and institutional practice of
their ancestors. Ethno-local identity is most noticeable in rural areas of the Carib-
bean such as in the Corentyne area of Guyana or Nannie Polder in Suriname or
Cedar Hill in Trinidad. Individual goals are generally secondary while community
goals are primary. This is most noticeable around religious functions and holidays.
The entire community may be involved in a Yagna or Diwali, for example. East
Indians view their locality as scared and pure, and needs to be protected from
outside forces. Their religious belief reinforces traditionalism and fatalism. They
accept their lot in life as God's will. They show and share little interest with the
rest of the nation. However, they may be suspicious but not totally opposed to the
national government. They do not want cessation, but express a desire to govern
their internal communal affairs, demonstrating a feeling of spiritual communion, a
sense of trust and "we-consciousness", even if they do not care for each other
personally. Some do migrate to diasporic communities and generally idealize their
departed home location. Their identity remains an active part in them and forms a
part of the perspective from which they view the world.
Ethno-local identity reflects a sense of parochialism and insularity which
may give rise to internal and external tensions. Conflict theorist Karl Marx
believes that while the family may appear functional on the surface, beneath that
surface is a struggle for equality and power. Individuals are always in a balancing
act with conflict lying beneath the surface; this is simply the nature of close
relationships (Coser 1977). The concept of mechanical (shared values and social
bonds) and organic solidarity (interdependence) (Durkheim 1933) as well as
Gemeinschaft (intimate community) (Tonnies 1988) are constantly challenged.
Subsequently, intimate ties and relationships are shrunk in importance. A similar
pattern has been noticed in environments where there are ethno-local identities.
East Indian family members challenge the traditional family patterns, particularly
the extended kinships. Sons often challenge the authority of fathers while daugh-
ter-in-laws question their subservient roles in the household.
Externally, urban East Indians and the wider Caribbean society may view
ethno-local identity as backward and uncivilized, holding on to antiquated cus-
toms. According to Jamaican culturalist Rex Nettleford, Indo-Jamaicans:
tend to be assessed by the mass of Jamaicans largely on their
economic position rather than their racial origin. The peasant
Indian hardly has significance outside of his membership of the
lower class where he marries and still lives and has his being.
Significantly, no one makes a mistake about to what section of

the society the Bombay merchants and their sari-clad wives
belong (1965:65).
The maintenance of ethno-local identity is perceived as a negative repre-
sentation of the Caribbean East Indians that exemplifies a lack of commitment and
loyalty to the creolization process of the Caribbean. These views have created an
internal cultural pluralism in the Indo-Caribbean community in which some sec-
tors of the Indo-Caribbean have retained a remarkable degree of Indianness or
"indianite" (traditional culture and Hinduism) while others have become creolized
(western and Christianized).
Ethno-national Identity
With this form of identity, Indo-Caribbean people see themselves be-
longing to a separate ethnic group but sharing some cultural characteristics with
their ancestral home and even with the wider Caribbean community. They, how-
ever, put their ethnicity as well as their nationality together when identifying
themselves. In other words, a dual identity is assumed: the recognition of cultural
heritage alongside nationality. These East Indians when asked who are you, the
general reply is that "I am an Indo-Guyanese or I am an Indo-Trinidadian or I am
an Indo-Surinamese or Indo-French." In many respects, they share an insular
identity pledging allegiance to a state and to their ethnicity. East Indians do not
have to live in a specific locality or a region to express ethno-national identity.
They may live outside their nation of birth or even in Diasporic communities in
North America and Europe. In these white host societies where their identity is
continuously jettisoned and reshaped accordingly, ethno-national identity accom-
modates and allows East Indians in Diasporic communities to maintain a separate
identity from Whites, Black West Indians and South Asians. Ethno-national iden-
tity is very important to overseas East Indians because they do not want to be
grouped or misidentified as something else. For instance, in Canada, there wasn't
any category for Indo-Caribbean in the last census, and so East Indians had to
choose either from South Asian or Black/Caribbean categories. This collective
classification and subsequent identification of Indo-Caribbean as either South
Asian or Black/Caribbean misrepresents, if not undermines, the unique diacritica
of identity among the Indo-Caribbean in Canada. Ralph Premdas clarifies this
misrepresentation: "For Indo-Caribbean persons, their self-ascribed cultural par-
ticularity was rendered invisible by virtue of their being subsumed under a wider
polyglot Caribbean identity. To be sure, on a day-by-day basis, they lived a
separate and distinctive cultural life even though they partly merged with diasporic
Indian communities and re-invent their identity" (Premdas 2004:550). In some
cases, East Indians are defensive if they are labeled as Black West Indians or South
Asians in Disaporic communities. For this reason, overseas East Indians may go at
length "to educate" whites as to who they are and where they come from even
though they might have little meaningful contact with their land of birth. They also
express open anti-black West Indian sentiments, especially from those East Indi-

ans who were scarred by racial politics under the Forbes Burnham regime in
Ethno-national identity in a plural society like the Caribbean is problem-
atic. The inability to unite or to mobilize one's group in a plural society towards
the process of nation-building or ethnic nationalism is frustrating and often leads
to tensions. The jockeying for political power along ethnic lines results in
hegemonic control and exclusion of other ethnic groups. Competition for scarce
resources: jobs, housing, land, education, and credit fuels discontent and civil
strife since bargaining is not considered an option unless hegemony and control
are seriously challenged. These outcomes of ethnic domination are inevitable in a
multicultural society like the Caribbean. While in Guyana, there is a strong
ethno-national identity (since predominantly the East Indian People's Progressive
Party is in power), no sound evidence exists to suggest that East Indians have
hegemonic power. If it occurs, it is rather loose where the ruling party does not use
the state power to subordinate other ethnic groups. There isn't any set of repressive
measures or plans implemented to make demands on the subordinated groups.
Ethno Trans-Caribbean Identity
This form of identity is not very common, but a number of East Indians
see themselves as belonging to the Caribbean where there are other East Indians.
They do not see or identify with a particular nation but across the Caribbean:
regional identity. Trans-Caribbean identity reflects a sense of belonging to the
region, which becomes a part of one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This
awakening often occurs in adolescence. Differences, whether it is religion, class or
language, are pushed aside and historical as well as contemporary similarities are
embraced. They extol their past as the golden age, particularly with regard to
Hindu or Islam. They see themselves as a collective force in the struggle for a
better future. Like ethno-national identity, ethno-trans-Caribbean identity em-
braces emotional attachments or family and religious resemblances, even if there
is no personal knowledge of each other. This perception fits Benedict Anderson's
idea of the nation as an imagined community in which thousands and millions of
people in ethnic diverse groups make up a single civic nation. It is not possible for
each member to know each other, or experience each other's feelings even though
they share the same values and the same interests. Yet in each member's mind, the
images of their communion prevail.
Ethno-trans Caribbean identity should not be confused with the ideology
of Hindutva or the Indesh movement, which though somewhat different, funda-
mentally eschews that Hindus in Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname should come
together and form a separate state in the Caribbean (see Ryan 1999; Persad &
Marharaj 1993; Allahar 2004). Instead, ethno-trans-Caribbean identity shares and
reinforces religious and cultural sentiments through the assertive Indian Council
for Culture (ICC), Arya Samaj, and Santana Dharma, which are noticeable in the
Caribbean. Its aims demonstrate a fulcrum of empowerment and recognition in a

creolized Caribbean. Interestingly, ethno-trans-Caribbean identity is not intra-Car-
ibbean or insular, but is equally noticeable and equally vocal in the diaspora. It is
in New York, Toronto, London, and Amsterdam that East Indians find out their
Caribbean commonalties and differences. For some, a search for a trans-Caribbean
identity is genuine while for others it is just an excuse for claims and counter-
claims in a foreign land. One critic espouses that this identity is not unusual
because it represents a quest for unity "in a fragmented and fractured world" in
which the Caribbean is at the helm (Premdas 1995:77).
Ethno-Universal or International Identity
In many respects, this form of identity is more common than expected
mainly due to the dislocation and displacement of East Indians during the inden-
ture (primary migration) and the contemporary period (secondary migration).
Because of these forces colonialism and imperialism in the former case and
marginalization and globalization in the latter case East Indians are found in
many parts of the world: Australia, Canada, Fiji, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Mauritius,
Trinidad, Uganda, to name a few. Whenever and wherever East Indians have
called home, they do not necessarily see themselves belonging to that particular
locality, region or nation. Their identity is linked to other East Indian communities
in the world that may or may not share the same characteristics, particularly in
terms of retention of East Indian customs and assimilation to western values.
Whenever they meet, be it for religious, academic or human rights reasons,
exchanges are meaningful and may gather substantial support to challenge a
nation-state or an organization if their rights are violated. The Global Organiza-
tion of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has been vocal in expressing the need for
ethno-universal identity. Consider the following objectives of (GOPIO) confer-
ence in 2004:
Based on a theme of 'Human Rights Experiences', the Confer-
ence brings to focus the nature and elements of human rights
abuses as they affect Indians living outside of India. The confer-
ence will examine those regions where Indian immigrants as-
similation has been harmonious. The conference organizers
expect to attract scholars, rights advocates, and policy makers
the world over to examine the causal nature, extent and conse-
quences of such abuses and to address some of the underlying
issues therein. Hopefully, the lessons so learned can be a yard-
stick for other groups in tackling this ubiquitous problem now
simmering in many regions of the world

These East Indians when asked who they are usually reply that they are simply
East Indians. This ethno-universal identity has more to do with beliefs and aspira-

tions which may arise circumstantially. Realistically, some of these East Indians
can be perceived to be "lost souls" with no sound identity.

Concluding Remarks

It is important to emphasize that Caribbean East Indians do not fit neatly
into the aforementioned categorization of identity. To do so would repeat the same
mistake made during the colonial as well as in the contemporary period in which
all ethnic groups were compartmentalized into one category. Certainly, some East
Indians may share one or multiple identities while others may not share or fit into
these identities at all. But to be sure, there is a distinct difference in identity among
Indo-Caribbean people themselves as well as between Indo-Caribbean people and
other ethnic groups in the Caribbean. Indo-Caribbean identity is not without
problems; there is an Indo-"Caribbean crisis." That is, there is a growing distance
between India and Caribbean East Indians as well as Caribbean East Indians and
the Caribbean East Indian Diaspora.


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The Redness of Blackness:Revisiting Derek Walcott's Mulatto


The problem involved in the description of Caribbean aesthetics is not
only due to the heterogeneity of Caribbean culture given its antecedents but also
the complex cognitive and social orientation of the individual Caribbean artist. In
spite of this complexity, or perhaps because of it, this economically poor and rural
region with no common language has produced a fountain of seasoned scholars,
radical economists and political scientists, philosophers, writers, poets and artists
of world acclaim. Jahnheinz Jahn (as cited in Dawes, 1977, p. 1) asserts that he
knows of nowhere else, "where so many important writers and poets are born in
so small population." In discussing the problem of form in Caribbean aesthetics,
Gordon Rohlehr (1985, p. 1) also underlines this complexity with a brief run-down
of the Curriculum Vitae of key practitioners of the arts in the Caribbean Islands,
numbering among them:
"Norman Cameron accomplished historian of the pre-colonial
era in Africa, mathematician, teacher, essayist, playwright, bib-
liophile, man of letters; CLR James : novelist, playwright, histo-
rian, philosopher, politician, literary critic; Edward Kamau
Brathwaite poet, historian, critic with a seventy-page curricu-
lum vitae; Derek Walcott poet, playwright, critic, painter;
with, perhaps, an even longer CV

Details of this have been continually elaborated upon by critics (for example
King's 1995 work on Walcott's drama and his (2000) biography on Walcott. More
recently, Elaine Savoury (2004: p. 729) observed that the entire Caribbean is
"remarkable in having produced so many poets who are also intellectuals," includ-
ing Cesaire, Glissant, Carter and, again Brathwaite and Walcott. The general
picture is therefore that of very complex minds working to give expression to an
already complex (even multiplex) cultural situation. The outcome of this is fairly
obvious. It creates, at the receiving end, the problem of understanding "the com-
plex Caribbean drive to realise a complex, multi-faceted, flexible sense of shape"
or "the problem of the problem of form in Caribbean aesthetics" (Rohlehr, 1985,
p. 2).

This multiplicity of the Caribbean aesthetic landscape and theresultant
problem of aesthetic appreciation as described by Rohlehr and many other critics;

is more real than imagined. Banham, Hill and Woodyard (1994, p.141) note with
emphasis that "until the first third of the present century" (now the last century)
"theatre in the Caribbean was representative of a stratified and hierarchical mul-
ticultural society." The aesthetic strands that constitute this theatrical legacy which
the Caribbean artist must come to terms with are numerous and sometimes diffi-
cult to define. One immediate consequence of this combination of a multiplex
cultural formation with a complex individuality (that of the artist) is that no single
aesthetic output by these individuals could be seen as evincing a holistic repre-
sentation. Even if the contextual input (for example historical circumstances in the
Caribbean) were similar, the complex individuality and attendant idiosyncrasies of
the artists would still have made for differences of perception. Hence the question
as to what actually or authentically constitutes Caribbean aesthetics in general, and
Caribbean theatre aesthetics in particular, has been subject of negotiation by critics
of the region. Particularly contentious is the question of the place of history in the
formulation of an aesthetic framework, which has generated views as diverse as
there are commentators on the subject. The issue of language as a key factor in
establishing a Caribbean identity is equally important. Kamau Brathwaite (1971,
p.31) noted that "it was in language that the slave was perhaps most successfully
imprisoned by his master." Liberation from slavery therefore also meant liberation
from the "master's" oppressive language; not just because there was the need for a
replacement, but more because of the need to give expression to a uniquely new
For the Caribbean artist of African extraction (and there are Caribbean
practitioners who do not necessarily fall into this category), the situation is even
more complicated. Inevitably, and without exception, he is imbued with a con-
sciousness of dislocation, of a gulf separating his present abode from his roots. He
grapples with a reality of forced migration and of being forced to embrace a
strange identity that at once debased and dehumanized him. One of the problems
is the fact that, unlike the African situation or the case of the indigenous people in
Australia and the Pacific, and even the black American, where the retrieval of
pre-colonial mythology and reality countered the colonialist canons, the Carib-
bean apparently had no pre-colonial heritage to fall back upon and had to evolve a
counter-hegemonic canon from a clean slate. To wit, American slaves of African
descent worked in a predominantly white society where they had some contact
with printed records, being thereby able to produce slave narratives. On their part,
Caribbean slaves worked in communities that were totally isolated from towns,
and of course books. This explains why they produced virtually no slave narrative.
While contending with this sense of alienation, the Caribbean also had to
contend with the realities of his new situation. He had to fashion out an aesthetic
that would accommodate and reflect this new situation, in addition to reflecting his
feeling of alienation. In other words, the aesthetics evolved by the Caribbean must
be one that encapsulates both his original (racial) predicament and the contempo-
rary reality in his place of abode. This demand to bridge the gulf between the

multiple past and multiple present in order to forge an authentic Caribbean aes-
thetic is a particularly engaging vocation for the Caribbean artist of African
Walcott's Aesthetics as a Burden of History
It is important to recap that Derek Walcott has grappled with this problem
of bridging the Caribbean gulf for about half a century. Described as "the most
important Caribbean playwright, and poet of world rank," Walcott is credited with
some thirty-eight plays, "half of which have been published" and fifteen poetry
volumes (Banham et al 1994, p. 181). His stupendous career in literature and
theatre was crowned in 1991 with the Nobel Prize for literature. That Walcott is
the leading light and most obvious exemplar of Caribbean theatre aesthetics is not
at all in doubt; indeed, every critical work in this area must first pay this tribute of
acknowledgement along with an inevitable bio-sketch however brief.
Walcott's giant stride in the intellectual and literary domains has been
buoyed by a university education in the fields of English and the literary arts, and,
much later, by his involvement in the formation of theatre groups to give voice to
his dramaturgical vision, as well as his collaboration with what has been described
as "an exciting and talented group of dramatists" (Noel, 1985, p.7), to form the
Trinidad Theatre Workshop as an instrument to fashion a home-grown theatre
aesthetics. The experiment was also meant to nurture nascent talents by exposing
them to the rudiments of theatre work. Walcott's intervention in Caribbean theatre
has therefore manifested not only at the level of praxis but also at the level of
theory, criticism and pedagogy. His critical efforts to formulate what should, in his
view, constitute a true Caribbean aesthetics has spanned nearly three decades. His
culminating thesis in this regard, which can be regarded as his "manifesto" for a
Caribbean aesthetic, is contained in a seminal essay: "What the Twilight Says: An
Overture"(1970) and two others: "The Caribbean: Culture or Mimicry" (1974) and
"The Muse of History: An Essay" (1974). Although he has written several articles
on the subject of Caribbean aesthetics, these three articles are frequently referred
to as constituting a trilogy in regard to Walcott's entire thesis on the subject (See
for example Olaniyan, 1995, p. 97). In the theoretical formulations contained in
these essays, the playwright/critic ultimately avoids a stereotypic approach to the
Caribbean problem. Aspects of Walcott's complex critical formulation vis-a-vis
this problem need to be related as an introduction to his aesthetic practice.
A brief recap of "the Caribbean problem" itself is also in place at this
juncture in order to fully appreciate the process of translating the Caribbean
problem into an aesthetic, and Walcott's intervention in this process. The problem
is easily summarised by posing the questions how to come to terms with: (i) forced
dislocation from one's original roots, (ii) a situation of deprivation and dehuman-
isation, and subservience in the "new world," and (iii) a dominant pre-and post-
abolition ideology that is both oppressive and denigrating. The hierarchical
structure of the Caribbean state, with the blacks occupying the base of the hierar-

chy, is often at issue here. The ensuing Caribbean problem is described in terms of
the prevailing "social reality," to wit, that:
the person at the lower end of the socio-economic continuum
was black, had little formal education and was a peasant or
unskilled labourer. He did not feel that the social services (po-
lice and health for example) were his right and he generally
belonged to a revivalist (or Baptist) faith. On the other hand, the
person at the upper end was white or mulatto, had secondary
education, belonged to management and insisted on his rights -
and sometimes on more than his rights (Noel, 1985, p. 3).
The resultant Caribbean aesthetics occupies two extremes. At one ex-
treme is the original Eurocentric discourse on blacks and on black aesthetics. In
continuation of the hierarchical distribution of the society and the relegation of
blacks, this discourse inferiorized non-European elements and non-European aes-
thetics. This Eurocentricism as reflected in early European art and European
criticism of African art and aesthetic potential is well problematized and subverted
within Walcott's theoretical discourse. An example of early Eurocentric discourse
as reflected in Eurocentric aesthetics is the Camboulay which is the Caribbean
equivalent of black minstrelsy in America, as also noted by Olaniyan (1995,
p.105). The orientation of these two forms is to ridicule blacks.
In America, black minstrelsy was more or less the theoretical arm of the
infamous hegemonic ideology which ascribed a lower intelligence quotient to the
black man. Indeed, black minstrelsy's purpose, to exhibit the "eccentricities and
comicalities of (blacks) that Sable Genius of Humanity" (Toll,1974, p. 30), was
loudly proclaimed in pre-performance advertisements. The image that emerged
from these performances was unflattering. It was an image of the black man as
"irrationally credulous," one who is "endowed with artless philosophy" (Gaines,
as cited in Olaniyan,1995, p.13), among other dubious accolades. The negro,
according to this description, is the "overgrown child of great naivete and obtuse-
ness, often given to impudence but basically of affecting good humour and
simplicity" (Jeyifo, as cited in Olaniyan,1995, p.14). The Caribbean parallel of
denigrating art, the Camboulay, was a similar parody of black existence and black
aesthetics. In the hands of its white originators, the Trinidad Carnival comprises an
impersonation of black slaves and a mimic of their songs and dances. By employ-
ing exaggerated movements and grotesque demeanour, the carnival succeeded in
portraying blacks and black aesthetics in ludicrous light.
Criticism of aesthetic efforts by African Caribbean elements constitutes
another arm of the denigrating Eurocentric discourse. This criticism denied the
existence or even the possibility of an African aesthetic. It credits Africans only
with a ritualistic jabber performed in spontaneous glee, unrefined, lacking in form,
decorum or elegance. Such criticism derived either from a felt need to rationalise

the dastardly act of slavery and colonialism, what Tiffin (1992, p.428) has referred
to as the "imperialist project" ; or simply from a jaundiced view of aesthetics
whereby it is seen only from the western perspective. When Eurocentric discourse
eventually began to acknowledge African-based art, it specifically related such art
to western paradigms. In truth, the first generation of African writers borrowed
extensively from these paradigms and were therefore patronised or praised by
western critics for the unique effort! This generation of writers was later to suffer
much critical bashing from indigenous critics in Africa and the Caribbean.
It is significant that, in the Caribbean, Derek Walcott has been a target of
such scathing criticism. He himself acknowledges the earlier orientation of his
generation of writers as "natural assimilators," knowing (and somewhat imbibing)
"the literature of Empires, Greek, Roman, British through their essential classics"
(Walcott 1970, p. 2), an orientation that, having entered into their creative practice,
caused them to be branded, among other uncomplimentary sobriquets, "traitors"
(Walcott 1970, p. 9). The criticism of Caribbean life and aesthetic potential in
Eurocentric discourse as well as the criticism of early Caribbean output by Carib-
beans themselves was one of the factors that forced a formulation of Caribbean
aesthetics. In other words, the Caribbean aesthetic orientation has its locus partly
in the reaction of Caribbean writers to these criticisms. Certainly, Walcott's
critical formulations and aesthetic output were influenced by the critical and
aesthetic situation preceding his own intervention.
The reaction by African-Caribbean elements to the denigration of their
race in Eurocentric art and criticism took two forms. One was to assimilate
European aesthetic paradigms, and the other to countermand the denigration by
forging or approximating an African aesthetics as perceived by these Diaspora
elements. A third, later reaction, and the one with which Walcott is ultimately
associated, is to synthesize the various sources and attempt to derive an aesthetics
which, rather than project an image of vengeance, recrimination and despair,
would appear to be distinctly Caribbean in character. This later reaction anticipates
an authentic Caribbean identity that gives expression to the day-to-day realities of
the Caribbean people who have survived the oppressive system to which they were
condemned, and from which they have been able to forge consciousness. This new
aesthetics would "neither explain nor forgive history...", but rather "invent the
New World anew and acquire the faith to use the old names anew" (Wilson-Tagoe,
1998, p.129).
Walcott's own original intervention in the formulation of a Caribbean
aesthetics must be placed within the continuum of 'appropriation' and 'abroga-
tion', the twin processes of postcoloniality described by Ashcroft et al (1989).
Generally, the assimilation of western forms occurred in two stages, the first of
which was the appropriation of forms like the minstrelsy and the Camboulay (in
America and the Caribbean respectively) by elements of African origin. Even
though the forms denigrated blacks, they also had an enormous indoctrination

potential. So effective was the indoctrination, in fact, that even when the forms
became eventually appropriated by the slaves, they introduced only a little vari-
ation to its practice. It was as if their own beings and their ways of life had been so
disfigured that they had begun to appear truly ugly even to themselves. Self-hatred
had crept into aesthetic configuration. Another possible reason was that the ne-
groes despaired so much the abjectness to which white hegemony had consigned
them that they could only resign themselves to their fate and resolve to join forces
with the winners, their conquerors. At any rate, these early black theatre practitio-
ners continued the caricature of blacks through exaggerated, ludicrous costumes
and movements, an exercise in self-denigration. Apart from manifesting a linger-
ing slave/colonial mentality, the phenomenon may also have been due to the
yearning for acceptability amongst the predominantly white audiences. It must be
noted however, that the Caribbean version of Camboulay, the version practised by
the negroes, was a little different from the minstrelsy in the sense that the objective
was no longer to caricature blacks but to publicise the yoke and agonies of slavery
and the various responses that blacks had to make under this condition. This
altered orientation of the Caribbean carnival provoked hostility from the same
white critics who lavished applause on the form when it was used by whites to
denigrate blacks.
The second stage of the assimilation of western forms occurred in the era
of literate blacks and was equally a function of indoctrination, but of a different
kind relating to Western textual and aesthetic paradigms. This latter indoctrination
was sociologically conditioned. Western education provided the only means by
which slaves (after the emancipation of 1834) and their descendants could attain
elitist status and gain acceptability as well as respectability. The language of this
induction was also western, particularly English, French and Portuguese. Indeed,
Derek Walcott, to place him squarely in this continuum, was to fall "madly in love
with English" (Walcott,1970, p. 11), and inevitably use it for his dramaturgy.
From Minstrelsy to Mulatto
It is no exaggeration to assert that Walcott's career as poet and play-
wright by itself chronicles, and indeed exemplifies the complex development of
the Caribbean aesthetics. The stage of assimilation of western forms and adoption
of western aesthetics is well represented in his aesthetic repertoire. He himself
admits a wilful continuation of the colonial aesthetic heritage in his early works,
being imbued with a "sense of inheritance" (of western forms), a vocation to
"prolong the mighty line of Marlowe, Milton", etc., and "a yearning to be
adopted" by the master race (Walcott, 1970, p. 31). In Caribbean non-artistic life,
the social equivalent of this lingering colonial mentality was the general hankering
after white "things," including white women, white fashion, white mannerisms
and the related ways of life.
Hallucination was to give way to a painful realisation. Many of Walcott's
plays, including Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970) and Ti-Jean and His Broth-

ers (1970), actually portray the process of disillusionment and the general Carib-
bean search for an authentic sense of being, including an authentic aesthetics and
a language in which to express this aesthetics. The process is painful, tortuous and
unending. In Walcott's case, he had become painfully aware that his aspiration to
the heirdom of English literature was an illusion. In an interview he confirmed the
realisation that:
every tribe hoards its culture as fiercely as its prejudices, that
English literature, even in the theatre, was hallowed ground and
that colonial literature could grow to resemble it closely, but
could never be considered its legitimate heir. {Its function could
only be "filial and tributary" as far as the mother country is
concerned) (Mentus 1975, p. 6).
The "African phase" of Caribbean aesthetics is in part a true tribute to this
realisation. The dissatisfaction with the assimilation of western paradigms and the
rejection of the attendant mimic mentality leads logically to the search for a
replacement aesthetics. Two distinct stages can be identified with regard to the
African phase of the new aesthetics. The first occurred in the earliest pre-assimila-
tion period, on their forced arrival in a strange land, African slaves resorted to the
memories of their origins for their aesthetic output. What they could recall of their
songs, rituals and performances were brought into play both to entertain them-
selves and to give psychological relief to their tormented souls. The second stage
of this African phase of Caribbean aesthetics occurred much later and is distin-
guished by its self-consciousness. This was now a conscious attempt to repudiate
assault on the sense of being of the African descendants of slaves on African
aesthetics and aesthetic potential. The concomitant is a counter campaign, to prove
the worthiness and even the excellence of the race, culture and aesthetics that the
whites had so denigrated.
This new orientation soon ran into problems of its own. Although Derek
Walcott himself was swayed by the African pull, like many other Caribbean
writers, he was soon to repudiate it. The ultimate point in this repudiation in his
dramatic works is probably his Dream on Monkey Mountain, regarding which he
himself says:
The ultimate message in the {the play} is for us to shed the
African longing... (Walcott, 1974, p: 2).
This message reverberates in many works by Walcott and he sometimes
issues it even from the mouth of babes, like the child in Another Life, who gets
"tired of your whining, grandfather", and "tired of your groans grandfather"
(Walcott, 1972, p: 67). There are many reasons for this second round of disen-
chantment with the general orientation of Caribbean aesthetics. For instance, in
signalling the African pull, the new aesthetics also expresses an unsavoury ideol-
ogy at certain intersections, that is, the ideology of hatred and revenge. The hatred

was for things considered white, and perhaps also for white people. It manifested
in violence and loud calls for revenge on previous enslavers or their descendants.
Even where they could not be reached physically, attempt was made to at least
discomfort their psyche through threats and disparaging remarks. Whites, in what
can be described as reverse acrimony, become the devil in negro depiction. The
black literature representing this stage of Caribbean aesthetics was one of "re-
crimination and despair, a literature of revenge written by the descendants of
slaves or of remorse written by descendants of masters" (Walcott, 1970, p. 10).
Walcott considered the attitude of revenge repugnant. It downgrades the humanity
of blacks as much as the original enslavement downgraded the humanity of whites.
Furthermore, the attitude ignores the possible role, indeed the obvious role, of
blacks in the history that has brought black humanity to its knees. "Our own
ancestors shared that complicity," he insists, "and there is no one left on whom we
can exact revenge" (Walcott, 1970, p. 11).
An additional factor for this rejection of the new aesthetics by Walcott
and others is the dubious premise on which the new ideology of Africanness is
based. The aesthetics represents the idea of Africa as Eden. The process of
disillusionment over this Edenic notion, and the consequent rejection of the
premise, will be found represented in Walcott's most important plays, especially,
again, Dream on Monkey Mountain and Ti-Jean and His Brothers.
The chief evidence of this representation in our view is the sequence of
these plays and the resolution arrived at in the end. The sequences not only
simulate the main points that we have noted regarding the Caribbean problem, but
also the main order in which this problem has presented itself. In Dream on
Monkey Mountain, Makak is driven by the oppressive Caribbean situation into
drunkenness and subsequent fits of hallucination. A charcoal burner, he had been
brought up within a dominant ideology that denigrates blacks and superiorises
anything white. This engenders a dislike for Self and a craving for the Other. It is
this ensuing tension that results in the drunkenness and the hallucination, the latter
functioning as a psychological outlet for his abused and frustrated psyche.
Makak's hallucination is Walcott's narrative device. It produces the dream that
takes Makak back to Africa where he experiences grandeur and glory. He is even
crowned king. However, his illusion is soon shattered as he discovers that Africa
is as full of conflict, intrigue and potential tragedy as the new world that he seeks
to escape from.
This discovery places the Caribbean negro at crossroads. Escape from the
poverty and drudgery of the Caribbean is desirable, but even if it were possible, the
question is: escape to what? With this realisation that Africa may well be just
another quandary, Makak's soul (representing that of the Caribbean generally) is
freed from the throes of yearning for the fantastic and unattainable. The new
Caribbean resolve can be inferred from the play. It is to remain Caribbean, not
black or white, but red, cinnamon or mulatto, to stop the pursuit of illusion.

Walcott's Ti-Jean and His Brothers further exemplifies this new ideo-
logical and consequent aesthetic orientation in perhaps more ways than has been
generally acknowledged. The Caribbean problem is central to the play. The three
brothers, Gross-Jean, Mi-Jean and Ti-Jean, as well as their mother represent the
average Caribbean household. Their circumstance (poverty and abjection) neces-
sitates a search for being, sustenance and significance, which again is the entire
black Caribbean quest. The whole wide world is the search territory and the three
brothers enter into it. Each of them sports an attribute that represents the various
strategies available to the Caribbean. For instance, Gros-Jean is imbued with
brawn and muscle; Mi-Jean is the "intellectual", while Ti-Jean generally responds
to his situation through what has been described as "intuition" (Hill, 1985, p. 6), or
"native intelligence" (Garuba 1981, p. 18). Ti-Jean turns out to be the true Carib-
In the meantime, each of the Jean brothers encounters the devil (dis-
guised as an old man) who offers a contest which he (the Jean brother) either wins
and gets a reward or loses and gets destroyed. The gravity of the Caribbean
problem is immediately apparent here; the play makes it clear that it is a matter of
life and death, a matter to be approached with utmost care and tact.
Even at this early stage in the play, Walcott cleverly introduces a techni-
cality that peremptorily imposes his personal view of the Caribbean problem on
the dramatic situation. This view is presented in the form of the condition that the
devil gives to the brothers. The condition is that while attempting the tasks entailed
by the contest, the brothers must eschew anger and also avoid the expression of
frustration. In other words, even before the contest begins a moral is already firmly
lodged within the fabric of the play regarding the Caribbean problem. The moral,
expressed as non-negotiable, is that anger and the quest for revenge would be the
undoing of the black Caribbean and must be eschewed.
The nature of the tasks given by the devil in this play is equally instruc-
tive. The first task is to put the devil's impossible goat on leash and the second to
count the leaves of the cane in the planter's field. Simply, these are tasks that
cannot be accomplished by brawn or by ordinary, mundane logic. It is instructive
that Ti-Jean, who wins the contest eventually, embarked on the winning streak by
unmasking the devil early in their encounter. Again, the moral seems to be that the
Caribbean should appraise his situation and realise who or what he is dealing with
on time. With this foreknowledge, he would be well on the way to accomplishing
his life-long objective of leading a fulfilling life.
The solution proffered by Ti-Jean and His brothers is not necessarily an
easy one relative to the Caribbean problem. The Old Man (who is the devil in
disguise) is categorical in denying the possibility of easy success in the task on

I cannot tell you the way to success
I can only show you, Gros-Jean
One path through the forest (p.37)
The Caribbean search for roots, redemption and preservation, and for
sustenance in the current dispensation will therefore take the searcher through the
jungle of life and the labyrinths of wisdom. The path shown to the Jean brothers by
the "Old Man" proves to be fraught with danger. Ti-Jean overcomes it all by
playing the game the way it comes, not by brawn or by half-baked intelligence. He
employs the totality of his wits and squares up to the realities of his situation.
These thematic considerations relate more to the question of ideology
than the question of aesthetics in a formal sense (granting, of course, that ideology
influences aesthetic outcomes) Walcott's theoretical formulations also cover the
translation of the new Caribbean ideology into aesthetic form. His contention is
that the province of art should be seen as universal and not parochial, hence the
yearning for Africanness would not necessarily produce an enduring aesthetics.
Rather, it would produce drudgery, cant, lament and propaganda. The conclusion
here is that Caribbean writers should not carry on "as if one general apology on
behalf of the past would supplant imagination, would spare them the necessity of
great art" (Walcott, 1970, p. 10).
Walcott's contention would seem to suggest that, head or tail, the Carib-
bean artist in search of an aesthetics of identification "loses." Neither of the first
two stages of the search, the European and the African stages, appears to yield any
concrete dividends. The Caribbean is neither saved by the yearning for the
"things" and the aesthetics of the whites nor by an uncritical romanticising of his
African roots and a corresponding aesthetic. However, since neither could he
operate in a vacuum, a way out must be found. It is on this score that Derek
Walcott gravitates towards a new ideological and aesthetic orientation. The new
attitude which he recommends is for the Caribbean to come to terms with the
reality of his situation and to be affirmative of this reality as a plank towards the
retrieval of identity.
This attitude has both socio-political and aesthetic implications. Socio-
politically, the black Caribbean is to cultivate rapprochement with the other races
that occupy the geographical entity. The new ideology is one of equality, unity,
we were all strangers here. The claim which we make as Afri-
cans is not our inheritance, but a bequest, like that of other races,
a bill for the condition of our arrival as slaves. ...Nor is the land
automatically ours because we were made to work it. We have
no more proprietorship as a race than have the indentured work-
ers from Asia except the claim is wholly made. By all races as
one race (Walcott, 1970, p. 10).

The ultimate message, Mentus (1975, p. 6) quotes Walcott as saying:

is for us to shed the African longing and to say that we are here
whatever the historical process that brought us, and this is where
our roots must begin; and with that the whole cycle of reclaim-
ing the territory, spiritual territory, where we have been put.
Yoke of the Caribbean
On the aesthetic plane the new ideology of translates to aesthetic univer-
salism, a call for the appropriation of all possible sources that the Caribbean artist
has encountered in his new home for the aesthetic expression of his situation. The
idea is that of a Caribbean aesthetics that is neither white nor black, possibly red,
a distinct mix in the rainbow, or cinnamon, certainly one that is distinctly Carib-
bean in character the mulatto aesthetics. The authentic Caribbean writer, Walcott
concludes, must be, like himself now, a mulatto of style.
What we have in this configuration is a complex mix of race, politics and
aesthetics. The racial duality of the mulatto becomes appropriated not only as an
aesthetic matrix but also as a symbol of multiracial integration and harmony in the
Caribbean. The mulatto, particularly the mulatto female had long been romanti-
cised in Caribbean poetry, including the equation of the land with the mulatto in
Collon Pellos's (1938) "The land is a mulatto woman" and Vizcarrondo's lines
which describe the mulatto as "a mixture that is stronger than" either black or
white, stronger than "your race and the Caucasian" While citing these poems,
Claudette Williams notes that in Francophone Caribbean, the mulatto is "rarely
used as a symbol of the merging of African and European heritage to produce a
Caribbean identity", but that even here, for example in Francophone Haiti, "the
preferred female type is the mulatto" (Williams, 2000, p. 85). This assures the
universality or at least recognizability of the mulatto image at various levels in the
entire Caribbean. It falls to Caribbean intellectuals cum artists such as Walcott to
theorise the emerging aesthetics and exemplify its deepest essence in their works.
Thus the mulatto orientation manifests also in the complex synthesizing, or yok-
ing, of images from different sources of Walcott's dramaturgy. The incidence of
yoking can be analyzed at both macro and micro levels. At the macro level, the
entire dramaturgy is one huge yoke in which the Caribbean experience is realized
through paradigms from other lands, other lives and other places, and other literary
forms. One illustration of the latter is Ti-Jean which, on the one hand, at the macro
level employs the medium of folklore. At the micro level on the other hand,
discrete images from distinct sources are employed. The occurrence of images
from classical dramaturgy or from the Elizabethan stage, etc., is an example here.
Yoking occurs at this micro level when a particular image can be associ-
ated with two or more sources. For instance, the thieves in Dream on Monkey
Mountain signal biblical imagery and influence, as noted earlier; however, the
employment of these felons as judges over Makak in the play also recalls a famous

Brechtian dramaturgical twist. The particular source in Brecht, in this case, is his
The Caucasian Chalk Circle in which Azdak, a felon (or at least a tramp) becomes
the judge in the celebrated maternity dispute in the play. The case over which
Azdak presides itself has its origin in biblical records. But the original biblical
purport is subverted by Brecht. In the original story, nature takes precedence over
nurture, but in Brecht's rendition, it is the other way round; the material is thus
effectively alienated from its source in order to suit Brecht's own ideology and
dramaturgy. Such alienation is equally discernable in Walcott's Dream on Monkey
Language is of course one huge yoke in Caribbean aesthetics in general
and Walcott's dramaturgy in particular. The point is that no serious expression of
Caribbean aesthetics can afford to ignore the linguistic differentiation in the
society, and the need to express this differentiation in works of art. Abrahams
(1974) has distinguished between "broad talkers" and "good talkers" in the Carib-
bean socio-linguistic milieu. The former rely "on wit and other verbally economi-
cal devices." They also make use of the "informal, Creole-based code as their
medium." The latter, on the other hand, rely on "ornamental diction and grammar
and syntaxl and gravitate toward "an approximation of standard English" (Abra-
hams, 1974, p. 44). Winford (1974, pp. 13-14) also notes that Creole in particular
cannot be ignored as a language that represents the "[ interrelation] of culture with
speech in the communication life of West Indian societies."
Elaborating on this functional differentiation between Creole and the
other languages of the Caribbean, Mervin Alleyne notes that Creole is the carrier
language as far as cultural enunciation is concerned:

Creole incorporates the entire history of the indigenous people
of the island. Consciousness of this history is achieved through
Creole as this language is the depository of the folklore of the
people. Creole is the vehicle for proverbs, for handing down
traditional popular custom, ceremonies, rituals (Alleyne, 1962,
p. 9).
From earlier "falling in love" with the English language, Walcott "rose"
to eventually meet the demand in Caribbean aesthetics for a language that would
take into account the cadences of speech in the islands. His drama in particular
criss-crosses the rhythms and cadences of Caribbean speech. The expansive range
of this speech, from Creole to English to French, etc., is fully explored and
employed according to the demands of dramaturgy, i.e., the demands of charac-
terization and mood. In the masterful yoking demonstrated in Walcott's drama,
even the devil speaks French when the occasion seizes him! Such essential
sociolinguistic variation complements the deep mythopoesis that generally charac-
terizes Walcott's works.

One interesting phenomenon in Walcott's integration of the linguistic
situation in his drama is the way his characters overtly, and sometimes obtrusively,
refer to the language situation in the Caribbean. An example occurs in Dream
where Lestrade makes a point of providing the linguistic alternative of "vinegar."
He points out to Makak that, "in your language, you would call [it] vinegre"
(p.226). Such sequences not only delineate character and conflict at the level of
language but also constitute a meta-dramatic allusion to the entire situation in the

Walcott without doubt exploits the full range of sources available to his
Caribbean self. The result of this fusion of sources in Walcott's dramaturgy is that
each play appears like a stylistic conglomerate, a huge pot-pourri into which
"everything" goes. The ultimate result, furthermore, is the emergence of an aes-
thetic that is, as it were, neither there (Africa) nor there (Europe and America), but
here, "here" being the West Indies. In short, the aesthetics is, to all intents and
purposes, one that is distinctly Caribbean in character, the mulatto aesthetics.
The big question however remains: Is "purely Caribbean" purely mulatto
and vice-versa? It has been re-demonstrated in the foregoing that Walcott's works
do in many parts embrace the middle course mulatto style. His intention is to
internationalise discourse through the employment of paradigms or images that
have themselves become internationalised. Although he has succeeded in this to a
large extent, it is clear that the mulatto is not Walcott's only aesthetic orientation.
There is also his employment of mythopoesis as dramaturgical medium, with
derivatives in African history, culture and dramaturgy. This, arguably, is his major
aesthetic orientation and manifestation of a huge indebtedness to Africa or to
blackness as important constitutive gene of the mulatto and of the associated
aesthetics in the Caribbean. A complete repudiation of blackness would be quite
untoward in the circumstance; it would amount to nothing but a repudiation of self.


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African Caribbean Immigrants in The United Kingdom: The
Legacy of Racial Disadvantages


Post-War Migration
The British Government and the Merchant Navy heavily recruited colo-
nial Anglophone Caribbean subjects for military or naval service in 1914 and 1939
during World Wars I and II. Many recruits worked mainly in military labour
battalions, munitions factories, and in heavy industries. Despite their military
service, the Colonial Office closely supervised the Black volunteers; they experi-
enced defacto segregation, and when the war ended, they were required to return
to their territory of origin (Paul, 1997). Many of the ex-service men who had
fought for the 'mother country' returned to civilian life very disillusioned by the
lack of employment opportunities and low wages in the British Caribbean territo-
ries. In the post-war period, their sense of British patriotism, their knowledge of
the labour shortage that they had witnessed in Britain, coupled with their need to
find work, motivated many of these men to return to the United Kingdom.
Most of post-war migration of labour from the Caribbean to Britain
occurred between 1948 and 1962. Between 1948 and 1955, the typical West Indian
migrant was a skilled or semiskilled male, who was between 15 and 40 years old,
unmarried, and who came from an urban setting. These early migrants went to
Britain for economic reasons to achieve upward mobility to middle class status.
They primarily sought manufacturing and service jobs. Among them were ex-
servicemen who returned to the United Kingdom to rejoin the Royal Air Force.
After 1955, Caribbean migrants were characterized as being semiskilled
and unskilled, from more economically depressed and rural backgrounds, with an
equal representation of men and women (Peach, 1996). Network based and
support systems that were organized by migrant communities influenced the
migratory process (Byron, 1994). Another influencing factor was the United
States being closed to Caribbean immigrants as a function of the restrictive
Immigration Act of 1924 and the 1952 McCarren-Walter Immigration Act. This led
to an increase in the flow of migrants towards Britain. Many of the migrants to
Britain intended to return home after they had accumulated capital and had gained
additional academic qualifications (Lashley, 1986).
This paper primarily relies on a multidisciplinary emphasis to address the
nature of race relations between African Caribbean immigrants and the majority
white British population. A 'time/distance perspective' is used to describe the
process by which the overall structuring of African Caribbeans' racial disadvan-

tages occurred in British society (Anthias, 2001). Hence, there is an emphasis on
the historical contexts which might explain the contemporary racially differential
experiences of African Caribbeans in British society.
The paper's aim is to provide a descriptive analysis of the primary role
played by British racism in determining African Caribbeans' subordinate social
positioning in British society. The fundamental questions that inform this discus-
sion are: How have British immigration policies impacted on African Caribbean
migrants? Since African Caribbeans' early migration to Britain, how has this
group fared with regard to education, the workforce, the criminal justice system,
and the mental health systems? How has British nationalist and racist tendencies
impacted on African Caribbeans? What type of individual and group adaptations
characterize African Caribbeans' responses to British society?
The first part of this paper discusses the experiences of the early African
Caribbean immigrants in British society. The terms AAfrican Caribbean' and
ABlack immigrants' are used interchangeable to refer to people of African de-
scent with a Caribbean heritage (see Modood, 1988; Brah, 1991). The second part
discusses the recent research findings on how institutionalized racism has im-
pacted on African Caribbeans in essential life domains in contemporary British
society. Most published studies on British racism and African Caribbeans tend to
focus on a particular area such as education, housing or employment. This paper
addresses several essential life domains, including housing, mental health, educa-
tion and the criminal justice system.
Immigration and Race
The 1948 British Nationality Act allowed people from the Empire and
Commonwealth unhindered rights to enter Britain because they carried a British
passport. Paul (1997) indicated that for these early Caribbean migrants,
not only their legal nationality but much of their identity de-
pended on their Britishness..traveling to Britain constituted
something of a homeward journey. This was not the perception
of those awaiting them at 'home,' however, who believed gen-
erally in several definitions of Britishness and specifically in a
West Indian Britishness located within an exterior, political
community and best maintained at the periphery of the empire,
not the core' (p. 114).

From 1945-1962, the British government sought ways to prevent or to limit Black
immigration from the Caribbean, and to eliminate free access to the United
Kingdom (Solomos, 2003, Hansen, 2000). Eleven Labour Party Members of
Parliament wrote to Prime Minister Clement Attlee that 'an influx of colonial
people domiciled here is likely to impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of
our public life and cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned' (Paul,

1997, p. 126). There were extensive immigration debates by both the Conservative
and Labour governments; the resolution of which was the 1962 Commonwealth
Immigration Act which restricted the entry of Black Caribbean migrants into the
United Kingdom.

The Conservative Government's Commonwealth Immigrants Act of
1962 was characterized by Kyriakides and Virdee (2003) as a 'milestone racist
legislation' which contained strict quotas on Black migrants. This Act provided
immigration officers with a great deal of discretion to prevent the landing of
individuals who were unable to convince them of their right to enter the country,
or of their ability to support themselves without employment. The Act arranged
for Ministry of labour employment vouchers to be issued to those with jobs
already set up, and to those with skills and qualifications needed in the British
economy. There was also a provision to issue visas to Commonwealth migrants
who did not meet the job and skills criteria, particularly those who had served in
the British forces during the war (Solomos, 2003). However, restrictions on rates
of migration were envisioned for this category, and there was a strong demand for
the job-related vouchers. No vouchers were issued in this category after 1964 and
the voucher system was abolished in 1972 (Virdee, 2000; Solomos, 2003). British
subjects who were denied entry had no access to appeals and were repatriated at
the carrier's expense, among other punitive and controlling immigration measures
(Paul, 1997).
Immigrants from the West Indies reached an annual rate of 30,000 in
1955 and 1956 (Anwar, 1991 ). Peach (1986) indicated that by 1961 there were
66,000 West Indian migrants. Peach (1968) also indicated that dissemination of
news on the 1962 Act engendered a 'panic reaction' and an increase in Caribbean
migrants to Britain which declined after 1962. Between the beginning of 1961 and
the middle of 1962 when the Act was instituted, 98,000 West Indians migrated to
Britain (Anwar, 1991). By 1972, legislation mandated that a British passport
holder born overseas could only settle in Britain if they possessed a work permit,
and if they could prove that a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK. This
ensured that primarily children born to white families in remnants of the Empire
or in the former colonies could enter Britain. Their Black counterparts could not.
As manufacturing declined, work permits were harder to get unless the person had
specialist skills or professional trading (Paul, 1997). After 1971, births accounted
more than migration for the increase in the Caribbean population. The 1991 census
estimated that the United Kingdom had about 500,000 people of African descent,
and about 180,000 persons who claim Caribbean heritage. People of African
descent represent the second largest minority ethnic group after the Indian popu-
lation in England (Dale and Holdsworth, 1997).

The British Colonial Office treated the early Caribbean migrants as
outsiders who were undeserving of the rights and privileges of British society,
unlike the treatment offered to Irish and other European migrants, who passed the
'unwritten test of racial acceptability.' Despite their war service and their British
nationality, Caribbean migrants were negatively stereotyped by the Colonial Of-
fice as lazy, irresponsible, quarrelsome, suspicious and needy aliens who were
deserving of public disapproval (Paul, 1997). The majority of migrants had to fend
for themselves and had to assume low-paying unskilled work.
On arrival, the Caribbean immigrants were relegated to low paying jobs
and to materially and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods (Lashley, 1986), and
were subjected to racial violence that many had never expected. It was also the
case that white racist hostility was provoked by African Caribbean males' intimate
relationships with white women (Smith, 1981). Many areas including Birmingham,
Nottingham, and West London experienced riots in the late 1950s as white people
feared and resented the arrival and the presence of a black community. Oftentimes,
Black Britons were blamed for the racial violence when Whites attacked them.
During this period, White Britons argued that a substantial increase in Blacks
would result in housing, employment and social services problems. A fundamen-
tal concern was the possible impact of Black migration on White Britons' 'racial
character and national identity' (Solomos, 2003). There were demands to control
the Black population and for West Indians to be repatriated to their country of
origin. Williams (1986) indicated that 'Blacks came to be defined as a separate
group, as alien, or inevitably culturally different and as a threat to the rights, status
and rewards of citizens of an otherwise culturally and politically homogenous
society' (p. 137).
It was also the case that by the 1980s, British immigration policy had two
prongs. There were strict controls on entry, and the state said that it would protect
the rights of ethnic minorities. However, Kyriakides and Virdee (2003) asserted
that' while racism is considered immoral in Britain, the role played in immigra-
tion restrictions in perpetuating a racist climate continues respectably and rela-
tively unnoticed.'
While enacting racially restrictive immigration policies, Britain insti-
tuted its first Race Relations Act in 1965 which prohibited incitement to racial
hatred and sought to combat discriminatory acts based on race, ethnicity, or
nationality in public places. However, the Act did not address criminal sanctions
for violations. This Act was deemed to be 'more declarative rather than effective
or efficient' (Paul, 1997, p. 176). Britain introduced a revised and more compre-
hensive Race Relations Act in 1968 that was aimed at fighting racial discrimination
in the areas of housing and employment. In 1976 the government established the
Commission for Racial Equality, the statutory body charged with tackling racial
discrimination. Racism in the workplace was made illegal in the UK in 1976,

which for the first time allowed for employers to be prosecuted if they discrimi-
nated against employees of colour.
There have been other efforts on the part of the British government and
civil society to address racism, racial justice, equality and diversity (Bhui and
Sashidharan, 2003). British multiculturalism was also promoted to counter racial
injustice and to make British society more multi-ethnic and become 'a commu-
nity of communities' (Runnymede Trust 2000). At the same time, the British
government has never provided the human and financial resources to effect
substantial changes in the racial status quo (Lashley, 1986). According to Joppke
(2004), Britain's 'multiculturalism has always been more laissez-faire and de-cen-
tered, firmly instituted in the branches of the state (especially at the local level) but
repudiated or at least ignored by others (such as the central government under
Thatcher).' Joppke (2004) also wrote on the tendency in British society to 'take
multiculturalism as the description of a diverse society rather than as prescription
for state policy.' This failure, as the following section demonstrates, is impli-
cated in the racially differential treatment of African Caribbeans in the British
African Caribbeans' Living Conditions
The Caribbean population can be found in the inner city areas of Great
London, Birmingham, Greater Manchester, and West Yorkshire. In 1961, seventy
four percent (74%) of Caribbean migrants were renters of private housing in
apartment complexes and flats in crowded inner city areas (Byron, 1994). Goul-
bourne (2002) reported that African Caribbeans are concentrated in the South East
Region of the UK constituting 1.9% of that region's population; 4.4% of Greater
London's population; 1.5% of West Midlands and 2.9% of the population of the
metropolitan area around Birmingham.
Much has been written about the substandard housing and unfavorable
living conditions experienced by African Caribbeans. According to Byron (1994),
post-war Caribbean immigrants entered the housing market at a time when the
private rental sector was shrinking, and their low-income jobs and overt white
racism limited their housing options. Cross (1986) reported that one in five real
estate agencies discriminated against non-whites. Blacks are concentrated in
areas of greatest economic decline with high unemployment rates (Mirza, 1992).
Many black households are overcrowded, unsafe, and lack basic amenities of life
(Brooks, 1984).
African Caribbeans have historically been viewed by White Britons as
coming from socially deprived environments which account for Blacks being
criminally minded (Kalunta-Crumpton, 1998; Mirza, 1992). For instance, when
inner city Black communities rioted against police brutality in 1980, 1981 and 1985,
the media and political debates promoted 'race' as the root cause of these disor-
ders. Following the 1981 Brixton riot, Sir Kenneth Newman (the then Metropolitan

Police Commissioner) reportedly said: 'In the Jamaicans you have a people who
are constitutionally disorderly. It's simply in their make-up. They are constitution-
ally disposed to anti-authority' (as reported by Kaluta-Crumpton, 1998, p. 566)
By 1991, 48.1 percent of African Caribbeans lived in owner-occupied
houses, 35.7 percent lived in Council Housing or Local Authority housing, 9.7
percent lived in housing associations, and 5.6 percent in private rentals (Goul-
bourne, 1998). There has also been movement of the Black middle and working
classes from the inner cities to the suburbs (Ward 1987). Similar to the African
American community, the removal of these classes has implications for inner city
dwellers. As Anwar (1991) wrote:
It is these classes which sustain communal buffering institu-
tions, and create a sense of confidence and self-reliance; elite
members of a ghetto community are the ones who, with their
greater resources, help tide the community over periods of se-
vere recession and provide models of mainstream lifestyles. By
their very presence they enhance the social organization of
ghetto communities and endow it with a sense of community,
and positive neighborhood identification' (p. 21).

Throughout this paper, there are discussions on the disadvantages experienced
by African Caribbeans living in urban inner communities.
Gender Differences
It is essential to examine gender dynamics which might have implica-
tions for African Caribbeans' personal and communal development. In the early
1970s, 52 percent of West Indian men and 32 percent of West Indian women were
working in manufacturing industries (Iganski and Payne, 1999). Over the past two
decades, Britain shifted from a manufacturing to a service economy, which
disproportionately displaced African Caribbeans who were concentrated in the
manufacturing sector. The 1991 Census reported that African Caribbean males
were two and a half times more likely to be unemployed when compared with
White men (Owen, 1994). Black females are also more likely to be unemployed
than White females and white males (Mirza, 1992).
Between 1955 and 1960, Caribbean women represented 40 percent of
the total immigrants to Britain (Byron, 1994). Many of these women left their
children temporarily or permanently in the Caribbean with relatives or friends.
Migrant women's early experiences were quite similar to those of Caribbean
males. Caribbean migrants were anxious for a job, which in many instances
resulted in their failure to get jobs compatible with their previous employment
experience and qualifications. This resulted in a relationship between migration
and down-skilling because many migrants were given manual jobs despite their
competencies (Patterson, 1963).

Black women are now achieving educational and employment success
beyond that of earlier generations. A significant percentage of African Caribbean
women are employed in public administration (40%), in retail and distribution
(25%), and in banking and commerce (12 percent). However, they are dispropor-
tionately to be found in lower positions as clerical officers, secretaries, and sale
assistants, and as workers in industries such as clothing and food manufacture,
transport, catering and cleaning, among other lower sector jobs (Mama, 1997).
About eight percent of Black women are in senior and middle manage-
ment positions in local government, and they are more likely to be in the low paid
service sector assisting Black service users (Mama, 1997). African Caribbean
women's high earnings are said to be due to long hours worked rather than to the
salary grades attained. Black women are more likely to work full-time than other
women. Almost a third of these women work in the fields of health or social work.
In 1995, less than three percent of National Health Service nurses under 25 years
old were Black or Asian, while 11 percent were nurses over 55 years old (Iganksi
and Payne, 1999). African Caribbean women working with the National Health
Service tend to be overwhelmingly auxiliary workers, which is a lower status
position than that of state registered nurses (Mama, 1997).
It is important to point out that half of all African Caribbean families are
female-headed households. In fact, second generation Black women are less
likely to be married than their first generation counterparts (Luthra, 1997). Only
one in three Caribbean children live with both parents. Black women often have
more dependents than their White counterparts. Black women are also likely to
have unemployed male partners, or partners who are low wage earners. In many
instances, the woman is the main breadwinner (Goulboure, 2002).
These family challenges are compounded by institutional racism. Sur-
veys by the Institute of Race Relations, an independent research organization,
showed that one-third of all employers would hire Whites over equally qualified
Blacks without even giving Black applicants an interview. Another study found
that Black workers were more than twice as likely as Whites with similar qualifi-
cations to end up in menial jobs. Blacks are grossly under-represented in areas of
clerical and managerial occupations and in higher education (Lashley, 1986).
Similar to other Western countries, making a racial discrimination complaint is
cumbersome and can take up to two years for the authorities to address. Unlike the
United States, there is no affirmative action legislation in the United Kingdom.
African Caribbean Students and the British Education System
Similar to the United States, British schools have been segregated by
race and class because of residential segregation (Gewirtz, 1996). Consistent
with U.S. practices, there are those White British parents who believe that the
presence of Black students in their schools is detrimental to their children's
academic goals. Court decisions have supported the efforts of White parents to

racially segregate their children (Bagley, 1996). Hence, working-class Black
youths have grown up in a racially stratified British society, oftentimes with little
or no contact with white populations.
Education is a crucial variable in migrants' quest for upward mobility
and economic progress in the host country. What has the British education system
offered to African Caribbean students? African Caribbean students faced chal-
lenges beginning with their earliest contact with the British school system.
Lashley (1987) contended that in the early years of mass migration, many Carib-
bean students were born in their parents' home country, and they had to adjust to
a new language and culture and to racially hostile school environments. The
children's Caribbean creole language was viewed as an interference with their
language development, and schools failed to adequately address Caribbean chil-
dren's linguistic needs such as teaching them English as a second language.
While many African Caribbean students have excelled in British
schools, a disproportionate number of Black students are clustered in the lower
academic classes and are less likely to sit higher level competitive academic
examinations. Research evidence suggests that behavioral criteria and not purely
cognitive ones were used in the placement of students in higher academic tracks,
which disadvantaged African Caribbean students (Mac an Ghaill, 1988). African
Caribbean students are over-represented in special education classes and are
labeled with emotional, behavioral and learning difficulties. African Caribbean
students are more likely to be suspended and permanently expelled from school
than White Britons and Asian students (Cooper, Upton and Smith, 1991; Pilk-
ington, 1999). The expulsion rate for African Caribbean students is five times
higher than for their White counterparts (Malach, 1999). These school expulsions
can translate into long-term social exclusion (Cooper, 2002).
There is evidence that teachers are more likely to have negative views of
African Caribbean students than of Asian and White students (Hannan, 1987).
Caribbean students are perceived by teachers to be difficult to control, to be
aggressive, to be disruptive, to challenge school authority, to have low cognitive
and intellectual abilities, and to be inattentive in the classroom setting. There are
also research findings on White teachers who have expressed open resentment at
Blacks' presence in their schools and in England (Mirza, 1992; Gillborn, 1988).
There is also an under-representation of African Caribbean teachers in schools and
among top school administrators. The British schools have been characterized as
'feminized' institutions with few male teachers and an over-representation of
White female teachers (Mills, Martino and Lingard, 2004).
While many African Caribbean boys have done academically well in
school and on leaving school enter higher education institutions, similar to African
American male students, African Caribbean boys are particularly discriminated
against by White teachers (Woods, 1992). Connolly (1995) found in his study that
from very young ages, African Caribbean boys are more closely monitored in

school than other children, and their offending behaviours are rarely unnoticed by
school personnel. These boys' relationship with their teachers was 'charac-
terized by criticism, questions, and directives' (Green, 1985, p. 5). African Carib-
bean boys were most likely to be labeled with behavioral problems (Furlong,
There are several explanations for the academic challenges of African
Caribbean males. Teachers are purported to expect Black boys to misbehave, and
many boys fulfill these expectations. Teachers are reported to be influenced by
media images of young Black men as troublemakers and expel them more than
other groups. Also, Black students' display of their ethnicity (through Black
hairstyles, speech, dress, styles of walking) typically brought them into conflict
with school personnel (Gillbom, 1988). Connolly (1995) demonstrated in his
ethnographic study of African Caribbean boys aged 5 and 6 that they were more
likely to be unfairly picked on and chastised in a public manner by teachers than
other students. He also found that very young White students also articulated
racialised stereotypes of African Caribbean students regarding their greater physi-
cality and strength. White (1985) found that Black students who were perceived
by teachers as posing a threat to classroom order were more likely to be placed in
lower classes than their White and Asian peers.
There is a lack of research on Black female students. In the few
published studies, there are individual differences in terms of how female students
respond to school challenges. Some students simply want to get what they can
from their schooling and will not jeopardize their academic progress by confront-
ing school personnel. On the other hand, Fuller (1981) reported that high achieving
African Caribbean girls tended to display confrontational attitudes towards their
teachers. Academically ambitious African Caribbean girls have been found in
studies to be independent and to exercise a degree of control over their lives. They
were also able to transcend sexist and racist barriers to attain their academic goals.
African Caribbean women were estimated to comprise 16 percent of the student
population in higher education, while African Caribbean men comprised less than
one percent (Reynolds, 1997).
Research findings show that the differential treatment of Black students
results in a high degree of tension and conflict between them and White teachers.
Wright (1985) and Driver (1981) demonstrated how White teachers make judg-
ments about African Caribbean students, particularly Black males, which high-
lighted their misunderstanding of these students' culture. Driver (1981) wrote on
teachers' misinterpretation of Black students' body language including their
movements, postures, and gestures. Teachers were found to sometimes charac-
terize Black students' innocent behaviours as oppositional, and, in some cases,
mistaking a sign of respect for one of disrespect (Cooper, Upton, and Smith, 1991).
Black students are over-represented in extracurricular sports, and in the
music and entertainment areas (Connolly, 1995). Many Black parents believe that

their children may fail to achieve academically because of their teachers' percep-
tions of their physical competencies rather than of their cognitive and intellectual
abilities (Carrington and Woods, 1986).
African Caribbean students have reported on the overt and subtle racial
abuse which they experienced in schools. African Caribbean students are dissatis-
fied with the Eurocentric curriculum. Pinar (1993) reported on the degree to which
the contributions of people of colour were largely missing from the British school
curricula, while the national curricula emphasized the accomplishments of White
Britons. Black students complain about their teachers' lack of respect for them; the
devaluing of their language, and about the British school system preparing them
for the worst jobs (Mac an Ghaill, 1999).
Teachers often failed to report physical and verbal racial abuse suffered
by students of colour, perhaps because of concerns with adverse publicity.
School personnel have been found to be reluctant to perceive the education system
as a source of racial injustice (Hannan, 1987).
Parental variables are also purported to contribute to the educational
difficulties faced by Caribbean students. African Caribbean students' academic
under-performance is oftentimes explained in terms of the assumed problems in
their families and kinship organizations. In contrast, Asian students' academic
achievements are explained in terms of the assumed cultural unity of the Asian
extended family system, which supposedly provides the requisite support to these
youths (Khan, 1979; Lawrence, 1982).
The preponderance of the evidence shows that African Caribbean parents
highly value their children getting a good education, and that there is high parental
involvement to ensure their children's academic success (Dodgson, 1984; Tomlin-
son, 1984). There are internal familial dynamics which impact on Black students'
academic outcomes. A significant number of Caribbean mothers are full-time
workers, while fathers have a high incidence of night work. Moreover, a dispro-
portion number of Black children live in female-headed households, which is
related to a variety of developmental challenges for children. The tendency of
Caribbean parents to use corporal punishment in disciplining their children has
been negatively related to their children's academic performance (Goulbourne,
1998). Similar to the African American community, African Caribbean parents in
Britain oftentimes encounter resistance, if not outright racial hostility from British
school administrators in their advocacy efforts on behalf of their children getting a
quality education.
There is a growing trend for families of Caribbean origin to send their
children to the West Indies for a period of schooling there. Many parents believe
that discipline is better handled in Caribbean schools and that African Caribbean
teachers will have a better understanding of how to deal with their children's
needs. These findings have led to calls for more Black teachers.

The presence of role models in schools is important as a motivating factor
for children. In the late 1990s, it was estimated that only around 3% of teachers in
Britain were of colour (Luthra, 1997). Recent trends indicate an improvement of
7% and 8% of new teacher recruits from ethnic minority groups. There have also
been calls for separate schools for Black students, either on a full-time basis, or as
>booster= Saturday morning classes.
Black supplementary schools began in Britain in the 1960s through the
efforts of Black parents and the Black community to enhance Black students'
academic competencies, and to instruct them about their history and culture.
Reay and Mirza (1997) identified 60 operating supplementary schools in the 1990s
across fifteen boroughs in Inner and Greater London, where African Caribbeans
made up over 20 percent of the local population. These authors found cooperative
relationships between Black parents and these schools, and heightened parental
involvement. Black teachers also volunteered their free weekend time at these
Saturday schools (Blair, 2002).
There are virtually no Blacks in the top echelons of the British Govern-
ment to influence public policy decisions on education and other important issues
affecting African Caribbeans. In 1991, the 650-member House of Commons had
only three Blacks and one Asian (Rule, 1991). A few African Caribbean women
and men made it into Parliament such as Diana Abbot of Jamaican heritage, the
late Bernie Grant of Guyana, and Baroness Valerie Amos who was born in
Guyana, and who recently became the first Black woman to sit in the House of
Lords following Tony Blair's decision to appoint her International Development
Secretary. labour MP Diane Abbott has been struggling to get the British govern-
ment, schools and parents to recognize that children of African and African
Caribbean descent have particular needs, which are not being met by the school
system. The 'colour blind' approach to education is an important obstacle to
adequately addressing the racial abuse in schools and in British society (Blair,
The new citizenship education program was instituted in the school
curriculum to promote notions of democracy and social justice, although it has
been also suggested that this initiative might also represent 'a mechanism of
social control' (Beckman and Cooper, 2005). There have been discussions on
other school reforms to meet the educational needs of the United Kingdom's
diverse student population through anti-racism and prejudice reduction educa-
tional initiatives; through multi-cultural approaches; through recommendations
for radical transformational school leadership, and through discussions on the
need for policy makers and school personnel to develop a commitment to cultural
pluralism that emphasizes an awareness of social class, gender differences, and
ethnicity and race (Blair, 2002; King, Houston, and Middleton, 2001; Short, 1993).
I concur with the assertions of King, Houston and Middleton (2001) that
the British school system, similar to those in other majority white nation states,

caters to the educational needs of White middle-class parents. The existence of
such school systems, coupled with these countries'
'history of race relations, preclude the likelihood that racially
subordinate groups will obtain the education that would allow
them to transcend a legacy of discrimination unless the underly-
ing philosophy of racial supremacy is eradicated from these
societies A (p. 431).

Obviously, there must be an incremental increase in the number of teachers and
school administrators of African descent to meet the educational needs of African
Caribbean students.

Criminal Justice
African Caribbeans are disproportionately represented among inner city
residents, and are among the poor and working class, which influence their
vulnerability to differential policing and arrest (Jefferson, 1991). Inner city com-
munities are viewed as drug dealing and high crime areas, and Black males are
stereotyped as drug dealers and criminals.
African Caribbeans have been found to be five times more likely to be
arrested for assault, ten times for violent theft, and seven times for robbery than the
white population (Steven and Willis, 1979). African Caribbeans are targeted by the
police for drug offences (Britton, 2000). African Caribbeans are disproportion-
ately likely to be remanded in custody before trial. They are more likely to be tried
at the Crown Court on indictable offences (Kalumba-Crumpton, 1998). There are
also reports that the Crown Prosecution Service is more likely to terminate cases
involving Black and Asian defendants. Moreover, when cases go to trial, Blacks
are more likely than White defendants to be acquitted. So, Blacks and Asians are
more likely to be arrested on flimsier evidence compared to White suspects
(Anwar, 1991).
Black people are more likely to be charged and less likely to be cau-
tioned, reprimanded, or warned by the police (Landau and Natham, 1983). Black
people complain about the police use of excessive racist language and physical
force; on the police planting of drugs, and on the police fabrication of evidence
against them (Chigwada, 1991). On the other hand, the police view West Indians as
hostile and aggressive towards them, and as moody, argumentative, excitable and
arrogant (Humphrey, 1972). According to Kalunta-Crumpton (1998), 'Black de-
fendants who were believed to conform to the stereotyped notions of how Black
people behave in terms of aggression, fell prey to the prosecution's description of
black incompatibility with normality' (p. 582).
Research conducted by the Home Office in 1987 found that the rate of
racially motivated victimization was 21.3 per 100,000 African Caribbeans, and 0.5

per 100,000 White Britons (Virdee, 1995). Scotland Yard statistics showed 3,373
incidents of racial assault or harassment in London in 1991, an increase of 16% over
the 1990 figures (Schmidt, 1992). These must be considered conservative estimates
because Black people might be reluctant to report many racial assaults to the 98%
White police force. In 1999, only 2,500 of the 127,000 police officers in England
and Wales were classified as Black or Asian. As late as 1990, the most senior
position held by a Black officer was superintendent, and out of 2,303 chief
officers, two were of African descent (Cashmore and McLaughlin, 1991). Home
Secretary Jack Straw ordered the police forces to increase Black and Asian
representation to at least 7% of officers. This directive followed a series of
damaging cases including the investigation into the racist murder of 18 year old
Jamaican Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white youths. Many Black Britons were
outraged about the police's failure to secure a conviction of the five White men
tried for the 1993 murder in Southeast London. The police acknowledged that the
murder investigation was flawed. Many officers involved in this case retired on
full pensions prior to facing internal proceedings. The special Mcpherson's report
on 'Lawrence Inquiry Unveiled' underscored the pernicious institutionalized ra-
cism in the criminal justice system, and among its recommendations was that
offenders should go through anti-racist offending behaviour programs as part of
their sentences. The report also opened the national discourse on institutionalized
racism, and the British government announced its intentions to address racism in
the public sector (Mcpherson, 1999). The 2000 Race Relations (Amendment)
Act was enacted thereafter with the aim of promoting equality of opportunity and
good relationships between persons of different racial backgrounds (Solomos,
Young African Caribbean males are more likely to be strip searched
while in police custody than Whites and Asians. Newburn, Shiner and Hayman
(2004) also found that 'despite a general decrease in the use of stop and search, the
disproportionate use of this power against black people has increased.'
The Mcpherson Report addressed the need to increase the 'openness and
accountability of the police.' Britton (2000) found that custody officers saw
themselves as objective and professional upholders of the law, and they felt that
they dealt fairly with all citizens. I agree with Britton's conclusions that the police
personnel by ignoring the preponderance of the evidence on racial discrimination
and the use of 'racial stereotypes in operational policing...they reinforced the
racialist status quo by providing no opportunity for change or reform...they pro-
vided no justification for considering the particular cultural needs of different
minority groups...' (p. 645).
African Caribbeans have been disproportionately incarcerated in British
prisons from the 1970s onwards (Cheliotis and Liebling, 2005). In 2002, while
Blacks comprised only three percent of the general population aged 10 and over,
Blacks constituted 15 per cent of the male prison population and 24 percent of the

female prison population (Cheliotis and Liebling, 2005). Several researchers have
discussed the racial victimization and differential treatment experienced by Black
inmates from prison staff, prison officers, prison administrators and White
inmates (McDermott, 1990; Edgar and Martin, 2004; Chigwada-Bailey, 1997).
Cheliotis and Liebling (2005) concluded that their findings suggest that
racism is both a distinctive act and part of a more general
tendency to express and translate into action, inhumane, abusive
and insensitive attitudes. The prison confines groups endowed
with negative symbolic capital and their stigmatization consti-
tutes part of the relationship between the confined and those in
authority' (p.24).
Britain's criminal justice system possesses few Black magistrates; the
majority of whom confront formidable challenges to get into mainstream legal
chambers (Luthra, 1997). In a survey of the judiciary carried out in 2000, there was
not a single High court judge from an ethnic minority group. The British criminal
justice system is defined by White professionals who arrest, prosecute, sentence
and imprison a disproportionate number of Black defendants. Bowling and Phil-
lips (2002) reported that there were few criminologists of colour in the United
Kingdom. When it comes to equal treatment under the law, surveys show that
many Blacks and Asians believe that they are likely to be mistreated, and that they
would not get a fair trial if they had to face a criminal charge in court (Kalunta-
Crumpton, 1998). More Black people make complaints against the police and are
reluctant to withdraw them than White Britons and Asians (Stevens and Wallis,
1981). African Caribbeans are unconvinced that the British police force will
protect their human rights.
Mental Health and African Caribbeans
Research evidence shows higher prevalence rates of depression, psycho-
sis, paranoia, schizophrenia, and mental distress in African Caribbeans when
compared with the White British population. Yet, these high rates have not been
found in African Caribbeans' country of origin, which indicates that mental
disorders among British-born Caribbean people cannot be explained by genetic
vulnerability alone (Chakraborty and McKenzie, 2002). The rates in Black Carib-
beans in the Caribbean were said to be the same as for White British people in the
UK, but the rates for African Caribbeans in the UK are markedly higher (Chak-
raborty and McKenzie, 2003). The authors concluded that 'one risk factor fre-
quently identified by service users and increasingly by academics is
racism...which is widespread in the UK' (p.475). Research shows that a violent
arrest and a sense of injustice can be the trigger for severe mental health problems.
According to Kareem and Littlewood (1992), 'to be black in Britain today is to be
exposed to a variety of adverse stimuli which can add up to a serious hazard to
mental health.'

Karlsen and Nazroo (2002) found that African Caribbeans were more
likely to suffer from depression and psychosis. Maden et al (1992) indicated that
in their study of sentenced prisoners, the prevalence of mental illness was six
percent for African Caribbeans and two percent for White prisoners. Chakraborty,
et al (2002) found that African Caribbeans were more likely to attribute their
problems to racism than to their mental illness.
Similarly, African Caribbeans are routinely exposed to chronic stressors
such as unemployment, poverty, poor housing, low social status, and other disad-
vantages which are implicated in their mental distress (McGovern and Cope,
1987). For instance, Sharpley, Hutchinson, McKenzie and Murray (2001) indi-
cated that African Caribbean children in London were more likely than White
children to have experienced social factors known to be linked with childhood
psychiatric disorders. They wrote:
African Caribbean children with diagnoses of psychiatric disor-
ders are especially likely to have such experiences: for exam-
ple, coming from one-parent families, separation from parents,
and being in children's homes or foster care. The aetiological
significance of these factors in African Caribbeans is unclear'
(p. 62).

African Caribbean children who live in urban inner-city areas are likely to grow up
in an environment in which more people are unemployed, imprisoned, and where
inhabitants are particularly vulnerable to racism. These stressors can precipitate
mental and physical distress in African Caribbeans.

Haddad and Knapp (200) found that when mentally distressed African
Caribbeans sought psychiatric services, they were less likely to have their mental
health problems diagnosed by their general practitioner, and referral rates from
primary to secondary care were lower than for White patients. Likewise, Thomas,
et. al (1993) reported that Black people whose mental disorders were detected by
their general practitioner were less likely to be referred to specialist services
compared to White and South Asian patients.
According to Audini and Lelliott (2002), more than 90 percent of per-
sons admitted formally to psychiatric hospitals in Britain are detained under Part
II of the Mental Health Act. This Act covers the detention of people defined as
being of risk to themselves or others. Severe mental impairment, mental impair-
ment, psychopathic disorder and mental illness are the four main categories
covered by this Act. The British government in 1999 proposed indefinite sen-
tences for people with serious personality disorders, whether or not they commit-
ted a crime (Coid, et al, 2000).
African Caribbeans patients are more likely to be detained under the
Mental Health Act of 1983. Black people who live in London are six times more

likely to be detained under this Act than White Britons. British-born African
Caribbeans' incidence rates for psychotic disorders are about 2-8 times greater
than for other groups (Eaton and Harrison, 2000), and these disturbed individuals
are more likely to have high rates of compulsory detention. Harrison (2002) wrote
that in
inner city urban areas, most patients with a psychotic illness are
likely to experience detention under the Mental Health Act at
some point in their illness. Many will come from the ethnic
minorities more likely to live in such areas.'

In one study conducted in South London, Davis, et. al (1996) reported that ethnic
differences in compulsory psychiatric admission to hospital were found to be
independent of psychiatric diagnosis and socio-demographic differences, with
Black Caribbean and Black African patients being over-represented.

Young Black men experience excess compulsory detentions, with their
rates being eight times more frequent than detentions of White men (Audini and
Lelliott, 2002). Black males are more likely to be detained than Black females.
The over-representation of Black males in secured hospitals is purported to be
linked to negative racial stereotyping of them as 'big, bad, aggressive, paranoid,
oversensitive and impulsive'(Boast and Chesterman, 1995). Glover (1989) found
that Jamaicans had the highest annual admission rates to British hospitals. Com-
pulsorily detained Black male patients were more likely to be linked with a
diagnosis of psychosis, while White patients were diagnosed with personality
disorders. McKenzie et al (2001) found that African Caribbeans were less likely
to receive psychotherapy and treatment with anti-depressants, regardless of their
diagnosis. Other studies show that Caribbean men suffering from depression were
less likely to be offered medication by medical personnel (Nazoo, 1997). On the
other hand, McGovern and Cope (1987) found that African Caribbeans were less
likely to receive psychotherapy and were more likely to receive strong medica-
tions in treatment.
Other possible explanations for Black people's disproportionate repre-
sentation in the population of detained in-patients include a higher prevalence of
schizophrenia; mis-diagnosis of mental illness by mental health practitioners,
differential treatment based on their race by mental health care workers; poorer
compliance with medication, and greater contact with the police (Audini and
Lelliott, 2002). Studies demonstrate that Black patients' mistrust of the mental
health system might be related to their delay in seeking help from the system.
Blacks also resent being compulsorily detained, and are therefore more likely to be
disengaged from the system. Second-generation African Caribbean patients were
found to be more dissatisfied with mental health services than older Caribbean-
born patients and White patients (Parkman, et al, 1997).

Many African Caribbeans have an inadequate relationship with the
British medical health services (Singh, 2001). African Caribbeans are more likely
to relapse and to be detained longer on readmission (Birchwood, et al, 1992).
There are mixed results on this issue. For instance, Callan (1996) found that
African Caribbeans had shorter re-admissions than a British born White control
group, and Blacks were felt to have a milder course of mental problems. The
police were more likely to be involved with admissions or re-admissions of Black
people, particularly if patients lacked an advocate or General Practitioner to
support them. In fact, the greater the social isolation of mentally disturbed
African Caribbeans the more likely they were to be admitted late or to be re-admit-
ted (Commander, et al, 1997; Cole, et al, 1995).
The majority of White psychiatrists and mental health workers often-
times have an inadequate understanding of African Caribbeans' cultural back-
ground. Moreover, they display an over-reliance on Eurocentric diagnostic
categories and are therefore more likely to mis-diagnose Black people, particu-
larly if they are also unfamiliar with Caribbean beliefs and spiritual practices
(Hickling, 1980). For instance, Hickling and Hutchinson (1999) sought to identify
culturally relevant causes for the increased representation of Blacks in the mental
health system. These authors contended that problems of normal and mature racial
identity formation are the possible causes for increased psychosis in African
Caribbean people. In other words, Black Caribbean people with the 'Roast Bread-
fruit Syndrome' (genetic blackness and a diffused or Eurocentric racial identity),
on exposure to influences 'of severe racial discrimination and the contradiction
that this produces for themselves often triggers a mental illness which is not
congruent to any of the established European diagnostic patterns.'
Health and the social care community should be required to produce
scientific data on the rates of compulsory admissions against Anationally specified
criteria for key variables such as ethnicity and diagnoses' (Harrison, 2002). Har-
rison also contented that
'...patients continue to be exposed to the potential adverse
consequences of compulsion: alienation from services, poor
concordance with both physical and psychological treatments,
and lengthy durations of untreated psychosis. This is a tragedy
for the community and one of the pressing challenges to the
practice of psychiatry in inner-city areas' (p. 199).
There is also a need for culturally relevant counseling services, and
systematic training in race awareness for mental health personnel (Harrell, 1999;
Jones, 2004). Currently, the voluntary sector is said to be providing the most
culturally appropriate mental health services to the Black community (Bhui and
Bhugra, 2002). However, there is said to be little or no coordinated delivery of

mental health services to African Caribbeans between the voluntary sector and the
national system of mental health care (Bhui and Sashidharan, 2003).
Sashidharan (2001) and Bhui and Sashidharan (2003) concluded that
one of the most fundamental and difficult task is to address institutional racism
within psychiatry, particularly in its Eurocentric conceptual base, its historical
foundations, and within its practices and procedures if we are to witness signifi-
cant progress in improving mental health services for ethnic minority groups. Bhui
and Sashidharan (2003) pointed to three recent events in the United Kingdom to
address institutionalized racism: 'Mental health policy now emphasizes equity in
care provision; National Health Service (NHS) trusts (the providers of care) are
named within the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which makes them
legally liable if their services are discriminatory; and the Royal College of Psy-
chiatrists has instituted an inquiry into institutionalized racism within College
structures' (p. 10). Obviously, there must be an incremental increase in the
number of mental health practitioners of people of African descent providing
mental health services to African Caribbeans.
Interracial Unions
African Caribbeans showed stronger support for interracial unions than
African Americans do (Madood, et. al. 1997). Model and Fisher (2002) reported
that twenty four percent of African Caribbean women in Britain have White
partners compared with 8.58 percent of African Caribbean women in the United
States. According to Foner (1998), African Caribbeans living in London have
more daily interactions with Whites than their American counterparts do. Goul-
bourne (2002) asserted that the Caribbean derived population in Britain is becom-
ing mixed with members of other communities, primarily White, European, or
with historically indigenous people (namely Britons and Celts). He indicated that
the 1991 census of the population and subsequent labour Force surveys suggest that
about a third of these Caribbean households are of mixed backgrounds. By 1997,
half of Black men and a third of Black women had a White partner, according to
a major study by the Policy Studies Institute. Figures published by the Office for
National Statistics in 2001 revealed the number of mixed race people grew by more
than 75% during the 1990s to around 415,000, or 10% of the total ethnic minority
population in the UK. Model and Fisher (2002) contended that 'it is not difficult to
imagine that soon as many as half of native born Black Caribbean males in Britain
will have white partners.' It has been suggested that such growth might be
leading to a blurring of racial identities, especially among those of African Carib-
bean origin. Half of all Caribbean children have one White parent (Alibhai-
Brown, 2001).
The UK census in 2001 included a 'mixed category' among the racial
groups which followed a long campaign by this group (John, 2003). These
developments led Orlando Patterson to observe that the presence of a Caribbean
community in Britain by the middle of this 21st century is unlikely. Goulbourne

disagreed with this argument and indicated that ethnic identity may become more
important than racial identity, that is, these mixed race persons are less likely to
define themselves in racial terms.
There is the argument that the offspring of interracial unions might
contribute to the erosion of the colour line through the blurring of salient group
boundaries (Model and Fisher, 2002). One suggestion is that mixed race children
are not black and they are not white or brown But they are 'themselves,' or that
they are 'in-between.' However, biracial individuals can chose from among a
range of ethnic options. Biracial individuals may chose to identify as white, as a
member of the minority group, or as bicultural or of mixed heritage. The research
literature has also discussed the potential emotional challenges of biracial chil-
dren. This child needs to understand the concept of 'interracial.' This abstract
label might be more difficult to understand than fitting into a permanent racial
category. Moreover, there is the likelihood that biracial persons might perceive
their identity 'as socially constructed and situationally malleable' (Waters, 1990).
There is also research evidence that biracial adolescents may have more confusion
or inconsistent feelings about their ethnicity (Bonnett and Carrington, 2000;
Bracey, Bamaca, and Umana-Taylor, 2004). Biracial adolescents have reported
lower levels of ethnic identity than their Black peers (Bracey, et al, 2004).
There are several studies that suggest that an achieved ethnic identity is
especially relevant when one's ethnic group has a minority status in society
(Waters, 1999; Tatum, 1998). A strong ethnic identity can serve to protect persons
from the effects of negative stereotypes and discrimination by providing them a
larger frame of reference with which to identify, and, in turn, protecting their
psychological well-being (Bracey, et. al., 2004).
Model and Fisher (2002) indicated that
'Caucasian British are sure that they are white and equally sure
that people of Indian or African extraction are not. Thus, per-
sons of mixed parentage in Britain, unless they are extremely
light and Caucasian in appearance You will be viewed as a
member of the non-white group' (p 749).

Hence, biracial children might have to deal with the devaluation of black people.
They must also deal with the practices and culture of the African Caribbean
community, particularly if the significant persons in the child's life have retained
their cultural distinctiveness within British cities, and these dynamics might clash
with white society's values and traditions. Biracial children may experience this
clash of cultures intensely. Some children accentuate their black heritage to the
exclusion of their white heritage, and children may even favor the socially
demeaning black part. Among biracial children are those who might have diffi-
culty identifying with a particular ethnic group. Mixed race children may experi-

ence or exhibit the following problems: poor academic achievement, poor social
skills, negative attitudes about adults, social isolation, Achip on the shoulder'
attitudes, aggressive behaviour towards parents, sadness and depression, inter-fa-
milial conflicts, substance abuse, psychosomatic disorders, and suicidal ideation
and behaviours (Alibhai-Brown, 2001). On the other hand, Bracey, et. al. (2004)
concluded that Amultiple heritages may require more complex negotiation of
ethnic identity for biracial adolescents, yet their psychological adjustment remains
healthy.' In addition to the mixed research findings on biracial persons' adjust-
ment, most research studies on biracial and multiracial populations tend to theo-
retical, and there is a paucity of empirical support of theoretical contentions.
In qualitative studies conducted in the United States on interracial
American couples and their biracial children, the findings suggest that White
parents are 'less colour conscious,' and are more disinclined to address racism and
discrimination with their children than their Black spouses. Black parents also
identified a need to more actively prepare their children to deal with racial
prejudice. On the other hand, parents believed that their interracial children were
uniquely prepared to deal with issues related to differences between people,
cultures, and with social discrimination (Kerwin, Ponterotto, Jackson and Harris,
1993). In brief, the perpetuation of England's racial and ethnic hierarchy based on
binary and appositional racial categorizations will impede the assimilation of
non-Europeans into British society despite the increase in interracial unions.
In summary, African Caribbeans, Black community organizations and
Black leaders have historically brought racial victimization issues to the forefront
of political discourse in British society, which influenced the British governmental
efforts to redress racial grievances. Yet, as shown in this paper, African Carib-
beans, as a group, are racially victimized in the United Kingdom. Interestingly,
despite the racially discriminatory treatment in British society faced by Caribbean
people since 1948, there is said to be 'the relative absence of unambiguous ethnic
or racial considerations as the basis for social and political action among West
Indians'(Goulbourne, 1991; p. 304). The West Indian community is purported to
rely instead on 'universal and humanistic' appeals for better access to quality
housing for all, for fair and equal employment opportunity, and for fair and equal
treatment in British society. However, as shown in this paper, White British
society's racially biased construction of African Caribbeans' human worth and
cultural value has resulted in the devaluing of African Caribbeans' life conditions
and their life chances (Anthias, 2001).
The African Caribbean community must become collectively empow-
ered to increase their political influence and economic independence in British
society. There must be the proliferation of Black ownership of businesses,
schools, the media, and other essential institutions related to the development of
the African Caribbean community.

As demonstrated in this paper, the special challenges faced by African
Caribbean men have implications for their interpersonal relationships with African
Caribbean women and children. Hence, there is a definite need for systematic and
culturally defined interventions with young Black males for them to achieve their
potential and personal effectiveness in an interpersonal environment of productive
relationship with others. Equally significant, such interventions can lead young
African Caribbean men to realistically aspire to roles as fathers, providers, protec-
tors of women and children, and as decision-makers in their community (White
and Cones, 1999).
Racial and cultural socialization is essential for African Caribbean
children to transcend the racially discriminatory experiences discussed in this
paper. The racial and cultural socialization process involves African Caribbean
parents and significant adults providing Black children with messages about racial
pride and in-group identity, on racial coping strategies, and on racial justice and
egalitarianism. These cultural socialization practices have been found to increase
Black children's sense of cultural pride, their academic performance, and to
enhance their pro-social attitudes and behaviours (Hill, 1999).

In view of the British social structure which privileges whiteness and
systematically discriminates against of African Caribbeans, African Caribbeans
must be the primary social agents for the optimal development of themselves, their
children, and their communities. Simultaneously, social change agents must con-
tinue to seriously challenge institutional racism for the protection and enhance-
ment of African Caribbeans' human rights.


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Recognising The Language of Calypso as "Symbolic Action"
in Resolving Conflict in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago


This paper is an extract from a larger monograph that hypothesises on
the language of Calypsos that offer commentary on the social, political and/or
economic issues within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, (Phillips 2005).
This larger work questions whether by offering such commentary, these calypsos
function as a medium generating a level of social interaction, which ultimately
drives Trinbagonians to think about the prevailing social, political and/or eco-
nomic issue. It questions whether through this process, Trinbagonians are enabled
to gain understanding, derive meaning, and construct their knowledge of the
prevailing pathological situations within their country. Furthermore, it goes on to
address the question of whether, from this new position of awareness, Trinbagoni-
ans are then able to newly interpret their lived experiences in a way that sub-
sequently permits them to affect their socio-economic and/or political behaviour,
thereby resolving their locally occurring conflicts.
The affirmation of such a hypothesis brings into question: what tools,
skills and processes from the domain of conflict resolution, are used by calypsoni-
ans, in order to achieve the outcome. Hence, the ultimate question, was determin-
ing the paradigm of conflict resolution to which these Calypsonians subscribe.
In responding to these questions, the work looked at the rhetoric of
performance communication, through the medium of the calypso, facilitated by
calypsonians as they engage in reframing. It offered insights to the tools, skills
and processes used by the calypsonians who offer commentary in this way.
Theoretical Background
This work uses as its backdrop, Kenneth Burke's concept of "Language
as Symbolic Action" The approach exemplifies a theory of language, a philoso-
phy based on the theory, and methods of analysis that are based on the theory and
the philosophy, i.e. a process known as: "Dramatism" (Burke 1966). This ap-
proach invites an opportunity to move beyond seeing words as labels to help in the
categorisation and identification of objects, rather, words, but more specifically in
this case, the words of calypsos become descriptions of situations.
Methodology and Findings
I approached this work as an indigenous ethnographer, employing par-
ticipant observation, using hermeneutics and phenomenology to animate Clifford

Geertz's notion of "thick description," while bridging the etic/emic divide. This
was significant in as much as, having lived outside Trinidad (the country of my
birth and in which I had my formative years, for in excess of 20 years) this sojourn
enabled me to bring a significant level of objectivity to the study. The whole study
has been informed by the findings from the interviews with:7 Calypsonians,Audi-
ence and Community informants
An outcome of the study was the recognition that Calypsonians singing
on the prevailing socio-political and/or economic ills of Trinbago, use a localised
language, steeped in colloquialisms, while functioning as liminal-servants in an
indigenous, non-formal, community conflict management mechanism
A Conceptual Framework of African American Music Genres and
Performance Styles
Based on her research into the American traditions of black music,
Maultsby argues that the established musical traditions of the slaves derived from
their African heritage and that over the years, and certainly after Emancipation,
these customs evolved in response to the local demands and the circumstances of
the environment, where each generation of slaves and freeborn blacks created new
musical genres and performance styles, (Maultsby 1991:185). Although Mault-
sby's conceptual framework for the musical genres and performance styles of
African American music does not expressly mention calypso music, there is no
doubt that the experiences of the enslaved African Americans were similar to
those Africans who were enslaved in the Caribbean. It therefore seems reasonable
to surmise that were this framework to be rewritten to include all the musical
genres within the Diaspora, depending on the slant of any given calypso, each
would be regarded as falling under general heading of "African American Secular
Traditions," and be grouped under either "Work Songs, Field Calls And Protest
Songs" or the "Game Songs and Social Songs" that sprouted during the 1600s.
In her discussion on the role of African American musical forms, and the
aspects of these that have been retained in formal and informal settings, Maultsby
recognizes the fundamental concept underlying music performance in African and
African-derived cultures. She contends that music-making is a participatory
group activity that serves to unite black people into a cohesive group for a
common purpose, (Maultsby 1991:187).
Defining Terminology
The objective of this paper is to illuminate key processes that underlie
a different, yet complementary approach to the resolution of conflict, as applicable
to Trinidad's local, temporal context. In doing so I am adding a set of intellectual
tools that enable us to recognize the Language of Calypso as "Symbolic Action" In
Resolving Conflict in Trinidad.
My approach, set as it is against the backdrop of the discussions around
ideological conditions of anthropology and the implications of these conditions for

its discourse, enables a vision primarily of Calypsonians, and secondarily their
audiences, as social actors, both engaging and demonstrating their potential for
human action or agency within a Matrix of Domination 1 (Collins 1990). It invites
an understanding of how Calypsonians, through the medium of the Calypso,
influence the social creation, maintenance and alteration of structure, in their
process of articulating the Inequality Problematic2 in the localised situation of
This being the case, from my perspective of as an indigenous ethnogra-
pher, using an interpretive framework, I define a Non-Formal approach to the
resolution of structural conflict within Trinidad, thus taking us somewhere new.
In doing so, I extend the duality of resolution processes earlier identified, taking a
quite different line from previous researchers of the Calypso Art-Form. Hence,
this work unveils a third strand, adding intellectual tools that offer an under-
standing of aspects of the Calypso art-form, which show it as a Non-Formal
approach to resolving conflict. In this view, the Calypsonian functions as a
liminal-servant, using in part a Trinidadian language, the vocabulary of which
reveals the various ideas encoded in the restricted terminology, which is used to
represent the daily challenges that some Trinidadians face.
1 Matrix of Domination refers to the dynamic interaction of the combination: race,
class and colour. It addresses the disempowered effect of the interactive and
reinforcing process that exists between these attributes, not as individual
attributes in themselves, but only in relation to the interaction between the
various attributes as these affect and influence inequality.
2 Inequality problematic: In using this term I am referring to the Calypsonians'
attempt to articulate the pertinent issues that arise from the Matrix of Domina-
tion,(as it applies to the Trinidad situation), as they operationalise an approach
that necessarily addresses the issues within this Matrix.
I need here to highlight that the ideologies discussed in this work reflect
the Trinidad situation wherein there exists radical class inequalities, which in turn,
generate clear forms of socio-political and/or economic conflict which, corre-
spondingly, at times has been accompanied by the government's attempts to
exercise control over Calypsonians, through a process of censorship.
In using the term Non-Formal, I am therefore referring to a process
wherein the Calypso functions as a facilitator in a dialectic that is attempting to
resolve contradictions or opposition, as perceived by the Calypsonians, in either
the socio-political or economic domains of Trinbago.
Functioning as a liminal-servant, the Calypsonian has a sense of immedi-
acy of purpose, offering the audience verbal symbols as part of an artistic rite, that
is a response to pathologically prevailing issues. In this non-formal process of
resolving conflicts, the audience become co-celebrants in their own learning as

characterized by their committed participation and involvement in "the act",
thereby creating for them, a truly deep, meaningful and edifying experience.
This article is based on a recognition of how, in relation to the events
occurring within a Calypso Tent, the rules for this particular approach to dispute
processes are negotiated, and simultaneously, social life within the Calypso Tent
is governed by normative repertoires that involve the manipulation by the Calyp-
sonians of the rules of performance, in order to bring about increased conscious-
ness. My approach builds on the work of other authors, such as:
Benda-Beckmann et al (1988); Roberts (1979), who, lending their weight to an
informal approach, argue that rules governing localised conflict behaviour are not
internally consistent codes of action analogous to Western written law, but can
instead be negotiable, internally contradictory repertoires, that are applied with
Hence, my approach to the anthropology of dispute resolution, offers a
cultural analysis that identifies how the local institution of the Calypso Tent and its
actors create meaning. I identify the impact of this meaning on the surrounding
social relationships, and the effect of the cultural framework of the Calypso Tent
on the nature of the processes of resolution itself.
I recognize a parallel between my work and that of Comaroff & Roberts
(1981:18-19) who, in their work on dispute processes within Tswana society,
examined the cultural logic of the localised dispute processes. Other authors, like
Schapera, (1955) and Dikobe (2003) contend that there are striking similarities
between Calypso and Tswana songs of derision in which grievances are articu-
Form: Tools and Skills used in Calypso Art
The discourse on the formal conflict resolution methods that occur within
a state's legalised system, is usually based on an expectation that the events
surrounding the conflict have a causal, linear and temporal relationship. However,
irrespective of the immediate practical concerns of any conflict, a close examina-
tion of the interaction usually shows deep emotions that are charged by, and
expressed through conduct that shows up as symbolism. In the non-formal ap-
proach to resolving conflict as used by calypsonians, events are connected sym-
bolically. That is to say, there in not the simple structural association of one event
leading to another but rather, the events are associated more indirectly, more often
than not, with the link being created through "sedimented meaning.1" As a
consequence, a highly significant part of this type of communication is not what is
said, but what is 'meant'
This process revolves around a 'symbolic language' that is used abun-
dantly in this non-formal approach to resolving indigenous conflict within the
country. This language is quite different from the language of logic, as used in
formal conflict resolution processes, in that it is non-linear, a-temporal, fluid,

a-causal and non-specific. In other words, this is the language of the unconscious.
It is the artistically creative language used by calypsonians to tell a story about
conflicts, that to them, are at least metaphorically 'true.'
In the process of influencing and persuading, the Calypsonian exercises
his/her ability as an artificer, adept in the art of navigating along a spectrum of
meanings that range from standard English to a colloquial dialectic. Using various
types of wordplay, the calypsonian successfully and skilfully manoeuvres within
this spectrum, demonstrating a degree of sensitivity to each of the attributes of an
active triadic, co-existing relationship which engages the audience, their encom-
passing social world and the performer. Focusing on the intersection of this triadic
interaction allows the Calypsonian to establish a dramatic structure for the process
of addressing the prevailing conflict.
This approach acknowledges the difference between the lived-in world of
the audience, the encompassing social universe and the liminal world of the
performing calypsonians, as s/he mediates the tensions between the social world
and the lived-in-world.
Frames and Masks
The experience of my fieldwork showed the extensive use by Calypsoni-
ans, of Frames, Masks and Reframing, as they endeavoured to effectively deliver
their messages to their audiences.
I and many other authors have stated that calypsonians, singing on the
social, political and economic issues occurring in Trinbago, enable their audiences
to take an alternative perspective, thereby helping their development of a social
construction of reality. This paper now briefly looks at some aspects of the
processes that calypsonians employ in achieving this outcome.
In doing so I extend on previous work by showing how, by the skillful
use of Frames, Calypsonians are able to plausibly juxtapose principles and prag-
matics, exposing the inconsistencies of Caribbean experiences. Rohlehr refers to
this process as oscillation between geographical and situational opposites as a way
of shaping, not only the Caribbean aesthetic, but the social and psychic experi-
ences of conflict, (Rohlehr 1985:2). Hale argues that in conflict, individuals can
find themselves in one of the problematic drama fames. She contends there are a
number of different types of frames that can be placed into two fundamental
categories. These she identifies as the Problematic Frame and the Hopeful Frame,
(Hale 1998:147-162). While the former does not necessarily help the process of
resolution, more frequently the latter can make a significant contribution in nego-
tiating a way towards resolution. The Calypsonian's artistic use of Linguistic
Form deploys a nebulous haze that invites multiple meanings and interpretations
to the lyrics of a calypso, Benjamin calls this process [creating] cognitive disso-
nance (Benjamin 1995).

I refer to calypsos that engage this process as having 'lamina lyrics'
Much like an onion, these calypsos have a number of different levels of meaning,
concealed one underneath the other. Achieving this phenomenon, calypsonians
use Frames and Masks that manifest in calypsos as metaphor, metonym, Polysemy
irony and satire.
I have met numerous people in Trinidad and elsewhere, who, unfamiliar
with the culture and ethos of Calypso, on initial introduction, are oblivious to the
messages that are masked by the seemingly light-hearted, frivolous and carefree
frame of the music. In recognizing this misconception, Brown contends: light-
heartedness really masks a serious purpose the Calypsonian's notorious prac-
tice of converting private as well as public lives into objects of ridicule (Brown
1978:102) and in so doing subscribes to what Hale calls, the Problematic Frame
(Hale 1998:149). Recognising the tendency to stereotypically categorise Calypso
Music because of its easy-going sound, Warner writes:
...this easy-going nature should not be mistaken for compla-
cency or stupidity. The most serious of issues can receive what
looks to the outsider like frivolous treatment, but is actually
cleverly disguised criticism and analysis. In other words, be-
ware the mask! (Warner 1987:56)

This duality in the meaning of the lyrics of Calypsos is supported by the
type of wordplay that is abundant in the dialectical culture of the country's
hetroglot linguistic environment.
There is yet another level at which Frames and Masks apply to the
Calypso. In discussing these applications to the work of resolving conflict, Hale
(1998:149) advocates that there are fundamentally two types of frames: the
problematic and the hopeful frame. I will take each of these frames, examining
them for their application to the area of the Calypso.
The first of the problematic frames is the "tragic frame" In this applica-
tion of the process, one party views itself as a hero in a battle against hostile forces
(Hale 1998:149). In the following excerpts from "This Stage is Mine", Aloes
brings these ideas together:
I don't own a TV station
Ah don't get air play on the radio
The only time the nation does hear me
Is when ah sing on Dimanche Gras show

All dem Hindus they criticise me
Because ah call a name in meh song
Even Edison Isaac was against me

So he give Mystic Prowler the crown
But even though they chastise me
They can't take away thi
It is very plain to see that
I am the People's Choice
And I'm going to jam them hard
Anytime they cross the line
Commonsense must tell them
This stage is mine!
The other aspect of the tragic frame engages a view of the other side of
the dispute as evil and omnipotent, as the excerpt below, again from "This Stage Is
Mine", shows. In this verse, Aloes is referring to the Dimanche Gras show and the
lady to whom he refers is the PM's wife, about whom the previous year it is
reported he had made derogatory remarks in the lyrics of the Calypso: "Ah Ready
to go"
So when Carlos John told me that I couldn't appear on the show
Because of my contribution in song "Ah Ready To Go"
He told me the Savannah will be filled with dignitaries
And they couldn't hire me to embarrass the lady
He said what they want was people who could fill the night with
So they hire Puppet Master to come and sing 'bout he boy
So when he choose Puppet Master before me, I didn't get vex
Because I done know meh Prime Minister love sex

Carlos John that big dog then told me
Aloes boy try and understand
I want you to work for your money
But ah can't disobey the man
He pretend to be sympathetic
Apologies, raise and shake meh hand
Then he call 'Champs in Concert' and told them
To take meh off the programme
But I told him straight to face
In case alyuh want to know
I doh want to be no part ofPanday's Demanche Gras Show
Soon after that Panday made a statement most blatantly
Saying men like me can't spend tax payers' money
The contention here is that from the perspective of the hero, the other side
has no legitimate concerns, no valid but different point of view, (Hale 1998:149).
It is clear that holding perception such as this can limit the options for bridging

differences. This frame is tragic since the dispute becomes protracted and seem-
ingly irresolvable, as the parties caught in it can show little willingness to resolve
the dispute.
Hale also identifies the "euphemistic frame" as another problematic one.
In this Frame, at least one of the parties believes that its view of the conflict is
justified by a higher order such as God or justice (Hale 1998:151) and as a result,
this view leads that party to hold on to the status quo. The following verse shows
that process:
Last year after the competition ah sit down and draft out a plan
Ah say ah going and spend some time in the snow ah finish with
Calypso Ah tell myself this is not for me, no one man could be
so damn bad lucky
And with my fans and them telling me ah loose, you get rob,
Ah going in Brooklyn and look for a decent job
But then ah remember Panday still in power
And if ah leave here meh fans go suffer,
Vital information the public won't know
Then something open meh eyes and made me realise
Ah was born to sing Calypso
The challenge with such a disposition is that as the party becomes
entrenched in this type of one-sided thinking, the possibility of any resolution
fades remotely into the distance.
Yet a third problematic frame that Hale identifies is the "debunking
frame", (Hale, 1998:153). In this mode of operation, one party sees the other as
being wholly guided by "self-serving motives" (Hale, 1998:153) rather than
having a principle centred approach that is guided by mutual concern. Frequently
in this frame the debunker uses language aggressively and restrictively (Hale,
1998:153). As with the other Frames in this category this approach also hinders
the successful resolution of the conflict.
In her article Hale does not explicitly state that 'masks' are a special case
of Framing. This type of Framing relates to the creation of identity. Calypsonians
achieve this by separating themselves from their daily lives, creating such an
alternative identity through the use of a stage name or Sobriquet.
In reality, by having regard for the social or political context of the
conflict about which a Calypsonians sings, we can see the developments as those
of a drama, thus allowing us to identify the existence of a supporting "cast" In its
broadest sense, this cast may include any or all of the following: the enemy, the
setting, the themes, the plot lines.
In general, during conflict, this process of masking can operate in three
unique ways,

First, as shown earlier, the use of a Sobriquet, enables the Calypsonians
to adopt another identity and thus function in the ascribed role. Thus s/he is able
to hold in place, quite a separate identity, as a Calypsonian. Second, it is a way of
forcing the other entity in the conflict to accept the identity that the Calypsonian
has created for him/herself. Sugar Aloes does this through the title of one of his
Calypsos, wherein he addresses what he sees as the failings of a government, and
argues for his entitlement as a Calypsonians, to challenge them on their poor
performance. In that Calypso entitled: "This Stage is Mine" he contends that the
Prime Minister has the entitlement to the Red House (i.e. the seat of government)
while his domain is the stage. Finally, through masking, the Calypsonians can
hold in place the identity that has been constructed for the other person. Again this
process is shown in another Calypso by Sugar Aloes entitled "The Judge", an
excerpt from which is given below where Aloes reminds the Prime Minister of his
jurisdiction as PM:
But this man show me plain that he have a grudge
Forsake he job as PM and turn Calypso judge
This man say how 'Tamboo' is the best Calypsonian
For '89 he had the best composition and
For Tamboo he have a special place in he heart
It was a real pleasure to hear the 'Journey Now Start'
Over the years, various Calypsonians have labeled succeeding Prime
Ministers: deaf, as with Dr Eric Williams, a drunkard, as with Mr Basdeo Panday,
or even a dunce, as with Mr. George Chambers.
In Hale's model, the key role of the practitioner in facilitating resolution
is to reframe the story into a "comic or hopeful" frame (Hale, 1998:154). The
significant difference with this new frame is that it assumes that change is possi-
ble. Working from this hopeful premise, the assumption is that "people can
change, situations can change, systems can change (Hale, 1998:155). Working
within this frame then the role of the practitioner in resolving this conflict is to
"reframe to focus on the larger system, or the bigger picture" (Hale, 1998:155). It
is this process, which, if skillfully executed by the practitioner that promotes the
belief in change by the disputing parties and generate the process of self-examina-
tion. In this regard Hale states that a comic frame monitors the symbols by which
others define situations and bring about identification (Hale, 1998:161). It is
through the judicious use of Form, such as metaphor, stories, symbols and guided
discussions, that Calypsonians, working as practitioners in the trenches of Alterna-
tive Dispute Resolution (ADR), are able to guide the parties to resolution. This
processes of Reframing, Concealment and constructing a Hopeful Frame are
admirably demonstrated in the following extracted words from the Calypso
"Watch out My Children" by G. Blackman, Sobriquet: Ras Shorty I.

Verse 2
I give you my council because I want to see
All you young people live righteously
What you fill your mind with form your characteristics
And shape the path that you must walk tomorrow
Darkness or low, joy or sorrow
That's why I'm concern so
Watch out my children
Watch out my children, yeh
It have a fella called Lucifer with a bag a white powder
And he doh want to powder yuh face
But to bring shame and disgrace to the human race

It needs to be recognized that nowhere in this Calypso does Shorty reveal the
names of any of the drug lords. Using concealment juxtaposed with the imagery
of known Frames, we are able to see that these drug lords are represented through
Lucifer, while white powder represents illegal drugs. So that although Shorty
offers many hints, he does not ever directly state what he is singing about; hence,
interpretation is left to the listener.
The use of Reframing is central to the calypsonians' role in the process
of resolution, as it gets their audiences to see alternative perspectives. When
reframing, calypsonians frequently change the conceptual and/or emotional set-
ting of a set of experiences, placing them in another frame that equally well fits the
'facts' of the same concrete situation. Through this process, the calypsonians
change the entire meaning of the circumstances, thereby enabling a new and
different vision of the situation.
Used as a tool in this way, Reframing permits one idea or object to be
thought of as fitting into a different category. Hence calypsonians abundantly
used metaphor, metonym, and Polysemy in their communication, as discussed in
the work of Bateson (1972) and Goffman (1974), which form a backdrop for this
process. Hale, has further grounds this approach, and as an academic and practi-
tioner in the field of conflict resolution, has taken a perspective on frames which
uses the Burkean epistemology as a touchstone. Embracing the concept of
"Dramatism", she shows how a practitioner in the field of conflict resolution can
reframe a given situation.
Burke's work relates an analysis of 'language' and 'reality' Taking this
duality on board this paper, to some limited extent, looks at both the context and
content of calypsos that comment on the socio-political and economic issues
within the Trinbago and the wider Caribbean region, as these calypsos attempt to

mediate a competing hierarchal class structure. In so doing, it addresses both the
Function and Form these of calypsos. While engaged in this process, this article
explores some political and sociological issues pertinent to the Caribbean, as these
are addressed through the language of the calypso art-form.
This approach requires an exploration of the mechanisms that underpin
the concept of "Dramatism" as it manifests in the calypso art form. In this cause,
I show how calypsonians use reframing in the process of raising consciousness,
when engaged in this approach to resolving conflict. For this purpose, Hall
defines reframing as a process where a speaker arranges a frame-of-reference so
that it looks new or different. Hall argues that when reframing an event or idea, the
content or context of a situation is presented from a different point of view so that
it invites a different meaning, (Hall 1998:230).
In a real sense Calypsonians, as with mediators, have no power to direct
a resolution, let alone to be directive in defining for the parties, the nature or
boundaries of the perceived problem. What Calypsonians do is represent their
perspective on an issue that they have identified. Having so identified, their only
course is then to influence the parties' views persuading them on a course of
action. In doing so, the Calypsonian reframes the issues by restating them in
different words and phrases. There are numerous approaches to reframing, some
that Zoub (1998) identifies and are also used in Calypsos are: rephrasing, focusing,
proposing an option, creating metaphors. I recognize these terms as restatements
of Burkean terminology. I will therefore be using the rest of this paper to focus on
how Calypsonians use Symbols, Dramatic Themes, Ironic Illumination, Syllogis-
tic Progression, Qualitative Progression, Repetitive Form, Conventional Form and
Minor or Incidental Form, (i.e. Metaphor, Metonymy and Polysemy) to reframe
either implied or actual disputes, while drawing attention to the prevailing issues,
with a view to influencing their audiences to take action in resolving a presenting
Fisher recognized the use of symbols in reframing a conflict. In her
work in this area, she identified that a symbol can be either a: ritual, visual art,
metaphor and story (Fisher 2000:88). In effect, these symbols can be expressions
of the duality of a conflict, they work by deliberately permitting the creation of a
space where there can be communication of a contradictory perspective, as in
Sparrow's "We Like It So," or through the ironic illumination, as illustrated by
Cro Cro's "Still the Best"

"We Like It So" by Dr. Slinger Fransisco, The Mighty Spar-
Anything that's wrong he go put it right
George Porgy tell we the other night
So instead ah displaying impatience

Cool yourself and give the fella a chance.
How the hell you could say ONR go do better....................
We can't get house so we squat
Living with cockroach and rat
Take your steel beam and go
Your cesspit flowing over
You could catch Yellow Fever
Take your steel beam and go
Soldier in bulldozer break down your shack in Movant
Take your steel beam and go
It's plenty sexual favours to be a ten days worker
We know we like it so
It eh have a single thing you could say
Could make me abandon me balisier
No steel beam could fall down on top me head
Sparrow ah is a PNM till ah dead.............

Taken separately, Cro Cro's "Still the Best" coming after the coup as it did, is a
classic example of ironic illumination:

I say we are still the best
In spite of all the unrest,
But somebody loco or boozed
When I watch CNN news
They say that the whole country burn down
And Port of Spain is no more a town
I want to tell the world they lie
For Trinbago's flag is still flying high
Cause, where else in the world go
Where else in the world government overthrown
Big football match playing still?
Where else in the world government overthrown
Your main police station-burn down?
Where else in the world so much fire in town and
In St James, man drinking beer and rum?
So if Trinidad eh nice,
Trinidad is great
This country of my birth
Trinidad and Tobago, is the greatest island on earth

When read, in the critical light of the aftermath of the coup that took
place in 1990, it will be seen that Cro Cro is using thick irony making his point that
Trinidad and Tobago is "Still the Best" In this Calypso, Cro Cro takes ideas that
ordinarily, we would consider to be abhorrent or at least unacceptable in society,
juxtaposing them with those that are acceptable. By this "perspective incongru-
ity" he focuses on the ridiculousness of the situation that many people faced
during, and as a result of the upheaval. This perspective [by] incongruity allows
for the creation of a vocabulary for the expressions of this dramatic. The Calyp-
sonian who engage in this process need first to identify the issues, express these
issues in an appropriate vocabulary and finally externalise their perspective.
The Use of Metaphor, Metonymy and Polysemy
It is appropriate to commence any discussion on the above terms by
setting out their definition. The Collins Dictionary of English Language defines
metaphor as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or
action that it does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance, (Hanks,
In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Benjamin
(1995:8) asserts that a metaphor is a compressed story that highlights the critical
pieces of the experiences in a different and more graspable way. On the other
hand, the linguists Lakoff and Johnson argue that: the essence of metaphor is
understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another, (Lakoff and
Johnson 1980).
Troester and Kelley, practitioners working in the trenches of ADR,
writing on this type of form, identified that:
Metaphors function as instruments of knowing by juxtaposing
two terms usually perceived as belonging to different classes of
experience. One thing is understood and experienced in terms
of another .....By organising reality in particular ways, selected
metaphors cause acts because each contains assumptions, evalu-
ations and points of views and so structure attitudes regarding
whatever they describe and provide reasons for behaving in
certain ways (Troester and Kelley, 1991:29)
In general, all of these authors are in broad agreement that metaphors
map from one field of experience on to another. By contrast, in metonym the
mapping is within the same domain. It is worthwhile noting though that although
metaphor and metonym are distinctly different, Louis Goossens has recognized the
occasions when a figure doubles as metaphor and metonym coining the phrase
"metaphtonymy" to describe this phenomenon.
Lakoff and Johnson illustrate this difference by considering the implica-
tions of the phrase "argument is war." They contend that when we speak of

defending, destroying and defeating arguments, what we are doing is partially
structuring arguments in relation to the terms we usually use to describe warfare.
From this premise, we can begin to get a view of arguments that is shrouded in
hostility, contention, destructiveness, strategizing and so on. They assert that
when used in this way, the expression "argument is war" becomes metaphoric.
However, it is also true that "argument is war" also involves metonym for in
reality there is frequently a thread of continuation between argument and war, so
much so that most wars usually start with some form of verbal disagreement.
Hence, we can see the proximity between recognisable causal sequences.
Through this logical process, it is easily recognisable that an argument is a stifled
war. The other side of that coin is equally true, that is to say, that a war is in reality
an argument that has been escalated, and so this argument may have come to
The example of this metonymy is so striking that we can easily be lured
to a position where we fail to recognize the metaphoric aspect of the phrase
"argument is war". In the context of the above, I suggest that the reader reviews
the words of the polemic "We like it so"
On the other hand, this symbolic language that Calypsonians engage in,
through the use of Polysemy, encompassing as it does a range of the different types
of Minor or Incidental Form (eg.: double entendre, lexical semantic change,
perspective incongruity and pragmatic ambiguity), involves one Form being used
for more than one function. Sweetser (1990:1) defines Polysemy as the syn-
chronic linking of multiple related senses to a single Form. More generally, in
Trinidad, observers of the field of Calypso tend to limit this type of meaning
change only to double entendre.
When Calypsonians use these types of Form in situations that involve
conflict, they can either reveal the true issues, or through masking, hide them.
More importantly though, used appropriately, they invite the development of a
cognitive process, that helps in unveiling of the hidden meanings contained in
these linguistic symbols, thereby increasing the awareness of those involved, and
hence the potential for the audience to take action in a direction that ultimately, can
bring about resolution of the audience's prevailing issue.

Applications of Form to The Calypso
Although examples of the use of Metaphor and Metonym and Polysemy
abound in Calypsos, for the purpose of this paper, I will utilise "The Banana Death
Song" by David Rudder, which I contend richly illustrates the application of
significant aspects of Linguistic Form. The main parties involved in what came to
be called the "Banana War" have been Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and
the United States. In understanding the significance of the Calypso "Banana

Death Song", it is important to understand its lyrics in the context of the develop-
ment of the banana trade.2
In the opening verse of this Calypso Rudder incorrectly asserts that the
United States initially bought bananas from the Caribbean islands.3
Well, Uncle Sammy used to visit the Church of Banana
He used to go to church with a girl, named Grenada
And then he went to church with a girl named Jamaica
He used to bow down to one Dominica
Then he used to go and pray to one called St Lucia
He say he loved the way they preached in the Caribbean chapter
(Extracted from David Rudder's "Banana Death Song")
In referring to the Church of Banana, Rudder maps the sense of reverence
and the importance generally given to a church to the situation, in order to
illustrate its significance, and the importance of the banana industry to the Carib-
bean people, as well as the banana product to the U.S market. In so doing he
exposes the issues in the trade war, and very much links them with the feminine
form. He sings: He used to go to church with a girl, named Grenada. There are a
number of masked, nevertheless, significant emergent issues here. In Caribbean
tradition, a girl is seen as an expression of potential, of opportunity for growth,
growth into womanhood, parenting and all of the responsibility that this function
carries with it.
In effect, Rudder is here mapping from the domain of the expression and
experience of a female to the expression and experience of the Caribbean islands
as they struggle to maintain their trading position and sustain themselves and
family against the South American banana threat. By combining the two large
South American banana producing companies (i.e. Chiquita and Dole), Rudder
implicitly gives them more power, thus upsetting the whole equilibrium and
creating the level of antagonism existing as the whole thing turn sour. The lament
and crying which follows is associated with the disappointment and dishearten-
ment caused by the loss of their position as preferred suppliers, and a recognition
of the knock on impact of this death on both the economy and standards of life for
all of those who are dependent on the banana as a source of their livelihood.
Some observers considered that in the second verse of the Calypso,
Rudder, beautifully articulated what generally was considered to be America's,
bullying attitudes, when he sang:
Well the church had a European benefactor
So he decide to come to the aid of the chapter
But Uncle Sammy say, NO! I want them to suffer,
They never do me wrong, but I love my Chiquita.
And by the way, don't deal with mama Africa.

My Chiquita's cheap, and you know I'm a miser
Extracted from David Rudder's "Banana Death Song"
In reading the above excerpt from the Calypso, it is worth recalling the
report by Patrick Barkham entitled: "The Banana Wars Explained." This report
responded to the questions: If the US doesn't export bananas direct to Europe why
are they so angry?
This understanding of the scenario lends a new dimension to the se-
quence of events and a better understanding of the words of David Rudder who,
acting as a liminal-servant, exposes the position of the US in pushing, as they did,
for an outcome that unilaterally favoured its own interests.
Having presented such a clear historical perspective of the events, I
believe the literary Form in the lyrics of the Calypso, as set out below, speaks for
But one day Uncle Sammy, he went South America
And he bounced up a girl, she name was Chiquita
Chiquita Dole is she name and she got plenty power
Then West Indian girl get vexed and the whole thing turn
The West Indian girl start to cry
West Indian woman start to cry:
"Banana dead, banana dead, banana
The future dread, the future dread for banana"

Concatenating Stage Drama and Social Drama
The discourse engaged in so far in this paper serves to illustrate how
some calypsos reflect the pertinent issues experienced locally in Trinbago, and the
wider Caribbean region. Extending on this theme, the column on the left of the
table below shows, a small selection of some of the key events that have occurred
in Trinidad and Tobago. The column of selected calypsos on the right are syn-
chronised so as to illustrate how they have been driven by these events. Hence this
table illustrates how some calypsos can be regarded as a mirror reflecting the
prevailing issues within the country.

Table 1 CalypsosThat Track Political Events

1981 George Chambers becomes leader of PNM
and Prime Minister following the death of
Eric Williams.

1986 The National Alliance for Reconstruction
(N.A.R.) headed by Arthur Robinson wins the
general election.

1990 Over 100 Islamist radicals led by Abu Baka
blow up the police HQ, seized the Parliament
Building and held Robinson & other officials
hostage in a coup that was later aborted.

1991 Patrick Manning becomes prime minister
after his PNM party wins the general election.

1986: Sinking Ship Gypsy -
(A protest at the existing PNM government)

1987: One Love Sparrow (A welcome
to the elected and newly formed amalgamated
N.A.R. party)

1989: Chauffeur Wanted Chalkdust (An
expression of abject satisfaction with the new
N.A.R. & leadership of Mr Robinson)

1991: "Say ah Prayer" (for Abu Baka) -
Cro Cro -(Advocating to the nation, a
balanced view of Abu Baka and the coup)

1991: "Still the Best" Cro Cro
(Satirical post coup commentary
on values in Trinidad and Tobago)

These calypsos, offering commentary as they do on the social, political
and/or economic issues occurring in Trinidad and Tobago, demonstrate how the
inter-relations of the social phenomena of the island bear on each other as they
manifest in the staged events of the Calypso Tent. Taken to its extreme, they serve
to illustrate how the Calypso is uniquely poised to prise open a window to the
understanding of motives as we try to grasp the lyrics therein, thus bringing an
awareness of the relationship between: language of motives (i.e. the intentions of
the Calypsonians), motives in language (i.e. the language as directed to their
audiences) and language as motive (the process of effective translating between
the above two), in relation to the conflicts which inevitably result within the social
economic and/or political worlds of the people of the islands.

In view of the title of this work, it seems reasonable to conclude with an
example of the mediatory role that the Calypsonian exercises. using a few lines of
Cro Cro's Calypso: "Say a Prayer," in which Cro Cro advocates a balanced view
of the events around the 1990 Coup that occurred in Trinidad. The lyrics of this
Calypso run:

Event Tracked

I'm not saying ah sorry for Robbie
I'm not saying he should be dead
But Trinbagonians take it easy
Meditate brothers check yuh head


1. For an explanation of the term "Sedimented meaning" consider the following extract from a con-
versation: John passing round the guests during a party, holding a tray of slices of chocolate
and peanut cake.
John asks Jenny: "Would you like a slice?"
Jenny: "I'm on a diet."
These two lines could be seen to be from two entirely different conversations. What gives them
meaning and connection is our understanding of the high calorific value of cake and its poten-
tial impact on a weight-watcher.
2. Background To The Banana War
What can be regarded as the Banana War is the evidence of a six-year trade quarrel with the
principal countries being the United States and the European Union. This aspect of the "war"
commenced in 1997 when the US lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) that the EU was breaking the free trade rules by allowing special access for banana pro-
ducers from former colonies in the Caribbean. The US having won its claim, the EU was in-
structed to alter its rules relating to imports of bananas.
It is important to understand that the European banana marked grew out of a series of national
measures. These measures were an attempt to protect the incomes of favoured companies and
sources of supply for Europe. Since 1975, the Caribbean banana producing islands together
with the other African and Pacific banana producing countries, had been given special treat-
ment by Europe, with each country having its own quota for the supply of bananas. This meant
that these countries could sell to Europe as many bananas as they wanted to export. This ar-
rangement for trade offered these developing ex-colonies of England and France, a way to
build up their economies with trade, rather than having them rely on aid. On the other hand,
the ex-colonial rulers, now members of the European Union, sought to protect banana farmers
in the Caribbean from competition from the cheaper Latin America bananas.
In relation to the European banana market, it is important to understand that there were three sources
of supply. These were: First, EU bananas, grown and marketed within the EU itself, for whom
the major producers were the Canary Islands and the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe
(the French Departments d'Outre-Mer or DOM). In 1990 the DOM was recognized as being re-
sponsible for 10% of market share. Second, growers in African and the Caribbean (part of the
Africa-Caribbean-Pacific group of countries, or (ACP)) of which the Caribbean accounted for
11.2% while Africa accounted for 6.7% of the marked. Third, there was Latin America with
57.9% of the market.
It is also important to note that the EU's market increased rapidly during the latter part of the 1980's
from 2.99 million tons in 1988, the EU market rose to 3.47 million in 1990 and then to 3.89
million tons in 1992. The main beneficiaries of this growth had been the Latin American pro-
ducers, whose share of the market went from just 53.6% of the total in 1988 up to 61.8% in
1992, (Pedler 1995).
In 1988, the DOM supplied 12.3%, and the ACP 17.2% of the European market, two thirds of which
came from the producers in the Caribbean region. By 1992, the figures were 9.6% and 17.7%
respectively, with the ACP Caribbean producers still furnishing around two thirds of that
amount. However, in 1999, only 7% of Europe's banana came from the Caribbean, with the
US multinationals that control the Latin American banana crop, holding three-quarters of the
EU market. In this trade flow, it is important to realise that the US itself did not export ba-
nanas to Europe (CEC, 1995: Annex 1).

This situation gave rise to particular trading groups on either side of the Atlantic with each having
its own particular interests at stake. For instance in the case of France, Spain and the UK, they
sought to preserve their market position. This point can best be illustrated by considering the
UK which, in 1991, was dominated by Geest who had 60% of the available UK market and Fy-
ffe having 25%. These Caribbean companies sustained a close relationship with the UK. They
were active in shipping, ripening and wholesale distribution of bananas. Alternatively though,
the Latin American banana producing companies selling to Europe favoured an open market
system. Since they were cheaper producers, such a system would provide them with a price ad-
vantage. Here, the US Trans-National Corporations (TNC) were dominant: in this case, Stand-
ard Fruit (Chiquita) with 43% of the EU market and United Fruit (Dole) with 13%, (Pedler
1995). From the perspective of the U.S. TNC, they felt disadvantaged in that they neither en-
joyed the same level nor quality of access to European markets as did European Union govern-
ments. This meant that the interests of the US TNC in the processes of importing, ripening,
wholesaling and retailing of Latin American bananas in the European market, was represented
by their European "clients"
The Caribbean Situation
As explained earlier, for the DOM, the banana trade was governed by French national regulations.
For the UK, there were other regulations that gov earned the banana industry, relating to the Car-
ibbean, these specifically applied to banana productions originating from the Windward Islands
(these islands included Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent) as well as Belize, Jamaica
and Surinam. It needs to be understood that the production and sale of banana is one of the
principal agricultural exports from the DOM, accounting for 60% of Guadeloupe's export reve-
nue and 49% of that of Martinique (Nurse and Sandiford, 1995: Table 1.3). Along with this
production, costs were also seen to be high. As such, export sales are maintained only because
France has had a policy of reserving up to two-thirds of its market for DOM bananas and one-
third for bananas from African i.e. the ACP (Pedler, 1995: Figure 8). So for instance in 1992
France obtained 37% of its bananas from Martinique and 22% from Guadeloupe. Latin Ameri-
can Bananas were only sought to plug any shortfall. For the Latin American producers and
their American owners, the issue here was that from 1963 these bananas were subject to a 20%
Common External Tariff(CET).
It stands to reason then that for the Caribbean the banana was an important export to the EU. This
level of importance is non-homogeneous but in reality varies from island to island throughout
the archipelago. We can see from the data already presented that the Windward Islands had
the greatest level of dependence on this product as a form of revenue. It is therefore clear that
both a collapse in the export bananas from these islands, as well as its price, would, in the
words of a report by Gill and GonzAles, be disastrous, with severe economic consequences con-
tributing to a socially unmanageable fallout and an explosive political situation, particularly
since there is no real alternative income to banana production for these islands (Gill and Gon-
ziles, 1995).
3. The exhaustive research that I have done on the topic has not uncovered the existence of a direct
banana trade between the USA and the Caribbean. There was however trade between the
American owned, Canadian Banana Company and the banana associations of Dominica, Gre-
nada and St Lucia as early as 1934 and with St Vincent in 1935. Between these parties, there
existed a five year contract for the shipment of Gros Michel bananas to Canada. Given that the
Canadian Banana Company was owned by the American United Fruit Company, (Clegg
4. This report published in the (UK) Guardian on 5 March 1999, in part responded to the questions:
If the US doesn't export bananas direct to Europe why are they so angry? In response Bark-
ham writes:
Whether Democrat or Republican, American administrations have long championed an ideological
commitment to free trade. But the "banana wars" are murkier than that clear principle.
The US government is concerned about its economics. The US trade deficit is at a nine-year high.
Its current account deficit could reach $300 billion in 1999, surpassing previous record levels
in 1986/7. The government feels it can't afford to allow any European protectionism, no mat-
ter how petty, to disadvantage its troubled trading balance.
The US government is also pressurised by powerful US-based muiltinationals which dominate the
Latin American Banana industry. The Clinton administration took the "banana wars" to the

WTO within 24 hours of Chiquita Brands, a powerful, previously Republican-supporting ba-
nana multinational, making a $500,000 donation to the Democratic Party.
(Barkham 1999)


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Review of Dawn F Stinchnomb The Development of Literary Blackness n the
Dominican Republic, University of Florida Press 2003. 125pp
The Caribbean islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic
have provided much raw material for exploring the ways in which Hispanic
literature has constructed the identity and represented the experience of people of
African descent. Of the three islands, however, the Dominican Republic has
understandably been the least researched, since it is the one that has generated the
smallest body of creative and critical material on the subject. Dawn Stinchcomb=s
book explores the causes of this paucity and is a welcome and much-needed effort
to help correct the imbalance.
Making use of previous historical research and the relevant critical com-
mentaries on the work of specific authors, Stinchcomb takes a diachronic look at
the social, historical and political factors which have influenced the representation
of race, excluded people of African descent as literary subjects and hampered the
recognition of Afro-Dominican literary voices. As promised by its title, the book
seeks to map out a space for an Afro-Dominican literature and to highlight its
contribution to national literature. It traces the progression of the discourse on
blackness through three historical phases: from the erasure of blackness in the
scant literary output of the nineteenth century, to the early twentieth-century
objectification of blacks in the literature written by white creoles and the emer-
gence in the second half of the twentieth century of an Afro-Dominican literary
corpus. Although this study is centred on texts written and published in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the author sets the stage for the contextualiza-
tion of the topic by looking briefly at pre-nineteenth century literary output.
The Introduction outlines the historical determinants of the racial prob-
lematic: the Negrophobia inspired by aversion to Haitians that has endured and
become engrained in the Dominican psyche. Chapter one focuses on Manuel de
Jes6s Galvin's 19th century classic novel Enriquillo and its foundational role in
creating a sense of an Amerindian-Spanish identity for the Dominicans and in
denying the presence and participation of African slaves in the history of the
Republic. This egregious exclusion, directly attributable to the country's anti-Hai-
tian racism, separates the Dominican Republic from the neigbouring island of
Cuba where black slaves were at the centre of literary production during this
period. However, Stinchcomb also recognizes the ideological diversity of the
country's literary production in the nineteenth century. Citing Juan Antonio Alix's
famous poem "El negro tras la oreja" ("Black behind the ears), she highlights the
beginnings of a counter-discourse invoking the Dominicans' unacknowledged
black roots and contesting the Galvin-created myth of an Indian and Spanish
national identity.

In the second chapter the author turns her attention to the early twentieth
century and writers such as Manuel del Cabral in whose work the black experience
is thematized. However, it is clear from the evidence provided in the body of the
chapter that the literary representations of Manuel del Cabral and Rub6n Suro are
far more nuanced than what is suggested by the chapter heading "The Black-as-
Object in Dominican Literature of the Early Twentieth Century." Also curious is
the conclusion of the chapter that seeks to minimize the achievements of the
mulatto authors Pedro Mir and Marrero Aristy on the grounds that in real life they
did not affirm their own blackness, speak of their African heritage or equate
themselves with black Haitians and Dominicans.
Three Afro-Dominican poets, sons of African American and West Indian
immigrants are the subject of chapter three. Here Stinchcomb explores how these
writers who sought primarily to affirm their Dominican identity while not denying
their African roots. The fourth and final chapter is devoted to two Afro-Dominican
authors, Aida Cartagena Portalatin and Bias Jim6nez in whose published works,
beginning in the 1970's and 1980's respectively, she perceives the emergence of a
clear Afro-Dominican voice.
Somewhat disappointing in the book is a certain imbalance in the cover-
age of the pre-1960's period insofar as more time is spent reporting on secondary
sources and relatively less is invested in the analysis of the primary texts. This may
be accounted for by the absence of any appreciable "blackness" in the content of
the literature produced up to the end of the rule of Rafael Trujillo. Such an analysis
would, nonetheless, have provided clearer support for many of the author's con-
clusions and strengthened the merit of the study. Added to this is an unfortunate
belabouring of points, and unnecessary repetition of ideas. This has the effect of
disrupting the smooth articulation of the book's thesis. At times generalizations
are made based on insufficient evidence. This is the case, for example, in the
fourth chapter which makes a claim about a generation of black women writers but
offers Aida Portatalin as the sole example. The English translations of the Spanish
texts, though helpful for non-Spanish-speaking readers, are sometimes too literal
and occasionally inaccurate.These shortcomings do not, however, obscure the
merits of the book, such as the more incisive analysis of the militant politics in the
poetry of Bias Jim6nez, which is the highpoint of the fourth chapter. Her occa-
sional placement of the Dominican situation within the context of the broader
Caribbean discourse on race is also useful, revealing, for example, the difference
between Cuba where the transculturation process has integrated the African heri-
tage in a hybrid national culture and the Dominican Republic where the affirma-
tion of mestizaje is not seen to be irreconcilable with the omission of
African-derived ethnicity from its national and literary discourse.

Cond, Maryse Tales from the Heart: True Stories from My Childhood.
Trans from the French by Richard Philcox. Soho Press Inc, 2001. 144pp. ISBN
A series of short, vignette-like narratives subtly looped together to sug-
gest the coherent story of a life, Maryse Cond6's childhood memoir Tales From
the Heart seems in more ways than one to be an aspect of her novelistic art.
Each "tale" identifies a rite of passage in the artist's development. Not
surprisingly, then, the book recalls the general concerns of Cond6's fiction: his-
tory, mimicry and the ironic problematic of identity; the fraught, ironic relation-
ship with Africa that so distinguishes her work from more romantic imaginings of
the 'mother continent'; class/colour divides; the issues of femaleness in colonial
space and time; the rewriting/retrieval of narratives submerged within canonical
texts and discourses. At the same time, this personal testament is nuanced by an
evocative sense of place (the Guadeloupe of her childhood, a Guadeloupe that is
both French and totally Caribbean/colonial) and by a poignant sense of character
and human suffering.
Cond6 makes little attempt to distinguish between the voices of her
childhood persona and the adult voice rehearsing memory. At times the reflections
that she presents as the child's become questionable, both because of their sophis-
tication and because of the text's ventriloquism. An example of these questionable
reflections is the tale of her early rebellion against her parents' colonial-bourgeois
values (in Cond6's allusion, forms of Fanon's black skin, white masks). A very
young Maryse, puzzled by the contradictions in her parents' behaviour (the mis-
match between their insistent black pride on the one hand, and a dreadful, inverted
colonial sycophancy on the other) asks her elder brother for an explanation, and is
given the term "alienated individuals." The child struggling to make sense of this,
"came up with a vague theory. An alienated person is someone who is trying to be
what he can't be because he does not like what he is. At two in the morning, just
as I was dropping off, I swore in a confused sort of way never to become
alienated" (7). There is nothing unbelievable in this. What may be startling is the
assertion that follows: "As a result, I woke up a completely changed little girl" (7).
The change Cond6 speaks of manifests itself in the recalcitrance one would expect
in a teenager, not a small child, analyzing parental hypocrisy. But perhaps one is
surprised only if one forgets what Cond6's story constantly highlights: that she
was an exceptional child.
This narrative, "Family Portrait," placed at the beginning, signals
Cond6's project to give personal witness to what it is like to grow up colonized,
and how one learns to discern, reject and survive. The narrative is painful. We are
told Cond6's parents (black, middle class) made annual pilgrimages to France, in
proof of a Frenchness that is constantly elusive and constantly denied:

...the garcons de caf6 would hover around us admiringly like
honey bees. Setting down the diabolos menthe, they never
failed to come out with, "You speak excellent French, you
My parents bore the compliment without turning a hair or
smiling, merely a nod of the head. Once the garcon had gone,
they turned to us as witnesses, "Yet, we're as much French as
they are," my father sighed.
"Even more so," my mother continued vehemently... "We're
more educated. We have better manners. We read more. Some
of them have never left Paris, whereas we have visited Mont
Saint- Michel, the Riviera, and the Basque coast."
There was something pathetic in this conversation, which,
though I was very young, upset me. (4-5).
In the same way that she seems to confound the barriers between child
and woman, Cond6 inhabits with royal license worlds and experiences in which
she could not possibly have been present. The story of her conception and birth is
recounted with the certainty of a privileged eyewitness:
Once she had gotten over the shame of being caught in flagrante
delicto in the pleasures of the flesh at her respectable age, my
mother was overjoyed at her condition. Proud even. Her body
had not withered and dried up. Her tree of life could still bear
fruit. She watched in delight in front of her mirror as her belly
rounded and her breasts filled out, as soft as a pair of turtle-
doves. Everyone complimented her on her beauty. Her blood
was infused with a burst of youth that made her eyes and skin
glow... Her hair grew...and she brushed it into a chignon hum-
ming (a rare thing) an old Creole song she had heard her mother
sing... (11).
What is the source of this tale of a time before the time she could have
known, being yet unborn? Old family photographs? Anecdotes recounted by those
who knew the mother pregnant? Cond6's own imagination, which she tells us
manifested itself early in a propensity for fantastic invention? Cond6 makes no
attributions. That the source of her story is possibly the storyteller herself is
signaled in her subtitle "True Stories from My Childhood" (we note the ambiguity
of the term 'stories') and in the Proust epigraph at the beginning: "Remembrance
of things past is not what we retrieve from the mind." The reader is forewarned
and disarmed: Cond6 is unapologetic in letting us know that what will be
'retrieved' (indeed, invented) in these tales is not the stable, fixed 'truth' of
factuality or fact remembered, but the body of experience itself, as fluid, equivo-

cal and unreliable as both fiction and memory. The self reflexive forewarning is
accomplished without polemic: Cond6 is first and foremost a storyteller- the
collusions among fact and facticity, memory and fiction, story and memoir, are
represented, not spoken about in her story. This is one of the charms of Tales from
the Heart-its wonderful sense of story which provides the reader both with an
unhindered delight in the tale as tale and with the ambiguous pleasures of asking
and finding no answer to the question of whether or not the tales are "true."
Three major event clusters stand out in Cond6's narration of her growth
into liberating resistance: encounters with the concept of family; various encoun-
ters with that "other," mainly working-class Guadeloupe from which her parents
sought so assiduously to protect her; and her high school education in Paris, which
ironically led to her discovery of Haitian novelist Jacques Roumain's Masters of
the Dew and, through it, her beginning identification with the "other" Guade-
The otherness of this other Guadeloupe is constructed in Cond6's text via
the curious inversion by which her parents see their tiny street as standing,
metonymically, for the real Guadeloupe. For Cond6's parents, the real Gaudeloupe
is located in Paris and extended out (in an ironic sense, vicariously) to the space of
the colony/d6partmente. But the other, despised Gaudeloupe proves itself to be
both a dominant real and a subversive carnival underside. (Cond6 tells us she was
bor during Carnival.) Her rebellion gathers its most explosive energies from that
forbidden underside, and, indeed, from aspects of it that her parents have, ironi-
cally, embraced as signs of their superiority. Two important characters in this
regard are the mulatto maid, Julie, a family servant for years, summarily dismissed
for missing work to look after her dying daughter and for requesting a salary
advance; and Seraphin, the poor cousin whom Maryse's mother takes in, in
keeping with codes of family honor.
Through her relationship with Julie, the young Maryse learns that there
are no social barriers that transcend the meeting of hearts; through Julie's dismiss-
al she learns of the ugly side of justice denied revenge, and with it the splitting
of the walls of protection between one class and the other. S6raphin's life and tales
bring her in contact with the sprawling, contradictory, untidy mass of humanity
that her parents would like to deny. A fuller, larger Guadeloupe is opened out to
her: beautiful and crude, poetic and menial, gross and lovely, all together.
S6raphin's role in Maryse's entry into a more organic connection to her society is
marked when she witnesses (forbidden, through a peephole) his daughter's birth,
which occurs in the most "unimaginable state of filth and disorder" (99). Both
Julie and S6raphin are family: one by association, the other by blood. The other
Guadeloupe is, ironically, the "enemy within," but also the source, for Maryse, of
potential liberation.
The enemy within has other faces than black or mulatto ones: in another
encounter, this time with a white girl who turns up like a ghost and like a ghost

disappears in the very place where Maryse's mother, assured of its uncontami-
nated safety, takes her evening promenade, the young Maryse is taught that she
has to be hit because she is black (56). Her mother's dismissal of this imposition
does not help Maryse, who through the encounter has discovered inexplicable,
subterranean contradictions in herself. Made impotent by both fear and fascina-
tion, she allows the white girl to beat her up repeatedly:
'I wonder whether Anne-Marie and myself had not been rein-
carnated as a mistress and her long suffering slave during the
space of our games.
Otherwise how else could I, usually so rebellious, have been so
docile?' (58).
These are instances of the ironic vision that marks Conde's reflections.
Paris locks the teenager into a false world based on the fiction that a black
Gaudeloupean girl can be "unproblematically" French, or as French as a white
Parisienne can be French. Yet Paris frees her by putting her in touch with Africans
and the African side of her history. Similarly, Africans betray her but teach her to
value her culture. Similarly again, the child's sure sense of self "frees" her to see
a white woman as "The Loveliest Woman in the World," but the Eurocentric
nature of her concept of loveliness calls the very sense of self into question. The
text's perspective is focalized in the paradoxical figure of Cond6's mother, whose
influence in crucial in her daughter's development. An obsessive charity worker,
Cond6's mother is often ruthlessly uncharitable on a personal level. Snobbish, she
nonetheless rolls up her sleeves, with a regal disregard for the surrounding filth or
middle class dignity, to deliver S6raphin's baby. She wears stockings several
shades too light for her color, yet has a strong sense of black equality; she is
freezingly formal, artificial even, yet cradles her rebellious teenage daughter in
her arms, giving and receiving comfort.
Paradox is at the heart of the Guadeloupe Cond6 depicts: the strange
collusions between pride and resistance on the one hand, and assimilation and
mimicry on the other: "[Like Alioune Diop], my mother...was convinced that only
Western culture was worthy of existence...At the same time, neither one of them
felt the slightest inferiority complex because of their color." (8). Cond6's is a tale
not of subjugation but of competing powers, agency and submission equally
mapped in the colonial psyche. The social milieu, in which lighter skin is not an
automatic passport to the upper classes and segregation from whites is an initia-
tive of black pride, mirrors this competition of powers.
The storyteller's own contradictions are starkly exposed: idealistic
rebellion crisscrossed with class snobbery; fierce friendship crisscrossed with the
artist's uncompromising commitment to "truth" even if it threatens friendship. If
"truthtelling" sometimes shades into arrogance, that too is part of the honesty of
exposure. But it is also only the honesty of art- metaphor and mask, hiding even

as it reveals, problematizing even the simplest of assertions, gathering kudos from
the unintended. Richard Philcox's spare, honed translation makes Tales From the
Heart a fluent read.
Degrees of restructuring In creole languages [Creole Language Library 22],
edited by Ingrid Neumann-Holzschuh & Edgar W Schneder. Amsterdam/Phila-
delphia: John Benjanins, 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-
guists' 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 R6union 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 & Uffmann, Muihl-
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 of
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 (p18), 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 modem 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 modern
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 ofcreolization. Hymes, Dell (ed) Pidg-
inization and creolization of languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 169-186.
Alleyne, Mervyn 1980 Comparative Afro-American. Ann Arbor: Karoma.
Bruyn, Adrienne 1996 On identifying instances ofgrammaticalization 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.


Race and Nation In Modern Latin America. Nancy P.Appdbaum, Anne S.
Macpherson and Karin A Rosemblatt editors The University of North Carolina
Press 2003, 329 pp.
The work deals with a provocative view that national identities are
constructed along racial lines. It encompasses the struggle of powerful identities
amidst socio-economic transformations of the global economy in the twentieth
century. This seminal study is a motley collection of contributions by distin-
guished scholars whose expertise include Caribbean, Latin America and African-
American histories. The various revisionist critiques provide ample proof that that
the concept of race cannot be easily categorized and is not a rigid and specific
context. Indeed it appears to be more fluid and pervasive in Latin America.
A noteworthy theme of Race and Nation in Modem Latin America is its
exploration of multiple imaginings and the influence of gender and sexuality in the
racialized conceptions of the nation. Entrenched hierarchies of gender, race and
class contributed to the contestation and negotiation between the elite, privileged
group and poorer, coloured sections of society..
Sarah Chambers in "Little Middle Ground" examined the fickle nature of
the mestizo identity in the Andean region during 1780-1854. She mentioned the

whitening efforts in Arequipa to gain social acceptance. The stigma associated
with mixed race contributed to a reluctance of person to identify themselves as
mestizo. This group was associated with vagrancy, moral laxity and illegitimacy.
Chambers believed this contributed to the unique situation of mestizos existing but
an absence of a mestizo identity in the Andes. An interesting aspect mentioned by
Chambers is the caste system and the various sub-groupings as cholo, zambo and
mulata existing the region. A comparison between the Latin American caste
system and the one existing in India would certainly have been interesting.
Chapter Two, "Belonging to the Great Granadian Family" chronicled the
manner in which indigenous Indians in Southwestern Columbia sought to reframe
their ethnic identities and citizenship. The Indians were assertive and challenged
the racist definitions imposed by ruling elites. Secondly, the indigenous Indians
became politically involved hoping to win support from Conservatives and Liber-
The links between the United States and Latin America is emphasised in
Chapter Three. Aims McGuinness focused on Panama and traced the historical
antecedents of racism. The travellers from the United States and those who used
the Panama route, during the Gold Rush in the 1840s, viewed the dark-skinned and
poorer Panamanians or arrabalefros with contempt.
The patriarchal nature of society and the transatlantic ideologies of hy-
bridity and race were instrumental in moulding views in Latin America. Indeed,
many Latin American nations have been historically shaped from identities that
are both gendered and racialized. A noteworthy illustration is Chapter Four which
examined the early battle myth in Belize. This origin myth which existed during
the final years of the nineteenth century acknowledged the male slaves and white
settlers but deliberately excluded the presence and historical roles of mixed-race
and black prominent Creole families. The author, Anne Macpherson, believed this
exclusion represented an interest to preserve the racial hybridity of the middle
class Creole. She also contended, "...for the myth's creators in the 1890s, interra-
cial sex was publicly taboo, and black women's historical roles could never be
safely contained" (p.127). When women in the 1890s were mentioned the descrip-
tions were usually restricted to sambye dances, of African origin, which were
considered crude and vulgar by the upper echelons of society.
Sueann Caulfield in Chapter Six provides insight into the legal percep-
tion of interracial unions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the post-World War One era.
Caulfield argued that the parda or black domestic servants ...made their own
choices about their sexuality, generally choosing men of their own colour and
class for sexual relationships (p.174). Evidence culled from court testimonies
reveal that men felt that black women and mulata were fit for sexual relations but
not marriage.

Parents never publicly admitted that colour or race was the issue when
their daughter was deflowered by a non-white male. However, race did not appear
to be a major factor after the exposure of some clandestine relationships. In 1939,
a 17 year old white girl, Izalinda de Lourdes Carames, lost her virginity to a 26
year old man, Lup6rcio de Oliveira Cahe, of 'mixed' colour. There was mutual
affection, the couple being literate and the man was designated 'white' in his work
booklet. However, the girl's family decided to eventually go to the police when the
suitor refused to marry the girl. Her family objected on the basis that he did not
have a professional occupation. Izalinda later claimed that her grandmother and
father were against the relationship because of his mixed colour (mestiga) but they
did not reveal this to the police. Indeed in this instance, ...it was more important
for Izalinda to have support from her deflowerer than for the family to uphold its
social and racial standing by rejecting the marriage" (p.175).
The periodization of the essays avoided any noticeable disjuncture and
displayed striking similarities in perceptions of nation and race. These revisionist
scholars provide refreshing perspectives of national imagining relating to contem-
porary racism. However, one of the drawbacks is that even though the title of the
work indicated 'Modem Latin America' there are no chapters focusing on post-co-
lonial discourse. The latest era considered in the chapters is the 1930s. It would
have been interesting to demonstrate the extent of continuity and change, if any,
from the colonial to post-colonial era.
In retrospect more focus on the early formation of racial ideology in the
Spanish- speaking Caribbean was needed. The scholars overlooked the initial
interaction between Hernando Cortes and the Aztecs in Mexico in 1519 and
Francisco Pizarro and the Incas in Peru in 1532-33, as a watershed in race relations
or at least having an impact on racialization and nation-building in Latin America.
This glaring omission would have certainly proved beneficial to readers who
sought to comprehend how the region has been racialized over time.
Nevertheless, the editors must be congratulated for this ambitious compi-
lation of scholarly articles which are representative of Central and South America.
They have proven that national community comprises multiple imaginings. Fur-
thermore, there is considerable emphasis on the pivotal role of transnational forces
(travel, migration and scientific exchange) which have been the impetus for
Undoubtedly, Race and Nation in Modem Latin America will prove to be
a noteworthy contribution to Latin American historiography. The book is a com-
mendable effort which would certainly be an asset for persons seeking to under-
stand the origins of racial attitudes and the components of nation-building.

Minor Omissions Children in Latin Americn History and Sodety. Tobias
Hecht editor. The Universty of Wisconsin Press, 2002, 277 pp.

The recording of history has traditionally focused on the roles of men.
The later emergence of sub-disciplines as Women's History emphasised the pow-
erless, oppressed and marginalized voices. The book's editor, Tobias Hecht,
acknowledged the scarcity of primary historical sources on Latin American chil-
dren. He traced the beginning of childhood and their existence in a new social
space as emerging after the seminal work of French historian, Philippe Aribs in
1960. Interestingly Hecht argued that "adult history" cannot easily or usefully
be disentangled from childhood" (p.7).
Two chapters, "Sketches of Childhood" and "How Haitian Artists Dis-
close Childhood of All Ages" provide unique illustrations and interesting paint-
ings depicting children in the Andean and Haitian societies. Both studies are a
testimony that the presence of children are not merely confined to written and
archival records. More importantly, their positive representation in another me-
dium reflect the appreciation and significance of children in the colonial society.
Certain chapters in Minor Omissions deal with social ills which have
persisted till the present. Street-children are an embarrassment and social burden
for Brazil but the root of the problem extends further back in history. Irene Rizzini
in "The Child-Saving Movement in Brazil" argued that the search for the elusive
panacea has been ongoing in Brazil since the late 1880s. The child-saving move-
ment adhered to the notion that a safe environment was necessary in the upbring-
ing of children and thus prevent anarchy and crime. During this time, "Children
raised amid vice, it was feared, would reproduce disorder" (p. 169).This movement
was not unique and Rizzini noted that it had occurred earlier in Europe and North
America as pressure was placed on the governments to effectively deal with these
children. Interestingly, education for children was not appreciated for its intrinsic
value, intellectual improvement or social mobility but instead was deemed as "a
sort of antidote to idleness and criminality" (p. 177).
A cursory glance of the title of Chapter Five- "Minor Offenses" might not
seem appropriate because it mentioned a shocking incident in which a five year old
girl is kidnapped and raped by an adult male who claimed to have underestimated
her age. However, the title could be double entendre and interpreted as referring to
the relatively young age of persons who committed the acts and the victims rather
than the seriousness of the crimes. The author, Bianco Premo, revealed that during
this era colonial officials would have believed the testimony of conniving, accused
persons who claimed that the victims, very young girls, consented to sex. Addi-
tionally, Premo's analysis of statistics indicated that arrests were prejudiced as
they were based on gender, race and class/status. This is obvious in the frequency
of arrests of castas or free mixed-persons.
Chapter Six by Donna Guy provides an account of orphan children and
abandoned infants in Argentina. A noteworthy feature of the 1920s was the work
of social reformers who stressed the need for improved public education and
caring families to alleviate delinquency among children. Private and public insti-

tutions as the Casa del Niflo (Children's Home) and Patronato de la Infancia (The
Children's Trust) played a pivotal role of caring for thousands of street children.
Guy stressed that the relatively high mortality rates were a concern in Latin
America, "Lack of care for infants remained an index of backwardness and posed
problems for the future because each child lost diminished the body politic"
The final piece is a provocative short story, published by a Uruguayan
novelist in 1971, entitled "The Children's Rebellion." Despite being fiction, such
an entertaining work should serve as an incentive for researchers to determine the
presence and role, if any, of children in protests in Latin America and other
Indeed, Minor Omissions should not be considered as being relevant only
for childhood historians. This study could serve as the blueprint for other histori-
ans to research the role and presence of children in other countries. It is valuable
as a tool in better understanding topics as family size/organization, divorce,
poverty and disease in any society. The work has admirably achieved the objective
of creating a more objective history and restoring the "invisible children" to their
rightful place in Latin American History.

Caribbean Quarterly Invites reviews for the following books recently
received. Contact the Managing Editor
Inna Di Dancehall Popular Culture and the politics of Identity in Jamaica by
Donna P. Hope. University of the West Indies Press 2006. 167 pages.
The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana by Kean Gibson. University Press of
America 2003. 97 pages.
Salted Tongues Modern Literature in St. Martin by Fabian Adekunle Badejo.
House of Nehesi Publishers 2003. 70 pages.
Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule Santeria Ritual Practices and Their
Gender Implications by Mary Ann Clark. University Press of Florida 2005. 185
Revisiting Caribbean Labour. Edited by Constance Sutton. Ian Randle Publish-
ers 2005. 149 pages.
Blackface Cuba, 1840-1895 by Jill Lane. University of Pennsylvania Press 2005.
Dependency and Socialism in the Modern Caribbean -Superpower Intervention in
Guyana, Jamaica, and Grenada, 1970-1985 by Euclid Rose. Lexington Books
2002. 450 pages.
A Soldier's Heart by Laura Johnson. 2004. 86 pages
Ruins ofAbsence, Presence ofCaribs Post-colonial Representations ofAborigi-
nality in Trinidad and Tobago by Maximilian Forte. University Press of Florida
2005. 283 pages.
Callaloo Nation Metaphors of Race and Religious and Identity among South
Asians in Trinidad by Aisha Khan. Duke University Press 2004. 264 pages.
Jamaican Volunteers in the First World War Race, masculinity and the develop-
ment of national consciousness by Richard Smith. Manchester University Press
2004. 180 pages.
I know who I am A Caribbean Woman's Identity in Canada by Yvonne Bobb-
Smith. Women's Press 2003. 249 pages.
The Power of Words Literature and Society in Later Modernity. Edited by
Mauro Buccheri, Elio Costa, Donald Holoch. 2005. 307 pages.
Toussaint 's Clause The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution by Gordon
S. Brown. The University Press of Misssissippi Press 2005. 295 pages.
Writing to Cuba Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States by Rodrigo
Lazo. The University of North Carolina Press 2005. 224 pages.
Colonizing Nature The tropics in British Arts and Letters 1760-1820 by Beth
Fowkes Tobin. University of Pennsylvania Press 2005. 249 pages.


The Myth of Jose Marti. Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth Century
Cuba by Lillian Guerra. The University of North Carolina Press 2005.
Caribbean Mythology and Modern Life by Paloma Mohamed. The Majority Press
2004. 196 pages.
Postcolonical Cultures by Simon Featherstone. Edinburg University Press 2005.
251 pages.
To Die in Cuba suicide and society by Louis A. Perez Jr. The Univerwsity of
North Carolina Press 2005. 456 pages.
From Garvey to Marley Rastafari Theology by Noel Leo Erskine. University
Press of Florida 2005. 215 pages.
The Pleasures of Exile by George Lamming. Pluto Press 2005. 229 pages.
Sampling Many Pots. An Archaeology of Memory and Tradition at a Bahamian
Plantation by Laurie A. Wilkie and Paul Farnsworth. University Press of Florida
2005. 353 pages.
God and Trujillo Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican
Dictator by Ignacio Lopez-Calvo. University Press of Florida 2005. 196 pages.
Puerto Rican Nation-Building Literature Impossible Romance by Zilkia Janer.
University Press of Florida 2005. 119 pages.
Negotiating Caribbean Freedom by Michaeine A. Crichlow. Lexington Books
2005. 273 pages.
Cuba's Aborted Reform. Socioeconomic Effects, International Comparisons, and
Transition Policies by Carmelo Mesa-LAgo and Jorge F. Perez-Lopez. Univer-
sity Press of Florida 2005. 223 pages.
Sugar, Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico by Luis A.
Figueroa. The University of North Carolina Press 2005. 290 pages.
US Intervention in British Guiana. A Cold War Story by Stephen G. Rabe. The
University of North Carolina Press 2005. 240 pages.
Cannibal Modernities. Postcoloniality and the Advent-Garde in Caribbean and
Brazilian Literature by Luis Madureira. University of Virginia Press 2005. 255
Contemporary Caribbean Cultures and Societies in a global Context. Edited by
Franklin W. Knight and Teresita Martinez-Vergne. The University of North
Carolina Press 2005. 303 pages.

The Redness of Blackness:Revisiting Derek Walcott's Mulatto Aesthetic
Motayo Oloruntoba-oju
The complex demands of history constitute a burden for the conscious
Caribbean artist, particularly the playwright, who has to recreate Caribbean his-
tory and contemporary existence and expectation on a live stage. This paper is a
review of Derek Walcott's mulatto aesthetics as a conscious choice that merges
into this socio-historical backdrop. The paper recaps important stages in the
development of Caribbean aesthetics and re-locates Walcott's critical and theatri-
cal intervention within the continuum, not necessarily as "a tree that constitutes a
forest" but as one whose central location continually defines a view of the forest.
Nevertheless, the paper also questions Walcott's apparent repudiation of a full
black aesthetics and the implication of this for a comprehensive definition of
Caribbean aesthetics.

Recognising The Language of Calypso as "Symbolic Action" in Resolving Con-
flict in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,E. M. Phillips
The Calypso, which forms an integral part of the Carnival celebrations of
the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a syncretic popular art-form that has its
origin in Africa. The art-form, having been influenced and adapted by the experi-
ences of enslaved Africans in the Diaspora, has been fused in the vortex of
plantation society. Today, the music of Carnival has evolved considerably, so that
the Calypso has become one of the cornerstones of the Carnival celebration, being
significantly influenced by this Carnivalesque tradition.
This paper looks at some aspects of those Calypsos that offer commen-
tary on the socio-political and/or economic issues in the Republic of Trinidad and
Tobago (Trinbago), recognizing them as bedded in the popular practice of ritual
resistance. It examines the developments in the field of dispute resolution show-
ing how this specific sub-set of Calypsonians can legitimately be situated in the
field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It shows how, through the me-
dium of these Calypsos, the skilful Calypsonian, using verbal creativity, freely
comments on aspects of Trinbago's everyday life, exposing scandals of politicians
and the rich, while recounting gossip, as they redress the powerful. This work
argues that Calypsonians, using this localised language that is steeped in colloqui-
alisms, to sing on the prevailing socio-political and economic ills within Trinbago,
function as liminal-servants in an Indigenous, Non-Formal, Community Conflict
Management Mechanism.
Indo-Caribbean Social Identity, L.Roopnarine
This article examines the social identity of Indo-Caribbean people. It
recognizes that over the last century, Indo-Caribbean people have gradually be-
come creolized in a predominantly African Caribbean. Yet, this represents only


one small aspect of Indo-Caribbean social identity. The prevailing view is that
Indo-Caribbean people have developed an identity that sets them apart from other
ethnic groups in the Caribbean. Indo-Caribbean social identity can be conceptual-
ized at four levels: ethno-local, ethno-national, ethno-trans-Caribbean, and ethno-
universal. Interestingly, these identities are not only found in the Caribbean but
also in the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora.
African Caribbean Immigrants in The United Kingdom: The Legacy of Racial
Disadvantage, Marcia E. Sutherland
African Caribbeans began migrating from the West Indies to the United
Kingdom between 1914 and 1939. This descriptive and multi-disciplinary paper
examines how institutionalized racism impacted on African Caribbean migrants
and their offspring in the areas of housing, education, mental health, and the
criminal justice system. A 'time/distance' conceptual framework guides the pre-
sent discourse on the processes by which African Caribbeans' racially subordinate
positioning occurred in British society. This paper concludes with recommenda-
tions for the personal and collective development of African Caribbeans.


Lomarsh Roopnarine

Motayo Olorun
toba -Oju

Marcia E. Sutherland

E. M. Phillips

is Assistant Professor, History and Sociology, University
of the Virgin Islands

is Senior Lecture,Dept of Modem European
Languages,University of Ilorin,llorin, Nigeria

is Professor, Departments of Africana Studies and
Psychology, State University of New York at

is Lecturer, Dept. of Law, London School of
Economics, U.K.


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