The Caribbean, a region usually exoticized and depicted as tropical and similar in its environmental ways, cannot be characterized as homogenous. Each individual island has their own diverse historical background when it comes to how and when they became colonized, which European country had the strongest influence on them, and the unique individual cultures that were integrated into one. The three authors Sidney W. Mintz, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, and Michelle Cliff, all and address the problem of the Caribbean’s identity. They each discuss how the Caribbean’s diverse culture was created and molded by each individual island’s history, how its society was molded by the development of plantations, how the Caribbean dealt with the issue of slavery, and how miscegenation and the integration of cultures, as a result of slavery, contributed to the region’s individualism in regards to culture. Colonialism and acculturation and their impacts on the Caribbean islands were also important issues discussed by Mintz, Benitez-Rojo, and Cliff.
Although Mintz, Benitez-Rojo, and Cliff have the same intention in analyzing the Caribbean, they all use different approaches. Mintz, a social scientist, uses the social approach to describing the region, while Benitez-Rojo, a literary analyst, uses the humanistic approach as he implements the "Chaos Theory" in his breakdown of the Caribbean’s history, and Cliff uses a more personal approach.
In The Caribbean as a Socio-cultural Area, Sidney W. Mintz emphasizes how it is inaccurate to describe the Caribbean as a "cultural" area due to its complicated history. Their culture can not be characterized as "unified" or "Pan-Caribbean." He states that "if by culture is meant a common body o...
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...were a positive aspect of the Caribbean culture because they created an economy in the primarily primitive Caribbean.
Mintz, Benitez-Rojo, and Cliff illustrate and reinforce the reasons why the Caribbean must not be confused as another homogeneous region of the world. With all the different characteristics and features that compose each individual island, each island deserves to have their own separate identities recognized and their history acknowledges. Of course, I believe that the integration of so many diverse cultures is what makes the Caribbean unique and special in its own way.
Benitez-Rojo, Antonio. The Repeating Island, Duke University, Durham & London, 1992.
Cliff, Michelle. Abeng. Penguin Group, 1984.
Mintz, Sidney W. The Caribbean as a Socio-Cultural Area, Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean, Garden City, New Jersey, 1971.
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