In order for us to understand the Caribbean, we must acknowledge the tremendous social impact slavery placed upon the islands. We must not only consider the practice of slavery dating back to the indigenous peoples, but from what the introduction of the African slave trade did to the islands economically as well as culturally. In this paper let me reflect on slavery in the Caribbean not from an economical standpoint but, from the racial or what Knight calls ‘complextional mutations’ its social impact on society.
Let us discuss historian Benitez-Rojo’s approach to the Caribbean, he tends to reject a single cultural definition of the Caribbean, believing that all the islands have a differing cultural structure referring to its original colonizer. However, he subliminally states in his book The Repeating Island that all the islands hold more in common than the plantation system. He says ..."the multiplication of the Plantation-each case a different one-brought to the Caribbean was such that the Caribbean peoples themselves, in referring to the ethnological process that derived from the extraordinary collision of the races and cultures, produced, speak of syncretism, acculturation, transculturation, assimilation, deculturation, indigenization, creolization, cultural mestizaje, cultural cimarronaje, cultural miscegenation, cultural resistance etc." This idea falls in line with Knight; Knight introduces the Spanish to the history of the Caribbean, as the Caribbean being their conquest. The Spanish, in the name of Christianity, under Queen Isabella and King Ferninad attempt to colonize the Caribbean. They force assimilation trying to re-create the social and political pattern...
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...tresses the Jamaican’s separation from the outside world. Yet, he a Jamaican man is in a field of his own within his culture. He tends to separate himself from the African, African-American, all that seems to be ‘barbarian’, and ‘ignorant’. He separates himself from what he has been ‘educated’ or rather ‘mis-educated’ about. His own History. He separates himself unknowingly, for he is a black colonized person living within certain parameters that tend to cloud his judgement. This is the legacy left to us by the institution of slavery in the Caribbean.
Benitez-Rojo, Antonio: "The Repeating Island" Duke University Press
Knight, Franklin W., : "The Caribbean The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism" Oxford University Press
Cliff, Michelle: "Abeng" Plume Books
Beckles and Shepherd: "Caribbean Slave Society ad Economy" The New Press, New York
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