It’s the spirit of our culture…Ethos. And when it comes to race and ethnicity … oh boy! Don’t we as a Caribbean people have an unmistakable spirit? So a few weeks ago African Awareness Month was noted and in a few days some of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean will be celebrating Indian Arrival Day. It seems as good a time as any then to explore ‘our Caribbean race ethos.’
African and East Indian heritage are only two of the many peoples that make up our spirited racial diaspora. The big question though is; how are we doing as this melting pot of races that we are, both in individual locations and collectively as a region?
Life presents many challenges. And for the Caribbean whether we like it or not, race will always be a challenge. Why? Well, race is a means of subdividing our human species, so race by its very nature is divisive. This is even for the most non-prejudice and embracing and tolerant among us. And … how is race recognized? Why, by our physical traits of course… something that we cannot help but notice. Now add to that, the fact of our history, where the African slaves for political and power dynamics were made to feel physically inferior and the house slaves or mixed slaves were made to feel superior so that they would associate more with the slave master and consider themselves better…. and there you have us as a people today where
Light skin is right
Curly and straight hair is quite a sight
And if you marry white or light you marry alright….. So we have been trained to be divided.
And in comes our politicians of today who might want to use our history in order in power to stay … and there you have our spirit of race ethos in the Caribbean … ‘divide and conquer’ … ‘get light get right’ ….
How can we ever form a society?
While what has been shared so far might be offensive to some, those of us who seek progressive exploration will find we are nodding along this article … so what is our race going to be for us? Is it Repeating A Created Existence? Or is it going to be an appreciation and respect for the history of each … while creating alongside it … a location culture in each isle and then a regional culture of the Caribbean. Our race and racial history whatever it is cannot be altered but our ethnicity can surely be built. And a society, a real functioning society, is founded upon a unique common culture, goal, mission and way of organization. Therein is our strength.
There is the option to keep out rightly or subtly focusing upon race which by its very nature cannot help but divide us within locations and among locations because that is what it was meant to do. But the sooner we recognize how this intensifies the challenges for us all, we can love and respect our race, and those of others and work to creating the Caribbean of tomorrow that our children will love to embrace because of its warm and nurturing spirit. With each new child there is hope.
Racial Integrity is the ability to be honest about our own racial background fully embracing it while keeping it in perspective to live honestly and honourably with others.
By Kerriann Toby
Kerriann Toby holds a Master of Counselling and Bachelor of Psychology. She is a dynamic therapist, trained mediator; and educator since 2000. In addition to being a trained educator, mediator and therapist, she is a certified Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Professional. Kerriann has also trained in cybercounselling and holds clinical registration with Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) & Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).
In mid-October 2015 she initiated operations of KarryOn geared toward the provision of a variety of enhancement and developmental services for the individual, groups and the organization; e-Coaching/Counseling, Mediation, EAP Services and the creative presentation of psycho-social information. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org