Identity and Development: Some Evolutionary Trends and Orientations in the Caribbean Region
Delores Minerva Mortimer
J. Congress Mbata
Thesis DT 3.5 1974 M888
vi, 181 l. 28 cm.
The term “West Indian” evokes a multitude of images in the minds of individuals outside of the region. To some it suggests an area dotted by small tropical islands and peopled by ‘natives’ living idyllic lives. Others see the area as the economic domain of tourists catered to by smiling colored people ready to make a vacation the most memorable experience of one’s life. In either case, the West Indian is an anonymous but pleasant non-entity; a people without national identity whose cultures are no more than exotic adaptations of those in Europe.
Generally speaking, whatever view is held by the outsider, the end result is a stereotype of the territory and its people. The stereotype’s pervasive existence leads one to wonder how the West Indian views himself. The present study attempts to explore the West Indian concept of identity.
The first chapter begins with a short historical overview and description of the region. Later in the chapter we discuss the question of social stratification and in passing treat the subject of race and ethnicity.
Chapter two examines the political and economic strivings for a sense of community among the different islands and territories of the region. The discussion centers around the various associations and organizations that are part of the region’s socio-political history.
The third chapter focuses primarily upon creative literature. Perhaps more than any other cultural manifestation literature allows one to explore the inner workings of a people. Their histories, prejudices and pettiness as well as their grandeur can be viewed by using books as portals to their collective psyche.
No definitive conclusions have been advanced because of the diversity of the region as well as the length and depth of a study of this nature. As one from outside the region I have undoubtedly made statements within the body of this study which may ‘go against the grain’ of those whose experience and knowledge is better than mine. However, this study represents a tentative groping for an informed knowledge of the area, its problems and people, and should be considered in that light.
It is my hope to continue to gain insight into the West Indian experience that will reach far and above the needs of a student seeking academic credentials.
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