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A Corrupted Nationalist Identity Essay

1744 words - 7 pages

For a group of people to live and strive together as one in sovereignty from others, there must be some shared sense of togetherness and freedom amongst them. Between countries and groups of individuals, this shared sense is known as nationalism. Nationalism, according to Anthony D. Smith, is “…the ideological movement for the attainment and maintenance of autonomy, cohesion, and individuality for a social group, some of whose members conceive it to be an actual or potential nation (28).” Simply put, nationalism centrally involves the attitudes, actions, and beliefs focused on a group’s collective identity as one. From its first movement in the late 18th centuries through American and French revolutions (Smith, 24), nationalism has risen to the very top of controversial debate. Benedict Anderson says it is a political imagined community (3), Richard Handler describes it as intangible boundaries taking tangible from through delimited space and time (6), and even Ernest Renan calls nationalism a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in the future (52).” In such regard to these theories, it is evident that the nationalism of a people is highly influenced by many factors of the people’s lifestyles. But what happens when the factors influencing a nation are distorted? Only a corrupted image of nationalism can arise from such causes. Sadly, such a thing exists in the Bahamas, and such is due to the historical, racial, and cultural factors that have been over the inhabitants of the nation for so many years.
The history of the Bahamas, for the most past, has been followed considerably by historians to further paint the mural of Bahamian past. But a stereotypical notion has shrouded the minds of its citizens, which is a product of the history citizens of the Bahamas have grown to accept and slowly embrace. In the magnum opus of ancient times in the Bahamas, a literary piece of work that recorded one’s recollections of life in the Bahamas during the late 1800’s takes center stage. Written by L. D. Powles, The Land of the Pink Pearl supplies the memories of a European magistrate and writer in a diary. When one reads closely, the following is found:
I attended the inspection of the school, where ninety-nine young darkies, of all ages, are educated. The pupils were examined in the three R's, and geography, history and music. The latter was evidently the favorite subject, and the children sang well. But it was funny to watch ninety-nine back youngsters singing such songs as ‘When the stormy winds do blow,’ and ‘The Blue Bells of Scotland’ (60).
Although Powles is like a foreigner looking into the window of an alien mirror, he identifies a very important factor here: there is true mocking in young Bahamian darkies (a demoralizing term) singing songs from another culture which were song by white individuals for their people only. Seeing something of this...

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