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Caribbean Culture And The Way It Formed

1190 words - 5 pages

Caribbean Culture and the Way it Formed

One of the greatest debates that exists today about the Caribbean is the condition of the socio-culture of the people. Sidney Mintz, Antonio Benitz-Rojo, and Michelle Cliff are three authors that comment on this problem in their writings. They discuss whether there is a lack of identify, unity and culture in the lives of Caribbean people. They examine a culture which was created out of the chaos of slavery, colonialism and the integration of cultures that span from Africa to India.

Exploration by the authors is taken from two different views, one by Mintz and Rojo where they are looking on the culture from outside and the other by Cliff who depicts the situation from inside. Sidney Mintz is social scientist that attempts to classify the Caribbean into its own typology in order to describe its socio-cultural structure, Antonio Benitz-Rojo is a Cuban literary critic that describes the Caribbean in terms of the chaos theory, and Michelle Cliff is a Jamaican that use the experiences of her life on the island to describe the status of the Caribbean existence.

Mintz and Rojo use the historical facts that led to the formation of what today is the Caribbean region and paint an overall picture of it that is very general and lacking personal experiences. Never is there the insertion of the experience of what it is like to live in the Caribbean. The two authors assume a great deal about the socio-cultural structure that exist based on the historical facts, facts that are clouded by the censorship of the imperialistic nations. Cliff uses the stories of the people of Jamaica to illustrate her point giving the reader a vivid picture that they can connect to, and allows them to decide what the socio-cultural structure of the region is.

This division between the two description is seen in the authors views about the effects of Plantations on the Caribbean region. Mintz and Rojo both see the effects of the Plantations and the slave labor as a positive on the region while Mintz sees the effects of the Plantations as a negative on the people of the region.

The existence of the plantations is what caused the present state of the Caribbean, "I think that the arrival and proliferation of the plantations is the most important historical phenomenon to have come about in the Caribbean, to the extent that if it had not occurred the islands of the region might today perhaps be miniature replicas-at least in demographic and ethnological terms-of the European nations that colonized them."(Rojo 39) With the need of slave labor, the European owners needed to bring in people to fill these needs. People were brought in from Africa, India and other parts of Asia, this caused the diverse integration’s of cultures that is present in the Caribbean.

Since the Caribbean was colonies of England, Spain, France and Netherlands the ruling nations of the islands were constantly changing hands. "-European conquest, the native...

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