Race, nation and the politics of memory

Mary Chamberlain

in Empire and Nation-Building in the Caribbean

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078767
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701997 | DOI:
Race, nation and the politics of memory

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This chapter discusses the problem of racism in Barbados and the role played by it in nation-building. Race was the external marker of status and the internal regulator of attitudes of inferiority and superiority where white people dominated the legislative chambers and courtrooms and owned most of the land and the major businesses. Leisure spaces were segregated, access to secondary education was limited and certain shops, banks and residential people were out of bounds to black people. Racist attitudes were also institutionalised within the Colonial Civil Service and the Colonial Office and all the lineage of racism could be traced directly to slavery. For some, suffrage, democracy and self-government provided a way to create a nation out of this racially ruptured society which was finally achieved by the time of independence when the political, legal and judicial executive became pre-dominantly black.

Keywords: racism; nation-building; Colonial Civil Service; democracy; black people; legislative chambers; slavery; self-government

Chapter.  12119 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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