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The Caribbean!

 The perception of the Caribbean is very limited in the US
Commercial - Come Back to Jamaica - frozen in time, primitive paradise
Difference with 2nd commercial - poverty, political instability
Monolithic stereotype - strong accent, hairstyle, reggae music
      "fluidity of racial identity in Latin America and the Caribbean offers hope that the region's racial and ethnic tensions can be transcended"
One island, two countries
     Race, Culture and color in Haiti and Dominican Republic
     Haiti-first Black ruled country, when the Europeans left the lighter skinned were in charge
         Forced to unite in national Haitian identity, language, religion
"Social Capital" Trading status for lighter skinned partner
How is race and color different in the US?
     The economic gap between light-skinned and darker-skinned Blacks is similar to the gap between Whites and Blacks
"Jiggaboos, Wannabes, and Nappy Headed Hoes"

Journal Entry:

Today's class was very interesting because it illuminated a culture that I never knew very much about.  I distinctly remember in high school a day when there was a substitute teacher for one of my classes--a student made a comment about the teacher being Black, and was met with a surprisingly stern response, "I'm Nigerian-American, not Black."  The whole class was silent and confused, but the moment passed and we never had an experience like that again.  I remember my feeling that this man must have been ashamed of stereotypical perceptions others might put on him because he looks like any other "Black American" but does not think he is.  I think that now I have a more full understanding of the tensions that can arise between immigrant populations, Caribbean cultures, and Black identity in a diverse American setting. 

As I was reading the Waters article about adolescents and immigrant identity, the passage about "cultural inversion" truly stood out to me.  It described the tendency of involuntary minority groups (like Native Americans and Blacks) to resent and separate themselves from behaviors they feel are associated with "Whites," such as academic excellence and speaking standard English.  I hope that with examples like Obama and Oprah as role models for the Black community, "cultural inversion" will become less prevalent and different "faces" of Blackness will be accepted and respected especially in adolescent groups.



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