Sunday, January 22, 2006

Caribbean Scribes against Racism

Born 1913
Martinique, caribbean

We are by definition complicated beings. That is the general rule for any society but one that is particularly applicable in the case of societies where complex layers of sediment have been laid down as a result of the inequalities of colonial life. Not everything was negative, far from it. The hybridization of which we are the outcome has achievements and positive values to its credit wherein the West and Europe also had their share. There was, as I say, a positive side, the effects of which were only belatedly felt by the non-Europeans but which are undeniable and in which we are simultaneously agents and partners - and, I should add, sometimes the beneficiaries as well….”

Born Martinique, Caribbean
in 1925
Crossed over
"...Racism is not the whole but the most visible, and the crudest element of a given structure...

Racism is not the whole but the most visible, the most day-to-day and, not to mince matters, the crudest element of a given structure...

To study the relations of racism and culture is to raise the question of their reciprocal action. If culture is the combination of motor and mental behavior patterns arising from the encounter of man with nature and with his fellow-man, it can be said that racism is indeed a cultural element. There are thus cultures with racism and cultures without racism.

This precise cultural element, however, has not become encysted. Racism has not managed to harden. It has had to renew itself, to adapt itself, to change its appearance. It has had to undergo the fate of the cultural whole that informed it.

The vulgar, primitive, over-simple racism purported to find in biology - the Scriptures having proved insufficient - the material basis of the doctrine. It would be tedious to recall the efforts then undertaken- the comparative form of the skulls, the quantity and the configuration of the folds of the brain, the characteristics of the cell layers of the cortex, the dimensions of the vertebrae, the microscopic appearance of the epiderm, etc....

Intellectual and emotional primitivism appeared as a banal consequence, a recognition of existence...."
may the ancestors be pleased


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