Caribbean individuals have both similarities and differences from non-Caribbean individuals. These similarities and differences are primarily related to the identity of the Caribbean individual. Nevertheless, identity is a broad term, which means that it covers several definite aspects. Such terms as language, culture, and territorial origin could describe the identity of an individual and thus could provide differences and similarities between the identity of a Caribbean and non-Caribbean individual.
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The Caribbean Sea has emerged at the crossroads of trade and immigrants. Due to the small size and openness of these immigrant islands, external influences can constantly infiltrate and invade. However, the Caribbean people were able to build a lasting identity around their local villages and towns, despite the ever-changing sands. The Caribbean was infused with ethnographic identities that gave special meaning to the region and to various residential groups based on the history of slavery, employment contracts, and plantations.
The ethnic identity of the community always negotiates with cross-border self-assertion. Caribbean residents and foreigners have developed a multifaceted Caribbean identity that proves that survival in today’s world requires simultaneity in multiple locations. The Caribbean is actually the place where the people of the Caribbean live, whether it’s the Caribbean islands or the major cities of the world. Ethnic identity arises from a collective group consciousness that conveys the sense of belonging that arises from belonging to a community that appears to be linked by a common ancestor and culture (Benmayor and Skotnes 2017). It gives the individual a sense of belonging and makes the group feel connected as a subjective phenomenon.
The Caribbean identity could be described in several ways; thus, there are several important aspects that make Caribbean people different from non-Caribbean people. The first aspect that distinguishes a Caribbean individual is their territorial origin. State-based loyalty is one of the primary levels of identification. Collective attribution takes a more physical and territorial form at this level, with a distinctly recognizable permanent difference. It focuses on the administrative boundaries that colonial power has created for its own administrative convenience. The territorial origins of the Caribbean people contribute to the building of their identity (Berman-Arévalo, 2018). Since there were clusters of separate islands or adjacent islands, it was relatively easy to create separate groups of people for administrative units.
The next difference between a Caribbean and a non-Caribbean individual is related to their cultural identity. The next level of identification is related to the fact that territorial regions or cultural communities usually represent more meaningful bonds. Culture makes the main distinguishment of the Caribbean identity (Hall 2020). It is most clearly depicted in geographically vast, culturally diverse, and ethnically broken states such as Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, the Dominican Republic, and Belize in the Caribbean. The identities of these territories are often based on a patchwork of major cultural differences.
Despite the fact that there are certain differences due to the historical backgrounds, such as geographical origin and culture among the community, one of the similarities could be referred to as language. Caribbean people speak different languages depending on the region and the colonization events. Regional identity is a linguistic boundary that primarily includes clusters of Caribbean republics (Murdoch 2021). Language is the most obvious and important factor in distinguishing Caribbean people into a wide range of interaction groups throughout the Caribbean. Since the Caribbean people had spoken the language of the colonizer, they had the same language as, for example, British people (Clarke 2021). During the process of colonization, the geographical territory of the Caribbean Sea was narrowed to the linguistic territory of imperial rule, and the interaction between the inhabitants of a particular region was more pronounced than among the geographically adjacent islanders belonging to different linguistic territories.
Benmayor, Rina, and Andor Skotnes. “Some reflections on migration and identity.” In Migration & identity, pp. 1-18. Routledge, 2017.
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Berman-Arévalo, Eloisa. 2018. “Making Space in the” Territorial Cracks.” Afro-Campesino Politics of Land and Territory in the Colombian Caribbean.” Ph.D. diss., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Clarke, Yasmine. 2021. “‘Mixed white and Black Caribbean’millennials in Britain: An exploration of identity.” Counseling and Psychotherapy Research.
Hall, Stuart. 2020. Cultural identity and diaspora. Routledge.
Murdoch, H. Adlai. 2021. “DIASPORA, CREOLIZATION, AND THE BOUNDARIES OF CARIBBEAN IDENTITY.” Diasporas, Cultures of Mobilities,‘Race’1: Diasporas and Cultures of Migrations: 271.