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Problems Facing the Caribbean Societies

The Caribbean societies face several problems, which are attributable to the legacies of the system of slavery, including male marginalization, violence, crime, gender issues, and male identity. During slavery, the Caribbean societies suffered the most since they were the targets of colonialists given the productivity of their lands and the availability of reliable labor.

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The able men were taken away to work in mining and agricultural fields in the United States and Europe leaving behind the weaker men and women who were helpless and vulnerable. Even after the abandonment of slavery several years ago, the Caribbean societies continue to face the challenges, with male marginalization and violence being the major ones (Reddock, 2008).

In this essay, the two major problems facing the Caribbean societies are discussed, with the major purpose of explaining the ways in which slavery played a role in propagating these problems. In the colonial era, women were left with no alternative other than taking charge of families after their men were taken away. They had to seek alternative sources of survival since they could no longer rely on their husbands, something that introduced a unique culture where women were perceived to be the heads of families.

On the other hand, the colonial masters unleashed terror to the locals with an aim of ensuring they did not unite to fight a common enemy. The slave masters incited locals against each other, as this allowed the colonialists to rule easily. In the contemporary society, violence is the major impediment to development in the Caribbean, as governments are under tight control of militia groups that sustain their operations through engagement in illegal businesses, especially the ones related to drug and human trafficking.

The major issues addressed in the paper include

  • colonial policies that gave women advantage over men
  • education system that has always favored women in the post-slavery era
  • Insufficient government policy to deal with violence and crime in the region

In the Caribbean societies, males have prior rights to the state resources since they are simply considered as clients and citizens. The state adopted the colonial policies that marginalize males as far as economic and political activities are concerned in the public domain.

The establishment of strong feminist movements and lobby groups are to blame for the marginalization of men since they suggested radical measures that are unfavorable to men in family set ups. Based on this, many men are unable to explain their identities appropriately leading to crises, such as homosexuality and marginalization in education. Teaching in the Caribbean societies is characterized by feminism, something that serves to marginalize men in education (Barriteau, 2000).

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Coeducation is a major policy in the education sector whereby it is believed boys and girls cannot perform better in single sex schools. The colonial policies interfered with the socialization of men in the sense that they adjusted their sexual behaviors, the education system, and the way crime is perceived. Colonialists wanted society to believe that the Caribbean men are irresponsible terming them as non-committal to the family responsibilities. Women objected the idea of living such men preferring instead to have various partners.

Consequently, the Caribbean men have always underperformed academically leading to the problem of identity, as society no longer views education as part of the standards of masculinity, especially in secondary and tertiary institutions. In many universities, women outshine their male counterparts since they come out with first class honors (Bunce, 2000). Unfortunately, men try to enter into the formal and informal sectors with insufficient education, which poses a serious security threat.

Since men perform poorly in academics, they resort to crime to fulfill their ambitions and desires. They always realign themselves with local political parties owned by elites who control the means of production. Such parties have special youth wings that engage in violence with competing groups.

Since a number of Caribbean men are unable to achieve their dreams through legally permitted means, they prefer joining the street gangs whose major business is hustling and engaging in cocaine business (Elkins, 2000). Men try their best to please women yet they have insufficient education hence the only way of sustaining their expensive lives is through crime. The socialization process trains men to be tough, heroic, and courteous, something that has contributed to proliferation of male identity. In the colonial era, men were prepared to serve the master and this demanded some toughness and courtesy.

Education was not necessary to carry out assignments assigned by the colonial master since such tasks were mainly related to manual labor. In the post-slavery society, the boy child was trained to tackle life in the same way as his father hence education was never given a chance to change the fortunes of males (Natasha, & Dwayne, 2007). Political activities in these societies are based on hooliganism and barbarism hence the youths have no role models. Investing in the Caribbean societies is a very dangerous undertaking because the shareholder has to be in good terms with street gangs.


Barriteau, E. (2000). Re-examining issues of ‘male marginalization’ and masculinity in the Caribbean: The Need for a New Policy approach. Centre for gender and development studies, 3(1), 25-41.

Bunce, V. (2000). Comparative democratization: big and bounded generalizations. Comparative Political Studies, 33(7), 703–734.

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Elkins, Z. (2000) Gradations of democracy? Empirical test of alternative conceptualizations. American Journal of Political Science, 44(2), 293–300.

Natasha, T. D., & Dwayne, W. (2007). What about Us? The Anglo-Caribbean Democratic Experience, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 45(2), 202-218.

Reddock, R. (2008). Women and Indentureship in Trinidad and Tobago 1845-1917: Freedom Denied. Caribbean Quarterly, 54(4), 40-60.

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