ESSENCE: “While some have questioned why Caribbean nationals should concern themselves with American problems, there are definite parallels between the two regions.”
The social unrest in the United States sparked by the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer has also set off protests around the world, including multiple islands across the Caribbean.
While some have questioned why Caribbean nationals should concern themselves with American problems, there are definite parallels between the two regions.
After all, it was in the Caribbean that the model of chattel enslavement as an economic system for profit generation and extraction was developed and implemented in the 1600s. This system legally classified all Black people as property to be bought, sold and exploited. This system was subsequently expanded beyond the Caribbean when enslaved Africans arrived in the United States. The wealth of America was built on the backs of their forced labor.
The false ideas that Black people are not human and that Black lives are dispensable was created by this slavery system and has permeated communities for centuries. It is that idea that allowed a police officer to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
The Caribbean, a formerly colonized region of more than 25 countries, is still wrestling with its own lingering issues of classism, colorism, and racism. However, the ideals of togetherness and sentiments of being “one people” that are widely celebrated throughout island nations often overshadow these deep rooted issues, which stem from the eras of slavery and colonialism.
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