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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Shepherd, Verene A.
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Department of History & Archaeology
Paper/Section Title
Migration, the ranking game and discourse of belonging in Jamaican history
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Proceedings Title
36th Annual Conference of the Association of Caribbean Historians
Date of Meeting
May- 17- 21 2004
Place of Meeting
Barbados
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Abstract
On February 3, 1950, the Jamaica Times published a letter from the Organizer- General of the Afro- West Indian League in which he stated that 'simply being born in Jamaica does not make one a Jamaica.n.....in the same way that a chicken hatched in an oven cannot be called bread'. This was a completely constructed metaphor for the claims and right of citizenship, to be read as a distinctive production of antagonistic cultural designs in mid- 20th century Jamaica. It spoke to who had the right of appropriate social space and to benefit from the material resources of that space; who had cultural legitimacy in a multi-cultural society that rested on the ideology of racial and ethnic inequality. It also showed clearly that while 'Creole' in the sense of being 'Jamaican' could imply unity and solidarity, 'Creole' as Percy Hintzen has observed, could also be inserted into a discourse of exclusion. This paper explores the context of the above statement, showing that it was rooted in the migration experiences of Indians in Jamaica; but it will also examine the historical roots of racial and cultural hierarchizing in Jamaica and the ways in which such a 'ranking game' was manifested in discourse surrounding 'belonging' even during the slavery era when Jamaican population displayed multi-ethnic features.....
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