"The past is still right here in the present": second-generation Bajan-Brit transnational migrants' views on issues relating to race and colour class
Potter, R. B. and Phillips, J. (2008) "The past is still right here in the present": second-generation Bajan-Brit transnational migrants' views on issues relating to race and colour class. Environment and Planning D-Society & Space, 26 (1). pp. 123-145. ISSN 0263-7758
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1068/d80j
This paper deals with second-generation Barbadians or 'Bajan-Brits', who have decided to,return' to the birthplace of their parents, focusing on their reactions to matters relating to race relations and racialised identities. The importance of race and the operation of the 'colour-class' system in the Caribbean are established at the outset. Based on fifty-two qualitative in-depth interviews, the paper initially considers the positive things that the second-generation migrants report about living in a majority black country and the salience of such racial affirmation as part of their migration process. The paper then presents an analysis of the narratives provided by the Bajan-Brits concerning their reactions to issues relating to race relations in Barbadian society. The impressions of the young returnees provide clear commentaries on what are regarded as (i) the 'acceptance of white hegemony' within Barbadian society, (ii) the occurrence of de facto 'racial segregation, (iii) perceptions of the 'existence of apartheid, and (iv) 'the continuation of slavery'. The account then turns to the contemporary operation of the colour-class system. It is concluded that, despite academic arguments that the colour-class dimension has to be put to one side as the principal dimension of social stratification in the contemporary Caribbean, the second-generation migrants are acutely aware of the continued existence and salience of such gradations within society. Thus, the analysis not only serves to emphasise the continued importance of racial-based stratification in the contemporary Caribbean, but also speaks of the 'hybrid' and 'in-between' racialised identities of the second-generation migrants.