Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

Caribbean Bodies

I enjoyed the class activity where we analyzed the pictures of the different peoples on plantations in Trinidad. It was a powerful activity in closely looking at the bodies of the peoples, and their differences and similarities. While some looked very much African, some appeared to more closely resemble Indian bodies. We all seemed to make these assumptions in class based on the features and structures of these people. This resonated with me as I do similar things when I look at my diverse family from Barbados. I look at my Grandma and her features and indicate that she is a Caribbean women who looks more European and white, whereas some of my cousins look and have features that are completely different. Similarly, on of my uncles, I look at and associate him more with African and sometimes Jamaican men. It is extremely powerful what associations and connections you can make in visual appearances,  even though they might not always be accurate. We looked at clothing and other apparel a lot in this activity, and that is something I have not done in looking at my family members. It would be interesting to look at what they wear and how they wear certain clothes, and continue to make connections and associations.

3 Comments

  1. I really liked how you used a personal anecdote to relate our class discussion to your everyday life. In class, it was difficult to tell which person was African and which was Indian, due to their similar hair color and how they looked in a greyscale photo. I think its true that we make assumptions based on the appearances of people and their characteristics such as hair texture and worn apparel. Also, I feel like looking at people’s skin color, hair texture, and how they dress and using this information to make an assumption on where they are from is inherently unethical and leads to assumptions made and stereotypes related to these.

  2. This lecture was super eye opening for me. My grandma is a travel agent and she takes us all around the world. In each country we go to the people are so diverse. Every country’s people of today shows the history of multiculturalism in the country. The people of Trinidad have so much history from the African slaves and the indentured servants. Now today we see the history in the features of the people.

  3. I appreciate that you mention how sometimes conclusions based on visual appearances can be inaccurate, because I feel like this is relevant to the times we live in today. For example, how many black bodies have been brutalized due to false assumptions made by the police in the past years? Or black women that have been unfairly judged as loud and aggressive simply for looking a certain way. I could give more examples, but it is important to realize the broader implications that visual appearances and the stereotypes that go along with them have on us. So the next time you look at your diverse family members, I challenge you to go further and think about some of the assumptions made about their appearances and the consequences they have on their lives.

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