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Making Of The WestIndies

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Published on January 17, 2008

Author: Rachele

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Emergence of Race, Biology, and Racism in Plantation America:  Emergence of Race, Biology, and Racism in Plantation America Lecture 5 Produced With Kathleen Van Vlack Lecture Goals: To Describe:  Lecture Goals: To Describe New World concepts of race as they were socially constructed and culturally incorporated after 1492. Introduce the concept Plantation-America or the kitchen gardens of Europe; or How did the East Indies get west = West Indies? Plantation-America: The Concept:  Plantation-America: The Concept Charles Wagley (1957) said that Plantation-America was a useful concept for talking about places where this form of economic activity dominated social relations and cultural formation. The plantation is a form of industrial agriculture totally orientated to cash crop production and export to remote markets. The economy is initially driven by mercantilism but in later periods is driven by new hegemonic relationships with other regionally powerful nations. In general, the plantations were dominated by people who were initially from African; but in some areas large percentages of the local labor force was from Asia. Indo-America (Red) and Plantation America (Green):  Indo-America (Red) and Plantation America (Green) Some Characteristics of Plantation - America:  Some Characteristics of Plantation - America Sugar has been most important commercial crop. Factories-in-the field or industrial agriculture. Rigid Class Lines that value different phenotypes. Multiracial = multitude of social race categories. Family = matrifocal, consensual unions. Gardening important = domestic backyards key. Marketing dominated by women. Similar music – derived from Africa. Folklore = animal stories rabbit, fox, tortoise and spider; Uncle Remus are probably African. NOTE: While subsequent scholars have chipped away at Wagley’s list of characteristics, the list represents social science thinking at a point in time and some of these very early characteristics have stood the test and remain fairly accurate generalizations about this culture sphere (area). Wagley1957 Race : Does it Exist?:  Race : Does it Exist? Despite the world wide acceptance and use of race as a biological definition of people, most anthropologists and human biologists say that race does not exist. Race is instead a social construction that takes from and imposes on biological characteristics of existing human populations. Phenotype (surface) and Genotype (DNA) = most of what we are as biological beings is not seen on the outside of our bodies. Race as a biological concept may have more accurately reflected biological differences among peoples in the distant past, but since the beginning of world-wide movements of peoples what value it may have had as a human descriptor has greatly diminished. [ See special issue of Scientific American December 2003 for more readings. Especially Bamshad and Olsen 2003 and Lehrman 2003 for detailed arguments] Uses of the Social Constructions of Race:  Uses of the Social Constructions of Race Humans use the concept of race to explain differences in behavior; define “we-ness” vs. “otherness;” compete for natural and social resources; and rationalize actions against or with other people. The New American Races:  The New American Races Indio-America and Afro-America are race-based terms used to define cultural areas. Key here is how many Indian people survived depopulation. In general terms, higher elevations retained more Indian people than coastal lowlands. African (later Asian) peoples were brought in as laborers only where needed. New American Races:  New American Races Key in the Emergence of New American Races is the # of remaining Indian people (note = population nadir is reached at different times in different regions) and the number of arriving Europeans, Africans, and Asians. Woodrow Borah (1976) studied the numerical size and rate of emigration from Spain, Portugal, France, England, and Africa to the New World. He calculated the resulting biological impacts of each of these peoples on the subsequent generations of peoples in these lands. Dobyns (1976, 1987) also argues that unique biological combinations of peoples occurred in the New World and this was so common that it invalidated previous definitions of race. Triracial & Tricultural Societies:  Triracial & Tricultural Societies There is a growing literature on peoples and ways of life that did (do) not fit easy racial and cultural categories. Early anthropology wanted to look at “pure” societies that were not “mixed” with other societies. Cultural areas formed by biologically and culturally mixtures of African-Americans, American Indians, and Euro-Americas were deemed mixed and not worthy of study. Social Construction of Race:  Social Construction of Race How many racial categories are there in a society? The answer says something about its history, social structure, and future? Why do societies make and retain racial categories for their citizens and for others? Let’s look at the 1937 massacre of Haitians along the Dominican Republic boarder. Making a National Border The 1937 Dominican Genocide of Haitians:  Making a National Border The 1937 Dominican Genocide of Haitians Source CIA World Fact Book Hispaniola Topography:  Hispaniola Topography en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispaniola Monte Cristi Santo Domingo Port-au-Prince Buen Hombre Some 18th & 19th Century Historic Milestones:  Some 18th & 19th Century Historic Milestones Mid-1700s Maroon Haitian slaves, more than 3000, escaped from Haiti to occupy the DR border areas and thus constituted the majority of people in the Dominican border towns. 1789 – Beginning of the French revolution. 1795 France acquired title to entire island of Hispaniola with treaty with Spain. 1804 Haiti became independent from France becoming the first independent Caribbean colony. It new leader, Jean Jacques Dessalines was made governor for life and inaugurated his rule with a massacre of all the whites (Encyclopedia Britannica 1910:824-827). 1822 – 1844 Haiti occupied the DR which was owned by Spain. 1865 DR became independent from Spain and the border had a power vacuum permitting Haitians to occupy and control the central region of the frontier. Source: Derby 1994: 497, 498, 499, 501, 502 Events and Images in 20th Century History:  Events and Images in 20th Century History 1907 United States established and staffed customs houses along the H-DR border to recover non-payment of loans by the DR government. 1907 DR established border police – Guardia de Frontera. 1910 The Encyclopedia Britannica (1910:825 -826) images Haiti to the intellectual world when it says “Haiti is one of the most interesting communities in the world, as it is the earliest and most successful example of a state peopled, and governed on a constitutional model, by negroes.” “ The people are almost entirely pure-blood negroes, the mulattoes, who form about 10% of the population, being a rapidly diminishing and much-hated class. The negroes are a kindly, hospitable people, but ignorant and lazy. They have a passion for dancing weird African dances to the accompaniment of the tom-tom.” This authoritative statement reflects a hundred year old perspective in western society. Especially important is the observation that the 1910 EB was and is an authority on the events of history but leaves the reader with little more than traveler stereotypes with which to understand the people of Haiti. There was little to no social science of Caribbean society at this time that could be used to inform or refute such images. 20th Century Events:  20th Century Events 1912 DR law made Spanish the official language of the nation. 1915-1934 US Occupation of Haiti. 1920 City government of Monte Cristi petitioned for the free passage of Haitians because they were absolutely indispensable for commerce. 1937 DR massacred the “Haitians” living in the DR along the border. The DR – Haiti Border Society:  The DR – Haiti Border Society Although the two countries have always been rivals, the border has always been marginal to both capitals. DR border economy was cattle or coffee and domestic use agriculture. Haitians dominated trade, commercial production, and finance. Most DR border residents looked to Haiti for needed services and even education. DR males on the border tended to have co-wives, the second one being Haitian. This dual-marriage system arose during slavery and was common throughout the West Indies. [see R. T. Smith 1987] Both Haitians and Dominicans developed fictive kinship ties, or compradazgo, with powerful Dominican caudillos or godparents. Similar fictive kinship were established horizontally within communities. A long-standing law was that if you were born in the DR you were a citizen. Source: Derby 194: Trujillo, Identity, Race, Social Class and the Haitian Massacre:  Trujillo, Identity, Race, Social Class and the Haitian Massacre Haiti and the Dominican Republic had a co-dependent relationship with each other until 1937. Trujillo was ashamed of his Haitian ancestry. It is rumored he wore pancake make-up to lighten the traces of color his Haitian grandmother's blood had left in his skin. Dominican society still snubbed him for his working-class family origins. What was the Build-up to the Massacre? :  What was the Build-up to the Massacre? The United States occupied the DR in November of 1916 and lasted to 1924. The consciousness of a population of outsiders in the border population began as a result of American efforts to classify that population. Americans employed a sharply defined system of racial, social, and territorial boundaries. US had only Black and White of races at the time, while societies in the Caribbean had up to a dozen racial classifications. US occupiers imposed new laws based on values foreign to the DR, especially the borderlands. Imposition of capitalism vs non-commoditized agriculture and product exchanges. Imposition of fee-simple-title vs communal lands – generational lands. New taxes imposed on locals combined with a campaign to teach a morality of paying taxes. Laws prohibiting gambling and vagrancy. Cockfights were confined to Sundays and holidays. No witchcraft, hoodooism, or superstitious or deceitful methods in popular medicine. Forced labor on public projects. Mandatory education. Laws redefined “public” and “private” spheres and degree of public agency over these realms. Most of these laws were passed early in Trujillo’s regime after 1930. Source Derby : 505 The 1937 Massacre of Haitians in the DR:  The 1937 Massacre of Haitians in the DR US modernization meant building symbols of the 20th century such as roads, schools, prisons, post offices, homes for insane; even if these were not useful to the rural, agricultural, horse drawn society. When the US marines left the DR they created a political vacuum which was filled by the Dictator Trujillo who created a race-based environment focused on Haitians. Haitians cannot speak the rolled Spanish “r” pronouncing “l” instead, so the essentialization of being a Haitian was the request to pronounce two Spanish words with rolled “r.” Those persons who failed and were phenotypically African were lined up immediately and shot. The Haitian Massacre:  The Haitian Massacre Trujillo made his intentions clear on October 2, 1937 in the town of Dajabón where he held a dance in his honor. He told the crowd that he had a solution to the Haitian problem. 30,000 of Haitians were killed in the massacre. Most of this massacre took place around the border town of Dajabón and the aptly re-named Massacre River. A person standing in Massacre River Response to the Massacre:  Response to the Massacre The community of Buen Hombre contained a large number of “Haitians” who were shot in front of their friends and families the “Dominicans.” Buen Hombre Today, A Coastal Settlement :  Buen Hombre Today, A Coastal Settlement Buen Hombre Views:  Buen Hombre Views Buen Hombre, A People Who Rejected Race:  Buen Hombre, A People Who Rejected Race Buen Hombre, A Family & A Home:  Buen Hombre, A Family & A Home Buen Hombre, Head of the Fishing Association and His Family:  Buen Hombre, Head of the Fishing Association and His Family Buen Hombre, Families:  Buen Hombre, Families Family Photos:  Family Photos More Families:  More Families The Dominican-Haitian Border Today:  The Dominican-Haitian Border Today People from Haiti still cross the border into the Dominican Republic seeking a better life. As a response to the massacre, people in many border towns have reject the concept of race. Haitians in the town of Dajabón A Point:  A Point Not only can race and racial policies be socially constructed through the process of essentializing, imaging and distancing, but humans can (within certain constraints) just say no to race and its implications. References:  References Borah, Woodrow (1976) The Mixing of Populations. In First Images of America: The Impact of the New World on the Old. By Fredi Chiappelli, M. Allen and R. Benson (eds.) Pp 707-722. Derby, Lauren (1994) Haitians, Magic, and Money: Raza and Society in the Haitian-Dominican Borderlands, 1900 to 1937. Comparative Studies in Society and History 36(3): 488-526. Dobyns, Henry (1976) Brief Perspective on a Scholarly Transformation. Ethnohistory 23(2): 95-104. Dobyns, H. (1987) Demographics of Native American History. In The American Indian and the Problem of History by Calvin Martin (ed). References:  References Smith, R. T. (1987) Hierarchy and Dual Marriage System in the West Indian Society. In Gender and Kinship: essays Towards a Unified Analysis. By Jane F. Collier and Sylvia J. Yanagisako (eds). Pp.163-196. Wagley, Charles (1957) Plantation-America: A Cultural Sphere. In Caribbean Studies: A Symposium. By Vera Rubin (ed.) Pp. 3-13. References for DR:  References for DR Dosal, David 2002 “The Caribbean War: The United States in the Caribbean, 1898-1998,” Cercles 5: 39-55 Roora, Eric Paul 1998 The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930-1945. Durham: Duke University Press. United States State Department 2006 The Good Neighbor Policy http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/id/17341.htm Wood, Bryce 1985 Dismantling of the Good Neighbor Policy. Austin: University of Texas Press

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