Discussion of class readings

In our cafe discussion group, we discussed the second question. We started off by discussing hybridity and determined that a “hybrid” was a sort of half-breed kind of person, a mixture of different peoples and cultures. One quote that we talked about a lot was this: “In theorizing postcolonial subjectivity, Bhaba (1994) argues that the hybrid subject contains within itself its own difference and thus the possibility of counter-hegemonic resistance. It is always already not just both self and other, one and two, but a ‘third thing’ which is not a simple synthesis or fusion, since the elements do not match neatly; they are jagged, unequal, resistant to integration.” (p. 333) Bhaba’s point in talking about hybridity is that it is only for people of power and wealth. The people who will have access to articles that are written about other people are generally those in the dominant group. The articles are written for them, by them, and about one subordinate group or another. These so called “hybrid” groups do not see themselves as hybrids, they see themselves as a regular group of people with their own culture. They identify with their culture and see it as a part of them, so they do not see it as a combination of other cultures. Hybridity is nothing but a statement to the post modern world we live in, where it is influenced by many different cultures, resulting in the array of peoples and cultures we have now.

After talking about hybridity, we moved on to try to define creole. To be creole is to essentially have two different identities coexisting inside of you, operating under the same name. Originally, a “creole” was anyone of European or African descent that was born in the new world. It eventually melded into being a person of European and African descent born in the new world. This was all part of the process of creolization where African and European cultures fused in the West Indies, and Spanish America, creating a whole new culture. Bhaba talks about a “new space” that is created when two different cultures meld to form another culture, a third culture. This is the “third space” that is created. The third space is a sense of place where a person thinks they belong in society. The people who are creole have lost the place they are from, Europe and Africa, and have created a new cultural space which is where they are actually from. When there is such a mixing of culture, eventually they cannot be identified as one culture or the other and they become a whole new culture that is identified as something new. This new space is where new cultural identities have the freedom to form.

Douglas are another group of people that are trying to establish their own identity, specifically one that is separate from creole. “Many Indo-Trinidadians. . . do not want to be part of the label ‘Creole’” (p. 340). “In the past few years, Indo-Trinidadians have become even more strident in their demand that the cultural icons of the society be restructured to reflect the fact that Trinidad and Tobago is a multicultural and not a monocultural society” (p. 340). These two quotes exemplify the desire of those of Indian descent to be separate from the rest of the country. Indians in Trinidad want to protect their cultural heritage and often frown upon the mixing of people, because they do not want their culture to be lost too much to other people.

Another group of people that we talked about in our group were mestizajes. They are people of mixed European and native descent. In addition to creoles and douglas, mestizajes are another group of people that are labeled, to show that they are not part of the dominant group. All of these people are descendants of people that are in the dominant group, but the dominant group does not want them as part of them. By assigning labels to other groups, the dominant group is able to preserve what they perceive to be their culture. The dominant group is not the only group to do this though, the other groups exclude others to maintain their own culture as well. Indians in Trinidad frown upon the douglarization of their people because they want to keep their Indian culture pure, without any outside influence from other cultures. Through the process of douglarization, and creolization, new cultures are being formed yes, but culture is also being preserved. When these new groups are “formed”, they take with them pieces of the cultures that they develop from. This freezes a moment in that old cultures time, and brings a piece of it into the new culture that is then preserved as a new cultural norm.

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