Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

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Henrice Altink
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Informed by Critical Race Theory and based on a wide range of sources, including official sources, memoirs, and anthropological studies, this book examines multiple forms of racial discrimination in Jamaica and how they were talked about and experienced, from the end of the First World War until the demise of democratic socialism in the 1980. It also pays attention to practices devoid of racial content but which equally helped to sustain a society stratified by race and colour, such as voting qualifications. Case studies on, amongst others, the labour market, education, the family and legal system demonstrate the extent to which race and colour shaped social relations in the island in the decades preceding and following independence and argue that racial discrimination was a public secret - everybody knew it took place but few dared to openly discuss or criticise it. The book ends with an examination of race and colour in contemporary Jamaica to show that after independence race and colour have lost little of their power and offers some suggestions to overcome the silence on race to facilitate equality of opportunity for all.