An easy to understand presentation that explains creolisation, describes cultural, racial and religious hybridisation, and the theories put forward by Edward Kamau Brathwaite to explain European domination strategies
HybridisationAFTER 1492: The work of the interlopers became important because they brought with them other European forms of culture, as well as politics and this led to the further expansion of cultural diversity in the Caribbean. When there is cultural diversity there will be mixing and interaction which is called hybridisation. Sometimes hybridisation and creolisation are used interchangeably. Hybridisation is the taking of two unique, original cultures and mixing it to obtain a new culture. This suggests that there‟ll be elements of both cultures visible in the product. In this modified version you would have groups giving up their cultural uniqueness and would begin to integrate into a more creole society. This giving up of cultural elements suggests that cultural erasure would occur.EX: long ago East Indian women always wore an orhni on their heads when leaving their homes but that doesn’t happen anymore (cultural erasure)
Creolisation Explained Because of so many groups in the Caribbean, creolisation /hybridisation was inevitable. Edward Kamau Brathwaite is a Caribbean scholar and one of his fundamental works dealt with the creolisation of the Jamaican society. He proposes that Jamaican society went through several stages of the evolution process. He suggests that African people had to unlearn their African identity, accept new names, speak a new language and begin to accept their positions as slaves ( this is a process similar to cultural erasure). These processes of enculturation and acculturation would have resulted in the creation of a new mindset within African people. However they were still at the end of the social spectrum; so he is suggesting that the process of creolisation was to make slavery more effectively managed. As a result all the identity factors of creole society become identity factors of European domination. All things given to African people as a part of acculturation
The presence of new races introduced racial hybridisation. The term “Douglarisation” is used not only to describe the Afro-Indo mix but is more of a generalisation to describe all the mixes. As a result of douglarisation, new races are introduced in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean it has resulted into a new colour spectrum of whiteness. It can be seen here that Caribbean people place an importance on the degree of whiteness. Each colour introduced had their own names.
Racial and Ethnic Hybridizationo Amerindian, African, and Indian women (to a lesser extent), were forced to cohabit with and have children for the European conquistadors, slave masters and overseers. Sexual unions between persons of different races, resulting in children of mixed race, is called Miscegenation.These mixed races were named as follows:a) Afro-Amerindian : Douglab) Afro-European: Mulattoec) Euro-Amerinidian : MestizoThe mulattoes introduced a new strata in the social hierarchy i.e. they created a niche in the Plantation Social Pyramid.
o From the very beginning of the Conquest, the Spaniards regarded the aboriginal inhabitants as subhuman (less than human). This notion of racial superiority was extended to encompass the enslaved and, later, indentured populations who were of a different race. Racial and ethnic hybridization, then, underscored and emphasized the prevailing ideologies in the society, equating skin colour with social constructions of superiority/inferiority.
o Eventually, these lighter-skinned children were somehow „better‟ than their maternal ancestors, they were dealt with more leniently, all because they had biological/physical traits publicizing their European connection. As a result of this, a Pigmentocracy evolved, in which persons of fairer complexion wielded more prestige and power in the society than others.o The Polyglot peoples of the Caribbean showcase the rich racial and ethnic diversity of the region, resulting in hybridization.
Cultural Hybridization This term is defined as the development of new cultural forms out of existing ones through a period of contact and interaction. It also includes cultural traditions, language and different mass communications from a society and mixing it into another society creating a new culture from its current one.
Religiono A social institution which embodies the valued ideas and beliefs that society has about our relationship to a divine or sacred entity and the afterlife. When religions of the world met in the Caribbean region, they underwent considerable hybridization or syncretism into creolized forms.Social institutions are the most cherished ideas in society such as : education, religion, what it is to be healthy etc.A social institution is an ideology which may differ from one culture to the next.
Hybrid religions include: The Amerindian/Christian mix- this resulted in the creation of: Garafuna (present in the Jamaican and Belizean society) The African/Christian mix- this resulted in the creation of: Santeria (present in Cuba and Brazil) Myal (present in Jamaica) Voodoo (present in Haiti) Shouter Baptist (present in Trinidad) Shango Baptist (present in Grenada) Orisha Baptist (present in Grenada) Rastafarianism (present in the Jamaican society)o Hybridization and Religion is about how Christianity has changed and adapted to different cultures in society. In other words, when the enslaved people came to the Caribbean, the Europeans tried to enforce their culture and religion onto them and instead of them enforcing Christianity on themselves, the enslaved individuals then adapted Christianity to their religious beliefs.
Language In most Caribbean Countries, it is fair to say that the „creole‟ exists as a Continuum. However, the African languages that the enslaved population used were not usually written languages, so that the „creole‟ forms which mixed, emerged and evolved would differ greatly from the European master language. These hybrid forms were usually referred to as „Creole‟ (for the English/ African mix) or „Patois‟ (for the French/ African mix). The basilect includes the raw form or the least socially prestige (Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica), mesolect refers to the languages used by most creole persons (Trinidad), while acrolect is the Standard English (Highly Prestigious – Barbados).
Creole is defined as:• A language- every country has a version of creole• Used for Europeans who have been born outside of Europe• A racial slur directed towards African people• A genre of food- example pelau or callaloo
Processes of Cultural Hybridizationo Cultural Erasure – this refers to practices that have died out or are dying out. Thus, a culture can survive based on the artefacts it has left behind.o Cultural Retention – this refers to practices that have survived even when most other forms and symbols of culture are no longer evident.o Cultural Renewal – this occurs when a group goes through a conscious rejuvenation process and returns to some elements of its culture, which it believes have been ignored or suppressed.
Cultural Changeo Enculturation – This is a process of socialization whereby a person becomes part of another‟s culture. A person can become enculturated through processes of „acculturation‟ and „assimilation‟, which have been policies tried by the various Eurpoean colonizers in the Caribbean.o Assimilation – The process of integration whereby immigrants or other minority groups are „absorbed‟ into a generally larger community. This presumes a loss of all characteristics which make the „newcomers‟ different. A region where assimilation is occurring is sometimes referred to as a melting pot. The various types of assimilation include : language, customs, ideas and values, name change, religious affiliation. To achieve this there were different assimilation strategies. These were: non assertive assimilation, assertive assimilation and
Assimilation Strategies Non-Assertive: 1) Emphasising what the dominant and non-dominant groups have in common. Acting positively. 2) Sensoring remarks that might offend the dominant group; avoiding controversy Assertive: 1) Carefully preparing for meeting dominant group members 2) Manipulating stereotypes 3) Bargaining Aggressive: 1) Disassociating from one‟s own group 2) Copying dominant group‟s behaviour 3) Avoiding interaction with other co-cultural groups i.e. ridiculing oneself
o Transculturation – This describes the process whereby a culture changes drastically, actually overcoming itself and translating into something new. Cuba, before and after the revolution, exemplifies this process.o Interculturation – This refers to the mixing of cultures that goes on between groups who share a space. The groups do not necessarily give up their own culture, but participate in various ways in each other‟s lives.
Important! There‟s no Caribbean culture apart from a hybridised end product! - This is due to the Caribbean’s historical evolution
Referenceso Mohammed, J. (2007). ‘Caribbean Studies For CAPE Examinations: An Interdisciplinary Approach’ . Macmillan Caribbean.o Stockhammer, P. W. (2012). ‘Conceptualizing Cultural Hybridization: A Transdisciplinary Approach’ . Heidelberg: Springer.o Mohan, D.o Et al