Multiracial and Multicultural Perspectives in the Caribbean National Literature

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The Caribbean region faces a unique challenge regarding the definition of its cultural identity due to the extended impact of colonization and slavery. The region is a diverse mix of cultures and traditions, blending ethnic and racial groups from various homelands. However, its history of cultural clashes and miscegenation has contributed to a distinct texture and character, with roots tracing back to slavery of earlier days. Many populations were forced to abandon their cultures and assimilate into the colonizers’ ways, leading to a widespread diaspora. This has resulted in many individuals feeling uprooted and unbelonging, experiencing a profound sense of displacement from nation, cultural background, linguistic heritage, historical context, as well as individual and collective encounters. Despite these challenges, there is still hope for a brighter future. The Caribbean can redefine itself as a region of inclusivity and diversity, embracing its rich cultural heritage and celebrating the unique identities of its people. During the 1920s and 1930s, Caribbean literature experienced significant transformations and embraced multiracial and multicultural perspectives. This happened alongside the decline of British power and the rise of US influence in the region. While expatriate intellectuals such as George Lamming and V. S. Naipaul promoted “West Indian” literature internationally, national Caribbean literature celebrated and criticized the fundamental changes in geopolitics. It represented multiculturalism, analyzed gendered divisions of labor and space, and explored literature’s form and purpose. Some notable works during this period include In the Castle of My Skin (1953), Black Midas (1958), The Mimic Men (1967), and Omeros (1990).