The
issue of racial discrimination is present throughout the Caribbean and this
issue has been observed and written about by other individuals. Therefore this
literature review will seek to highlight the views of individuals on this
serious issue of racial discrimination.

On
Sunday, January 24, 2016 during the personality programme, Profile on Television Jamaica the Honourable Doctor Usain Bolt
shared a moment in his life, when he faced strong levels of classism and racism
from Jamaica’s upper class, with journalist Ian Boyne. “I was living in a
complex and I had issues with a few of the lighter-skinned people. I used to
live near a lawyer and when I moved in, he said to me ‘be careful, they don’t
like to see young people strive’.

“When
it started happening to me, I had to rush and build my house. A lot of them
because dem go school and work years and years fi reach, and me jus come up and
because of sports mi get everything, dem nuh happy.” This scenario raised
discussions on the impact of class and colour, showing that racial
discrimination may be subtle, but is still present among Jamaicans, especially
youth from the popular to the not so popular.

In an
article published by the “Trinidad & Tobago Guardian” on Friday, July 13,
2012, the issue of racial discrimination was highlighted through a study
entitled “Race problems subtle in Caribbean” done by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (I.A.C.H.R.). The
findings of the study showed that the problems of race are more persistent and
subtle in the Caribbean, compared to other parts of the Americas. The study
also showed that in the Caribbean, racial discrimination to Afro-descendent
people was linked to the darkness of their skin, poverty and the control of
economic resources. According to I.A.C.H.R. commissioner Professor Rose Marie
Belle Antonie, “Colour prejudice is perhaps the most under-reported form of
discrimination that we have, but at the same time, perhaps, it is the most
complained about in informal ways”.

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In the
author manuscript “Development Psychology” by Eleanor K. Seaton, Cleopatra H.
Caldwell, Robert M. Sellers and James S. Jackson published on September 2008,
there was an article entitled ‘The
prevalence of perceived discrimination among African American and Caribbean
black youth’. In this article there was a study which examined ethnicity,
gender and age differences in perceived discrimination. Data collected by the
National Survey of African Life (N.S.A.L.) which included 810 African American
and 360 Caribbean Black youth, showed that at least one incident of racial
discrimination was experienced by the majority of black youth. According to the
survey perceptions of racial discrimination were negatively linked to
self-esteem and life satisfaction, regardless of ethnicity and are a prominent
environmental characteristic of minority youths, which may place them at risk
for negative outcomes. Additionally, previous research indicated that 75% of
Jamaican youth and 66% of Haitian youth perceived having been discriminated in
the past. These results show that the majority of Caribbean black youth
perceived themselves to have been discriminated against and this shows that the
issue of racial discrimination is real and widespread.

 

Why do
so many dark-skinned Jamaicans bleach? Why do we so rarely seem to select black
women to represent us as ‘Miss Jamaica’? These questions posed in The Gleaner on Friday August 6, 2010 by
Peter Espuet, show that racial discrimination is present in Jamaica, among our
youth and is seen by individuals as a threat to our motto: “Out of many one
people”. In his article, Mr. Espuet suggested that slavery perpetuated the link
between colour and class. Therefore since colour was linked to status and
wealth, the idea became prevalent that ‘light skin is better than dark skin’,
thus persons seek to make themselves of a higher social  class and bleach to appear as light-skinned
as possible. In his conclusion Mr. Espuet says, “Even though slavery has been
abolished for many decades, it is a living social memory of many, and the
legacy of slavery still negatively impacts the vast majority of Jamaicans.”

Klonoff
EA1 and Landrine H are authors of an article entitled ‘Is skin colour a marker
for racial discrimination? Explaining the skin colour-hypertension
relationship’ published on August 2000. In this article there was a study which
tested the extent to which skin colour was associated with differential
exposure to discrimination for a sample of black adults. The results obtained
from this study showed that black-skinned individuals were 11 times more likely
to experience frequent racial discrimination than the lighter-skinned
individuals. Consequently 67% of respondents, who reported frequent episodes of
discrimination, were dark-skinned, whilst only 8.5% were light-skinned. With
these findings, it became obvious that there was a link between skin colour and
racial discrimination.

These
important pieces of literature provide evidence, that racial discrimination is
indeed an issue with several markers and other researches have been conducted
which provide statistical evidence. Furthermore, dark-skinned individuals are
discriminated against because of race, particularly their skin colour, which
results in skin bleaching and youth present in the group of individuals that
are discriminated. Thus, their future can be affected and the researcher wishes
to find out the aspects of lie in which youth are affected and how this problem
can be controlled, so as to reduce its effects.

 

 

 

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