Class, Color, Ethnicity, And Culture

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Social structure may be defined as the division of society into groups and institutions into a hierarchal arrangement. In the vast literature on social structure in the Caribbean region many author agreed that class, race or color, ethnicity and culture are all important aspects in the social structure Caribbean. Clarke (2013), suggested that “the Caribbean region is based on the differences associated with class, race or color, ethnicity and culture”. Also, R. T. Smith (1963), said that the Caribbean region contains some of the most complex societies in the world, because of the nature of their cultures and the ethnic diversity of their populations. In like manner, Knight (1997) said that the social structure in the Caribbean can be best understood …show more content…
According to the Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology, race can be defined as the grouping or classification of individuals based on physical appearance (Johnson, 2000). Historically, during the slavery period, in the 18th and 19th centuries, race or color played major roles in the Caribbean social structure. Beckford mentioned that the plantation brought together people of different races and cultural background to carry out the task of production (as cited by Barrow and Reddock, 2001, p.140). Similarly, Bolland (1998) went on to say that the plantation society was a rigid system of social stratification that was based on race and color, and a weak community structure. Beckford went on to say that, the rigid pattern of social stratification was based on a caste system that separated the owners and managers from the workers. The owners and managers were white people of European descend while the workers were the Africans and East Indians (Beckford as cited by Barrow and Reddock, 2001, …show more content…
This resulted in a wider ethnic diversification of societies like Guyana and Trinidad in the region. Braithwaite (1975), argued that the introduction of Indian indentured servants in the region resulted in the rearrangement of the social structure; since the various ethnic groups entered a society that was already stratified based on terms of racial lines and one in which skin color played an important role in the differentiation of social class. Furthermore, according to Braithwaite (1975), the large variety of ethnic groups in Trinidad has led to a separateness of the groups and to a ranking of them in terms of superiority and inferiority of group. The social structure was derived from the racial distribution of occupation which characterized the sugar plantation. The white/ European were still had the positions of mangers and owner. The mixed (light skinned and brown skinned) were given the positions of supervisors and clerks and the black and east Indians were to do the manual labor as so had to work in the field (Graham and Gordon, 1977, p. 5 & Braithwaite, 1975).
Occupational differentiation is another important factor of social structure in the Caribbean. According to Knight (1997) occupational difference often linked to the differences of color served to divide slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries. However,

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