I just encountered an interesting discussion of “Race/Colour in Barbados” on the blog What Crazy Looks Like.
The epigraphic quotation from Rihanna, “I was bullied at school for being white…Now I’m in a much bigger world,” was fascinating to me largely in clearly illustrating a fundamental difference in the social organization of race in the U.S. and in the Caribbean, for “being white” is one of the last things Rihanna would be likely taken to be in the U.S.
At the same time, the following quotation from the blog post is a useful set of statements about race anywhere in the Americas, even while the particular details that are relevant in any given place will vary:
“Even when we remind ourselves of just how fluid and contested race is we fail to reveal that race is in itself a fiction.
When we refuse to see the difference between historical racial privilege and racial slurs we foreclose on any opportunity to dismantle the fiction of race.
And when we recognise race as constructed we refuse to see its construction does not make it any less ‘real’.”