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Disability and Slavery: Caribbean Vision

Historically, blacks were forcibly transported from parts of Africa to the Caribbean in order to work on plantations as slaves. They were stripped of their freedom and identities and were treated as chattel.

Kipling’s view of blacks as “childlike devils” summarises the majority of white people’s perceptions at that time. Slavery is justifiable because “negroes are savages, brutes, illiterate” (Fanon, 88). Blacks are backward, violent and childlike and the only way they can become human is by the civilising hand of the master.

                      This narrative implies that blacks are inherently disabled and I suggest that this is the ideology that has influenced attitudes towards disability in Caribbean societies. As a consequence, it is important to assess Caribbean writings to explore the manner in which disabled characters are represented and whether these portrayals can be identified as marginalising. 

Växjö F3016, Kalmar RA2051 Johan Höglund Add to your calendar