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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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Re: TOWARD A CREOLE MYTH OF ORIGIN - by Doris L. Garraway

Peter,

Of all the distinctions the good people of Gouyave can lay claim to, your assessment of us as being ".......the only parish that has maintained its strong roots from 150 years of creating the Creole "Composite People"...... may be beyond dispute. And I would stand corrected by anyone out there who can lay their claim to a passionate defense of their town; with no apologies and to the same degree as we "Gouyavelonians" can.

 As I understand 'Creole' to mean "a person of mixed  European and Black lineage, I would say that all the parishes in our entire country may hold that distinction; some more than others. Moreover, as Gouyave has seen its fair share of migration over that time period, particularly from our Northern neighbors, that diversity may have skewed our passionate intensity somewhat, to the point of being overbearing at times. This may be our way of assuring their proper assimilation into a culture that had a low tolerance for those who limit their ambitions. However, we never wore our ranks on our sleves.

But this post as you noted, is indeed a wonderful read; a reflective and insightful compilation of several opinions on a matter so deeply rooted in all of us from African descent . In doing so, I tried to find an answer to that sometimes puzzling and poignant question as to "who are we/what are we /what have we become". The phrase "hybrid pedigree"as a designation may take some time to be palatable in my mouth but I can surely understand that in the absence of being a true-breed European or African, it may be an acceptable connotation as the gene pool of "WE" West Indians have "evolved" into a complicated cosmopolitan mixture. 

But Glissant's opinion, disturbing as it may be to some West Indians ....those with a lighter hue....seems to hit home as he recognizes the following: >>>>>"....those who could not deny or mask their hybrid composition, nor sublimate it in the notion of a mythical pedigree, do not 'need' the idea of Genesis, because they do not need the myth of pure lineage" (141). ......<<<<

At the risk of playing Glissant's Devil's Advocate here, I wonder if the inverse of his opinion above best characterizes the dilemma that sometimes face the lighter hue West Indian hybrids?

Let's see!

 Suppose he had said that "Those who could deny or mask their hybrid composition, or sublimate it in the notion of a mythical pedigree, do 'need' the idea of Genesis, because they need the 'myth' of pure lineage".

If we can answer in the affirmative to this, how then can we account for the sometimes cultural separation of the two dominant hybrid groups when there exists, a single commonality of a genealogical composit in both? And further, do they carry the burden of that myth of pure lineage when they exist in a society that is dominated by those of a darker hue?

Maybe these questions can best be answered by the Social Anthropologist but Glissant's assertion may inadvertently point to a need factor that may have remained dormant in many but just as important in understanding the intricacies of their existance in this world of hybrid genealogical composition.


VJL, with new hybrid genes, synonymous with the color, "new Black".

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