Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development

By Mary Proudfoot | Go to book overview

Chapter IV
THE STRUCTURE OF SOCIETY

It is not possible to make a close comparison between the social structure of the British and the American Caribbean dependencies because the basic research which would make such a study possible has still to be undertaken. None the less some knowledge of the character of West Indian society, whether in the predominantly white island of Puerto Rico, or in the predominantly Negro islands of the British Caribbean, is an essential background for any serious student of West Indian affairs. Such resources as are available on this subject have as far as possible been consulted,1 but these are few and far between, and are of very uneven value. Much of this chapter is thus, of necessity, based on the author's personal observation, and on conversation with West Indians in different walks of life and levels of society.


1. THE RACIAL COMPOSITION

The racial composition of the British and United States Caribbean dependencies is relatively uniform. In almost all the islands there is a large Negro majority, a fair-sized coloured group,2 a handful of Asiatics, and an even smaller sprinkling of white people. Puerto Rico and Trinidad are, however, exceptions to the usual pattern. In Puerto Rico the vast majority of the population is of white Spanish stock; no coloured group is recognized, and there are no Asiatics. Puerto Rico is thus in a class by itself. In Trinidad, although the Negroes constitute the largest single group,

____________________
1
See, for instance, Herskovits.
2
In the United States dependencies and in all the British dependencies, the mixed or coloured population is predominantly a European-African mixture; although in Jamaica and Trinidad there are other mixtures. The line between coloured and Negro cannot, however, be clearly drawn, and it is certain that, if any admixture of European ancestry were to be the criterion, and if the details of ancestry could be known, a much lower proportion of the population than the British census tables reveal would be described as Negro. The United States census tables do not distinguish between the Negro and the coloured groups.

-65-

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Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • Author's Preface x
  • Contents xiv
  • List of Tables xx
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - The Constitutional Relationship 10
  • Chapter III - The Economic Relationship 38
  • Chapter IV - The Structure of Society 65
  • Chapter V - The Central Government 97
  • Chapter VI - The Local Government 134
  • 3. Conclusions 151
  • Chapter VII - Political Life 153
  • Chapter VIII - Economic Life 178
  • Chapter IX - Labour 222
  • Chapter X - Social Life 243
  • Chapter XI - Education 281
  • 7. Conclusions 305
  • Chapter XII - Population Problems 307
  • Chapter XIII - The Possibilities of Federation For The British West Indies 330
  • Chapter XIV - The Alternatives for the American Dependencies 350
  • Chapter XV - General Conclusions 359
  • Abbreviations 362
  • Abbreviated References 363
  • Index 419
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