W. E. B. Du Bois famously said that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.” To be sure, the racial climate of the United States in 1903 was quite different from that of 2003, and while the author would not wish to deny the real progress toward racial justice that has been achieved in the last hundred years, including the election of a president of African descent in the United States, it is clear that there remains much room for improvement. This book explores some of the central themes, and central sites of confusion, in contemporary discourse on race and racism as well as the role of history in dealing with such questions. The specific historical focus of this inquiry is the Caribbean island of Barbados during the latter half of the seventeenth century and the status of the Irish during this historical period. The book also examines the politics of polity and the relation between whiteness and anti-racism.
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