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Tension in Garifuna

The Garifuna was a name given to the black caribs by the colonial British administrative to distinguish them from the yellow and the red caribs. They are descendants of the West African people, the Carib and the Arawak. The yellow and the red caribs did not intermarry with the black caribs. They had been left on their own and isolated by their neighbouring communities. They originated from San Vicente and settled in Central and South America because it was an excellent fishing area. Today, they can generally be found in Central America. Despite their moving to America, they have managed not only to preserve their culture but also their belief. Each 19th of November, they come together to celebrate their settlement day. This festival was created so that they do not forget their roots (Greenspan 43).

Discrimination can be defined as treating people badly because they are different from each other.  Members of a certain group or race can get restrictions from opportunity or chances that other groups can easily access when they want. There are several things that can make one be discriminated: age, gender, pregnancy, disability, religion, sex, genetic formation, relation, and race. The act can be considered inhuman and, in some countries, illegal. They put prohibited ground of discrimination and, if it is broken, serious action can be taken. According to human rights organization, no one gets discriminated. No human has power and authority over another, and there should not be any reason that a small number should be made to feel inferior.

One form of discrimination that has gotten discouraged over the years but does not entirely end is the discrimination on the basis of colour – racism. This has been the greatest of all the evils. Its core is that some people from a different race have abilities that other races do not have, and this automatically makes them superior. Thus, they believe that they should be treated unique and be given more amenities that the rest of the groups. At the same time, this discrimination can be seen in scenarios that people from a certain race can be expected to act in a certain way. There is a believe that the race can influence you to do things in a certain way.

The Garifuna’s experience discrimination till the present date; this happens despite the civilization and human rights activists that are there in the government office. This discrimination is the worst because neither the blacks nor the whites Americans associate with them. Despite the fact that their skin colour is black, the Black Americans claim that their cultures are not the same. They go further and also say that the origin and the way they arrived in America were also different. The people of Garifuna tend to be isolated from the rest of the Americans despite their efforts to fit in the American lifestyle. They get to be treated unequally with the rest of the Americans. They have raised voices about this but it lands on deaf ears. The reason why they have majorly been left out is the fact that the areas they settled in were of poor quality, and they did not have proper resources to make their lives better. They ended up being poor with no recourses.

The government has tried to avoid this discrimination building social amenities for this group. The battle against racism may not be won in just one day with efforts from the people and the government and constant reminder on its effect; surely, one day, it will come to an end.

Though they have lived in for a long time in America, they still seek for full political participation. Yes, they are American citizens, but they get to be left out in political participation. Whenever they ask for a chance, they get the same response to hold on, and nothing can be achieved in haste. The government says that they are aware of the marginalisation that they experience and soon all their worries will be over. Despite that, their dances and tradition has been popular, they do not get to experience the socio-political claims they have being made into a reality (Jose 112).

The Garifunas have ended up losing trust in the American political system. With their cultures, they have made the tourism industry grow. They should at least be recognised for this effort they have made in keeping their traditions and culture intact till nowadays. The American economy has grown because of them attracting tourists in the country. They should at least be given a small amount to motivate them and also to improve their lifestyles. This has not been the case; the government has not ensured that they get an appreciation for their efforts (Minahan 65).

The Garifunas have not been socially been accepted in the community. They have been left to balance on a thin string, neither of the White Americans nor the Black Americans. They have been left on their own since they have not rejected their traditions and cultures. Their voices have not been fully heard. They are discriminated and are ignored since they are the minority. They have to work harder and fight more compared to the rest in order for their claims to be listened and acted upon.

They have made claims that they have the right to the land they own. The government took a large piece of land from them and developed it without explaining to them or asking for their permission. When they tried to ask questions on the land, they did not get a clear answer. They have raised voices that they are American citizen, and they would like to exercise their rights and freedom just as the rest of the Americans. Since they have been fishermen from the time they got to the state, they want this economic activity be realised and law that protects them to be passed.  

The America’s government has been more interested with civilization while the Garifuna’s interest has been to protect the land, and this has brought conflict of interests. They see technology as a source of environmental pollution. As much as they want to raise this issue, they are disadvantaged as they are the minority. Though, to some extent, they do have a point because the rate of pollution has increased with the increase in technology (Anderson 114). Despite all this marginalisation and the extended of discrimination they get, the Garifunas have managed to be strong and still have the strength to fight every day.

In the developed America, where the human right activists have power and authority to act on any government body that does discriminate its citizen, the situation tends to turn a blind ear when it comes to the small community of the Garifuna. Up to date, the Garifuna are identified as immigrants, and this has made them not to be fully settled. Some of them have been natured, born and raised in America, and they got right to citizenship legally because they were born in the country.

The discrimination of the Garifuna has no one looking into because it has been a mask by multicultural policies (Minahan 78). Multicultural policy was created to promote communities that have multiple cultures on the organisation level like neighbourhoods, schools, businesses, cities ,and nations. This did not help as the Garifuna community was left to fight for themselves in the multicultural government. The government claims that people from different cultures and beliefs have been given rights to exercise them without anyone getting in their way. Since the Garifuna community is small, they get the same battle field as the rest of the citizen can be seen as unfair. First, this is because they have different practice in terms of religion, and the rest of American citizens may choose not to associate with them because their belief is different. Secondly, because they came from an area that has no economic recourses, and they get to be perceived as poor. They lack social amenities and recourses they can use to improve their lifestyle and living standard.

Thirdly, they have few representatives in the government, and before their needs get to be looked into, a lot of power and energy has to be put. Fighting as a minority has never been easy. This community should be put into consideration. The government claims that it wants to raise the living standard of Americans. This would only come to be possible when they put into consideration the whole group and not overlook the small communities. When Americans accept both the rich and the poor, the minority and the majority as their own, then the civilization and economic improvement will begin.

Transnational migration had a great impact on culture, gender, and racial reforms. Transnational migration came to be so that belief, custom, rituals, and values cannot be confided to a race of people. This was another blow to the Garifuna people. The tension between them and the government increased. They were afraid that their culture being one of the things they hold dear will be taken away from them. They were not ready to give up their culture and take on culture that everyone else was getting into. The reason for this was not that they were rude and unwelcoming, but because their culture was the only thing they had from the time they got to America, and someone asking them to adapt to a new lifestyle was not treated as unfriendly.

Some of the communities have found this to be absurd and unstylish.  They find their reluctance in joining the culture that the rest of the citizens are not ready to embrace . They do not see the way the Garifuna community has had a lot to deal with, and the only thing  they want  to be given is freedom and the right to exercise their culture and practices without feeling shy. They want to be welcomed into the community not only as the people but also as people having their own culture. They seek appreciation and acceptance and do not want to be looked at as if they were from the outer space.

The community stands strong and powerful. The Garifuna do not feel threatened with the large communities that marginalise them; in fact, they are growing stronger with every passing day. The government feels threaten by them, and, in return, they put tension and pressure on the community. It is the high time the government stops looking at the Garifuna as a small community in the state but starts to appreciate them as their citizens. They should be protected and given all the amenities they need. If this gets to be done, then America would grow to be a strong and fair state. All its citizens would be happy, and discrimination will be minimal.

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