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The Politics of Race in PanamaAfro-Hispanic and West Indian Literary Discourses of Contention$
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Sonja Stephenson Watson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049861

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049861.001.0001

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West Indian and Caribbean Consciousness in Works by Melva Lowe de Goodin, Gerardo Maloney, Carlos Guillermo Wilson, and Carlos E. Russell

West Indian and Caribbean Consciousness in Works by Melva Lowe de Goodin, Gerardo Maloney, Carlos Guillermo Wilson, and Carlos E. Russell

Chapter:
(p.94) 4 West Indian and Caribbean Consciousness in Works by Melva Lowe de Goodin, Gerardo Maloney, Carlos Guillermo Wilson, and Carlos E. Russell
Source:
The Politics of Race in Panama
Author(s):

Sonja Stephenson Watson

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049861.003.0005

This chapter revisits the theme of national identity explored in previous chapters and examines the role of black movements in the aid of Afro-Panamanian consolidation. Specifically, it considers the writings and political activism of Panamanian West Indian writers who address the issue of Afro-Panamanian identity from disparate geographical spaces--the United States and Panama. The subjects of this chapter, Melva Lowe de Goodin (Panama), Gerardo Maloney (Panama), Carlos Wilson (United States), and Carlos Russell (United States), represent third-generation Panamanian West Indians and their works illustrate the complexities of being both West Indian and Panamanian from the 1970s to the present. Lowe de Goodin incorporates West Indian consciousness through history and ethnic memory vis-à-vis the metaphor of the Colón Man, a symbol of Caribbean migration and displacement. Meanwhile Wilson's poetry problematizes his racial identity as a black Panamanian/Latin American, West Indian, and North American exhibiting a triple-consciousness. Writing from inside the Panamanian nation-state, Maloney's works often privilege Afro-Panama over his Anglophone Caribbean heritage. By contrast, his contemporary Russell promotes a Caribbean heritage through a consciously racialized discourse. Recent works by both Maloney and Russell, however, convey a Caribbean consciousness which further complicates yet enriches our understanding of blackness in Panama.

Keywords:   West Indian consciousness, ethnic memory, Colón Man, Triple consciousness, Anglophone Caribbean, Caribbean consciousness

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