The Origins of the Caribbean’s “Terrified Consciousness” about Race
Haiti presents us with a heroic and unique case in the Caribbean, perhaps the world: a war of emancipation from slavery which was also a war of independence. Following the abolition of slavery by the French National Assembly, Haitians had to battle Napoleon’s attempt at reintroduce it. The ensuing war was a “total war” of liberation, which frightened white populations everywhere. Terrified by the Haitian scenes, the rest of the world isolated the island. Race relations, already oppressive, became even more so as a great fear of black uprisings engendered enduring racist attitudes throughout the region.
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