IT IS A UNIQUE IRONY that Barbados celebrates the emancipation of slaves in the shadow of its ‘Crop Over’ festival – an event which is modeled on a colonial-era, slave celebration to mark the end of harvesting on sugar-cane plantations.

And with only a handful of critics on this unique cultural juxtaposition, local broadcaster Carlie Ester stood out when she used her début platform as a BBC overseas correspondent to criticise Emancipation’s marginalisation.

But it was her closing remarks on Barbados’ race relations — seen through the lens of Crop Over’s Grand Kadooment climax — that put her in the spotlight of criticism.

Kadooment, a street parade of rum-fuelled revelry that draws masqueraders from a cross-section of Barbadian society, bares an open secret that is rarely publicly questioned: it has a masquerade band whose members are almost entirely White.

“It’s such a fascinating thing to see, it’s like a little Bajan oddity, something that is so uniquely ours. And it’s a direct result of our history and a prime example of how cliquey we are.”

The band, known as Blue Box Cart, is traditionally always the first band to lead the Kadooment parade, and stands in stark contrast to all others that – by and large – reflect the Black ethnic make-up of the 166 sq. mile island. Says Ester, “to witness a sea of white faces gathered together is at first glance, surprising…[but] it’s just another way in which the race relations of plantation society curiously manifest themselves in 2014.”

And while quick to clarify that Barbados generally accepts and hold no malice towards the Blue Box Cart institution, and that the institution itself does not restrict entry of masqueraders based on race, her statements are no less taboo in an island where such comments are particularly uncommon.

We interviewed Carlie to get her take on the culture of race in Barbados, and the aftermath of her comments.

[tw-divider]Interview with Carlie Ester[/tw-divider] Q: Did you expect any fallout when you remarked about the racial disparities in Kadooment masquerade bands?

Not at all, I didn’t think anyone would even notice. I never intended nor anticipated there would be any fallout, maybe that was naive on my part! I just look at it as a statement that is neither pro nor con Blue Box Cart, it’s simply a statement of what is.

Q:  What was the main push-back to your statements?

I was completely surprised! The greatest push-back, as far as I can see, came from some of the people who join the band and I daresay live within that pocket of society.

Of those who disagree, I think some misunderstood what was actually reported. There’s always the “bandwagon” effect where what is said is translated incorrectly from ear to ear and begins to take on a sentiment of its own.

With others though, I think the parallels drawn touched a raw nerve, maybe it’s a statement that they just don’t want to hear. It’s something that they either don’t see at all, or see but wish not to. I don’t know which, truthfully.

 Q: Has anybody defended the Blue Box Cart institution?

I don’t think anyone needs to defend Blue Box Cart, as they were not attacked. But I think a few people have voiced opinions supportive of the band, loosely saying it’s a great time, you see all colours and creeds in the band – all of which are true, but unfortunately besides the point. Of course Blue Box Cart is [fun]! Of course there’s a mix of white, black, brown and purple! But that doesn’t change the fact that its demographics do not accurately represent that of the nation: that it is a cultural phenomenon.

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Q: Blue Box Cart & Kadooment Day show up one day in the year. Do you think that this exclusivity and segregation mirrors everyday race-relations in Barbados society?

Yes, I do, to an extent. There isn’t a complete divide, but there are still pockets that have been preserved. Every generation works harder than the last to pop those pockets. I think we present a more classist society than a racist society since we have such a racially homogeneous breakdown. But if there’s one thing we are – it’s cliquey. We have come a long, long way in two hundred years, but we still have a bit of a way to go.

Q: Would you say there’s a race problem in Barbados?

I might be naive again but I think we all get along quite well actually. I think the homogeneity prevents problems from breaking out. If there were a more dramatic ethnic breakdown, maybe we would be more racially tense. But we’re lucky, we don’t have a minority government, we have a great education system that caters to everyone.

Sometimes I walk into one of those “little pockets” and the air is heavy with colonialism and the chains of history pushing back against change. It’s all I can see but, I don’t think those who are immersed in their pockets can see it as I do.

I have been blessed with a mixed family, both with non Bajan and non ‘white’ members, I have been blessed with the ability to form relationships with people from all walks of life – so I don’t feel as though I’ve been raised with ‘blinkers’ on. There are few, black and white alike, that have, unfortunately. That’s the problem.

Q: Would you say that the racial segregation in Barbados is more of a passive inheritance from the colonial past, or are there elements of active encouragement?

I think “active encouragement” indicates some level of malice, and I don’t think there’s much – some, but not much. I guess by default we are passively rolling downhill.

To be specific to whites, I believe a sizeable statistic are not totally integrated into society. They have their safety nets, their little pockets, and they stick to those without venturing too far out. It’s just a comfort zone, staying close to friends, family, the “known” vs. the “unknown”. No blame thrown.

Why would a white person want to jump with a “black people band”? Why would black people want to jump with Blue Box Cart, a “white people band”? It goes both ways but we aren’t doing it maliciously, we’re just doing it because that’s what we do. We passively continue the cycle.

I think those who tend to disagree with me, especially in this report, don’t realize it’s happening. There is no law enforcing that we live this way – we just do. But I think it changes more and more with each generation.

 Q: Do you have any regrets about going public with what you said?

No, because I was simply making a statement on race relations during Kadooment in modern day Barbados, and I don’t believe I said anything that was wrong or unjust.

My regret is that no one has paid any attention to the other two-thirds of the report, the real meat of the matter! The Blue Box Cart bit was a scrap at the end but the dinner table was set with lamentations on the fact that Emancipation Day, which in my opinion is far more historically and culturally significant, is totally ignored for a made up carnival. Also that people have been losing their jobs and the economy is in the toilet, what are we going to do about that?

There are always regrets of course, when people dislike what you have to say, but I welcome disagreement – it’s food for debate.

Q: What would an ideal Barbados look like in terms of race relations? Both on Kadooment Day and in general?

In an ideal Barbados all those little pockets in which there is a strong concentration of one race, one group or one clique will be popped.

On an ideal Kadooment we would get two days to jump up and costumes would be cheaper! But in terms of race relations, that we would have been socialized in a more integrated fashion from birth, throughout childhood, into adolescence, so that one colour pattern won’t be so highly saturated in one place.

Q: Any final parting shots?

I want to clarify that in many ways I am a part of the system .Blue Box Cart has always been the band that I’ve jumped and partied with whenever I participate in Crop Over celebrations.

Blue Box Cart is not inherently a racist institution. It’s an institution that manifests itself in 2014 as an evolution from racist institutions from yesteryear. It is a system that has enormous historical significance to we who exist in Barbadian society.

The difference between me and select others is that I am aware of this system. I can see it happen. I watch it happen, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak up about it!

It’s usually a good idea to pay attention to what is actually being said first before picking up a pitchfork. You see how sacred Blue Box Cart is? People get vehement when they feel it’s under attack. Well I hope somebody gets vehement on my behalf when I’m under fire too.

Antillean Media Group, News Desk

Working with Caribbean media partners, we go behind the news to deliver impartial, evidence-based reports on issues that impact residents, governments and investors in over 21 Caribbean territories. Contact us at editor@antillean.org.

37 Comments

  1. Barbados is and always was a racially divided society, where Afro Barbadians bury their heads in the sand pretending otherwise.

  2. Barbados has a ‘class’ problem. There is no denying it, and anyone who argues that that isn’t the case, is lying to themselves.

  3. You should perhaps examine the ironically named ‘Baje’ which is full of ‘light skinned black’ Barbadians many of which are upper and middle class blacks and juxtapose them with the majority black working class population. It cuts both ways!

  4. How come no one comments on the number of all black bands on the road. Hmmm,,

    1. you are aware that the majority of the population is black, whites make up a mere 1 percent, another one percent call themselves white but are actually not white, so with most of the 2 percent calling themselves white in the box cart band it is obvious that the remainder of some of the bands will be all black by sheer number and ratio

      1. Excuse me ‘reality’ but some of those people who you’re referring to as not caucasian actually might be, because caucasian simply doesn’t stop at the pale skinned/ red haired/ blond haired/ light haired people, caucasians vary, from skin type #1 to usually type #4, for example, east indians are considered caucasians, and lots of others who have a caucasoid skeletal structure, from other places which aren’t europe. There are but three major races in the world.
        On a different topic, if you’re going with what the US says about black people and the one drop rule, there are places in africa, where people have black blood and the same Americans class them as white, clearly that not for everyone, clearly that seems to be only for the people who have ‘slave blood’ out here in the west, and as for the natives the same thing for them in North America, but in south america, latinos/as are classed as white although they have native blood, and natives also accept people with black black as natives themselves, depends on the amount of genes that matter which someone may have. Please, kindly educate yourself before having a say, thank you. (:

      2. Addition, just to clear up my last bit:
        What I meant about the same thing for the natives in North america is that the whites treat them the same way the treat natural westerners with black blood, if they have white blood, they’re native american not white, rather in South america that’s what latinos/as are mixed with too yet they’re considered white, the same way as some black blooded africans are classed as white by the same US folks, and continued stating that the native american folks (which are mongoloids) class some people with black blood as of their kind, it’s about the amount of genetics one may have which determines this.

    2. About 85% of Barbados is black duh

    3. Am this is a dumb statement the reason why there are mostly blacks is because the slaves and hard workers of the cane fields were black and just as the blue box cart is a minority and the rest of bands or the majority that is how slavery was plantation owners and slave masters vs the slaves duh!!

    4. What a stupid comment. Of course there are a lot of all black bands in Crop Over. The island is what? Around 98% Black?

      Maybe Bajan whites should jump with more black bands instead of segregating themselves in Blue Box Cart then there would be less all Black bands right?

  5. A telling observation of the part of Carlie Ester on the culture of race in Barbados as epitomized by the Grand Kadooment climax and a brilliant critique of that observation. Unfortunately the conspiracy of silence which reigns in so much of our nation would seek to render Carlie observation unwarranted and even malicious But the truth is, as poignantly summarized by Carlie is : “by default we are passively rolling downhill.”
    I therefore agree wholeheartedly that the blue Box cart band in revelry, (as is done in different ways in other aspects of life), preserves the ideological safety net for whites : “They have their safety nets, their little pockets, and they stick to those without venturing too far out. It’s just a comfort zone, staying close to friends, family, the “known” vs. the “unknown”. No blame thrown……Why would a white person want to jump with a “black people band”? Why would black people want to jump with Blue Box Cart, a “white people band”? It goes both ways but we aren’t doing it maliciously, we’re just doing it because that’s what we do. We passively continue the cycle.

  6. If offered the opportunity to jump with a band of darker locals than my flesh colour, I would be ecstatic. I would literally jump at the opportunity. Although my family has lived in Bim for over 300 years, I know which group of masqueraders has the most fun, and knows how to let it all out. And for me, that`s what its all about. Integration is fun. Looking past skin colour and learning to live together is ideal.

    1. Kerri-Ann Springer August 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      “If offered the opportunity to jump with a band of darker locals than my flesh colour, I would be ecstatic”. I’m puzzled by this comment since the opportunity is given. There’s nothing stopping anyone, who jumps in the Blue Box Cart or vice versa, from jumping in a different band. You just have to pick a band, pay the fees and jump. Carlie makes a very valid point. I don’t think Barbados is a racist society, nor do I think we’re classist. I just think that persons have over years, kept themselves where they are most comfortable. However, as generations pass, this invisible colour barrier will be broken down.

  7. You should check the net worth of the people in blue box cart to all the other bands, that wouldbe intrested.

  8. Just responding to Gloria’s question about why no-one has commented on the number of all black bands on the road in Barbados for Crop-Over. This is because 92% of Barbados’ population is black (according to the last census). As opposed to 2.7% that is white. So an all-black band is not odd at all. However a band made up largely of people from a very, very tiny minority is, as Carlie rightly pointed out, a cultural oddity.

  9. I just don’t like that you are saying whites because I am white and have lived here for over 40 years although I was not born here but I am more Bajan than anything else I would say. I am white and I am not accepted in all these cliquey “white pockets”. So when you see a white Bajan, don’t think that they are a typical narrow-minded somewhat standoffish person. No stero-typing please!

  10. “Barbados is and always was a racially divided society, where Afro Barbadians bury their heads in the sand pretending otherwise.” ( Reply from Roots )

    Why does the white man destroy a culture leave the blacks to rebuild it and then return as the so called savior? Carlie would you like to save us poor blacks from the segregation your forefathers created? Is this the one topic about crop-over you so desperately needed to share with the world? How us poor bajans are still stuck behind the wealthy, genetically privileged “pockets” of society? How you yourself perpetuate the “sea of white faces” by jumping in the same bloody band? How is it surprising “to witness a sea of white faces gathered together is at first glance”?
    It is not only in Barbadian society where the residue of slavery permeates the consciousness of the people. How interesting it is to see the “white” bajan applauded for her “stand out” position on the marginalisation of Emancipation Day!
    You may think that the black Barbadian generation of today is passively continuing this cycle but ‘Bucket gine up and down in well evah day, de bottom boun’ tuh drop out.’

    1. But you can’t be serious..”save us poor blacks from the segregation your forefathers created? ” You are one of those by yourself. Im black, and i’m Bajan..There is nobody that can save me from segregation, but myself. I dont put myself in any folder, I go where ever I want, when ever I want. Whatever happen 300years ago HAPPEND!!!! Carlie or I or you have nothing to do with that. What we can do together, is to get a long, come together and make OUR country better. Carlie is so right! And small minded people white or black, fall back and shush please!

  11. Firstly, I do agree with a lot of what Carlie is saying, there is a huge divide in Barbados in relation to class and race. But, I honestly wouldn’t look into it that deeply when it comes to the bands on the road. I’ve always jumped with Blue Box cart primarily because I feel safer for only one reason. The reason that, God forbid something happens to me on the road, like over intoxication I know my friends and more importantly my family are there to look out for me. This is also the reason I believe those who jump with this band choose to, and let’s face it with such a small percentage of the population it is only statistically correct that half of the band is related to each other.

    As for the made up carnival part, well there is no arguing that. Crop Over was originated from a hysterical event however, it has now become a very commercialized festival for one main reason; tourism. Yes, it is a good excuse for Bajans to take the day off and drink some rum but the reason is strongly on tourism. A huge event like Kadooment is very attractive to tourists and beneficial for Barbados as it relies so heavily on the tourism industry. This time of year is typically low for tourism but events such as Crop Over increases that number, which in the end is beneficial for Barbados. So yes, I am sad that Crop Over has overshadowed the history to it but at the same time it helps the economy, and lets face it, the Bajan economy needs all the help it can get.

    And that is my two cents.

  12. @ Sid:
    Interestingly, as a black Caribbean man (with some Bajan ancestry) I have always thought that there were elements of Kadooment that formed the basis of a genuine celebration of emancipation. There are displays of black vivaciousness, defiance, and that spirit that underpinned the emancipation struggle that keeps appearing in the manner and nature of the celebrations.
    Black Bajans have taken elements of cropover and used them to demonstrate that intangible that identifies Caribbean blacks, and they have done it in their own way. How they develop it is interesting to observe! You are a resilient and fascinating set of people. I hope to be able to celebrate more with you. whenever I get the chance.
    But, in my humble opinion, it is OK for a white Bajan, eyes opened by some experience or the other, to comment on the phenomenon she observed. Let her and her peers struggle with that reality!

  13. I am really not sure what this article (at least the part listed here) is about even though i have read it. It seems to be of a similar caliber to something you would find on the back of a cereal box, so i am at a lost as to what kind of “fallout” this missive could generate. Despite your stated bona fides as having a mixed family, you like most if not all Barbadians are blissfully unaware of just how toxic the relations are between the “whites” and the “blacks” in Barbados. I can forgive an outsider for thinking that all is well because we are not killing each other in the streets and having Friday night lynching parties. But look a bit deeper, and not very much deeper and you would see that the cancer or racism is thriving here.
    Just like the bluebox cart band does not represent the demographics of the Barbados, neither does the prison population. The “business class” especially big business is predominately white. Ever went to a rally ? Why are 99% of the drivers white? Do we intermarry? Don’t the whites here live in little enclaves all by themselves ? Doesnt little Aaron go to a different school than Kadisha ? Have you ever seen how advertising is done here, look in any of the print media and see the types of people that appear in these ads… Does that reflect the Barbadian demographic ?
    The white people in Barbados are portrayed as the saviors of both the island and its ignorant black inhabitants. They are gods gift to business; not to mention that they are “in business to employ people and earn foreign exchange for Barbados”. That patronizing non-sensible statement is the mantra of one person in particular and he repeats it at every opportunity; to a supposedly educated population. No one dares challenge him on it.
    The reality is this. There is a massively unfair advantage that whites have over blacks and that does not seem to be anyway close to changing. Certainly they are not going to do anything to change the status quo and in fact actively act in ways to conserve, promote and extend that advantage.
    The “intellectual” idiocy of “Barbados does not have a race problem it has a class problem” makes me laugh. You repeat that when someone needs a potent dose of koolaid. It is very effective as far as placebos go. It’s the logical equivalent to saying “Bras arent necessarily for women per se; they are only for humans with breasts (mammaries)”
    What blacks represent to the typical “bajan white” is a market, a consumer, a beast of burden. In no way are we seen as equals. Whites generally tend not to support black businesses if they can help it. A section on America always complains about the transfer of wealth – real or imagined -from the wealthy to the. In Barbados we have the opposite. Financial empires have been built on large government contracts alone in this island. Isn’t that our money – the black majority? Why does it invariably go into white hands then to be told that these same people are true patriots in business only for our benefit?
    No one wants to rock the boat; the “successful” token blacks wont; the middle class one-salary-away-from-poverty wont rock the boat – mortgage and car note to pay; the blue color workers wont rock the boat – no one would listen (they are blue color after all)
    In closing, I submit to you that not only is Barbados racist; I think it is probably one of the more racists countries in the Caribbean. The problem is that most of us are in the bubble; we drank the koolaid – both black and white. There is this unwritten social contract we have where we pretend that the reality is not what it is. It usually takes someone external to the bubble to first identify that there is indeed a bubble and then to describe it as many have – both black and white. Don’t flatter yourself and think that this article even breaches the surface of the race issue in Barbados. You are indeed naive, and very much so.

  14. Majority of the whites in Barbados are racist.
    They wont say it out loud, but then they dont mix with the black ppl either.
    They stay together in their secrect circles, and only see black ppl as cattle.

  15. i lived there long enough to know white people are definitely subconsciously racist. i don’t know if they know it but they will say some of the stupidest generalizations about black people. The longer they’ve had roots there the more likely it seems that i’ve heard them whisper something blatantly racist. (lol sorry thats racist)

    Bajans (of all races) are very educated and know that when they see that all white people hanging out together is actually pretty weird but last time i check (bout 7 years ago) Bim was still doing well for itself and as everyone could live a comfortable life no one felt the need to bring this division up… it worked fine for everyone, and black people/white people jokes were could be rife between races cuz it never cut deep. so that’s great, but with barbados seeming taking a turn for the worse economically, it looks like that might change.

  16. I must agree with what the lady said. I am black and very proud however the few so called ‘white’ people living on this small island think they are better than us. I don’t know why they are all so offended, I guess its because someone called them out on it however if they could live one place and ship all other races, ESPECIALLY BLACK PEOPLE, some place else, matter of fact I think that of ALL white people (MY OPINION). I remember a ‘white’ bajan guy told me some years back, he’s in love with his black girlfriend but his parents told him he can never marry her because she’s black and if he doesn’t look for a ‘white’ girl to marry they will cut him off financially. I’m not sure what he did but I felt sorry for him.

  17. It’s just a reflection of wider society, there are events held in Barbados which cater to the “descendants” of the the white plantocracy which the blacks don’t ever hear about. And you hardly see white people at the main stream events unless there is section for them to be by themselves. Barbados has evolved into a class based elitist society which started during slavery with house slaves and field slaves and which has continued with the aid of the common entrance examination.

  18. Very interesting article, as Barbadian we do live in a segregated society but as a black person I cannot honestly say that if racism is present that it is one sided. I always remember at college the white students always kept to themselves. This requires you to go back to the definition of racism, does it mean just to hate or does it include fear. I always felt that Whites avoid us because bajan blacks are either fawning or hating on them. I have witness the uncomfortable situation of a white person being called to the front of the line by a black cashier, the embarrassment of knowing that this person is treating them different just because of the color of their skin. The fear that people would think that he or she is racist and desire and expect this special treatment. All in all I think white bajans just want to be treated normal. The funny thing is the majority have black ancestry and does not consider themselves to be fully white, if white at all. So as to the article of the Blue Box Cart I honestly did not know they were local, I always thought it was made up of tourist so I never saw the racial connotations but you are the ones that make the decision to segregate yourself from blacks, stop making excuses it you want to just be a bajan and not a white or half white bajan just do it.

  19. bajan whites are racist ,most of them ,if you go out to events like car racing or horse racing look at where they are ,the whites are always sitting or standing together ,they never mix with the blacks . I love going to the Harbor Lights to party and that’s where you finds the bajan whites but that’s also where you find lots of tourist , and the tourist are the one that would talk and laugh or dance with blacks ,but the bajan whites stay the distances ,and yes I can tell the bajan whites from the tourist`

  20. As a so called white woman with a BLACK partner I must say that reverse racism has been my problem. I jumped in a band last year, no not Blue Box cart and peepl wanted 2 know where I was from etc, when told I was a bajan asked me point blank is I wasn’t in the wrong band. lol I have been to parties where I have been peered at, stared at and being the only “white” person there out and out ignored. My partner was asked what was his problem if the sisters weren’t good enough for him etc why he had 2 get a whitey. So we don’t usually participate anymore we just spectate on the side lines. Not one of my family disrespected my partner but his whole family had issues with me. 25 years later we r still battling on and 2 heck with the colour ish it is only a problem if u make t one.

  21. Sad to say this is an issue which is touchy and will not be discussed openly in this country. Race segregation will always be an issue because of the stigma attached to slavery. We can even look at it from a business perspective. Who owns and controls all business activity in this country. Of course, we do have one or two black businesses here and there which are significant but guess who sits as board members. So control still goes back to the white people. The vast majority of the resources of the island are controlled by whites if not all. We still know who is the master and who is the slave. The thing is blacks in this society are too brainwashed and to party minded to realize that we indeed are still slaves.

    By the way just a side note the major historians in this country keep telling the people that we are Africans and that is the official story of the whites whom we believe and trust so much but take a look at the scripture below and you will see that it goes against all the we have been ever told by our parents and white society.

    De:28:48: Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

    De:28:68: And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt/Bondage again with SHIPS, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for BONDMEN and BONDWOMEN, and no man shall buy you.

    No wonder things are so quiet and hush hush around here and in the Caribbean and the status quo continues.

    1. The Pastors and church leaders who go to seminaries and who go overseas to learn the bible in the bible schools of the people who put in slavery in the first place; ask them the next time you go to church to explain these scriptures. You will hear a song, a dance and a Jig.

  22. Thanks for this interview I do not believe the journalist should be bothered by any backlash in anyway. She spoke very accurate, thank God she is white because God knows if she was black the backlash would be worse and the reception could possible be overshadowed by the get over it comments. I am a young intelligent black woman living here and it is always on my mind and the classicist, prejudice and I dare say racism permeates some areas of study, work and residence and I think it is the worst and most dangerous type because you never know what they are truly feeling around you etc. Who wants to live on a small island so segregated go and live in a majority European state or something and excel and leave if you are so disgusted by us don’t ask us to work let us excel in areas you dominate. Funny enough my white associates from Europe etc think bajan whites are very sad and stupid and do not like them because of the supremacist attitudes lol.

  23. Wikipedia defines Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation. When will the people of the Caribbean realize that by embracing our diversity we will realize our true potential as New World race/people/societies. Are today’s Black people of the Caribbean really the same race as Africans? Likewise Caribbean people of European, Indian, Chinese etc. – when do they become Caribbean. We are a unique people with the genetics to be world leaders.
    Barbadian have always taken themselves very seriously, and they have a lot to be proud of, but in a recent visit to B/dos I experienced something much more sinister than the usual over zealous immigration, etc., in the form of much darker underlying angry attitude of some black Barbadians that borders on outright fascism, especially to people from other Caribbean Islands. If this is the result of the UWI academia thinking/teaching on the subject, we need to fine tune our programme to be a more positive 21st century approach with an appreciation of where are today and our true value as human beings.
    Ms. Ester’s article is very thought provoking in many ways and worthy of further discussion.

  24. A year later and this piece still rings true. Just this past Thursday I was in a cafe and 3 white Bajan women were asking one another which band they were jumping with. Each said “Blue Box Cart”.
    What’s also interesting is t hat I’ve heard Black Bajans say similar things as Carlie, but they haven’t been featured so prominently. I say this to assert that many living in Barbados know these social arrangements/norms are prominent, yet they are still a taken-for-granted reality which is exactly why it will be so difficult to change them.

  25. Still a bizarre article and misses the point entirely. If anything, the Blue Box Cart band is the most diverse – it contains all colours and all races and classes are welcome.

    The comments about it being first on the road and privileged are nonsense as well. The band is second on the road and runs near the front for a number of reasons – they are not taking part in the judging/competition, they are purely there to party. Same reason any other bands not taking part in the competition run up front.

    The band actually began because a group of friends used to spectate Kadooment, with a blue box drinks cart providing the drinks. One year the bands took an age to appear because of delays and issues so for FUN, and to keep the crowd hype, the group entertained by crossing the line dressed in beer crates and whatever costumes they could make up on the spot. And from there the Blue Box Cart band was formed.

    So instead of trying to cry racial discrimination and stir up hatred where there is none, how about seeing it for what it is? – a party band, founded in partying and fun where all are welcome.

  26. […] 4. “Carlie Ester on the culture of race in Barbados,” Antillean Media Group […]

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