Sacha Geer


Contemporary anthropological work in Trinidad is largely focused on theorizing the racial antagonisms between Indo and Afro Trinidadians. Since the time of independence, political leaders have called for unity and harmony amongst . Trinidadians, but individuals of all racial groups who utilize primordial understandings of race in everyday discourse to negotiate tensions and define themselves contest the shape and content of what it means to be Trinidadian. While a study of Trinidadian history shows that many of the stereotypes which operate in contemporary Trinidad have their roots in colonial discourses surrounding Afro and Indo Trinidadians, ethnographic work shows that these stereotypes have changed in response to various political and economic pressures, and that individuals utilize or ignore these stereotypes depending on context and goals. Further, Indo-Trinidadians have historically been semantically excluded from the lexicon which describes what it means to be Trinidadian by their exclusion from the term 'Creole,' and as such have faced considerable difficulty accessing reins of political power due to their exclusion from a sense of Trinidadian identity.