The Political Economy of ‘Race’ and Class in Canada’s Caribbean Diaspora

Abstract

While there are over 500,000 people in Canada who claim Caribbean origins or descent, they do not automatically constitute a Caribbean ‘community’ or a Caribbean diaspora. The Caribbean diaspora in Canada, often confused with something called a “black diaspora,” is smaller, more homogeneous in class terms, more racialized and more concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Because of the advantages that accrue to capital from having a pliable workforce that will eagerly accept low wages and less than ideal working conditions, it is important to have a diaspora to which capital can go in times of labor need; at the same time, given their powerlessness, the flexibility of such a workforce guarantees that such workers can be easily dismissed during economic downswings. In all of this “race,” racism and racialization play a key role, and came to a head when community leaders and parents were successful in launching a black-focused school in Toronto. At the end of the day, however, the class affiliation of members of the diaspora is clearly distinct from that of the more economically successful and occupationally mobile CaribbeanCanadians, whose social class, educational and residential locations separate them from their diasporic countrymen and countrywomen.

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Allahar A., (2010) “The Political Economy of ‘Race’ and Class in Canada’s Caribbean Diaspora”, American Review of Political Economy 8(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.38024/arpe.121

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Anton Allahar (University of Western Ontario)

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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