Caliban's Quest for Identity

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Perhaps no other place in the world is so diversely populated as the Caribbean. Consisting of approximately 7,000 islands, the Caribbean, also known as the West Indies is heterogeneously populated throughout its region. There are Africans, Europeans, Asians, Native Americans and other ethnic groups all living side by side in this enormous archipelago. This mixture between races has caused the Caribbean culture to be one filled with mixed people, and although basically the whole population is racially hybrid, racism in the Caribbean has been an ongoing issue that everyone has dealt with in the region. Because of racism, some people have become diffident with their origins and their skin color and have identified his or herself more with the culture they think is socially superior as for the case of Caliban in Nalo Hopkinson’s the Shift. This is a story about a black colored man of equally white and black descent who constantly seeks his identity throughout white, blonde women. The main character himself dislikes being black and is even racist with other black colored people. Caliban’s identity crisis is a problem viewed throughout the whole story which is mainly caused because of the racism that exists in the Caribbean and because of his racial hybridity. “Cultural identity is in terms of one, a shared culture, a sort of collective one true self hiding inside the many other, more superficial or artificially imposed ‘selves’, which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common.” (Hall 223) This previous definition gives a direct relationship between Caliban and cultural identity. When “collective one true self” is mentioned, the relationship can be seen on how Caliban wants to belong to one race in particular, and be part of this shared culture he thinks is superior instead of embracing the knowledge and other positive outcomes that brings being

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