jm + barbados   1

Distilled Identity
Gabriel recently bought a distillery in Barbados, where he says the majority of his team is of African descent. “The sugar industry is a painful past for them, but my understanding, from my team, is that they do see it as the past,” Gabriel explained. “There was great suffering, but their take is like, ‘We built this island.’ They are reclaiming it, and we are seeing that in efforts to preserve farming land and not let it all go to tourism.”

I rather liked this narrative, or at least the potential of it. Slavery was appalling across the board, but countries and cultures throughout the African Diaspora have managed their paths forward in ways that don’t mimic the American aftermath. A plurality of narratives was possible here, which was thrilling to me. I am often disappointed by the mainstream perception of one-note blackness. One could easily argue the root of colonization is far from removed in the Caribbean. But if I understood Gabriel, and if he accurately captured the sentiments of his Barbadian colleagues, plantation sugarcane offered career opportunities to some, and was perhaps not solely a distressing connection to a shared global history. We chewed on this thought, together, in silence.
history  distilling  rum  barbados  african-diaspora  slavery  american-history  booze  language  etymology 
august 2017 by jm

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