Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc
Empire State College/State University of New York
177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-5875
OCTOBER 26, 2013
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
“These two dominant influences should not be allowed to overwhelm our identity
or diminish its complexity” (from editorial mentioned below)
A recent Sunday Stabroek News editorial posed the question, “Who are we?” and
directed attention to a contemporary ripple in the peopling of Guyana—the new
immigrants from Brazil and China. The editorial also insinuated some of the societal
anxieties associated with this contemporary development. For more than
5,000 years, the contemporary nation has had close and intimate relations with
the churn of the pushes and pulls of the human migration drama.
Each wave of immigrants to Guyana has generated social and cultural anxiety
among several sectors in of the receiving society. It is out of these anxieties emerge
the narratives that create and nourish mythologies and negative stereotypes.
These take on a life of “truth” with the capacity to influence policy making and
One can identify particular virulence in the mythologies and negative stereotypes
constructed during periods when the economic conditions are dire, the political
environment is “heated” and social and cultural life is stunted. Robert Moore’s
“Colonial Images of Blacks and Indians in Nineteenth Century Guyana” illustrates
this dynamic in British Guiana during the pivotal mid-19th century era
when the peoples of enslavement and indentureship encountered each other in large scale for the first time in the Guyana space.
Similarly, the drama of human migration has seen waves of migration out of
Guyana. At the end of the 20th century, Guyana had a diaspora approaching 1
million and located around the world with concentrations in London, Toronto,
New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C, the across the Caribbean.
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