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Title: Social attitudes of Trinidad youth : a study of ethnic and social awareness
Author: Carter, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3523 2889
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1979
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This study of attitudes to race and ethnicity is based on data derived from a questionnaire administered by the researcher to a multi-ethnic/multi-racial sample of 598 pupils and students in March 1974 Trinidad. A supplementary experiment was conducted in February 1979, involving 121 students These data are employed as a pivotal point for a broader discussion of the significance of race and ethnicity in the society" and the interpretation of these findings is sought in the society's modern history and the inter-ethnic rivalries, disputes and beliefs imposed in large measure by the structure of the society. All respondents, regardless of race, ascribed characteristic patterns of prestige, in political, economic, social and cultural terms, to the different racial groups. Generally the different races subscribe to essentially similar stereotypes of other racial groups (the findings of this part of the study were limited by a very low response rate however). Indians were portrayed as hardworking' and 'ambitious'˙ Chinese were seen as 'business-minded' and 'hardworking'˙ Indians were described as too culturally separate, and the Chinese as mean˙ The Negroes were seen as lazy and lacking business ability, whites were portrayed as 'racists', 'exploiters' and possessing high socio economic status* These stereotypes like the prestige rankings, reflect the historically ascribed roles of the different groups in colonial society. In addition there were several indications of own-group/out-group polarisations among the primary groups (i.e. negro, Indian, white and Chinese) in their close friendship associations, admitted ethnic preferences, and attitudes to the two dominant cultures - Indian and creole. There was some variation between the groups in the extent of own-group preference˙ The mixed-race group emerged as the most popular out-group, perhaps because respondents wished to display the ideal of non-racism, or because of the mixed-race's mainstream status in creole society. The mixed race does not have the full status of an out-group vis a vis any one of the primary groups it occupies a relatively neutral position. These results suggest that the mode of introduction of diverse ethnic and racial groups, to perform definite roles on plantations, set in motion a chain of events whereby race and ethnicity have emerged as salient reference points around which individuals organise them-selves, for the accruing of social rewards and the imputation of social propensities and potentialities. This process forms the basis for inter-ethnic and inter-racial rivalries and tensions. The implications seem clear; unless the social structure is altered towards a more positive base, supportive of the needs of all, irrespective of race and/or ethnicity, the threat of open conflict stemming from inter-ethnic and/or inter-racial conflict and tensions will persist.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethnic Studies