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York history professor publishes book on racial discrimination in Jamaica

Posted on 9 September 2019

Professor Henrice Altink has published a new book entitled Public Secrets: Race and colour in colonial and independent Jamaica (Liverpool University Press).

The book explores the multiple forms of race and colour discrimination in Jamaica and how they were talked about and experienced from the end of the First World War until the demise of democratic socialism in the 1980s.

Centred around several case studies, including the labour market, education, the family, and the legal system, it demonstrates the extent to which race and colour shaped social relations in the island in the decades preceding and following independence, and argues that racial discrimination was a public secret – everybody knew it took place but few dared to openly discuss or criticise it.

A final chapter offers an examination of race and colour in contemporary Jamaica, which shows that race and colour have lost little of their power since independence, and offers some suggestions to overcome the silence on race to facilitate equality of opportunity for all.

Professor Henrice Altink's staff profile.

Public Secrets: Race and colour in colonial and independent Jamaica.