When visiting for the summer cultural anthropologist Angela Roe hears from her Curaçaoan aunt that she had best not bring home a dark skinned sweetheart. Upset Roe decides to investigate the underlying motives of this ‘rule:’ why has Curaçao struggled for centuries with a color hierarchy? Why is there such a strong taboo on talking about race and racism? And how do race and skin color continue to impact people today?
Her research takes her across the island, from a small village in the countryside to Spaanse Water, one of the richest neighborhoods of the island. She speaks with people about descent, class, family and Curacao’s multicultural society. The pride and joy that we find in the racial diversity in which we partake daily, is interspersed with, shame and frustration that people experience, sometimes also daily, as a result of racial inequality.
Angela Roe is an anthropologist and a PhD candidate at the Global and Sociocultural Studies program at Florida International University in Miami. Being born and raised in the Netherlands of a white Dutch father and a black Surinamese/Curaçaoan mother set the tone for her academic interests, which revolve around race relations, identity, the performativity of blackness, colonial heritage, and the abundant dynamics of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. In the spring of 2012 Roe started with Sombra di Koló, an interactive documentary project on race relations in Curaçao today.
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