West Indian Culture

Topics: Cricket, Test cricket, Caribbean Pages: 7 (2485 words) Published: April 19, 2011
“Is we thing!” how accurate is this perception of popular culture or sport among the working population in the British West Indies during the first half of the 20th century. Cricket today, as it has been said many times, is not what it used to be. Unfortunately many young West Indians know very little of what is once was and what it stood for, they take for granted the techniques and its origins. The level of West Indies cricket has been diluted due to the increase of tourism and fast paced games. However there are many West Indians who hold strong to the fact that cricket is part of our culture and heritage. This archipelago in the Americas has produced many fine cricketers throughout the years. The Caribbean is a unique multicultural and multiethnic region; the majority of the population was forced to migrate after the original inhabitants faced almost complete annihilation. The survivors were at no level to repopulate the Caribbean. As a result there was no previous pattern for the new comers to follow; they had to create their own. West Indians had to develop their own religion, food, politics, art and essentially their entire culture. Cricket was one such aspect, though not their own, over time they moulded and shaped it into what it is today. Cricket came to the West Indies via the English military that were deployed to defeat Napoleon’s west India project and to suppress uprisings, they played the game during their free time, which was relaxing and reminded them of home. The game was introduced as a means of portraying the high statute that was English. During the Victorian age the English empire was at its peak, it had expanded considerably and was proud of its successes, she deemed herself as superior in commerce, morals and race. At this time the only thing that was missing was cricket, Lord Harris, a colonial administrator saw cricket as a method of teaching discipline, loyalty and acceptance of decisions in order to consolidate the empire. However from time immemorial the Caribbean people have had quite distaste for their colonial counterparts. They brought nothing but struggle and strife, as a result every opportunity they got to beat them at their own game they took it. For example during slavery when the mulattoes were able to gain access to English education they sometimes surpassed the whites. As such when West Indians got hold of cricket they saw it as an avenue which they could outstrip the whites. The early 20th century saw the birth of a sport which was to dominate West Indians for years to come. The working population in the west indies took cricket during the first half of the 20th century and made it their own, it touched every aspect of West Indian society and politics, later it even commanded the economy. One could say they cricket backfired on the English, as previously stated it was initially a game of the high class, it was forbidden amongst the lower echelons in society. It was to flaunt the prim and prompt that was the English culture. It reminded the whites of home, even though they had acquired unnoticed traits over time which separated them from English abroad. Cricket initially took root in the “best” of the English colonies, that being Barbados commonly referred to as “Little England.” Clubs were established according along the lines of class and race. There existed Wanderers 1877 which consisted of the lawyers and wealthiest planters followed by Pickwick 1882, middle class whites and Spartan 1893, the first non-white cricket club. Cricket games were attended by the most prestigious individuals, such as the governor. Blacks were never allowed to play but they were the ones to prepare the pitches and fields, they caught and sometimes bowled. It is through these simple activities by which they learned the game and improved their technique and form. The English felt they were the superiors, for example Flannigan a working class practice bowler admired...
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