Conference in Statia aims to uncover white privilege

POSTED: 10/9/15 12:03 PM

ORANJESTAD – The Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation and the National Archeological and Anthropological Memory Management hosts a conference on internalized oppression entitled Raising the Curtain on Race” from November 4 to 6 at the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute in Statia. It costs $100 to register.

Since the changing status of many of the Dutch Caribbean islands, it is becoming increasingly clear that in demanding and enforcing their own standards, the Dutch are preserving the inequality of the relationship that exists between Caribbean people and the European Dutch. As a result of this many Caribbean people are referring to this new constitutional status as a form of neocolonialism and racial lines and identities are solidifying. Interestingly what is also becoming clear is that many Caribbean people, consciously and sub-consciously, identify with the European Dutch and accept the ruling values and structural arrangements that keep Caribbean people in a subjugated position.

The aim of this conference is to have an interdisciplinary forum where race and racism will be discussed within the context of internalized oppression. This is a multidimensional phenomenon that assumes many forms and proportions across situational contexts, including the intersection of multiple systems of domination. It cannot be reduced to one form or assumed to effect similarly located individuals or groups in precisely the same way. It is an inevitable condition of all structures of oppression. It is of a systemic nature.

Some of the questions that will be raised during this conference include what does it mean to live in a world where oppression is internalized? What is the impact of internalized oppression on the victim of racism as well as the perpetuator? How does internalized oppression impact self-esteem, self-identity, self-image, self-determination, psychological and biological state, values and attitudes regarding the racial group that one identifies within and/or is racialized.

Particular themes to be discussed include, but are not limited to: (1) the effect of colonialism on the former colonized and colonizer; (2) the right to agency and self-determination; and (3) the legacy of enslavement. Specific questions include but are not limited to: (1) how does internalized racism impact physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing? (2) How is racist ideology produced and perpetuated within societies? (3) How are organizational practices, bureaucratic procedures and common sense knowledge influenced by the prevailing cultural structures of racism? (4) gender, self-representation, sexuality and intersectionality

The objectives of the conference are to: (1) Uncover how White privilegeis present in the Dutch Caribbean; (2) Create a platform of exposure of local intellectuals/scholars through publications and active exchange (3) make the Intellectual Diasporaof the Dutch Caribbean visible, especially through the younger generation.

During this conference there will be: (1) Seminars with scholars on the impact of raceand internalized oppression through the four paradigms history-culture, health, politics, education; (2) Breakout sessions on the internalized oppression in the sectors Health, Education, Public Policy (Government-Politics), Culture; (3) Interaction with the community through dialogues and visits to historical sites. (4) Working groups that will connect prior, during and after the conference to exchange best practices and strategies on specific areas of interest; (5) Networking opportunities to process topics more deeply.

For more information or to register please contact Teresa Leslie at

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