I was reading a post on crop over over at the Living in Barbados blog, I thought his take on the Blue Box Cart band was interesting.
One thing that surprised me was seeing the Blue Box Cart band. This band was made up predominantly of over 1,000 white people (see clip below from a 2006 video); the band has been around for some 35 years. It put in front of the audience again one of those realities of Barbados, which is separation of the races. Given that Barbados’ population is between 90-95 percent black, seeing predominantly black groups would not be a surprise.
I’ve often pondered how outsiders see blue box cart. I’ve thought it was a particularly interesting phenomenon. There is no explicit colour bar and there are a relatively small number of people with dark skins who jump with the band with no apparent issues.
What is also very interesting is the reaction of black Bajans to the band. Every year the band jumps with no hostility directed towards it at any stage. In fact they are greeted by spectators as warmly as any other band. Black Bajan masqueraders tend to take the view that “If they want to do that then they can go ahead” and if you talk to most members of Baje International, or Power by Four (two popular kadooment bands) the idea of jumping with Blue Box Cart is viewed with distaste. As one friend of mine responded “Why would you want to do that?”. As with Blue Box Cart there are a smattering of white faces in Power By Four and Baje (who also jump without any incident or hostility directed towards them).
The thing I’ve wondered is this: Is the reaction of the majority population towards Blue Box Cart an example of tolerance or indifference or intimidation? Do people think of BBC as being above them or below them? Is it something to be pitied or pilloried?
Or if we wanted to look at it another way do Bajans (of both races) like it this way? Is the bar set at once you can join any band you want, you then go and join the band you want to? I’ve seen Bajans spontaneously separate themselves in several contexts. Barbados can be a lonely place if you are of mixed race, unlike many other Caribbean islands there isn’t really a large mixed population in Bim.
The line has gotten progressively more and more blurred over time, but it’s still two very definite camps here. And a very small (but growing) group of mixed people sitting on the margins.