What Is a Caribbean Identity?

A Caribbean identity refers to the qualities, beliefs and culture common to the geographic area known as the Caribbean. Defining Caribbean identity is problematic because the Caribbean includes many places such as Cuba, Florida, Venezuela, Belize and other locations that contain dozens of ethnic groups and much mixing of culture, says Global Voices Online.

One key aspect of a Caribbean identity is the shared history of colonialism and slavery that produced what people know as the Caribbean today. However, according to Global Voices Online, some Caribbean-associated people struggle with the idea of one unified Caribbean identity and choose to identify with the particular languages and culture of their own country or region. This does not necessarily impede also identifying with a larger Caribbean culture, however.

With the passing of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, or CSME, a trade agreement and mutual assistance pact signed by 15 countries, more Jamaicans are beginning to identify themselves as Caribbean more than Jamaican. Many Caribbean businesses operate in countries other than their own, creating an economic bridge that strengthens cultural bridges as well, according to Global Voices Online. Despite differences of nationality, race and other factors, Caribbean identity helps unify the region for collective efforts at bettering life for all people in the region.