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Transforming Anthropology

How Thomas Nelson and Sons' Royal Readers Textbooks Helped Instill the Standards of Whiteness into Colonized Black Caribbean Subjects and Their Descendents

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Abstract

This essay looks at a key component of the colonial-era curriculum in Grenada, West Indies—the Royal Readers textbooks. A close analysis of three stories in volume Royal Readers No. 4 reveals the textbooks communicate several unstated and often unrecognized tenets of ideological whiteness, instilled by the colonial authorities to augment a project of subjugated and unquestioning acquiescence to their imperial power. A dynamic of a present-day avoidance of historical critique seems to have remained in the society, in part because of an enduring and potent ideology of whiteness. And yet, a brief description of the responses of some attendees to a presentation that included parts of this essay, suggests that the issue of historical erasure is of serious concern to many Carriacouans. The implication is that researchers who report directly to community members about their findings, may be able to support them in a critical engagement with their heritage.

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