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Creole comes from a Spanish word criollo meaning someone who identifies with their particular space, geographical/ territorial [and cultural]. Now, there are two levels [of meaning] which can be inclusive as well as exclusive. There was the use of creole to distinguish Indian from African and you also have French Creole. Anybody white is French-creole, although the person may be Portuguese, or Spanish [in origins]. As part of its all inclusive character, all of us are creole. You have Indo-creoles, Afro-creoles, Sino-creoles because once you are born here (or you may not necessarily be born here) and you identify with your space whether its a cultural space or a territorial space, you are creole. So there are various levels of meaning that attend the notion of creole. In this usage here [in the program of the Symposium], it was confused. It could be seen as counterposing lndian to African since there was a historical tendency to equate creole with African. But, there is a tendency [at least in the Social Sciences] among certain people, to use creole as an all inclusive term, so we talk of creole culture not in relation to black culture, but as an amalgamation of African culture, Indian culture and the like. So it can be inclusive, at the same time that it is exclusive, alienating at the same time that it is incorporating, and the meaning shifts from context to context and place to place.
Copyright Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies