Kincaid portrayed an Antigua with corrupted government, culturally lost natives and prioritized white people through the eyes of an imaginary white tourist. She expressed her anger towards the English colonizers, and more than that, she uncovered the weakness in this small country and its people.
The major idea of this article is to reveal how Antiguan struggle in finding out their national identity after hundreds of years of being an English colony. The history of English governing washed away their notion of nationality, and maybe the ability of finding one. Antiguan are deprived of their own culture since they are taught in English and that they should believe in English god and love the queen of England. The repair of the national library was postponed; the government seems indifferent on cultivating culture independent of the English one. General citizens are not involved in controlling major economic activities in Antigua, foreigners do instead. Corruptions spread widely among Ministers, in which they monopolize profitable or even illegal businesses. Politically, Antigua people see themselves inferior to white westerners, even if they seem bad-mannered. They don’t feel centered in their home country but seconded or marginalized.
The article reminds me of the notion of other, which we came across many times in the readings throughout this course. This concept might help explain why Antiguans are lost in establishing a healthy self-centered identity. In the old colony times, the English governors and inhabitants did an excellent job in defining who are us and who are other, in their favor, of course. Hierarchies are formed based on the notion that colonizers are more intellectual and organized so that they stand in the center. That is why in Antigua, dark-skinned Syrians and Lebanese are regarded as foreigners, white people are not. The injustice maintained through post-colony times. The unfair institutions and hierarchies are internalized by Antiguans. They see corrupted government and rude westerners. But they don’t feel the urge to change all these. Because they do feel responsible for transforming the country, being part of other.
The take-home question from this article is what impact the history of colony might have on shaping national identities as well as citizenships. The work absolutely stimulates thoughts around identity forming and transforming by providing a representative post-colonial case of Antigua. Institutions of injustice are established by colonists to their benefit. It is going to be a long and suffering progress in transforming self-awareness from other to us.
Kincaid, Jamaica. 1988. A Small Place. Farrar, Straus and Giroux