An article in the Economist magazine entitled, ‘The Next Generation‘ explores the changing fortunes of the Caribbean community in the UK.
And it’s an interesting read! Not least because at my recent constellations workshop, there were some wonderful people who stepped up and challenged themselves to look at an extremely difficult subject, Caribbean people in the Diaspora and their relationship to one another.
We did it is in a slightly different way from usual, looking at the Caribbean community in the wider Diaspora now and where it may be in 50 years time. Do you know what the outcome was, a BIG question, ‘Will there be a Caribbean Community in the UK in 2066?’
That’s powerful isn’t it, because it begs the question, what is left of the Caribbean Community in the UK? Where is it now and in what pockets of London can we find it residing? I left the workshop thinking about “what we mean by a Caribbean Community?”
A Definition of the Caribbean
Let me define what I mean by the Caribbean. Peoples from different islands and countries, from Guyana and Surinam in South America to Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and the other islands in the region, who all share a lived experience. That may be in the Caribbean area or the wider Diasporas of the UK, Europe, Canada and the Americas.
In London, the traditional areas that Caribbean people lived in have become increasing gentrified and more expensive. That means people have sold up and shipped out. They have moved further away from the inner city, Hackney, Brixton, Shepherds Bush and yes, we are still there, but not in such great numbers. This splitting is separating communities that have acted as a support and a guide for generations in the past.
Facilitating the Constellation
This was an interesting constellation to facilitate because I have been pondering on community, loyalty and family. If a community is eroding and declining, what is our relationship to that and how will it impact the family structure into the future?
I see around me very strong communities, Jewish communities, Indian communities, Chinese communities, African communities, all for the most part, intact and strong. Which does not mean to say that there are not issues and difficulties within these communities? It’s just that I can’t see the Caribbean community so clearly, it looks further away, maybe I just don’t feel so connected? It may be my personal experience, except for the fact that I am meeting more and more people with a similar perspective.
Community Change Over Decades
Yes, this has been happening for the last three to four decades, it just seems to have intensified, change is all around us. Arguably the very concept of Caribbean community may no longer exist, as many of our parents move back home and their children (us) emigrate to other places.
So at the end of the constellation, I was left with a very powerful question, Will there be a Caribbean community in the UK in 2066? And if there isn’t where will it have gone? We can’t all have returned to the Caribbean, rather it looks like we may well have become completely assimilated. It’s an interesting idea with some ramifications for future generations. I will return to this question in later posts, for now, it leaves much to think about.
Until next time!
Sonya’s first published articles appeared in the Training and Development Methods and Coaching at Work journals in 2006. She returned to writing in 2019 with articles for the Systemic Constellations Journal, The Knowing Field and Counselling and Therapy Journal, Therapy Today. Sonya is currently writing a commissioned book, that explores Transgenerational Therapy and Ancestral Remembering in the African Diaspora.