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Author: Henrice Altink


Because hotels are a microcosm of society, they offer a useful case study to explore social inequalities, including racial divisions. This article examines the experiences of African-Jamaican hotel workers and guests from independence in 1962 till the present to demonstrate the salience of Jamaica’s race and color relations. It argues that hotel workers and guests at times challenged the racialized practices that they experienced but more often refrained from doing so because of their socialization into a long-standing ethos of “Black is nuh good” and exposure to a nationalist ideology that projected a vision of racial harmony. The article also shows that through their responses to claims of racial discrimination in hotels, a variety of stakeholders, including tourist organizations, failed to challenge the island’s racial hierarchy which placed Whites on top, light-skinned Jamaicans in the middle, and dark-skinned Jamaicans at the bottom.

Open Access
In: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids