The Big Mix
CleAnn from Trinidad and Tabago talks about her very multicultural country.
Todd: So CleAnn, you’re from Trinidad and Tobago and you were saying that your country has a very diverse multicultural mix?
Todd: Can you talk about that?
CleAnn: Oh sure. Trinidad and Tobago mostly were made up of people from Africa (African descent) who came as slaves and Indians who came from India...mostly, I think we may also have some from parts of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, but they came as indentured laborers closer to when slavery was being abolished.
These two groups actually make up the two largest ethnic groups in Trinidad. However, there is a lot of mixing. It’s very difficult to find someone in Trinidad and Tobago who is extremely, purely of one ethnic group because everyone is sort of mixed.
We have also a lot of whites or caucasians who are native to Trinidad and Tobago who speak exactly like me with my Caribbean accent and many people who find it very strange because they will walk around in Trinidad and think that they are tourists but realize that they are actually native Trinidadians. And many also come from Europe to settle in Trinidad after retirement and have their families here so this is how they came to stay here.
We have a very large Chinese population and its growing because now the government is encouraging immigrants from China to come in to help us with our development, to build our capital city so we have a lot of Chinese.
We have a lot of Colombians, Venezuelans, people coming from South and Central America migrating to Trinidad because Spanish is now being promoted as a second language for Trinidad so street signs in our capital city are in English and Spanish.
So with all of this mixing of different people it’s very, as I said, very difficult to find a person who is of just one ethnic group and it’s reflected in our food, it’s reflected in the kind of music we listen to, sometimes in the way we dress.
For me, for example, I’m mostly of African descent but my dad is mixed with people from South American ethnicity and Chinese. So, as I said, although I’m mostly African, everybody still has a little bit of something in them.
I’m mostly of African descent.
Descent is the background or original place where someone’s family is from.
- She looks Asian, but she is actually of Hispanic descent.
- In Trinidad and Tobago, almost everyone has descendants from different ethnicities.
We also have some from parts of Bangladesh, but they came as indentured laborers.
Indentured means to be under a contract or an agreement. A laborer is a worker. In many British colonies, indentured laborers were people who agreed to work for a land owner in exchange for transportation to the colony. Another word for an indentured laborer is an indentured servant.
- Many Indians became indentured laborers after the end of slavery.
- Indentured servants also worked in exchange for food, housing, and other needs.
Trinidad and Tobago mostly were made up of people from Africa who came as slaves.
Slavery is when a land or business owner forces people to work without giving them money. The slaves are not paid for their services and if they refuse to work, then they are often severely punished.
- Slavery is illegal worldwide, but there are still millions who live in conditions similar to slavery.
- The US prohibited the importation of slaves in 1808.
They came as indentured laborers closer to when slavery was being abolished.
Abolish means to officially stop doing something. Usually, this means that a new law has been created to end a particular action.
- Slavery was abolished in Mauritania in 1981.
- One of the first countries to abolish the death penalty was Venezuela.
Many also come from Europe to settle in Trinidad after retirement.
Retirement is when a person stops working and does not plan to return to work. When an athlete stops playing a sport, it is also called retirement.
- A lot of people work really hard so they have enough money to retire early.
- I save a small percentage of my paycheck every month for retirement.
abolished • retirement
CleAnn talks about her very multicultural country.
CleAnn shows how Trinidad AND Tabago are unique.
CleAnn's country is made up of two islands.
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