What is ethnicity and the issues faced by Guyanese people?

Essay by Pharmacist76University, Bachelor'sA, April 2014

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What is ethnicity and the issues faced by Guyanese people?

In this part of our essay, we will try to define ethnicity and the struggle for the conquest of power faced by the different ethnic groups. First, we will propose a definition of ethnicity in order to make the reader more at-ease with the concept of ethnicity and understand better the particularities of Guyana and the issues faced by Guyanese people.

An ethnic group or ethnicity is a population of human beings whose members identify with each other, on the basis of a real or a presumed common genealogy or ancestry, culture, language and any other social aspect of their life.

Guyana's society historically always have had a heterogeneous population due to the different colonization ( Dutch and then British) and triangular trade started by the Dutch in 1660s which brought African slaves in Guyana. Finally, Indians were brought by the British during the 19th century to work in the plantation.

Nowadays, according to the latest Guyana's census in 2002 exist four major ethnic groups: Amerindians (original people from Guyana), Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese and the White. Professors Bissessar and La Guerre in their book Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana: Race and Politics in two plural societies define Chinese and Portuguese ethnic groups' role and contribution as important for Guyana as well.

The first issue Guyana had to face concerning ethnicity was the fact that each ethnic group was playing a specific role in the economy of the country under the Dutch administration which went along after under British rule. The separation was known as so:

The Europeans were representing the master class and occupying the highest social position of the society such as plantation owners, traders, administration employees, they were the most educated ethnic group and therefore were considered...