Cricket, Canada and the Caribbean diaspora

This book outlines the ways in which sport helps to create transnational social fields that interconnect migrants dispersed across a region known as the Black Atlantic: England, North America and the Caribbean. Many Caribbean men’s stories about their experiences migrating to Canada, settling in Toronto’s urban and suburban neighbourhoods, finding jobs, returning home for visits, and traveling to other diasporic locations involved some contact with a cricket and social club. The cricket ground brings black Canadians together as a unified community, not only to celebrate their homeland cultures or assuage the pain of the “racial terror” that unifies the Black Atlantic, but also to allay the pain of aging in the diaspora. Players and spectators corporeal practices, post-game activities, sport-related travel, as well as music, food, meetings, fundraisers, parties, and shared stories are analysed in this text as resources deployed to maintain the Black Atlantic, that is, to create deterritorialized communities and racial identities; A close look at what goes on before, during, and after cricket matches provides insights into the contradictions and complexities of Afro-diasporic identity performances, the simultaneous representation of sameness and difference among Afro-Caribbean, African-American, Black British, Indo-Caribbean and South-Asian groups in Canada. This book describes twenty-one months of ethnographic empirical evidence of how black identities are gendered, age-dependent and formed relationally, with boundary making (and crossing) as an active process in multicultural Canada.

Sol Plaatje and W.E.B.Du Bois

chapter5 21/12/04 11:16 am Page 89 5 Black Atlantic nationalism: Sol Plaatje and W.E.B. Du Bois The critical era of black Atlanticism began in 1993, with the publication of Paul Gilroy’s seminal book The Black Atlantic.1 The book’s focus on the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa, Europe and the New World was not original. Such a focus has been the concern of African and African diasporic thinkers from at least Equiano onwards.2 Rather, what distinguished Gilroy’s work was its theoretical and political thrust. This was firmly anti

in Postcolonial contraventions
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In my search for tidy conclusions and a singular confirmation of the meaning of sport in the Black Atlantic, I came up empty handed, or “wit’ me two long arms” as cricket club members might say. There are so many dimensions to the transnational flows of peoples and cultures of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora that have important bearing on how we think about black masculinities

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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only needed to travel across the Peace Bridge for a 11-7hour drive to New York City, or merely to Ross Lord Park, 30 minutes north of the City of Toronto, in order to forge close bonds with other black people, enjoy Caribbean sport, food, drink and music, and share nostalgic stories in their native languages. Afro-Caribbean migrants used sport and travel within the Black Atlantic as vehicles to

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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… [that] expressed the restlessness of spirit … a new topography of loyalty and identity in which the structures and presuppositions of the nation-state have been left behind because they are seen to be outmoded” (p. 16). The history of the Black Atlantic, Gilroy opines, its continual criss-crossing of black people and the attempt to express cultures that are global or outer-national directly

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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… we must take into consideration the complexities of historically constituted interpretations of the nature of social and cultural interchanges. ( 1991 , p. 15) The history of Indo-Afro relations in the Caribbean is not incidental to the story of the Mavericks and sport in the Black Atlantic. Interactions with

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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. In seminal black diaspora texts, such as C. L. R. James’ Beyond a Boundary and Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, women are often left out of the story, portrayed as non-agents, and erased from the history of black politics and Caribbean travel, not to mention sport. A gender analysis of James’ work by Hazel Carby, in her book Race Men , explains that for

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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connections they are able to make (or interested in making) across the Black Atlantic. This chapter highlights the many ways in the early decades of the twenty-first century, in which black men continue to be positioned diasporically and nationally. The final events at one tournament in St. Lucia, in March 2008, clearly elucidate the multiple affiliations of Afro-Caribbean men. Tournament organisers posited

in Sport in the Black Atlantic
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Mavericks travel in order to reconnect with their kin and kith, their stories about their travels to places in the Caribbean and Caribbean places in other countries appease their longing for the past and an elsewhere. They regenerate what they have lost and confirm their belonging to a Black Atlantic interpersonal network through their travel stories. They become conscious of their black culture as a result of

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their identities. The MCSC games are not merely sporting activities. They bring together family and friends from throughout the Black Atlantic to lime at the matches so they can feel “at home” whether they are in their nations of origin, elsewhere in the Caribbean, elsewhere in the diaspora, or at grounds in Toronto. While some club members emphasise their ways of life and thought as the same as in

in Sport in the Black Atlantic