Harry just asked this very question.
What does “Caribbean” mean? What a vast weight of confusion and possibility and debate those four little syllables have to bear.
Is “Caribbean” a geographical region defined by proximity to a body of water, by insularity in the literal sense, by lines of latitude?
Is it a group of nations and proto-nations defined by a common history or culture, or by political links? Is it an aspiration, an attitude, an illusion? Is its meaning determined by presence or absence? Has it an antonym?
This is a knot of questions unlikely ever to be completely unraveled; scholars and politicians and ordinary people will be picking away for foreseeable decades. And these are questions that snag through the pattern of my professional life, not abstractions but practical worries, tightropes to cross and tripwires to vault.
I edit a magazine called Caribbean Beat. The Question of “Caribbeanness” is one I confront every day.