La Guadeloupe en Traduction

Le blog bilangue d'une traductrice du français vers l'anglais en Guadeloupe

Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer : Béké

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Overseas Glossary: BékéEncore une entrée du « Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer » du Monde.

Another entry from Le Monde’s “Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer”:


A term designating a small minority of White creoles in Martinique, descendants of rich slave-holding colonists from Europe who settled in the Caribbean often centuries ago, and who control a large share of the economic power in the French West Indies. The term appeared during the era of the French Revolution. Its etymology remains vague: some believe that the term comes from the regular use of the expression “Eh bé qué?” (“Et bien quoi?”, meaning “And what?”) or a deformation of the locution blanc créole, becoming B.K. then béké. Others lend support for the abbreviation of the term blanc du quai, or White man from the quay. Békés are distinguished from métros, recent arrivals from metropolitan France, with whom there is little mixing. The Békés dominance of the economy, discernible in large retail sector, is a source of complaint by Martinican and Guadeloupean activists who stigmatize the group’s arrogance and prejudices maintained from the slave era.

Written by May

November 14th, 2012 at 6:51 pm

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