30Reading 34-1man’s sweet tooth. This displacement did not stop in the West Indies. Probably half the slaves in the United States originally came through the Caribbean.In modern times, since World War II, West Indians have emigrated from their rural slums to their own cities and in huge numbers to Britain and the United States. The language, the music, the traditions of slaves have transformed parts of American and European popular culture. Attitudes formed during the 440 years of the slave trade make integration difficult, if not impossible. The multiracial society is a mirage, always somewhere ahead, never here today. The Caribbean contains some of the most beautiful islands in the world, but it is difficult to enjoy the present when the brooding past is remembered.These islands had one great commercial asset in the days of slavery—the work done by slaves. So much were the slaves the most valued commodity that in the wars of the 18th century, or the raids which occurred between the wars, they were the prime target.
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