Within this context of heightened tension, everyone from political leaders to cultural activists envisioned the festivity of performative culture as the means to end racialized violence. In particular, British Guiana Festival Week became the main state-sponsored cultural festival that aspired to be racially inclusive, instill pride and loyalty to the emerging nation, and forge cross-racial unity. These cultural spaces were mobilized in attempts at racial amelioration during tense times, reconciliation after particularly explosive times of racial violence, and as preemptive measures to prevent future tensions. While on the surface these festivals perpetuated the rhetoric and ideals of national inclusion, the practice of nation-building reinforced the bonds of racialized patronage between political leaders and their constituents while exacerbating racial divisions on-the-ground. Racialized participation in nationalist festivals largely reflected partisan loyalty, thus naturalizing and reinforcing racial separation within the national sphere. State policies that were originally intended to unify the nation became sources of disunity.
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