Monday, October 16, 2006

Race vs class

Hi everyone, I'm back after my long break. So many thought-provoking issues occurred while I was away and I had every intention of blogging about them, that was...until Saturday. I'm sure many of you would have read about the teenager who was allegedly beaten while walking through a gated community in St. Michael. The fact that the victim was Black and the alleged perpetrator White has once again raised the "black vs white" and "race vs class" debates in Barbados.
History shows that after slavery was abolished in Barbados, the relationship between master and slave didn't change overnight or that radically for many years. Since then, we have developed a kind of uneasy "truce" for the sake of the development of our country. The Whites control the business and we control the Parliament. But the matter of race continues to raise its head, because we've never dealt with it in any holistic way. As our middle class grows more affluent and more (I have to say it!) Black Barbadians are driving BMWs and going on spa weekends, we have fooled ourselves into thinking that racism no longer exists in our fair land. Its classism not racism, many people say. It wasn't that long ago that Black people like me couldn't walk through Strathclyde and Belleville unless we worked there, and I don't think they were excluding us because we were poor! It takes situations like what occurred last week with that youngster to remind us that in the eyes of many non-Black persons, we are still second class citizens.
Now, we don't know the full story yet of what occurred in Highgate Gardens, but the racial slurs and the brutality perpetrated against that schoolboy should serve as a wake up call to the Black middle class in this country. Many Barbadian Blacks may live in posh neighbourhoods, shop at certain supermarkets and spend money and much effort to validate their worth through material possessions, but there are some persons who still see them all as "black n****rs" who deserve an "*ss kicking".
What can we do about it? Well, for starters, we have to give our children a sense of value and a value system that is not based on brandname gear or the lastest Xbox game. We have to tell them where they came from, show them where their grands or great-grands might have dug cane holes in the country. Let them know that even though their parents are in a position now to provide well for them, others struggled hard in years past to help them reach that point. Maybe then we can begin to confront the issue of race in this country as proud, strong Black people, instead of shying away from our "shameful" past as slaves. It's our history, it doesn't have to be our future.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The silly season has begun

Beware my fellow Barbadians, for the "silly season" has started. For all those non-Bajans reading the blog, the "silly season" is the name given to the period leading up to national elections. During that special time, the electoral candidates try to out-fox each other to win the hearts of the electorate.
Although elections are not constitutionally due until 2008, the increase in the number of political meetings being held is a sure sign of the advent of silly season. Just recently it was announced that fuel prices were decreasing and that several housing projects were in the works. Coincidence? Who knows? All I can say is that we're in for a lot more announcents to be made at public meetings.
I'll be off for a few days but feel free to post your thoughts on the "silly season".