By Markley Cumberbatch
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
There are many things that have divided mankind throughout the years – class, colour, creed, tribal, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and the like. We have been forced to learn some difficult lessons, especially from those that promote and give nourishment to prejudice and segregation.
There was a time in Barbados that Arthur Holder could not be Speaker of the House of Assembly, whether real Rastafari or just sporting a balding dreadlocks hairstyle.
There was a time in Barbados when Dame Sandra Mason could not have been the gracious Governor General that she is, and the same could be said for the late Dame Nita Barrow. Women were once marginalised in this country.
There was a time in Barbados when plantation owners were of one specific hue. No more. There was a time when it would be unheard of in Barbados for talk show host Peter Wickham to talk openly on a national radio station about his beloved husband.
There was a time not so long ago that it would be preposterous to contemplate a black man sitting in America’s aptly named White House giving the world instructions. We have come a very long way as prejudice, segregation, xenophobia and other of our weaknesses have receded, if not totally vanished.
It is now almost unbelievable that a pandemic and the question of vaccination are being allowed to divide the world, and in Barbados, it is no different.
People across the world are now protesting the right to stop being forced to take a jab. Persons who exercise their inalienable democratic right not to be vaccinated are now being portrayed as unpatriotic, a danger to society, worthy to be marginalised and castigated.
Some companies are even offering incentives to vaccinate and unwittingly paying or rewarding persons to segregate and to play out their prejudices.
We have gone from “I don’t want wunnuh nig…rs around my place”, and “I can’t stand wunnuh bul…rs” to “If wunnuh ent vaccinated, don’t come around me”, as one misguided twit recently stated and received lots of unwarranted coverage for shouting. A pandemic cannot justify the removal of individual rights.
The direction that many societies are taking because of the question of vaccination is one to be noted very seriously.
As governments across the globe stupidly use scare tactics and other means of coercion to encourage vaccination, they ought to be mindful of the danger they might be putting those who object to their agenda.