By M. Jordan
I would like to submit a follow-up to my first opinion piece that you kindly published as a guest column in the 16th September Edition of Barbados Today (‘Not So Easy To Move On’).
This latest submission is in response to Mr. Ras Kellan’s opinion piece published in the September 19th Edition of the newspaper.
Mr. Kellan, thank you for clarifying your stance in your second opinion piece (‘Up, You Mighty Race…!’), in the September 19th Edition of Barbados Today. Your first opinion piece (‘Time to Move On’ (September 14th) did seem to suggest that us black folk should quieten down about our slavery past. However, your latest explanation now makes sense, and I do agree with your sentiments.
I wholeheartedly agree that black people could be doing so much more to help each other. We black folk should look at how white, Asian, Jewish and Muslim communities look out for each other first and foremost before considering people outside of their own communities.
It always appears to be more difficult for black people to progress economically in Barbados than for other races. Why is that? I do believe that the socio-economic structures set up since slavery days were never meant to work in our favour. However, I do also believe that in many cases, black people hinder black people!
Black people in positions of authority could be doing so much more to support the black community the way that white, Asian, Muslim and Jewish people always proactively support their own.
The ordinary black man and woman should look to patronise black-owned businesses first before any other. Black business owners in return should offer all black customers/clients the same quality of service that I know they would offer any white or Asian customer.
Sadly, my experience has been that many black people do not support, champion or encourage each other in the way that other races of people look after their own. There even seems to be an air of resentment towards those who have done relatively well in life despite all the obstacles they may have faced when working hard to achieve their ambitions. There are also too many black people out there happy to cheat other black people. When it comes to black Caribbeans, I do put a lot of that behaviour down to the legacies of slavery (for example, where family bonds were deliberately broken to prevent any form of social cohesion, and slaves were forced to look out only for themselves to survive, quite often at the expense of other slaves).
The structures of slavery and colonialism were very well planned and executed, and continue to have tremendous impact to this day. Those anti-black structures, plus a slave mentality deep-rooted in too many black Bajans, continue to hinder true cohesion of black society on the island.
This is why we need to continue talking about slavery and its impacts on black folk in the modern day. I am most certainly not saying that we should use slavery as an excuse for negative activity happening in Barbados.
What I want though is for black people to discuss more openly the reasons why we are not more supportive of each other, and to look at the slave/colonial-based structures, attitudes and behaviours passed down through the generations that continue to affect our development on the island while other races seem to prosper.
This column was offered as a Letter to the Editor