The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].
It so happens, for historical reasons, that most Vincentians are the direct descendants of Black African slaves. It is also true, for historical reasons, that a disproportionate number of Black Vincentians are poor (compared other ethnic groups).
As a result, any government programme which is national in scope (such as Argyle International Airport or Poor Relief) would be aimed at and seen to benefit Black Vincentians more than other Vincentians. The same goes for most of the other programmes and projects which the Prime Minister claims are oriented towards helping Black people but which, in reality, are aimed at poor people, regardless of their race or colour. Again, these programmes disproportionately touch Black people only because of historical factors.
Indeed, the very concept of “Labour love” contains the subliminal message that, “I, Ralph Gonsalves, your White Prime Minister, loves Black people.”
On the other hand, the actual enslavement of our Black ancestors and the disproportionate impoverishment of their descendants is very much an issue of racism.
Racial discrimination is still rampant (though often obscured as in the notion of “Labour love”) in our little society as when Black people, especially young Black men, are closely scrutinised (“racially profiled”) when entering business places where shoplifting is common. Likewise, as I have observed, the identity cards of Back shoppers are more carefully scrutinized than those of White shoppers when credit or debit purchases are made in supermarkets.
I have purchased a lot of building materials at Gibson’s over the years and never once saw a White or near-White person being asked for identification when writing a check, the normal practice when unknown Black people do so.
Given our racial demography, the Prime Minister has shrewdly played the race card since his involvement with the Black Power movement starting in the mid-1960s because he was determined to enter politics and eventually become Prime Minister from a very young age despite his membership in a privileged minority group.
Using race in this way is a form of racism, pure and simple, even if you call it by a fancy name like “affirmative action,” which is really a form of reverse racism which privileges one ethnic group over another, on the one hand, and devalues the innate ability of the “affirmed” group to rise up on its own by the dint of hard work and ambition in a free and democratic society.
The clearest example of this is the Prime Minister’s leadership of bogus slavery reparations movement which only fosters the kind of soft bigotry of low expectations, learned helplessness, and dependence on Big Brother that we observe today among our Black brothers and sisters.
Stanley “Stalky” John, whose name has just made headlines again after over 14 years in the political wilderness, was deposed partly because Black ULP party big-wigs believed that he was too black to be Prime Minister. Such is our sense of racial self-loathing.
America elected its first Black president on two occasions partly to atone for the sins of slavery; St. Vincent and the Grenadines has elected a White Prime Minister on three occasions (and a near White one on the four previous occasions) party because of a deep-seated, historically-rooted sense of racial inferiority.
Conscious Vincentians need to think hard about these issues when they cast their “X” on election day.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].