Having recently been “confronted” by a man on social media claiming his interests were to “DEFEND HIS COUNTRY” against my words, I have stumbled upon yet another sad and disturbing reality of Bajan culture and a society void of HUMAN RIGHTS. This man was in fact DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ME and exposing his XENOPHOBIA because I am a “NON-BAJAN” speaking about Bajan life and he found that to be offensive and I needed to be chastised. That may sound “normal” upon first mention but when one has experienced the “unfair” social norms in Barbados firsthand and have shared the experiences of the people who reside there as friends/family, then one can understand that there is a much deeper issue underlying the need to defend.
WHAT’S “WRONG” WITH BAJAN NATIONALISM?
“The many xenophobic impulses released in the name of nationalism endanger the future sovereignty of Barbados because it is not a nationalism that speaks of the rights of minorities. Moreover, if the Hegelian dialectic of synthesis lists high autonomy as one of those preconditions that create powerful common mythologies in the art of nation building, then nations are formed through the inclusion of the whole populace and not just the voices of the elites or of the ruling class. In Barbados’s struggle to present to the rest of the Caribbean the picture of a perfect society or the Utopian dream, covert segregation among its own people prevails, denying the ordinary working class the historical legacies that they had overcome since the days of slavery to their present day liberation.” via Rebecca Theodore
In the 1960’s when places in Africa and the Southern states in America were realizing the fight for “CIVIL RIGHTS”/ANTI-APARTHEID/BLACK POWER MOVEMENTS, the people of Barbados were being hit with the first round of PROGRAMMING surrounding NATIONALISM….they were just realizing themselves as a “nation” “free from colonialism”. They “rioted” for political “REPRESENTATION” in the forming of a political parties. But even with that being declared, there was never any MOVEMENTS or ORGANIZED activity surrounding RACE, just “going with the flow” so to speak.
There isn’t the DRAMA and VIOLENCE of racism, segregation, apartheid, etc in Barbados so they don’t resist it in response to the other MAJOR WAYS (although all Black people have ways of “secret” resistance) it shows itself. They also aren’t just the recipients of PREJUDICE and DISCRIMINATION but they exhibit these attitudes and crimes against one another, people from other countries and people from other Caribbean nations. As they continue seeing the YOUTH suffer maybe that will be the “history” they decide is worth remembering. Which indeed is what happened in #Soweto regarding the YOUTH deciding to take a stand.
The relatively small population has always, because of the nature of the Bajan plantation society and the history of colonial imposition, which accompanied and then took over from the system of slavery, acted as if it were a majority in Barbados: establishing and maintaining a high degree of race/colour consciousness and prejudice, which has given the island the reputation not only of being ‘Little England’ but of being one of the most tacitly apartheid communities in the entire Caribbean.” -Brathwaite
WHAT IS THE “FACE” OF APARTHEID IN BARBADOS?
“Unlike Apartheid or of the Southern States of America, Barbadian racism was institutionalised but not arbitrarily or randomly violent. Opposition to the system in the early years of the twentieth century was more against the poverty it engendered than the system which had spawned it. Despite the work of, for instance, the UNIA or Marxist groups such as the West Indian Workers Progressive Society in the 1920s and 1930s in raising black awareness, political opposition was more often spontaneous than organised, and not articulated in racial terms. The 1937 riots in Barbados galvanised the formation of political parties, along with that of Trade Unions, and with the introduction of universal adult suffrage in 1951, the democratic process and black majority political rule had begun. There was no freedom or liberation movement, as there was in other parts of the British Empire, nor a civil rights movement as in the USA or South Africa, nor was there necessarily widespread support, until very late in the day, for decolonisation. At the time, between 1937 (the occasion of major riots) and 1966 (Independence), the angst of nationhood was the prerogative of political activists and intellectuals who saw a West Indian Federation as the route towards Independence, while the daily meat of politics was in the eradication of poverty. Even the Black Power movement in the 1960s and 1970s made very little dent in the silence surrounding race. As indicated above, the history of race in Barbados has lacked the immediate trauma, and drama, of violent racist attacks; correspondingly, it lacks also the narrative of resistance.” via Mary Chamberlain
DO BAJANS “KNOW THEIR ENEMY”???
If there is in fact a “NEED TO DEFEND” the nation of Barbados from a “FOREIGN INVASION” of some sort then who is the INVADER? Has not the island been invaded during the colonial period and continues to be “invaded” in a way by the influx of tourists who are in some instances treated better than the very residents themselves. Even in regards to the ISSUE OF POVERTY that the people of Barbados continue to mention as the most painful of their current ills, I’ve asked many why tourists get “DUTY FREE PRICES” and Bajans pay higher prices for goods/services. I’ve asked why the supermarkets sell goods at prices that are more affordable to tourists than to the locals. WHAT IS THERE TO DEFEND???? A country that sacrifices its’ own people to the belly of “the beast” as it stimulates and perpetuates the ignorance and blindness that fosters ANGER AND AGGRESSION in Bajans toward any “outside threat” is an enemy of progress toward the realization of Human Rights in the current state of affairs. It’s gut wrenching to see the people of Barbados fighting one another and anyone else for just a piece of the pie, a piece of peace of mind and a piece of Bajan pride.
According to P. Antonio “Boo” Rudder:
“Our culture is not static. We are impacted by the tourist industry, radio and television that are generally lacking in national focus, and too many Barbadians are becoming more aggressive in a style that is being evidenced across the world.”
Again, we have mention here of “FOREIGN INVASION” degrading the nationalism and cultural-ism of Barbados. But we have an added ingredient of Bajan aggression which makes for at least some sort of measure for RESPONSE ABILITY on the part of the people to address the INTERNAL CORROSION of their minds and how that reflects back on society and the world. This aggressiveness that Mr. Rudder mentioned has been evidenced by his very own son who is yet in court charged with ASSAULT WITH BODILY HARM to none other than me. Our words cannot be prepared for books and academic circles if they are not first passed down in our homes and respected by our children. If our very own children cannot handle the weight of responsibility that we are asking others in our society to reflect, how effective are our words really? We must ask those who are AGGRESSORS to their own and the detriment of cultural integrity: “WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?” What kind of MIRROR IMAGE is that? Transparency is key.
ARE BAJANS EXPERIENCING TRAUMA BONDING WITH THEIR OPPRESSOR?
“The lineage of racism in Barbados can be traced directly to slavery, where the collective trauma appeared to have been transformed into a collective, and silent, denial after Emancipation. For the most part – and particularly those elderly Barbadians with whom I spoke – there has not been ‘permission’ (in the Halbwachian sense) until recently, to express openly experiences of racism. The integral and integrated experience of racism may be likened to victims of long term domestic violence (or kidnap) where a form of collusion, and even victim guilt, arises between the perpetrator and its victim. Certainly, as Elsa Goveia pointed out, this lay at the heart of slavery.” via Mary Chamberlain
More to come…. -Tru Focus-