Our Lingering Race Issue

Our Lingering Race Issue

After half a century as an independent country, we here in Trinidad and Tobago still cannot seem to come to terms with our multi-cultural background. And what’s worse, we are hypocrites about it. How many times have we been proud to claim a Trinbagonian who has done well for themselves on the international scene? We boast about being a “melting pot”: a country where we live in harmony, where cultures interact and where we appreciate each other. Yet, we let our politicians get into our heads and drive stereotypes that make us turn our nose up at our fellow citizens.

When one attends any political meeting in this country, that point is apparent. It doesn’t matter which side it is. Some people are disappointed when they hear it, but most either laugh it off, or worse yet, approve of it. And it is sad because we all share this island, and we just can’t seem to get past the colonial mindset that our masters made sure was engrained, to save themselves some money. For those who didnt know, indentured labourers were brought to this country with promises of decent wages. This was found to not be true, and because they were bound by contract, they had to stay and work. Worse yet, the plantation owners drove it into the heads of the newly emancipated blacks that the East Indians had come to take over their jobs. Doing this created occupation competition, which allowed the owners to offer low wages.

Both races were pitted against each other and we still carry that awful mentality: that one race wants to take away everything from the other. Our politicians know this, and use their influence to ensure this mentality festers. How many times have we heard citizens calling for others to go back to India, or Africa or China?

Now some people may feel as if racism and racial thinking is not as drastic as some may claim. It is true that we often ‘unite’ when at the Oval, when liming and sometimes when observing cultural and religious occasions. The engrained prejudices however tend to come out at other times. Some people in this country still vote based on race. People in this country still judge based on race. There are some people who don’t mind having friends of a different race, but oppose two people of different races become romantically involved.

And the issue of the Police Commissioner nominee highlighted this mentality perfectly. Some persons on both side of the divide seem overly concerned with the race of the candidates. As citizens, and given the crime situation, one would have thought that the key focus would be the QUALIFICATIONS and COMPETENCE of the candidates. Whatever happened to hiring the best person for the job?

Instead, we have become hung-up on race. Which race has more of what, which race is being hired where. This is our reality and sadly, that may never change. Because we are a society that constantly judges people based on how they look.

Web Master

June 11th, 2018

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