PLP will not follow Barritt proposals
July 9, 2012
It is a legacy we need to turn around. That is the opinion of John Barritt (Royal Gazette, July 5). He was speaking of a legacy that has its roots in what was a deeply divided society that was built on not just the assumption but the belief that one race was superior to another and certainly all others were inferior. It is a legacy, he said, that develops antagonism, hostility and even hatred between people. He also said, control and power, which is frankly what politics come down to. That is a straightforward statement which does not hold someone in the black community responsible for the deep divide because they talk about it. I appreciated it because it came from a white person of Mr Barritts standing. While he will not be charged with playing the racecard, not too many politicians will agree with him because they are, as he said, interested in control and power.
When the Bermuda Democratic Alliance initially emerged, most of the initiators had interracial marriages so I thought that such a collection of independents would not only be something very different but they might even act as a bridge between the two race-based political parties. But that role would never give them political control or power so they decided that they would take the place of the United Bermuda Party and become the representatives of the white community in this racially divided society. As effective as Mr Barritts proposals might be, the Progressive Labour Party cannot follow them because they were not introduced by the UBP which held not only both economic and political power for so long but continued to send out the message that the PLP, founded by blacks, was so inferior that it could not possibly govern.
Despite the very obvious changes that have taken place in this society, the underlying attitudes of many are still very much those of the past. Even if they were not, the long term impact and damage of that past is still very much with us, as is evident in the numerous challenges which the black community continues to face. In addition to those that are very obvious, there are others, less obvious, but just as real, as a result of centuries of racism. Recently, on the talk show, someone, critical of the Ministry of Tourism for planning to bring in white models, complained that blacks too often needed to be validated by whites. The PLP have too often been concerned about what the UBP did or did not do, rather than governing without concern about the UBP. In an ideal world, since the PLP was expected to be better than the UBP in all those areas that really matter, they might have the self confidence to follow the proposals put forward by Mr Barritt but the racial animosity and antagonism, and particularly the continuing attitude of superiority, is still so much with us that it would feel to both blacks and whites like capitulation rather than collaboration. White attitudes, whether assumptions or beliefs, in black inferiority, which created the deep racial divide, have to change to a far greater extent before the PLP could feel that Mr Barritts well thought out proposals could feel like collaboration rather than capitulation.
EVA N HODGSON
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