Letters that should not be promoted

The recent page four publication of the letter submitted to the editor by Mr Christos Ioanou, a former white migrant worker, is another in the line of what might be perceived as racist, insulting jeremiads, directed toward the black Bermudian community. The narrative is so familiar to our community and goes something like this: that affluent, professional, white males and the white community in general, are the new victims of racism now being perpetuated by black Bermudians.

Mr Ioanou throughout the piece displays what I can only describe as a keen sense of entitlement, while directing his venom over the loss of his Island paradise toward the black Bermudian community. His key complaint is simple; for him, not being able to permanently live and work in Bermuda with all the other affluent privileged whites, represents a loss of the aforementioned entitlement that still rubs him raw. Why was he not successful when so many thousands of largely white Anglos over the last 50 to 60 years were able to grab the brass ring of white privilege in Bermuda? His sense of frustration and failure is palpable and complete; at least by way of this letter.

He states that he worked here for ten years before leaving Bermuda and makes it clear that he would come back to Bermuda in a heartbeat, if only we would let him. This perhaps, serving as a wink and a nod to Michael Fahy who I am sure would lend a sympathetic ear to his plight.

Early in the piece he trots out a variation of the “Hey ... my best friends are black” line, so predictable of late, by stating that — in his case — a number of his lovers or girlfriends were black. Certainly, in his mind, that claim is intended to provide unimpeachable proof that he is not a racist. Although without going to much into our history that proves nothing of the sort. Perhaps those relationships amounted to nothing more than as fetishisation of the black women in question on his part and nothing more. Is it possible to sleep with black women but despise black people in general?

And the letter goes on and on. Among other things he asserts in a rather self-serving way that blacks do practice racism against whites when there is no evidence anywhere in the world to back that up. We do know that black Bermudians and those around the world do hold some justifiable prejudice toward whites. Considering the history is that any surprise? But racism? He evidently has no idea what racism is.

Ground zero in his warped world view is then provided by his assertion that blacks feel that “Whites still owe blacks everything generations after the last slave died ...” Now considering that I am of the view that anyone who holds those views, who does not hold status, should be deported, his argument conveniently ignores the fact that the period between 1834 to 1975 was no cakewalk for black people here or anywhere else in the world. The oppression of blacks and white privilege did not end with emancipation. Far from it.

I would continue, but suffice to say that the anglo-dominated hierarchy of the Gazette needs to stop printing and wilfully promoting letters such as these that may be perceived as nothing more than racist hate speech. I cannot imagine that any reputable major newspaper in the West with an ounce of social responsibility and considering our tortured history would, save for some racist right wing rag out of the UK, even print, no less highlight and feature a letter such as this.

In other words this letter says just as much about the Gazette as it does the writer. And it’s not the first time.

In closing, I am also disappointed that those public intellectuals such as Al Seymour Sr, Bryant Trew, Sylvia Hayward, Stuart Hayward, Khalid Abdul Wasi, Glenn Fubler and other blacks who have a real voice in this community can be so eager to criticise and even “beat up” on black Bermudians, largely for the “entertainment” of people like Mr Ioanou, but have no appetite to challenge racism when it is staring them in the face.

I would also hope that the Bermuda Media Council, which only recently to great fanfare issued “media guidelines” on the issue of race addresses this issue with the relevant editors in question.

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