Trust has nothing to do with skin tone
One of my most favourite hobbies is getting to know and understand psychology and the social sciences. I say hobby because I did not learn it in any college or university, nor do I have a degree on the subject matter. It’s something I had taken an interest in from a very young age because of some issues I had to face growing up in my community, of which I had much difficulty dealing with.
Learning the sciences and philosophy of psychology helped me not only to understand the people among whom I lived, but also more about the people I didn’t live among that had a profound and negative effect on my community, and where they rarely showed their face.
I also got to understand that just because a law is on the books does not mean that it represents any part of true justice. Remember, slavery was a law, segregation was a law, carrying an overage pillion passenger on a auxiliary cycle was against the law that was on the books — there still are laws on the books that don’t add up to anything representing true justice at all.
Even when reading the newspaper, one has to be very careful in how they decipher information through what they read. It is how you read it and understand the true context of what had been written, especially if that media has a heavy political or religious influence dominating and controlling its distributed content.
I remember attending a forum on the news media many years ago at the Dellwood Primary School auditorium, where the late Eric Hopwood made a statement that he could take one news item, write it in five different ways and get back from the public five different opinions, all of which would represent the truth.
I never forgot what Mr Hopwood said that night and thought to myself, if one can control the thinking of a people, then you can control the way in which they think and act.
Here is another reason why I took such a great interest in psychology and sociology: because of some of the negative racist flak I was receiving from some in my very own black community, and I could not understand the reasons why. I was told one day to my face by a light-skinned girl of the same complexion as myself that she could never involve herself with or trust a light-skinned man because her grandmother told her that they were deceitful, cunning and could not be trusted.
I would like for you to remember, Mr Editor, that while I was receiving this negative bit of behaviour from this person, there was not one white person anywhere in sight. Maybe Mr Editor, you can help me to understand what trust has got to do with skin tone because I know some black people I could never ever trust.
A lot of the psychological conditions that we in the black community suffer from are leftover psychological relics from slavery and have become a permanent fixture in some of our mindsets. You see, Mr Editor, the laws of segregation, although no longer on the lawbooks of today, are still effective, even though no one has to amend or set up any new laws to segregate people any more. They are already well built right into their psyche to the point that some of us as African-Bermudians alienate ourselves automatically without being told what to do.
To me, Mr Editor, the practice of social self-alienation today and the imposed segregation practices of years gone by seem no different today than it was years ago when segregation in fact was the law.
Here is something that I found in a book titled The Century, written by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster, which went like this: “Jim Crow laws penetrated so many aspects of southern black life in the early years of the century that it is hard to believe the forces of slavery had been defeated a generation before. Signs separating black areas from white areas were often not needed; people just understood”.
How ironic, Mr Editor. And to believe that the same type of concept lives on in the Bermudian psyche even today.
E. McNEIL STOVELL
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