Race cards should be seen only at the races

  • St Augustine of Hippo

    St Augustine of Hippo

We keep hearing it and, yes, sometimes get tired of hearing “race”, which seemingly is behind every inclination we have.

America’s Cup — race.

Politics — race.

Flora Duffy celebration, or lack thereof — race.

So in the Bermudian vernacular, “I mus well” talk about race, too. However, what I want to talk about is inclusion.

We all appreciate there is a wealth gap and, true to the Newman Report, the unpublished reality of this gap is a clear indication of systemic racism.

People just don’t want to know how bad it is because it may pull on a moral requirement to do something about it. So we bury it. What can’t be seen won’t hurt you. If there is no mechanism of documenting the reality of the disparity, then maybe we can pretend it doesn’t exist.

No need to point fingers of blame; there is plenty to share around and the best approach is “look at the man in the mirror”. Yes, and those mirrors will come up with many shades and colours.

There are three classes of wealth distribution — in order of affluence, the merchant, the civil servant and the labour.

Commercial wealth is primarily the domain of the white community and it is in your face, whether in the grocery stores, office buildings, wholesale or general merchandise. A fair guess would be that more than 90 per cent of commercial buildings are white-owned.

Hence, culturally, they are more commercially driven and mass-influenced by an abundance of role models sustaining their community. Actually, that’s not bad; it is good.

The converse of the merchant is the labour. While perhaps the majority of the public falls under the category of labour, they are the least affluent class of persons in Bermuda. Trapped in a vicious cycle where their economic destiny is coded into the tapestry of the economy with rules and agreements, which aside from ensuring representation, also binds them at the same time to a predictable fate. As long as they are not competing for the pie, one can be assured that the crumbs they receive will never amount to a full slice.

The civil servant, and one may include the politician in that batch, gets crumbs also, but because they fall from everyone’s plate, they get enough crumbs where they get at least a slice. But just a slice.

St Augustine of Hippo was the renaissance thinker behind the development of what ultimately led to European development.

His mode was couched in the idea of “building the City of God”. In fact, development of civilisation and any form of economic empowerment is hinged on building the city.

The notion of the “Ma and Pa” small business — or, in business terms, learning how to creep before you walk — is an illusion at best and a strategic trap at worst.

Unless and until one has a significant slice of a town that is viable and attractive, you cannot achieve the mass to establish a sustainable culture.

You hear the term “buy black” and you will also hear “the people have to come together and buy from themselves”. Fine talk, but it lacks magnetism.

People are attracted to success. People want to buy what is popular or of value. People go where other people go.

A full coffee house will always be full, and an empty one will remain empty.

It’s the law of magnetism.

The black community must stop repelling the idea of developing a real marketplace or commercial centre that has viability and scope.

Politics will never provide the power and remedy what is lacking in the marketplace and destroying the black community.

Politics can facilitate but cannot do the job that is truly meant for free enterprise and market thinkers.

For the sake of a better and more harmonious society, the white community must embrace a new sector if and when it emerges and not seek politically to eliminate or undermine the possibility of competition.

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Published May 14, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated May 14, 2018 at 9:18 am)

Race cards should be seen only at the races

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