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A far more serious problem

August 8, 2011

Dear Sir,

Much of Mr Palacio's art might be considered “edgy” or “controversial” in a community as “conservative” as ours, but I doubt if any of it would have drawn an audience of 75 people other than this exhibition on race. (The Royal Gazette, August 8, 2011). Despite the frequent criticism of those who are condemned for always talking about black and white it is one issue that will get a response.

It is interesting that Mr Palacio was initially angry (as were many others) that a black Government had paid a white foreigner to do the piece on Dame Lois rather than a Bermudian artist, many of whom are, like him, black. (Of course it also meant that thousands of dollars which might have been circulating in Bermuda were sent out of the country). It was an action which many would have seen as a black Government devaluing not only Bermudian artists but black Bermudian artists. It seems odd to some of us that it prompted Mr Palacio's thoughts to turn to his perception of black hatred of whites. One might wonder why.

The lack of value placed on blacks by other blacks (including a black Government, which reflects the black community out of which it comes) is today a far more serious problem, particularly in a predominantly black country, than any real or perceived black reaction to centuries of white racism and exploitation, whether it be “hatred” or “intimidation” and “accommodation” which I find far more widespread. Certainly one hardly needs to make reference to far distant slavery to underscore the cruelty and brutality of centuries or decades of segregation and racism, we only need to look at the enormous economic, social and psychological disparities of the black and white Communities around us in the Bermuda of today.

The predominant reaction to which seems to be “Do not talk about black and white”. Quite apart from the reflections of artists, for this Government to address these disparities seems to me to be a matter of urgency.


Manuel Palacio

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Published August 10, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated August 10, 2011 at 10:39 am)

A far more serious problem

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