Accepting the unacceptable
February 15, 2012
I was recently given the opportunity to read a study on the “Unintended Consequences” of CCTV in South Hamilton, “the City”. The author of the study, in giving the context of the study, writes of the “stark contrast” and “severe differences” between South Hamilton and North Hamilton which he says can be described in economic terms. South Hamilton is the “rich”, “white” and “safe “ side with expensive shopping and international businesses while North Hamilton is the “poor”, “black “ and “dangerous” side and is synonymous with the “have nots” and the “lower class” of Bermuda. He does comment that “none of these descriptions are “unconditionally precise” but they provide a perspective and context of what it means to be a resident of North Hamilton looking South toward “the City”. The author’s description may not be “unconditionally precise” but it is precise enough for the “stark contrasts” and “severe difference” to be true not only of Hamilton but throughout much of Bermuda, with a few obvious exceptions -which underscore the rule.
What is even more significant than the stark contrasts between blacks and whites is the fact that both black and white Bermudians accept these conditions as though they are inevitable and they are as they should be! We have heard a great deal recently about “corruption” but no one seems to believe that the policies and practices of racism which has brought about these stark contrasts and severe differences and has had such a destructive and soul destroying impact on the entire black community were corrupt. The policies and practices certainly were not seen as “corrupt” at the time even though those who made the laws acquired the wealth and ensured generational implications and assurances of equal wealth and unearned privileges. They were not seen as corrupt because as destructive as racism was, it assured the most lowly whites that they were superior to the most significant black. That was white supremacy. It did not matter what they did, it could not be “corrupt”.
It is evident that the past is still very much with us, with all of its psychological distortions and confusion which continue to impact the black community. It is demonstrated in one way among the black “elite” and in quite another way among the murderous self-loathing of those “on the street” or in the “gangs”. The past is with us because these stark contrasts between wealthy whites and poor blacks are seen as acceptable therefore there is no serious need to address them.
EVA N HODGSON