Young are not as cynical as Dr Hodgson
January 24, 2013
I wish to respond to Dr Hodgson’s opinion piece on January 22 “We are not building on our knowledge and experience” by first paying tribute to her work ‘First Class Citizens. Second Class Men’ published over 40 years ago. As a young Bermudian of Canadian ancestry this seminal work was as influential in my life as Hugh MacLennan’s ‘Two Solitudes’ which focused, albeit differently, on the separation of the French and English cultures in Canada.
I discovered striking similarities in these two works as they both illustrated the devaluation of one culture over another despite the Canadian model of cultural pluralism wherein each culture is encouraged to preserve its values and be equally respected by the wider society as opposed to the US melting pot theory within which all must become integrated. As Dr Hodgson correctly points out it will be “the black Bermudian community which will determine the nature of (Bermuda) society”.
I again agree with Dr Hodgson that we may have made a mistake when we embarked on mega schools and should have taken our own counsel. However in the context of the time it was thought that these schools, much trumpeted by our neighbours in the US and Canada, would enrich our students with a diverse curriculum (performing arts, beauty and wood shop etc) and, at worst, would be an improvement over the ageing Robert Crawford and Prospect School for Girls. However to say, as Dr Hodgson suggests, that the efforts of persons of goodwill working to build a more equitable and just society were racist in their approach is historical revisionism.
We are taught to honour our mother and father and, by extension, respect our elders. Dr Hodgson somewhat rightfully laments “the discarding of those who are older, as well as the knowledge they have acquired, is one of the more destructive features of our recent integration and adoption of white values”. I would suggest that respect for our elders is a Christian value and does not belong exclusively to any race. I would also suggest that the young have a new perspective that should also be acknowledged as some of our elders are mired in the past.
Another value demonised by Dr Hodgson as being white is the “capitalist society which by its very nature is selfish and cold blooded because it puts profits over people”. This economic model is utilised world over by all races after the failure of communism. The overriding paradigm is another Christian value of “being our brother’s keeper” which should transcend marketplace realities.
In my opinion, the way forward for Bermuda is to forge respect and equality between our communities. I acknowledge that we have some way to go but we are on the right track thanks in large part to our young people who do not buy into our cynical world view.