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Community has lost old-fashioned values

Dear Sir,

MP Leah Scott recently commented on ZBM News on the loss of old-fashioned values which were once prevalent within the black community. I could empathise with her comments because 30 years ago, in the Eighties — yes, that long ago — when I returned to Bermuda after spending a decade or more abroad, that was my consistent theme, the loss of our traditional values that I had grown up with, like the respect for older people, an emphasis and commitment to education, a respect for our Christian beliefs, and others.

However, I discovered that some of us had gotten “integrated” while I was abroad and they had turned their backs on both the black community and the values which had sustained us throughout decades of Government-sponsored racism and segregation.

At that time, many years ago, there was unity in our struggle against the insults and injuries of segregation. Every black Member of Parliament, few though they were, was united against racism and segregation, no matter whatever they might have disagreed on, because of the destructive impact which segregation and racism had on the black community.

That is no longer true.

There are black MPs in the House of Assembly today who have joined those who represent the interests of the white community and do not wish to talk about the continuing destructive impact which our Government-sponsored racist past still has on us.

MP Scott pointed to the totally black audience at the “lie-in”, which was an example of our continuing segregation in those things that are important. Yet in pointing out the lack of values and a sense of self-worth among our young black men who are joining gangs and killing each other, it did not seem to occur to her that young white men do not have to join gangs and kill each other because this society ensures them a role no matter how uneducated, incompetent or unskilled they may be.

They do not have to listen to white MPs implying that they are socially or morally inferior. For black men it is different. Black MPs, like Leah Scott, who support the interests of the white community through the OBA/UBP, imply that young black men are morally inferior when she declares that our continuing history of racism and segregation is in no way responsible for the obvious dysfunction in the black community, which, as she points out, exists in no other community, completely ignoring the fact that no other community has had our history of oppressive slavery and segregation imposed on them.

Whatever disagreement exists within the white community, and disagreements do exist, they are never divided politically or within the House of Assembly because that is where legislation is passed that determines the status of our communities. The political division within the black community and in the House of Assembly is one of the most significant evidences of the destructive dysfunction within the black community, which, in turn, has led to the loss of our values and the sense of a lack of self-worth among our young black men.

It is of some significance to me that MP Leah Scott was at the very black, very segregated (which she herself noted) “lie-in” but in the House of Assembly, where decisions are made that determine the nature of this society, she will vote with those whose ancestors established segregation because they decided that black folks like me were too inherently inferior to associate with white folks.

It is this message which is still evident in our social structure — and all else — which contributes to the lack of a sense of self-worth among young black men.

Young black people had a far better sense of themselves when all black people, and particularly the black faces in the House of Assembly, were united in the struggle against segregation and the continuing injustices of our very racist past. They certainly can see that there continues to be very real segregation in the world of finance and in our economy, even if not in the House of Assembly, because so many blacks have chosen to join the OBA/UBP.

EVA N HODGSON

MP Leah Scott (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published December 30, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 30, 2014 at 12:58 am)

Community has lost old-fashioned values

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