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Economy seen in black and white

Dear Sir,

No it's not about, if things get boring, throw in a little race talk and that will get them going.

Nope, it actually happened; a tourist asked me a question about racism in Bermuda.

Let me get it straight, it was a white tourist. I could not give a straight answer; the answer I gave was convoluted and I only hope it was understood.

It was very visible to the tourist that blacks and whites were out at the restaurants and happy hours mingling and mixing happily. They saw mixed schoolchildren with the same uniforms, no glaring poverty, but after a cursory read of newspapers felt there was an unease but could not put a finger on it.

I said there was some evidence on a social level but it wasn't overt, people by class and habit tended to socialise differently.

We fall in love and marry each other now with pride and acceptance. It's when you touch the economy, which in almost all free societies is a hostile dog-eat-dog regardless of race, that needs a dose of understanding.

The market is green, not black or white, but for the factor of capital and having the means, now here's where it is seen as black or white.

Because of the issue of capital, opening a snowball shop might not be a problem for blacks or even a law firm, which is a little higher up the food chain. But as in the board game Monopoly, those are not major pieces, they are not the main road of the economy.

It took a government to intervene in the power supply of Bermuda and, man oh man, when the likes of a few individuals decided to intervene on the city, it was akin to an attempt to steal the Holy Grail.

I was privileged to be in a global economic forum and among the issues discussed was the fact that countries or entities where women enjoyed empowerment surpassed those that did not. Which is to say that repression affects the entire society and so does liberty and freedom in a positive way.

There should be no expectation that those who have power will give it up graciously so that others can share.

But there should be the recognition that as long as the main street is white and back roads and footpaths are black, it's not just one sector that is impaired, it is the whole country that suffers as a result of that disparity.

Increasingly the world is becoming diverse and our local livelihood hinges on our relationship with the outside world.

It only makes sense that we all stand to gain when we, as a diverse population, extend ourselves as empowered people into the global community. We shall all prosper off the successes of each other.

So the block-then-grab philosophy of the power brokers in our hostile marketplace must give way to a principle of inclusion which allows the little man to have and accomplish the big dream.

KHALID WASI

Racial tensions?: A tourist questioned a reader about race relations after noticing residents were mixing happily, while some news reports had led them to believe there was some unease

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Published September 23, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated September 23, 2015 at 12:46 am)

Economy seen in black and white

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