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Shaping the Black male experience

Dear Sir,

I was driving behind a public bus and took note of the rear window. It showed a photograph of William Usher Jr, illustrious alumnus of the Berkeley Institute. Although a privately sponsored advertisement, the caption read, “Shape your Career, Shape your Community”. This motivational quote reminded me that all of us have the responsibility of shaping our community towards how we want it to be.

Berkeley alum William Usher has proved an inspiration for Black males to follow

We have experienced, as a community, the horrendous actions of some of our Black men over the past several years and are gripped with dismay at the most recent tragedies. We tend to be so consumed with these negatives that so need to be eliminated that we are at the point of assuming that those situations are normal for a certain community; either that or we treat the “problem” as if it is a festering sore on someone else, which they neglect to attend to.

This festering sore of tragic circumstances belongs to all of us, and all of us have the ability to dress and care for it so that it heals. We have the best that is within us to do it. We all have “shaping power”.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now”— the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr

We know and acknowledge the horrendous history and legacy in Bermuda, which made Black men, in particular, the means and the mode for elevating the status of others while they themselves remain at the bottom of the economic and societal ladder. While we continue to depend so much on Black men for shaping this country for our comfort and stability, we, too, often carry unfair and negatively biased negative attitudes about them. As a result, our emerging generations of Black males are denied process, despite abilities, qualifications, good character and personality.

There are examples of Black men, in every sphere, positively shaping this island home of ours. The young men of the future need to see us acknowledge, respect and honour that which is a part of their legacy, and quite possibly their chosen future career.

There are those men in “labour” or “blue collar” services, or those who work for government “works”; all those who work so diligently to positively shape our resources in infrastructure, environment and technical and technological services.

There is the commitment and dedication of our many Black men in nurturing, mentoring and coaching our young boys; positively shaping our community through sport.

There is the industry, skill and professionalism of Black Bermudian males at all levels of Bermuda’s emergency medical and fire services. From the EMTs to Andre’s hospitality and efficiency to the aides to the cleaning staff — Black Bermuda males positively shaping our community by keeping us happy, safe and secure.

“You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”— the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr

If we want the scourge of negative behaviour to be eliminated, it is therefore incumbent upon all of us to reshape our attitudes and our efforts. We must proceed with promises that we will keep.

Let our young men know that we are depending on them to nurture that seed of greatness that they have inherited. In return, we will ensure a place in their island home for them before we take care of others from elsewhere. We will value their contribution to the constructive shaping of Bermuda.

We can do what we used to do, on a personal and individual level; provide guidance without fear or hesitation, mentor with patience and provide apprenticeships with trust. We can give more funding to those who can’t afford the opportunities that open eyes to better futures. We appreciate their efforts but we don’t always have to wait and depend on large organisations or formal government mandates, as we have become too accustomed on which to depend.

We cannot bear any more tragedies. If we all try to follow “The William Usher Bus”, we, too, can be inspired to constructively contribute towards shaping our community and thus reap the rewards of a safe and secure country where all citizens are positively affirmed.


Hamilton Parish

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Published February 11, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated February 11, 2022 at 7:56 am)

Shaping the Black male experience

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