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The sequel: Bermuda but not Bermudian

The 20th-century Bermuda, which by then had become a larger and more diverse population compared with the century that went before, was characteristically different in that — rather than a symbiotic albeit uneven codependency — unleashed was a battle for dominance and control of society and the economy by all the various subgroups.

While we can classify the entire century as a clash of competing cultures, the mechanism was not simply of one race against another; indeed, it was race, but also competing ethnicities and class struggles within each.

Leaping forward to the 21st century, which shows a culmination of that clash, the island became increasingly diverse, and the evidence presents a new Bermuda going forward.

The old White established community lost its commercial dominance and, while still holding personal wealth in many cases, they have very little political influence left.

The Portuguese community, once considered third-class citizens, now rival the White oligarchy with as much dominance of the island's commercial and industrial economic activity.

The old native Black Bermudian merchant and middle class was virtually wiped out with no residual political influence. The second and third-generation Black West Indian community, while not commercially significant, now dominate political control of the island.

The Italians who came to Bermuda in mid-century dominate the hospitality and restaurant industry, seconded by the Portuguese. The new emergent economic community who are set to become the next industrial and commercial force is the Filipino community. They have the skill set and cultural unity and, like the Portuguese, have strong family relations.

Bermuda's social dynamic was predictable, given the cultural disparity within the Black community. Regionally, inclusive of the United States, the dominant Black culture derives from the plantocracies. The native Bermudian Blacks had an extremely unique maritime experience far too remote for any appreciation or understanding by the many millions in the hemisphere coming from plantocracies.

It has been said that it is not possible for people to understand each unless they can relate to the other’s experience. That continuing disparity helped to disrupt a vital unity within the Black community, sapped its economic and political strength, and relegated what was once a potential to be the top of society in every respect to the bottom in every respect.

The new Bermuda cannot alter history; it can simply avoid repeating it by starting a new beginning. This is perhaps what Dame Lois Browne-Evans meant in a recorded interview when she said: "I know Bill Cox is a proud Bermudian, and he is proud because he knows and can relate to his history.“ She then went on to say: ”One day we, too, can be as proud when we look back at our history."

The late Dame Lois Browne-Evans strived so that Bermuda might create a history to look back on with pride

I knew right then she was not referring to me or any Black Bermudian who already knew and had pride in their history; those who could talk of their Black family history going back to the 18th century. She was referring to persons such as herself who could write a new history to look back on.

This is not the Bermuda of W.L. Tucker or Jimmy or Anthony Darrell or what Mark Twain saw, or of Eva Robinson or Eva Hodgson. Ironically, it was the merchant Bermudian who funded the passage and initial stay of both Monk and Mazumbo. The Portuguese, to their credit, rose through the cracks occasioned by the Black cultural split and assumed what was initially the potential of the Black merchant.

There is no foreseeable change in the pattern of our cultural and economic evolution. Bermuda and native Bermuda looks to be set to the travel the path of the Bahamas and the Turks island — both once Bermudian. One day it may be similarly said Bermuda was once Bermudian.

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Published April 15, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated April 14, 2021 at 11:55 am)

The sequel: Bermuda but not Bermudian

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