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Forget ‘together’ rhetoric, let’s co-operate

O noble Dr judge, o upright Dr judge, o learned Dr judge, most rightful Dr judge.

The court has dissected out in its ruling by this most excellent judge the crux of the issue facing all Bermuda: “ ... both sides had ... failed to fully appreciate their respective most compelling concerns ...”

There are two sides in Bermuda, interdependent, by the way, who have little or no trust, and almost no respect for each other. They almost never come to the table really prepared to both listen and to hear the other point of view.

The myths are greater than the reality. One myth, held by one side, is that a particular group are inferior, less intelligent, generally poorer, their children uneducable, they often have no work or don't want to work, no skills, they don't have a clue, they'll never get anywhere. These people have the huge misfortune of being “black disadvantaged”.

Another myth is that another group, the others, are rich, well tha got money or they can get money, tha big shots or related to a big shot, tha know-it-alls, think tha sharp as sh**, tha educated but stupid, and tha got no manners at all. These people have the huge advantage of being “white privileged”.

Black disadvantaged tend to be thought of as PLP supporters, unionised, etc. White privileged tend to be thought of as UBP supporters (OBA is thought only to be a subset of UBP). The third myth, often espoused publicly by politicians but not believed privately, is that all will be solved if they come together.

“Together”, a nice, warm and fuzzy word, Bermudian politico-speak for “we can do it together in my party”, “come join us”, “ya one of us, come back”, “deep down I know we will never ‘come together'”, “I don't want to be with you anyway, or your kind”.

A mixed culture hasn't been allowed to develop in Bermuda. It is thus very difficult to draw upon any kind of social cohesion that would have been an integral part of being Bermudian in that more real but only imagined Bermuda. Bda's “apartheid” remains a force between its races.

In many other places, there is a huge middle ground to dampen the passions of either extreme, a large enough cohort of a genetic and cultural mix over a sufficient number of generations, et voila, the centre becomes greater than the two ends and you have a real blend forming the bulk of society. Bda's blend is very small, with a tiny voice. Had it been larger, the NLP and the BDP might have made more of an impact.

Bda's greatest strength has been employing very effectively that human characteristic, which our species has taken to a whole other level — co-operation. The races are at their best just co-operating. Don't stress them beyond their capabilities. Tha deeply held but out-of-politeness-or-terror-never-mentioned belief is that they have no wish to be together.

The truth on the ground in Bda is that the place is a miracle in co-operation between races which get on well enough while being apart.

The two cultures, with little trust between them, do not always have the greatest respect for the other.

One refers to the other's woollen hats, used to hold large heads of hair, especially locked hair and Rastafarian colours, as “ funny hats”. That term is the most commonly used one in writings from Bda about those hats. It's an “I'm not really respecting you but I am laughing at those hats, even if I am a little terrified by them” kind of comment.

On the other hand ...

“ ... what you mean another 15 per cent?”

“Didn't you say he was a Trimingham?”

“I said he is related to a Trimingham.”

“Well, do like I said; um never known a Trimingham with no money, charge him an extra 15 per cent.”

These tribal sentiments of enmity pervade day-to-day thought processes. Automatic judgments are made in nanoseconds. These judgments are often wrong. Check yourself on how many times in a day you automatically judge someone by some racial stereotype and find it is not appropriate or dead wrong.

So let's get off the “together” bandwagon and get on with real co-operation, which is what we do best. Tha = they have, they are, their. Ya = you, your, you are.

Love ya language.

Delaey Robinson is a former Progressive Labour Party MP who now lives abroad

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Published January 19, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 19, 2016 at 12:53 am)

Forget ‘together’ rhetoric, let’s co-operate

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