A Bermudian drama about white and black fear
No community likes being a minority. In Bermuda, the majority of the population is non-white. For the sake of simplicity, let's call the non-white population black. This has given the black community a sense of security, even though the economic machinery has been, and continues to be, dominated by the white population. The black population knew that the white population had to depend on the black vote to continue to hold political power.
Generally, the significant portion of the black population has always leaned towards labour, politically; after all, they had nothing else to offer but their labour. But there was also a significant percentage that supported a conservative view, and these were the ones who helped to keep the “white” party in power.
The white population, while controlling the economic resources, dislikes being the minority and thereby dislikes having to depend on black support, politically. In general, the majority of white people in Bermuda lean towards conservatism; however, they also knew that they could depend on black conservative support to keep the reins of power.
The white leadership was rudely awakened some years ago when a significant portion of black conservative voters deserted the “white” party and helped to vote the “black” party into power. Armageddon had come.
The white leadership concluded that this must never happen again and so redoubled efforts to increase the population with voters who would augment their numbers. This was no new plan, but one that had been used before and which had always been in operation.
Historically, white leaders had always attempted to increase their numbers through immigration and economics. They were able to encourage Portuguese-Bermudians to vote for them, although the Portuguese had been discriminated against because of their nationality. (England and Portugal have a long history of animosity). And, even though it was the “black” party that amended the immigration laws to give the Portuguese better access to status, it would learn that the Portuguese were mainly conservatives, as they voted overwhelmingly for the “white” party.
So the plan to use the immigration laws to achieve the rebalancing of the power scales in Bermuda became an open method of achieving the political ends of the party in power. It would, however need to find a person who was not accountable to the electorate, who would be fearless and have a one-track mind.
The white power structure had the perfect person to do this. The facilitator would receive no backlash from the electorate, as he was not elected, and, although Bermudian, he was foreign–born.
What they did not plan on was black fear. Black people are already marginalised economically and the only power they had was their numbers. If they lost the power of their majority, they would be in dire straits — the need for self-preservation took over.
It defies logic that the black conservatives in the “white” party blindly could go along with the plan. Either they were ignored completely or were pressured into agreeing to it. Whatever the case, two of them could see that, by allowing the conservative plan to be implemented, they would themselves be of no importance to the new order that would emerge. By giving their support, they must have seen that effectively they were being the “authors of their own demise”.
And so his plan was stymied by black agitation and activism, plus the two “defections” from the “white” party.
However, the drama will continue, fuelled by white fear of black domination and black fear of losing its power of being a majority.
While I'm here, I may as well offer predictions on the US presidential election.
The Trump campaign has tapped into a very dark area of the “white psyche”. His slogan” Make America great again” simply means this:
1, America is a white nation
2, Once there was a clear “white” majority, which is now being threatened by a majority of non-white citizens
3, No group of people wants to be a minority, as the majority rules, or should rule
4, Let's make America “white” again (white = great)
Donald Trump will be the next American president. There are enough Republican-Democrats to ensure his election. In other words, defections from the Democratic Party will see him home.
• Clevelyn Crichlow is the retired former Postmaster-General of Bermuda