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Placard row woman has no regrets

The woman at the centre of a row over a placard dubbed “offensive” to white people last night said she had no regrets. Peggy Burns, who carried the placard “White mental illness is killing African Bermudians. Racism” on a march last Friday to protest at the granting of Bermuda status to Permanent Resident Certificate holders, said the placard had “caused quite a stir.”

She said: “I think people are now given to self-examining and reassessing.

“A lot of times, a word is used and people don't fully comprehend the full gravity and substance of a word.

“What I meant was, as I see the situation, when you really look at racism, it's now been broken down to a form of mental illness or insanity.

“If you have a behaviour that propels you to belittle or demean others, to elevate yourself and you do it constantly, it becomes a part of you, then it has to be a mental disorder. That's not natural behaviour.”

Ms Burns, from St David's, added that she had “no idea” that her stance would have caused so much debate and controversy. But she said: “I want my people to return to their right minds. Other people aren't in their right minds and neither are we.”

She added: “I spoke from a place of genuine concern and for the salvation and holistic well-being of my people.

“I also spoke from a place of pain, sadness, anger and fear.”

Ms Burns said she had grown up in a Bermuda still wracked by segregation.

She added: “I don't have any white friends and I don't want any white friends because I dare not risk my heart to a white person. That's my history and history never sleeps.”

Ms Burns, who stressed the placard was entirely her own idea, said she had been approached at the Victoria Park start of the march by a union representative and told it was “unacceptable.”

She added: “So I flipped it over to the other side and that message was quite acceptable — ‘the OBA must go'.”

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Published July 29, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 29, 2014 at 1:14 am)

Placard row woman has no regrets

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