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Curb calls for business to speak on racism

Anti-racism charity Curb has called for businesses to detail their policies and positions on racism.

The call comes in the wake of a controversial Facebook post by restaurateur Rick Olsen about the December 2 protests.

While the charity attacked the post and labelled Mr Olsen’s subsequent apology “dismissive”, the statement said that the event could bring about a teachable moment for the island.

“It would be a missed opportunity to focus on the actions of one man when, based on the number of likes he received, there are many more who think the same way in this ‘two-Bermudas’ island home of ours,” the statement said.

“Businesses could use the opportunity to state what their positions and policies are on racism,” the statement said. “That should include what they are doing to redress historical injustices.

“Curb sensed last year that racial tension in the island was approaching Category 5 and decided to launch a hybrid of the South African Truth and Reconciliation process specifically designed for Bermuda. The first phase is coming to an end and, after evaluating the process, conversations will resume in September.

“Feedback from diverse participants show we are on the right track, and we understand the Truth & Reconciliation Community Conversations are a work in process and will adapt to the needs of the participants as we move forward on this journey.

“If you and we continue to do nothing, history has taught us that the outcomes are far worse. If you want to be part of the solution, be engaged in the healing process, we’ll see you in September.”

The statement also states that when acts of racism occur, it is important to make a distinction between what was done and who a person is.

“For instance Curb considers the posting, and similar actions of others, racist given the historical context of our development,” the statement said. “However, Curb makes no such assertion about Mr Olson and others who may act similarly.

“The rationale is simple — we do not know these individuals personally so we cannot speak to their character, we can only hold them accountable for their actions. And by not calling such people racists, it deprives them of the opportunity to deny that they are racists and thus they have to focus on their actions, something that they find far more uncomfortable.”