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Brown: independence could be route out of racism

Ewart Brown, the former Premier

Independence may be the island’s road map away from racism, a former Progressive Labour Party premier has claimed.

Ewart Brown said that Black people were still treated as second-class citizens in Bermuda and that racial discrimination was rife.

But Dr Brown added that independence could change the landscape.

He said: “I do think that people who mature politically are better able to manage their affairs.

“You have to grow up and do things, so I think ‘yeah’.”

Dr Brown added: “The race situation in Bermuda is as bad as it has ever been. It runs deep and wide and has never been honestly confronted.

“It’s a very sensitive issue and people are reluctant to discuss anything that might result in a reduction in privilege.

“Racism and White supremacy is not geographically limited and it knows no rivers or mountains.

“It is a phenomenon that has been carefully constructed and has been devastatingly impactful.”

Dr Brown said that racism affected every area of human activity including education, economics, entertainment, labour, law, politics, religion, sex and war.

He added: “It’s an automatic mode, almost. People don’t have to have bad intentions to carry it out.

“Teachings are started early, and people carry those racist concepts through life.”

But Dr Brown said a frank discussion on the subject was the first step towards a better society.

He admitted: “For Black people, and White people, it’s uncomfortable. But it takes that to take the scab off and release the pus.

“What we have done over the years is cover it up and allow scarring to occur. Every now and then it flares up, you give the patient an antibiotic and it quietens down.

“But we haven’t done the required surgery, which is really to open and release.”

Dr Brown said that legislation could also help - but could never be a solution on its own.

He added: “Legislation is part of it, but you cannot legislate the hearts of men and women.

“So legislation can be part of the solution. Sometimes in the United States, legislation has allowed for some progress because it has made people stop and think.”

Dr Brown said: “We, as Blacks, we have work to do because we have been trained to be on the defence and that creates a mindset too.”

But the 75-year-old appeared to rule out a return to the political arena.

Dr Brown said: “I’m a political animal. I love politics. I would consider it - but I would have to change wives.”