Category Archives: Race and Identity

Bernard Yawching defends book accusing UNC, Hindus of racist agenda

By Julien Neaves
March 17, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

Bernard YawchingPOLITICAL and social activist Bernard Yawching said he expects backlash over his book The Hidden Agenda of Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago.

The new book accuses the United National Congress (UNC), the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), and some members of the Hindu community and the East Indian community of promoting a racist agenda. It tracks events from a 1913 speech by former Arima Mayor FEM Hosein about Africans not being as productive as Indians to more modern-day controversies such as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar describing the Prime Minister as an “oreo.”
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Black People & the Social Contract

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 01, 2021

“No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences, and the consequences are chaos for everybody in the society.”

—James Baldwin, Conversations

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere are two troubling aspects of slavery and colonialism that remain within our consciousness even though we claim that slavery and colonialism are conditions of the past. The first is the self-hate that these socio-economic formations have created in Black people and a resulting tendency to do everything to prevent fellow Blacks from moving forward. Frantz Fanon discussed this condition in Black Skin, White Masks.
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A Black Race Position

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 19, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Thursday, in his response to a letter written by 23 Afro-Trinbagonians about the placement of Black students in our secondary schools, Kamal Persad, coordinator of the Indian Review Committee, responded: “It is clear the under-performance of Afro-children in the education system is still at the top of the black agenda. Accordingly, these 23 persons of African descent adopted an unmistakable black race position” (Express, January 14).
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The Potency of the Word

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 15, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThe savage murder of Ashanti Riley touched many of us. It led us to reflect upon the kind of society we have created and the citizens (social beings) we are cultivating. Ashanti’s murder led the prime minister to talk about “the monsters” we are cultivating within our midst. Phyllis Bruce, another mother whose Black son vanished on March 19, sympathized with Ashanti’s mother in her grief: “Even from one mother to another, I can’t find the words to comfort her. But I would say to her, be strong. Hold on. Keep courage” (Express, December 11).
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Embracing all our history

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 31, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt is gratifying that we are looking anew at many of the institutional arrangements and practices that we have accepted blithely over the years.

Recent articles by Reginald Dumas and Marina Salandy-Brown, the SEA discussion by The UWI scholars, and Theodore Lewis’s brilliant article on the subject have been instructive. Today’s discussion, “A Time for Healing”, sponsored by The UWI Faculty of Law in collaboration with the Catholic Commission on Social Justice, promises to be an exciting affair.
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The Lie…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 11, 2020

PART 1

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI was stunned but not surprised by Roodal Moonilal’s letter to Joseph Mondello, US Ambassador to T&T, asking the US government to act against the best interest of our homeland. His lame excuse, a mea culpa perhaps, was: “If the United States imposes no sanctions against Trinidad and Tobago it will be because of the action of the United National Congress” (Express, May 5). As Mondello asserted, the US does not need Moonilal to tell it where its interests lies.
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Black Power and Indians

Indian Officer Leads
African Soldiers in Black Power Revolt
“Creolised” Indians Sowed Seeds for Birth of ULF

By Raffique Shah
June 09, 2000 – trinicenter.com

Raffique ShahIN 1970, I was the only Indian officer in the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. I was also the youngest officer, having graduated from Sandhurst in July 1966, some four months after I had turned 20. When I returned from England in January 1967 to take up duties as a platoon commander, it was the first time I got to know the Regiment (as it was, and still is, commonly referred to), since I was sent to Sandhurst in 1964 without any prior training locally. At the time, fewer than five per cent of soldiers were Indians, a ratio that may still exist, although I suspect the numbers will have moved up slightly.
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My Spiritual Inheritance

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 06, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDuring the late 1940s and early 1950s, early on Sunday mornings, we would hear the bells ringing out loudly in the street as a band of women, dressed immaculately in white with varied colored head ties proceeded to the Tacarigua River to conduct their religious rituals. At the tender age of six or seven I did not know what such celebrations (I saw it as a celebration) were about. All I knew was that my Tantie Lenora was among that band of women. Somehow, I felt embarrassed or even ashamed.
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Missing out on national unity

By Raffique Shah
March 10, 2020

Raffique ShahLast week, as I noted the absence of Indo-Trinidadians from the Black Power Revolution of 1970, I made a grave error for which I apologise to readers and to persons who may have been aggrieved by it.. I don’t know how I forgot that Winston Leonard, an Indian, was prominent in National Joint Action Committee almost from its inception—and he was not window dressing. He was vice-chairman of the organisation, a frontline speaker on its platforms, and he remained a member long after the dust from the upheavals of 1970 had settled.
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