Archive for the 'Race and Identity' Category

Love a Donkey: Besson’s Independence Fables – Pt 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 18, 2017

PART 1PART 2 – PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBesson argues that Trinidad and Tobago’s independence venture failed because more than 30 percent of the African population left the country since1962. “These emigrants,” he says, “were mostly urban, secondary school educated, more or less middle class….At the same time, about the same amount of people or more than that of those who left, have come from the islands of the Caribbean.” He elaborates: “Those immigrants’ background were mostly rural and primary school educated. This unique demographic transformation has impacted on Trinidad and Tobago politically, socially and culturally, and has significantly diminished the identity of the AfroCreole [read black] sector.”
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Beautiful Are the Souls of My Black People

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 06, 2017

Ara romi o
My body is in pain
Ara romi Shango
Shango, my body is in pain
Ojo romi e e
The rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times]
Ojo romi Shango
Shango, the rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times.]

— Ella Andall, “Ara romi o”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI want to modify the title of Jeanne Noble’s book (Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters) to describe the wondrous display of African couture (exquisitely designed African dresses, elaborately textured head wraps, and intricately woven male fashions) that graced Port of Spain streets on Tuesday as black people wound their way from the Treasury Building to the Queen’s Park Savannah to celebrate the 179th year of their emancipation from slavery.
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Britain’s Perfect Caribbean Crime: Ignored Genocide, Faked Emancipation…

7th Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture

Streamed live on Jun 13, 2017

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, delivered the seventh Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture at The UWI Cave Hill Campus’ Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) in Barbados. Vice-Chancellor Beckles spoke on Britain’s Perfect Caribbean Crime: Ignored Genocide, Faked Emancipation, Insincere Independence, and No Reparations.
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Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 05, 2017

PART 3

Jasmattie live in bruk-
Down hut big like Bata shoe-box,
Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl
For this body and that body and every blasted body
Fetch water, all day like if the
Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create
Just for she one bucket.

David Dabydeen, “Coolie Mother”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAll of us in Trinidad and Tobago were nurtured in Bruk-UP, Bruk-DOWN huts, big like a Bata shoe-box as David Dabydeen’s Guyanese example suggests. Even Eusebio Atanasio Valerio, an exemplary Amerindian ancestor, who documented his life in Sieges and Fortunes of a Trinidadian, lived in a hut in forested Arima. In Tacarigua, up until the 1960s, an Indian barracks stood at the back of the Orange Grove Sugar Estates (OG). Twelve of the first batch of Indians who came to Trinidad in 1845 were sent to OG where they joined the 265 African workers who were employed there at the time.
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I arrived by birth

By Raffique Shah
May 30, 2017

Raffique ShahThere was a minority view back in the 1980s/1990s when the lobby for a holiday to mark the presence of Indians in Trinidad & Tobago was loudest, that the termination of indentureship in 1917, not their arrival in 1845, should be celebrated. If that had prevailed, this year the Indo-Trinidad community would have marked the centennial of end of their semi-slavery. But the very vocal majority had their say and their day, hence the declaration of a public holiday on Arrival Day, May 30, the date when, in 1845, the Fatel Rozack docked in Port of Spain and deposited 200-odd wretched Indian souls on these shores.
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Getting It Right

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 27, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhenever a significant occasion arises, Kamla, in her ethnic enthusiasm, always muddles things up. When she was elected in 2010 she declared that the “hostile recalcitrant minority,” an observation that Dr. Williams made, had become the government of the country. I have argued previously that Dr. Williams was speaking about the behavior of a small segment within the Democratic Labor Party, but this fact has never interfered with the ethnic narrative of discrimination that some of our Indian leaders continue to propagate.
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Race and Tribal Consciousness

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 18, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI wish to continue the discussion Keith Subero started in his two excellent articles of December 5 and 12. I agreed with many things he said. Some points are worthy of closer examination.

Subero interpreted the UNC’s performance at the local elections as a coming together of “tribal members, anticipating a threat, or an economic opportunity, to make it a moral duty to band together” (“T&T Caught in-Betweenity”).
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Living As Dogs, Part 2

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 20, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSamoondarie Doon, perhaps the last survivor of Indian indentureship, died on November 15. This final part of Sirdar Choonee’s story may be a fitting reminder of her people’s tribulations. The italics in this essay appeared in the original transcript.
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Why Black History Month Is Important to Me

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 10, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThis message was read to the children of the Robert Clark School, Dagenham, Essex (part of greater London) England, on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, in celebration of Black History Month. I thank Lara Akinn for offering me the opportunity to contribute this message to their celebration.
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Living As Dogs, Part 1

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 06, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am glad Brian MacFarlane has agreed to withhold a section of his 2017 presentation, “Cazabon-The Art of Living.” MacFarlane has argued that the Cazabon era, which he identified as the 1880s and 1890s, “was the most beautiful time—art was fabulous, fashion was glorious, and the architecture was amazing and full of such intricate details.” Two questions arise: “A beautiful time for whom?” and, “What was happening to Indo-Trinidadians during the Cazabon period?”
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