Archive for the 'Race and Identity' Category

Judge not by colour

By Raffique Shah
February 08, 2014

Raffique ShahI know there are many people in the country who think that Keith Rowley is too black to be Prime Minister. I didn’t need Fitzgerald Hinds to tell me that, although his charge that such sentiment emanates from the bowels of the PNM, from important persons in the party, did surprise me somewhat.

I don’t know why we bury our heads in the sand when the issue of colour prejudice, which is often linked to race prejudice, rears its ugly head in the society. It has always been there, and, I imagine, it always will be. Most people of lighter or whiter complexion, whatever their ethnicity, believe they are superior to others who are dark-skinned, or worse, black.
Continue reading ‘Judge not by colour’

The Indian Experience in Trinidad, or The Triumph of Ideology Over Scholarship

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 24, 2013

No one, again with the exception of the extinct Carib people, and perhaps the Spanish people can claim to be ‘natives’ of the island. All peoples were newcomers to Trinidad, and all were immigrants. The immigrant nature of the society of Trinidad needs to be recognized for what it was and what it is. (537)

GeradTikasingh, Trinidad During the 19th Century

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeGerad Tikasingh has written an interesting book, Trinidad During the 19th Century: The Indian Experience, an extension of his doctoral thesis, “The Establishment of Indians in Trinidad, 1870,” that he completed at UWI, St Augustine, Trinidad in 1973. Although his book is filled with facts, it is marred by an ideological orientation (one may say Indo-centric perspective) and a negative rendering of the African experience in the country. This book continues an argument made by other Indo-Caribbean scholars that suggests that the dominance of an Afro-centric ethos (which Tikasingh calls a “black bias”) has “tended to downplay, if not obscure the parallel Indo-Caribbean experience of indentureship and its contributions to Guyanese and Trinidadian culture in particular” (see Frank Birbalsingh, Indo Caribbean Resistance, 1993).

Continue reading ‘The Indian Experience in Trinidad, or The Triumph of Ideology Over Scholarship’

National Committee on Reparations for TT

Sunday, November 24 2013

EmancipationA National Committee on Reparations is being established in Trinidad and Tobago, the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister said yesterday.

In a media release, the Communications Unit said persons responsible for setting up the Committee met with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC at the Parliament Building on Friday.
Continue reading ‘National Committee on Reparations for TT’

St Joseph Embodied the National Electoral Psyche

By Stephen Kangal
November 11, 2013

Stephen KangalBeing a classic marginal seat, Monday’s St. Joseph Constituency (SJC) bye-election results have encapsulated and mirrored the psycho-political underpinnings of the changing electoral dynamics as well as of the traditional ethnic moorings impacting on and progressively shaping the national political/electoral psyche- a microcosm of the macrocosm.
Continue reading ‘St Joseph Embodied the National Electoral Psyche’

The Pope and the Pan: Challenging Caribbean Inferiority and Cultural Prostitution

By Ras Tyehimba
August 07, 2013

SteelpanThere was a picture recently of Pope Francis playing the Steelpan next to T&T president Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona who presented it to him as a gift. This picture was published by the media, several Steelpan websites and has made its way around various social media platforms. One website exclaimed: “Truly a great day for our nation and our national instrument! The pope is a Trini now!” Another Steelpan website expressed, “Steelpan is the sweetest!! Just ask the Pope.”
Continue reading ‘The Pope and the Pan: Challenging Caribbean Inferiority and Cultural Prostitution’

The Blackness of Black or, How Black is Really Black?

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 06, 2013

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn responding to my article of her representation as to who was the first black legislator in Trinidad (see the Trinidad Express, July 26), Professor Bridget Brereton, one of our most distinguished historians, raised more questions than she answered even as she sought refuge in the philosophical theory called solipsism. Professor Brereton is unwilling to concede that St. Luce Philip possessed any blackness (or did he possess just a little bit?) because, as she says, he was of mixed race; light-complexioned; married a white wife and would not have considered himself black, nor would he have been so considered by Trinidad society in the 1830s.
Continue reading ‘The Blackness of Black or, How Black is Really Black?’

JACK WINS

By Andre Bagoo
Tuesday, July 30 2013 – newsday.co.tt

GordonJACK WARNER, 70, has been re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West, after provisional results from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) last night projected him as the winner of the bye-election. It was a crushing victory.

Up until press time, Warner provisionally received 12,631 votes while the United National Congress’s (UNC) Khadijah Ameen, 32 – his nearest rival – received less than half that amount or 5,126 votes.
Continue reading ‘JACK WINS’

Don’t Blame the Hindus or the Christians

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 04, 2013

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTwo of my dear friends are reputed to have suggested that the Hindus and the Christians may be responsible for the plight of young Africans who find themselves in trouble with the law. They also seem to suggest that a Hindu-based government is to be blamed for out plight. I should hope that this is not what they intended to convey to the public. Such statements tend to inflame national feelings and deepen the national divide. I am a member of the PNM and count myself to be as conscious of my blackness as anyone else. However, I think we ought to be careful about what we say.
Continue reading ‘Don’t Blame the Hindus or the Christians’

Happy Indian Arrival Ki Din

By Stephen Kangal
May 29, 2013

Stephen KangalOn the occasion of the 168th anniversary of the commemoration of the arrival of the East Indian community to Trinidad may I focus on the post-arrival vindication and justification of the system of Indus Valley customs and values. This tried and tested system has underpinned, dominated and pervaded the modus operandi of the East Indians and has been responsible for the degree of fulfilling lives and good law-abiding citizenry that they have conducted in T&T in spite of the adversarial conditions and hostile and negative environmental and social conditions that they had to overcome to gain acceptance to their culturally persistent way of life.
Continue reading ‘Happy Indian Arrival Ki Din’

Indian Indentureship: Afri-centric Analysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
May 29, 2013

Dr. Kwame NantambuThe purpose of this article is to conduct an Afri-centric, linkage analysis of the Indian Indentureship system.

In his magnum opus titled Capitalism & Slavery (1944), Dr. Eric Williams postulates that: “The immediate successor of the Amerindians was not the African but ‘poor whites’. They were regarded as ‘indentured servants’ because before leaving England, they had to sign a contract binding them to service for a stipulated period for their passage. Others were criminals/convicts who were sent by the British government to serve for a specific time on plantations in the Caribbean.” (p.9).
Continue reading ‘Indian Indentureship: Afri-centric Analysis’