The Limitations of Multiculturalism – Part II

By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 16, 2011

Part I – Part II – Part III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSome of us, including yours truly, have been speaking about a national cultural policy long before Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar announced her preference for a multicultural approach to the issue. In 1962 Dr. Eric Williams set the ball rolling with his “Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech” which could be interpreted as a response to Lord Harris’s 1848 declaration that “a race has been freed, but a society has not been formed.”

In 1983, I added my voice to the national conversation when I spoke about the role a national cultural policy should play in our development. In that lecture, “Cultural Policy and Social Development” (still on flie at NALIS) I differentiated between our official and unofficial cultures; traced the historical development of our people’s cultural activities; then suggested how such a policy may conduce toward the development of national identity. I asked: “Should we promulgate a policy that fosters the maintenance of a multicultural society, or should we strive toward the creation of homogeneous Trinidad and Tobago culture.” The PP opted for the first possibility.

The Oxford Dictionary of Politics asserts that multiculturalism emerged in the sixties in Anglophone countries “in relation to the cultural needs of non-European migrants. It now means the political accommodation by the state and/or a dominant group of all minority cultures defined first and foremost by reference to race or ethnicity; and more controversially, by reference to nationality, aboriginality, or religion.” Post 1960s this policy was adopted by other countries.

This consensus has now broken down. The European countries (Anglophone, French and Germanic people) feel that they are making too many concessions to the non-European minority hence their universal condemnation of multiculturalism. In the latest manifestation, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, declared that multiculturalism had damaged national identities. He declared: “The truth is that in all our democracies we have been too preoccupied with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that welcomed them.” Like David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, Sarkozy feels that allowing diverse communities to live together in their countries was “a failure.” (Financial Times, February 10, 2011).

The multiculturalism that Sat Maharaj and the PP endorse is taken from the Canadian model which has been described as “the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration.” At its conference in October 2010 at UWI, the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism brought down someone to speak about the UK model. At the GOPIO conference Surujrattan Rambachan, our Foreign Minister, spoke on the Australian model as giving inspiration to the PP’s policy of multiculturalism.

Apart from its desire to accommodate immigrants, Canada’s multicultural policy was driven by the desire of the French-speaking group in Quebec who claimed the right to form a “distinct” society. They wanted “to safeguard the integrity of its own form of life against the Anglo-Saxon majority culture by means, among other things, of regulations that forbid immigrants and French-speaking population to send their children to English-language schools, that established French as the language in which more than fifty employees will operate, and in general prescribe French as the language of business” (Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism, 1994.)

The Canadian multicultural policy is meant to assuage its own racism and exclusionary politics. It is noteworthy that the Durham Report that led to the Canada Act of 1867 that conferred independence on Canada spoke of the homogenous and racist nature of Canada. It read: “We have in our country a stable society. Our economy is healthy, as good as any for a country of our size. In many respects, we are very much better off than many sovereign states. And our potentials are large. Our people are homogeneous nor are we plagued with religious and tribal problems.”

While Canada was congratulating itself about its homogeneity and patting itself on the back about its not having religious or tribal problems, Trinidad was proving a laboratory experiment of what a multicultural society was. In 1866, W. H. Gamble, a Trinidadian who had studied at Oxford University, described Trinidad’s multicultural mix. “Many distinct people go to make up the population of Trinidad. There are men from all quarters of the globe, and with but little exaggeration, it may be said that, in Trinidad, all the languages of the earth are spoken” (Gamble, Trinidad, 1866). In his work Gamble provides a comprehensive description of the Africans and Indians who lived in Trinidad; the many languages that were spoken; and the diverse cultures that were practiced.

Australia’s multicultural policy came into being in the later part of the twentieth century in response to the exclusion of non-European immigrants and its deplorable treatment of its indigenous population. Fact Sheet 6, “The Evolution of Australia’s Multicultural Policy, ” acknowledges that it was only in 1966 that Liberal-Country Party Government began to dismantle “the White Australian policy of permitting the immigration of distinguished non-European.” It is only in the 1970s that Australia removed the last vestiges of his “White Australia policy.”

It must be asked why does the PP government cite the multicultural approaches taken by Canada and Australia, two European-based countries, as models? Why does the PP take its inspiration from two white governments who brutalized and alienated their non-white populations? Should we not look to South Africa and Ghana, two African countries for inspiration? South Africa suffered from the apartness of the races (apartheid) whereas Ghana, a former colonial society, suffered from the policies of a colonial master that did everything to set different ethnic groups against one another. Their cultural policies seek to bind their people together as one common entity.

Might it not be helpful for T&T to seek inspiration in the cultural policies of nonwhite nations who have been faced with divisiveness in their societies rather than those who belatedly tried to accommodate those citizens whom they left out and discriminated against initially?

Trinidad is a homogeneous society in which all persons have been accepted; where we have worked and lived together although there may have been forces, from time to time, within and without the society that have sought to separate some groups from the larger society.

Multiculturalism separates us from one another. It is not the solution to national cohesion. A national cultural policy that speaks to national cohesion is more appropriate at this point in our society’s development.

Part 111, the final part of this essay, will be published next week.

Part I – Part II – Part III

20 Responses to “The Limitations of Multiculturalism – Part II”


  • Professor Cudjoe owes it to browsers to tell us whether his use of the concept of culture is restricted to the performing arts exclusively. What is the context of his use of culture? He must also tell us what he means by a “homogeneous society” and how will he arrive at this impossibility given the overwhelming evidence of cultural persistence and complexity in plural T&T. We are a homogeneous national T&T society at the political and economic level even though differing cultural influences/nuances impact on how we conduct both our commerce and our politics.
    At the cultural level on the other hand we are a multicultural society while at the same time the cross fertilisation of our cultures in the broadest sense of the word is taking place spontaneously and naturally to our mutual benefit.
    In T&T the lucid call for diversity management is coming from the majority of the people who felt that since 1962 they were culturally disenfranchised and alienated. In no other country is the majority making this call for diversity to be accorded its rightful policy fit.. So do not compare with Canada, UK, Australia or Estonia.We are not copying them nor will we copy Ghana, South Africa. We will evolve our own distinctive regime to deal with diversity.
    Multiculturalism does not ” separate us from one another” according to Cudjoe. Ethno-nationalism as perfected by the PNM post 1962 achieved that quite well and we have to undo 50 years of State driven ethno-nationalism what Cudjoe calls preferential treatment of the African community in T&T.
    In the Holy Koran the Holy Prophet Mohammed (uwbp) said:
    “O Mankind!Verily we have created you male and female and made you Nations and Tribes that you may know one another”
    Diversity is an essential and fundamental recurrence of the creation of God and tribes are expected to live together in harmony and to develop relations with each other as part of the Brotherhood of mankind.

    What does Cudjoe mean by “national cohesion”? Must everybody give up their cultural moorings, their cultural baggage, their cultural ancestry and their historic past? As an Indian culturally I do not have the capacity to give up what 6,000 years of cultural conditioning have created and implanted in me eve if I were to try which I will not. Culture is not a shirt that you change depending on the atmospheric conditions in the host country even if you an immigrant as we all except the Santa Rosa community. Cudjoe is trying to re-enact the intellectual bankruptcy of the post-1962 period of indoctrination when Indians were being deceived into becoming assimilated into a vicious regime of ethno-centricity like the Jamaican Indians who are today neither fish nor fowl culturally speaking resulting from their voluntary submission to the false and deceptive Jamaicanisation process that the nationalists tried to recreate in T&T when they copied nationalism from the PNP.

    • People of African ancestry in T&T are not an “immigrant community”. Immigrants emigrate by choice from somewhere to somewhere else, hopefully better.

      Black people were for the most part, forcibly brought to this hemisphere and into the Caribbean. Therefore, except for those of Afrivan ancestry, and as well for Amerindians, whose ancestors had migrated across the Bering Straits from Asia into this hemisphere millenia ago, all others in T&T today, chose to come; some under conditions less desirable than others, but they all had choices to stay, or to return to wherever.

      This uninstructed assertion of Black people being another “immigrant community” in T&T is simply one of the several other incorrect assertions confidently made with a concomitant ignorance by Mr. Kangal.

      Among the others is one that is now akin to an industry among Indians: that they have been disenfranchised by Black people in general, and by Black leaders like Dr. Eric Williams in particular.

      It is ironic that while it is the English who implemented the egregious practice of indentureship bringing Indians into this hemisphere, that today it is not the English and whites who face the vitriol of Indians, but it is the Black people who do.

      To compound the irony, in a sense, Black people are responsible, if indirectly, for indentureship, for were it not for the unequivocal opposition by the African ancestors of people like Dr. Cudjoe to re-enslavement after the 1834 Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery, detractors like Mr. Kangal would not be in Trinidad, at least not as descendants of indentured Indians.

      It is morally proper, and historically accurate to add that those who were indentured, were for the most part innocents who, because of endemic poverty in their homeland and in many instances through the trickery of arkaatis, were forced into choices they could not refuse; further forced into conditions of peonage fraught with oppression and abuse.

      However, unlike the Africans who as slaves had preceeded them, these newer, more pliable arrivals were accorded benefits, relatively speaking, which were derived from, yet remained unavailable to the former slaves: benefits maintaining family cohesion; retention of cultural constructs as religion, language, etc.

      These benefits accorded on one hand, and their denial on the other, continue to shape the diverging, discordant narratives between these two formerly oppressed peoples. These denials also continue to haunt Black families who, in addition to all they’d lost, also lost the right to belong to communities of their own making.

      Today, it is cruelly correct to say that Black families in T&T and elsewhere, vulnerable almost beyond redemption, continue to belong more to institutions (government employ; prison, et al) than to wholesome communities (except for institutions like churches, where they adopt the narratives of others).

      These conditions persist, despite the fact that it was the ancestors of today’s Black families who, against hopeless odds relentlessy fought oppression and injustice; doing so in the personalities of a Toussaint, a Nanny, and a Freederick Douglas, and in locales as Palmares (Brazil) and Sautez (Grenada).

      Their epochal struggles ensured that all others who followed, especially those of ‘colour’ would not have to fate what they had to. It also ensured conditions today of ubiquitous poverty, comtempt, and self-hatred.

      The indentured also had two choices not allowed the African slaves, now emancipated: the choice to return to their homeland, passage paid; and if they chose to remain, land.

      All who now call T&T home, and who, irrevocably human share the potential for everything good or ill inherent in multi-cultural societies, didn’t come under the same conditions, and didn’t all have the same choices or lack thereof.

      However, today is today. Also, the conditions faced by all are those of a present that maintains the old mercantilist oppressions but under globalist guises.

      In addition, while history is considered to be past, and dead, yet is the past neither dead, nor even past.

      Commemorative national observations like Emancipation, and Indian Arrival are testaments that conjugate times considered past, as being times considered present continuous.

      Put specifically in response to some of Mr. Kangal’s assertions about multi-culturalism, there would be no celebratory Indian Arrival Day in T&T were it not for a commemorative Emancipation Day.

      • I cannot accept your new definition of an “immigrant community” because you were forced to come to T&T. You are certainly not indigenous as the Santa Rosa community. Your argument to justify a special, non-immigrant status to the African community is intellectually dishonest. Upon Emancipation post- 1834 the African brothers chose to immigrate not to Africa but to UK and North America where they kept steel-band and calypso alive and fought for equality, justice and multiculturalism. They were always free to leave just as the Indians and Chinese had always been. To suggest that because the Africans suffered from harsher conditions of service or servitude makes them a special case different from and of superior status to the indentures has long been discredited as false and egocentric thinking and of no import in the cultural scheme of things.
        When Indians arrived on Nelson Island in 1845 the first act was one of celebration by touching Dharti Mata and praising God for delivering them safely or of their arrival in T&T. Subsequent to that they had to conduct a struggle with the neo-colonials to able to officially celebrate their arrival on the cane-fields of Caroni while my African brothers celebrated their departure from the cane-fields of Caroni. You cannot blame the Indians for having negotiated better terms and conditions
        of their indentureship because this resulted from a homeland that looked after them and monitored their sojourn in T&T, Guyana, Jamaica, French Antilles, Suriname and Grenada.
        Indian Arrival is an expression inter alia of “Indianness”, a commemoration of the sacrifices of the pitris and an admission of their joy to have contributed to a prosperous T&T and to enjoy the fruits of their labour and good fortunes. You have to get into the heart and DNA of the Indian Arrival Day Celebrations to appreciate the fundamental differences between the two celebrations. The Indians also went to metropolitan societies and not to India. Emancipation Day has become a celebration of Mother Africa culturally speaking even though Williams made his famous no “Mother Africa” speech in 1962 when he falsely tried to equate Mother Africa (a geographical continent) and put it on the same cultural and political plane as Mother India ( a distinct political and cultural entity).

        • Nothing personal Stephen, but if you had not responded, while you would have said less, it would, in my opinion, have been more coherent and less defensive.

  • It is very difficult to talk about national cultural policy in multicultural environments. Everywhere in the world there are conflict when discussion about one culture’s dominance over others. In those areas, primarily Western European countries, where these discussions predominantly take place there were single cultures. Or the predominant culture was so dominant that the lesser cultures were overwhelmed.
    In T&T should we take the culture of the Caribs or the Arawaks or some other imported culture?? Clearly there is no single African or Indian culture, so if even we are proposing one of those regions for cultural affiliation we would then have to determine which one of those regional cultures we will import.

  • Thank you to the Stephen Kangal. My sentiments exactly, Mr Cudjoe does not seem to understand the definition or concept of culture. It taints his whole diatribe.

    Culture is a process far more than it is a thing. It becomes a thing when it is used to marks boundaries between people, administer and control people. It is further hollowed out when used in a singular sense to identify only artifacts.

    He is recreating arguments i thought we had left behind but i guess he never moved on himself

  • Thanks Dylan for advocating an objective as far as is culturally possible, approach to the argumentation relating to the competing claims for cultural space allocation.

  • I tend to believe it is one culture that is multi-dimensional. By that I mean people are free to find themselves in an increasingly crowded world. The world as we know it is filled with many cultural expressions formed from the experiences of people across the world. In Trinidad it is no diffrent, there exist one culture but it finds expression in many different forms because of many experiences that shape this culture. For instance when Sundar Popo came on the scene with the songs “nana chale agahe aghe…” and “your mother’s love” these songs were considered hit in the country side but was never really embraced in the city. Does it mean that it was not part of the national culture? Obviously not… So in any nation there will always be a multitude of expression, in the U.S. for instance there is country and western for those who live in the country areas, gospel for Christians, Rap for inner city, blues easily identified with black folks and so on.. One culture but different expressions.

  • @Stephen Kangal. Your definition of immigrant is intellectually dishonest based on the definition of the word. An immigrant is a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another. An immigrant community by extension would amount to a collection of such persons. You can change the meaning of a word in order to make your ethnic ego centric points, but you cannot persuade those who exist outside the perimeter of your enclosure to to accept such ridiculous presumptiousness.

    Immigration implies, at its very core, a voluntary or natural movement of humans, animals or plants to another place of existence. The man never wrote or implied that Africans were indigenous to this hemisphere, but in keeping with your alienation from truth, you had to fabricate a point to provide validity to your argument.

    There are journalists, and there are people who puport to be journalists, and the separation between the two is incidented by an ethical motivation to be balanced and creditable. To argue that the coming of Africans to this hemisphere was a process of immigration is odiously disingenuous and nauseatingly backward. To label disagreement with an absurd misreprentation of the meaning of a term as intellectually dishonest, presupposes that the only people reading this board are those sycophants who would buy into anything that inflates their ethnic ego, and allows them to indulge in vicarious ethnic masturbatory ego stroking.

  • “I asked: “Should we promulgate a policy that fosters the maintenance of a multicultural society, or should we strive toward the creation of homogeneous Trinidad and Tobago culture.” The PP opted for the first possibility.”

    Great idea to strive towards a homogeneous culture, however we are already homogeneous because culture involves, language, arts, songs, dance and music. Language we speak the same, we are homogeneous, in that aspect. However, songs, dance and music cannot be homogeneous at the local level because you are tapping into various experiences and expressions. Trinidad has a unique culture, this culture has produce, steelpan, calypso, chutney, soca and various genres of music. However what makes it homogeneous is that it is uniquely Trinidadian. It is at times not exclusively Trinidadian and I think that is where the doc would have a point… We should try and make it exclusively Trinidadian.

  • I believe that this discussion should not have part of its context any reference to intellectual dishonesty or any dishonesty. I see it as a discussion and all discussions will have different points of view emanating from the discussion group.
    Migration and immigration seem to be used in the same context here and maybe there should be differentiation with my understanding as migration encompassing immigration but not the other way around.
    History of course has been written by the victors and the statement in Mr. Cudjoe’s argument that, “While Canada was congratulating itself about its homogeneity and patting itself on the back about its not having religious or tribal problems,…” is incorrect. The Canadians that wrote the history and dominated believed their country and culture to be homogeneous, but the Inuits and other local populations that were overwhelmed by the “discoverers” do not believe that the country to be homogeneous.
    Culture should be an amalgamation of all the peoples living in an area. To have a T&T culture we have to merge all the cultures of people living in T&T. “Where every creed and race find an equal place.”

    • I cannot understand what is meant by the words” Culture should be an amalgamation of all the peoples living in an area.” This is douglarisation.
      Do you mean the amalgamation of the cultures of the people? What meaning do you attribute to culture in this regard? Who will do the amalgamation and how will the amalgamation take place? The State? Does this culture include religions, culinary arts, the literary arts, the creative arts, the political culture, child rearing practices and the performing arts?
      I see that Pantar is experimenting with the Sitar and pan/Jazz in a limited repertoire. Why do you want to submerge the originality and authentic purity of cultural expressions for some artificial construct that may be nameless? Are you an advocate for douglarisation to enable people to lose their dharma and karma?
      I do not object to the cross fertilisation of the cultures process that is taking place in T&T on its own steam and on its own volition. There is cross-over music but I do not see that as the norm. There is a resurgence of Hinduism that is taking pace at a frenetic pace post-1970 when the Indians realised that the 1970 Black Power Revolution was about rekindling African roots and the back to Africa movement and they must now hold on to their original Indo-Gangetic beliefs because the movement had nothing of merit or of superiority to replace their Hindu/Islamic beliefs and values. Merging cultures is merging peoples to become glorified douglas, loss of their identity and a destruction of cultures because somebody is unhappy with other people holding on tenaciously to their original civilisation and their ancestral linkages that have been tried and tested and proven to be viable and superior and not cosmetic panderings to commonalities that exist on the surface. Please avoid creating synthetic cultures that have hidden agendas of domination. How do you amalgamate a sari with African female wear or a pagree with a dashiki and why do you want to do it?

      • I have previously seen your name in print but never before this read any of your writings. Now I know why.

        The text of your statements is less significant than the subtext. Among the keys to the latter is an inherent sense of intolerance that infuses your thoughts as expressed in your arguments. Among your repeated words are “superior”, “douglarization” etc.

        These bookmark your thinking and reveal, probably without your intending it, the basis of your argumenation. You have a problem, a serious problem and it is this.

        Your automatic need to infuse such terms into your phrasings speak, in my opinion to a sense of some inferiority on your part.

        Why, in such a forum, would one need to imply that their heritage, spanning more than “six thousand years” is one that has need of nothing, and is demonstrably superior, and to what?

        In the context of the discussion, superior to that of Africans, Black Trinis, and to the profane possibility of bastardization, or douglarization of the races, or to cite one of your earlier examples of this, of Indians in T&T becoming like those in Jamaica, neither fish nor fowl.

        Well I hope you can abide some facts. The India, and ancient heritage of which you speak, today continues to be unique in that before the UN, it, unlike its neighbour, Nepal is unable to admit to the millenia-long racism practised against the Dalits there.

        Bandit Queen is a movie made on how “superior” upper castes are able with impunity to rape lower caste Dalit women.

        One of their internet organs, DALIT Voice, is one you should read to see the historic and pernicious consequences of racial and ancestral superiority inflicted for almost “six thousand years” on others. Varna culture, a culture of superiority based on colour, and moreover based on the opposing forces of purity versus pollution, is most explicitly seen in the degradation of the Black Untouchables.

        The irony is that it is these same Dalits whose Dravidian ancestors, coming from Africa, first settled India; a word that in the ancient Greek and borrowed from the Persians means, “Black”. Also, is it possible that the river most holy to Hindus, the Ganges, is named after an Ethiopian? And, are many of India’s musical instruments (not the harmonium, surely) tuned to the exact pitch as are similar instruments still found in the Sudan?

        The point, my fellow country-man is that nothing that is human is alien to any of us, superiority notwithstanding.

        Today, people of African ancestry, wherever they are found are characterised by some traits: they are usually among those most immediately opposed to injustice for themselves and on behalf of others; create culture almost as a by-product of their harsh exixtences, (jazz in the US; pan in T&T); and are also quite marginalised, often by those on whose behalf they initially fought.

        Black people today, also do not know their history and are thus ill-equipped to respond to detractors, denyers, and “superior” beings whose six thousand year heritage nonetheless still carries within its DNA, the humanity of sub-Saharan Africa.

        I can say more, but I weary of this debate, and fear for some of the possibilities the tensions within it portend for all Trinis, regardles of race, ancestry, and status. Finally, maybe what individuals like you most fear is that doing a DNA test might enlighten you to your real ancestry, and thereby, also tto your cultural heritage.

        • I lend support to you contribution. However, never weary of debate since this could lead to alienation and conflict.

  • This is not a misinterpretation of immigration and migration. migration is also a voluntary process circumstanced by a slew of operants. Someone who is kidnapped and taken to another house for ransom or some other purpose have not migrated to that house. Ergo Africans who were kidnapped/sold into slavery and brought to this continent did not migrate. Lord help the kids in T&T who have to labor under the administrative guidance of mindsets that generate these kinds of screwed up formulations.

    Give me a break. When has Indians ever lost interest in their culture. It bias these crappy postulations that really indicate the warped logic behind these views. Black power was a reaction to the centuries of enslavement and disconnection from African roots, and an attempt to reconnect, yes, but more importantly to revise and challenge the stereotypes constructed to perpetuate the myth of racial superiority, which, I might add, other non European groups in T&T grabbed on to with gusto. Of course many of these groups had been born into this kind of thinking, even before Europeans had begun using it as a weapon.

    What we see today are the same band of folks who perform the logic of acrobatics in order to rationalize and justify the odious prejudice that is inherently concretized in their personality. The only problem is that too many of us in the African Community tend to be ambiguous in our response.

    Racial and ethnic prejudice are products of religious and cultural belief systems. Those who are married to these traditions are more likely to be racist and pejudice. If it applies and explains the white man’s behaviour it should also apply to and explain the attitudes of those with a longer cultural tradition than the white man of measuring human worth according to how one looks. Give me a break!

    • I must say that I have seen peoples that have been pushed off of their land. Do we call that migration – albeit forcibly. While the peoples brought to T&T from Africa can certainly say that they were captured and brought here I am not sure that those of the Indian subcontinent had any choice in their coming here. Indentured servants are nothing more than glorified slaves. They could not have refused to come to these lands.
      African and Indian peoples that have been exported during the period of European global domination should look at where they are and what they see as their future. At the end of the African slavery period in north america those wanting to return to Africa were allowed to return – Liberia. Those returnees to Liberia never were reabsorbed because they were unable to identify with a tribe and they no longer knew their tribal lineage. The wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone can be identified with these ‘new returnees’.
      We do have customs that can be identified with Africa and India but does that make us African or Indian. We are Trinidadians and Tobagonians. We try to differentiate between Trinidad and Tobago. Do we want a Trinidadian culture or a Tobagonian culture or do we want a T&T culture. If some believe that this is a watering down of one culture or the other it can also be claimed it is an upgrading of all the cultures. Taking the best and merging them together.

  • “I do not object to the cross fertilization of the cultures process that is taking place in T&T on its own steam and on its own volition.” (KANGAL)

    So Kangal does not object to “cross fertilization”. We are not plants , Kangal , but human beings existing side by side in a land which we all love.You are showing your true colors when you speak of “douglarisation” as if it were a disease.
    I hope that your air of superiority and your attitude is not representative of the feelings of the majority of the Indian people in T&T. I also hope and pray that your views which you mask as “multiculturalism” are not representative of the present government of T&T.

  • I do not have any problem with an argument that exhibit a preference for ethnic homogeniety in the reproductive process. That is their views, and it corroborates and give credence to the reality that these kinds of feelings exist, and at levels where they are influential. There is nothing surprising about Kangal’s views, or his Freudian slips which rips off the veneer from his personality and reveals what lies behind the insidious mask.

    Right wingers in the US with the same kinds of views find compatibility with the messages they get from Republican establishment, and the same thing obtains in T&T with people like Sat Maharaj and Kangal. They find compatibility with the political party they support in T&T, and like their counterparts in the US, pledge their troth to what they hear and see, and what they believe is hidden from eyes that do not see through their prism.

    The fact that someone who cannot even differentiate between immigration, migration, whatever, and forced removal of a group from their cultural and geographical nesting is given a platform to punditize is an example of the standard of journalism in T&T. But I suppose that to the same extent FOX finds value in their Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs the same obtains over here.

    There has never been any objection among Africans, whether in T&T, Guyana or elsewhere to Indians exhibiting their culture. In fact most Africans in those societies actively participate in such observances as a gesture of respect and cross cultural interaction. Indians came to these lands cultural intacto, and have never separated themselves from these important connections. Where it has contributed to issues, and have elicted reactions, is when some like Kangal et al, replace Africans in the caste roles which their ancestors occupied prior to indentureship and transportation, and then come up with crap to justify it.

    There are many who advocate taking a festina lente approach to these exhibitions. Not for me though. If festina lente did not change the mindset of Europeans for over centuries, it aint gonna change their symbiotic ideological kin. The more they are allowed to hide behind facades of balance and objectivity in the columnize postulations, the more brazen and aggressive they become in exhibiting their primitive prejudice. I say to hell with them. We have been fighting this battles for centuries and and are not one step closer while employing such tactics. The time has come to confront those who take our reticience for weakness and a corroboration of the inverse proportional formulations they vomit out all over cyber and other media forums. You bruise the head of a snake, you do not invite them to dance.

  • Pray tell what is ‘this battles’ that have been fought over the centuries, could it be the Middle East, Europe, Africa or the Americas. I am lost since many battles have been fought.

    I thought the discussion was about multiculturalism and how this could be achieved in T&T. There will always be the extremes of the pendulum but it only reaches there once while the journey to and from the extremes happens twice.

    One must always take note of what happens at the extreme ends of the pendulum but only to temper the effect on the rest of the pendulum’s movement.

    The question is, is there adequate preparation for the extremes to be able to move forward with multiculturalism or is it acceptable to have one dominant culture and a continuous battle with the oppressed culture. And at what cost to the culture.

  • Religion, as usual is causing this culture clash in TnT. Hindus may be the majority in TnT now so they are beginning to assert that position. It would probably get worst before getting better. We are still struggling to rally around our flag as a unifying force to become one people. This multiculturalism and multi-religious mantra serves to divide us as one people. There is no Nile, Ganges or Jordan rivers here.
    We need to evolve in our belief systems. Education, Education, is the saving grace. Generally we can see the pitfalls of religion and politics, with education we can enjoy the benefits of science and spirituality.

Comments are currently closed.