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.

In the first place, if there is any government to be blamed for the plight of the young Africans, it is not the People’s Partnership (PP), no matter how much I disagree with their programs (have they really taken any serous initiatives about anything?). The PNM who have ruled our society for 44 of the last 57 years bears a heavy responsibility in his regard. While the PNM has contributed much to our development-much more than the PP ever will-it would be a lie of enormous proportions if we blamed others for our condition even though our precipitous decline in this regard began in the post Eric Williams years.

Many economic factors led to the present condition. For example, the drying up of the economic opportunities for our people in the Lavantille/Morvant area after the mechanization of the port and the destruction of plants such as the Grapefruit Factory that provided jobs for these people. Given the economic decline in these areas, the social decline was sure to follow. Particularly in this age of consumerism, a viable economic community can assist tremendously in creating morally and socially responsible human beings.

In the post Eric Williams era, the PNM took a hands-off attitude towards problems of the black youth and the development of black people. Three examples will suffice.

When the CEPEP program began (or in its early incarnation), I sent a memo to Prime Minister Patrick Manning asking that an educational component be included in the CEPEP program. Someone even suggested that I might be able to handle such a program, given my educational background. Mr. Manning liked the idea but was adamantly against implementing it. The reason: “What will Sat say?”

During the first decade of the 21st century, the National Association for the Empowerment of African People, at great cost, started an after-school program for students on the East-West corridor who needed help with their homework and had a difficult time passing some of the standard examinations. We had thought that parents, particularly in the San Juan, Morvant, and Barataria areas would want to send their children to school at a time that is the most dangerous for youths who have nothing to do. We never got a cent from the government or their encouragement. They never paid for one student to attend this school which closed down after the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Then there was the Government Self Help program. At one of our meetings, Sat Maharaj told me that the program had given his organization over one million dollars to assist with its mandirs and after-school programs. “Make sure you get yours,” he told me. Oscar Gooding, our Public Relations Officer went down to the Self-Help Office over twenty times. We never got a cent.

This raises the question, how could progressive groups in the community, including the Emancipation Support Committee who have run these community-based programs, actively assist members of their community when sitting governments, whether they be PNM or PP, refuse to understand the importance of public-private initiatives that seek to come to grips with dysfunctional urban youths.

Governments cannot do it alone, especially when, in the case of the PNM, they bear a constitutional mistrust of any black group that can partner with them to address these nagging problems. Imagine the difference it would have made (and still can make) if there were hundreds of these programs throughout the troubled (and non-troubled) spots of the island. Students still need role models, they still need closer one-on-one learning situations, and innovative programs (sporting, theatrical, literary, social, etc.) that speak to their abilities, cherish their potential, demand the best of them, and cultivate in them a sense of self-esteem and the feeling that they are worthwhile.

Let us not dump on the Hindus or the Christians. They have their own problems. We will get nowhere by creating false scapegoats. Nothing but fierce honesty will save us.


14 thoughts on “Don’t Blame the Hindus or the Christians”

  1. After school programs are one of the ways of getting students on the right track. They can get help with home work and develop the discipline of studying and problem solving. Such programs can be run by volunteers in the community. It requires a bit of co-ordination and planning but with community support it can be done. Most parents if they know it is a safe environment will be willing to send their kids.

    Perhaps one of the ways the after school program can be modeled is with parental participation. Each evening a parent takes 5 kids and assist them with their home work. This can be done on a rotational basis. So at the end of a month a parent would have volunteered about 12 hours to his program. Big things generally start small and with dedication, grow into great things.

  2. Well that’s hitting the nail on the head. For we Trinis tend to identify scapegoats willy nilly without looking at ourselves in the mirror. When the previous gov’t rented 2 cruise ships to house guests for the summit meetings this was putting square pegs in round holes. Why? From the cruise ships the guests can see the plight of people living in the hills, for any gov’t that tends to portray and project an image for the well to do without getting their house in order is lacking vision. So much for 2020! Let those cruise ships come into harbor and let the tourists spend their dollars on articles produced by the locals. This is correct with what Selwyn is saying that an education program appended on to a project will bring about morally and sociable individuals who will add to the quality of our human resource. The current PM got an extension of UWI in Debe. That’s excellent for many reasons. Now, check out who Eric Williams kept close to him in gov’t and the highly educated ones use to get in ‘cold storage ‘before they can present their papers , e.g. Eugenio, Robinson, Karl, Rampersad etc. At the end of the day sustainable growth for T&T is not only centered in air conditioning offices but the very soil that needs to be tilled to yield food for all. Believe it or not there is the need for a major educational thrust in agro industry right here in T&T. We can begin by stop steupsing and realize we can use the wisdom we have been blessed with.

    1. The author has always been who he really is. The problem with immaturity is we are only happy when people say things we like to hear!!!!

      1. It is not that “The author has been who he really is.”, or the question or maturity vs immaturity but the question of seeing the whole picture and addressing those areas that is closest first before venturing afield.

        We all know about fighting bush fires. One has to address the fire that is closest before extending the hose to go into other areas otherwise the hose will be burnt and one’s firefighting ability will be nonexistant.

    2. Is there, in your opinion, any difference between ‘the author is awakening’, and ‘the author is awaking’?


        1. In context, mutually exclusive, ‘being awake’ and ‘being awakening’ are not interchangeable.

          One refers to the author finally becoming aware of, or ‘awaking’ to some truth or facts that others–like yourself–already knew.

          The other refers to the author, ‘awakening’ in others–like yourself–what he already knew but they didn’t.

          I am not here trying for some sort of elitism in grammar. I take the time, however, because your line, as simple as it is, sums up an attitude by some on this site who denigrate Dr. Cudjoe’s academic credentials as belonging to someone whose status is not derived from his own abilities and diligence, but from policies, for example, of affirmative action.

          I do not know that Dr. Cudjoe cares one way or the other about such characterisation, but it must be challenged, being too frequently found, not only on this site but also on others where Black academics are unjustifiably thus described.


          1. Polemics aside, awakening means arousal. One can also discuss the meaning of the word arousal.

            “I am not here trying for some sort of elitism in grammar. I take the time, however, because your line, as simple as it is, sums up an attitude by some on this site who denigrate Dr. Cudjoe’s academic credentials as belonging to someone whose status is not derived from his own abilities and diligence, but from policies, for example, of affirmative action.” I am a proud product of affirmative action so lets not interject superiority/inferiority complexes into what I wrote. As far as I am concerned affrimative action was a tool used to counter the affirmative action/old boys club that was being practiced at the time. It was never intended to let anyone without abilities progress, but merely to afford those with the abilities to move forward uninhibited by the other affirmative action (Old boys club).

  3. Who will fund the programs if they are implemented? Who will be forced to fund something else as a result if they are not funded? Personal responsibility is tho only solution. Individuals must be held accountable, not hardworking families who contribute to societies greatness. I agree that it is not the fault of faith based organizations only in that they are not responsible for individuals who are not operating under control of said faith based organization. Afterall, in my house, I am king. It is not the responsibility of anyone else outside of my house to ensure that my children are well educated, well sheltered, well, clothed, and well feed. Peronal responsibility and the formation of right and wrong in society starts with me and our family values that were instilled in me a youth. Volunteerism is a great stepp to sift through those who are truly conscious and deserving of potential future funds/ support and those who are just “gimmie” opportunist who only want to tax society inorder to pay for their own personal short comings.

  4. Exactly Kian, and that is something we need to wake up to. You will not find anyone on the other side of Cudjoe being balanced enough to take those in their community to task for activities that amount to racial profiling. And the same people in this blog who engage in it and rationalize it are the ones who will make the usual ignorant and backward statements that Cudjoe is developing. Cudjoe was developed when their minds were still where it is today, in a cave in ancient India practicing the original racial type casting to be internalized at a religious and cultural level.

    The only ones responsible for the African condition is the African. He is responsible because he continues to spend his capital, his time, his efforts, in a futile endeavor to get people to like him, rather than telling them to go to hell and get about the business of doing for himself. He need to cease all of the kumbaya crap that feeds into the egos of narrow assed anti-African activists, and act out the doctrine of Malcolm X. And that is, a willingness to enter into friendship and brotherhood with those who are prepared to reciprocate, and the disposition to say, “go to hell” to those who expect us to genuflect and shuffle before them in order that their narrow asses can generate some testosterone.

  5. The Nation of Islam blames the West and Christianity for the suffering of negroes. And now they are blaming Hindus & Christians in TnT for black criminality. Where in God’s name is the blame for a lack of personal responsibility. I have worked with black children and by age 18 everyone of those girls have a child without a father. I even saw a few working as prostitutes which cause me to weep. What is the main reason, I would say a lack of family and family support structures. Yes the churches do try but they get back into that culture there isn’t much that can be done, because teens need disciplining, support and love 24/7.

    For Farrakhan’s NOI to blame Christianity and ignore what the Arab slave traders did to Africa for centuries under Islam is downright shameful. Yes it was African slaves who built some of the magnificent structures in the Middle East. The black churches in America produced some of the most brilliant leaders often scoffed at by NOI. Dr.King, Andrew Young, thousands of black church leaders… What has NOI produced but a bunch of radical haters, anti Jew, Christian, Hindu etc.

  6. One has to understand things in context in order to appreciate the civil wisdom of people like Doctor Cudjoe, and the uncivilized ignorance of his critics. Let me provide a recent example of the mindset I am talking about. There was a recent ceremony to honor the founding fathers of Caricom. Caribbean Leaders drew reference to the men who piloted the organization into being with one exception. The Indian President of Guyana completely ignored the contribution of Forbes Burnham, and instead, cited Cheddie Jagan and Janet Jagan.

    What I am arguing here, is that this mindset is similar to the European Historians of yore who attempted to write black people out of anything positive by ignoring their contributions. More and more when one examines the attitude and conduct of some of these Indian leaders towards Africans it mimics exactly that which we experienced during slavery. They exhibit the kind of racist animus that is parallel with worse white supremacist sect in existence.

    Like I said before, I am not wont blame anyone for our condition or situation. What I argue for, is a complete abdication on our part of any moral responsibility to bring people together, and to proceed to bring ourselves together. I believe we should diligently divorce ourselves from those we can clearly identify for their insidious prejudice. As long as we continue to behave as though the burden is on us to produce world solidarity while there is daily emergence of new “slave masters and colonialists”, we will continue to tread water in terms of progress.

    Take a gander at what the resident racist twerp has produced in the previous posts. Every black female he has worked with has produced children without a father. Man in India they are marrying them at 10. As for your weeping, give me a break. Black people who allow people like you near their kids need to read the crap you write about them.

    Again, black people need to separate themselves from Indians like Mamoo who insidiously creep into their lives, maybe earns a living from administering some state and federal program that brings him into contact with them. People like this represent the devil’s incarnate, and their very presence among us amount to a blight on our existence. yes, I said it

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