By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 19, 2021
This week we will know the fate of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck, an act that led to his death. It was a crime that inflamed the sensibilities of many people around the world, especially those people who have fought for racial justice for most of their lives. Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify for fear that he might incriminate himself. That may have been a smart move.
Continue reading The Gaslighting of America
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 15, 2021
From politician to the ordinary farmer, Hutus united to get rid of the ‘cockroaches,’ working together to exterminate their Tutsi friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members.
—Kennedy Ndahiro, “Dehumanization: How the Tutsis were reduced to cockroaches, snakes to be killed.”
I use to think that the motto of the Trinidad and Tobago Constabulary was “to protect and serve.” Unfortunately, it seems that its present mission is “to belittle and berate.” Listening to Gary Griffith, the Commissioner of Police, one would think he is at war with the society or anyone who criticize his opinions or performance.
Continue reading The Dangers of Narcissism
By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
February 23, 2021
Some people described the killing of Andrea Bharatt as “monstrous”, “brutal”, “horrible”, and “barbarous”. Those responsible for her death were called “monsters” or “Lucifers in the flesh”.
An autopsy showed the horrendous manner in which Andrea was killed. Rich and poor, Africans and Indians, urban and rural folks, were all repulsed by the barbarity of her killers.
Continue reading Who really are the monsters?
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 21, 2020
“Nobody can be properly termed educated who knows little or nothing of the history of his own race and of his country.”
—Frederick Alexander Durham, The Lone-Star of Liberia.
In his epoch-breaking work Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams noted that racism is a product of slavery. “The reason,” he says “was economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the labor, but the cheapness of the labor.” On the other hand, in White Over Black, Winthrop Jordan argued that racism predated slavery, citing three distinct prejudices that conditioned the English responses to Africans: our blackness, which signified filth, sin and evil; being uncivilized; and our not being Christian.
Continue reading Thinking Race/Understanding Color
By Darren Bahaw
July 09, 2020 – newsday.co.tt
A second disturbing video has surfaced on social media of events which took place after police shot and killed three men on June 27, in Second Caledonia, Morvant.
It has sparked new criticism in comments online from people who have watched the 39-second clip.
The video, which appeared to have been recorded by a home security camera, from in front, shows the actions of police from a different angle, seconds after the shooting incident.
Continue reading New video emerges in Morvant police killing
By A. Hotep
July 05, 2020
Some people in this country are intent on shifting the dialogue away from the questionable and seemingly extrajudicial killing of three men by the police in Morvant, which was captured on CCTV footage, to centering discussions on the conduct of black youths in deprived communities. The obfuscation of the issue, evident in the commentaries by leaders, and echoed by radio and online commentators, perpetuates the view that when black people in poor communities are killed and otherwise abused, it is they who are at fault. Another twist to the narrative by the police and by the government is the claim that protests against the killings are part of an organised plot to destabilise the country. This perspective serves the agenda of those who have orchestrated and/or sanctioned the use of strong-arm tactics to stifle the protests. Meanwhile, the real issues of community neglect, crime (including white colour crime) and the heavy-handed approach of the police in these mostly black communities are pushed aside.
Continue reading Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant
By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020
Approximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
Continue reading Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020
About one hundred yards north of Whitehall, there is a short street, Maxwell Philip Street, that is located between Prada and Scott streets, in St. Clair, Port of Spain. It is no more than 500 yards long. Although it is located in an affluent part of the city, it commemorates the life of a very important member of our community.
Philip, one of the most respected and accomplished Afro-Trinbagonians of the nineteenth century, might be little known to our contemporaries. However, given the impact that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is having on the present era and the interest it has generated all over the world, it might be wise to become acquainted with Philip, his importance in our history, and the enduring connection of the BLM to Afro-Trinbagonians.
Continue reading Black American Lives Have Always Mattered…
By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2019
Oozing from the barrels of blood that flowed from the bullet-ridden corpses of last week’s 24 murder victims and almost as many who suffered serious to critical gunshot wounds were several important lessons that we may choose to ignore, to our peril. Violent crimes have spiralled out of control, and most people are inured to the blood and gore that once shocked us. Now, spectators calmly record the macabre murders on their smart-phone cameras, video-clips to be uploaded on the Intrernet. Some achieve viral videos ratings, providing entertainment for huge audiences on social media.
Continue reading Crime and punishment T&T style
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 13, 2019
In 1981, after teaching in the United States for about ten years, I decided to return home for good. To do so I had to erect a personal library so I could do my work. Without my library I would be lost, so I asked my first cousin—one of those cousins who possesses the skills to do everything—to build a library at the back of my mother’s house.
Continue reading Jamming the Poor, Still