Tag Archives: African

Backward Ever

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 09, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am still trying to understand why Blue Waters needed to import 39 non-nationals to work on its bottling plant when there is such high unemployment among our youths and specialized workers from Petrotrin and other related enterprises.

When Kamla Persad-Bissessar questioned Stuart Young about this matter, the latter mansplained: “This was a request by a manufacturer to bring in specialized workers to upgrade their plant. This is not unusual or unique. The persons entering would have presented their negative PCR test, they will be paying for their quarantine at a State-supervised quarantine facility” (Express, January 30, 2021).
Continue reading Backward Ever

A Black Race Position

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 19, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Thursday, in his response to a letter written by 23 Afro-Trinbagonians about the placement of Black students in our secondary schools, Kamal Persad, coordinator of the Indian Review Committee, responded: “It is clear the under-performance of Afro-children in the education system is still at the top of the black agenda. Accordingly, these 23 persons of African descent adopted an unmistakable black race position” (Express, January 14).
Continue reading A Black Race Position

Demonizing Black People

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 25, 2020

“Me nah know how we and dem a go work this out/But someone will have to pay/for the innocent blood/that they shed every day.”

—Bob Marley, “We and Dem”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere is a notion that Trinis are a happy-go-lucky people, a description that may be more applicable to African-descended people than to members of other groups of the population. Such a description may be more illustrative of those of us whose world view has been influenced by African religions and philosophies as put forth by John Mbiti in African Religion and Philosophy, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, or Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities.

Such a notion (“happy-go-lucky Trinis”) has led others to believe that we care mostly about the celebration of the flesh and other worldly pursuits as depicted in our carnival celebration. Some have even said that while their people were “beating books, we were beating pan,” a cavalier dismissal of an important aspect of our creativity and identity.
Continue reading Demonizing Black People

The Racial Divide

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 16, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen T&T gained independence in 1962 we reveled in the possibility that we had set ourselves upon a path to deal with the problems of colonialism, particularly the sinful racism, that had disfigured our society. In 1970, disappointed that Black people were still being denied jobs and position because of their color, the Black Power Rebellion added the struggle of anti-blackness to the national agenda.

Fifty years after independence, we are still plagued with racial discrimination even though it has taken a different dimension. In the 1970s we were faced with white over black racism, today it’s brown over black, the former having inculcated some of the nastiest racial biases of the white ruling class.
Continue reading The Racial Divide

Thinking Race/Understanding Color

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.

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 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

The black superhero

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
September 07, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeChadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, died last week Friday. The next day, former student Olivia Funderburg wrote me the following note: “Boseman’s death feels similarly shocking to Kobe Bryant’s death, in its suddenness. I was recalling how excited I was when you took us to see Black Panther. It meant so much to everyone that they got to see the movie with their friends, and with you. The way that Boseman embodied the Black Panther character and historical figures like Jackie Robinson, makes his death feel that we have lost a real-life superhero.”
Continue reading The black superhero

Emancipating old narratives of ‘emancipation’

…and examining colonials’ ‘deceitful bait-and-switch’

By Claudius Fergus
August 16, 2020 – wired868.com

Photo: ESC director of regional and African affairs Khafra Kambon (right) poses with the Emancipation monument.In defiance of the rapid community spread of Covid-19, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, kept the promise he made on Emancipation Day 2019 to unveil T&T’s first emancipation monument—the only live public event on Emancipation Day 2020.

Like many thousands of other Trinbagonians, I missed the commemorative spectacles of the longest day in the Pan-African Festival’s calendar. But instead of regrets, the occasion motivated me to reexamine the intellectual underpinnings and contradictions of Britain’s 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act.
Continue reading Emancipating old narratives of ‘emancipation’

In defeat, defiance

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 12, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Tuesday, Joseph Biden, the nominee of the Democratic Party, selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the next US presidential election. If she is elected, she will become the most powerful woman in the Demo­cratic Party and a strong candidate to become the first US woman president.

Harris was not selected primarily because of her academic brilliance, political acumen or prosecutorial experience, although she possesses all these attributes. She was selected because black demo­crats demanded that a black woman be selected because they saved Biden’s candidacy when it was floundering.
Continue reading In defeat, defiance

Sorry, Not Sorry: The Business of Racism in T&T

By A. Hotep
August 15, 2020

No RacismThe Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), and by extension the business community, was never interested in addressing racism. Poor working conditions and poor remuneration packages are all part of class and racial discrimination which, at the very least, renders many members of the business community complicit. Now that people are prepared to take action to deal with racism, the business community should not be allowed to set the standard for redress. This was made clear by SATT’s quick backpedalling of its boycott of Ramsaran-branded products after calling on the company to “[seek] the appropriate remedial action in a consistent and satisfactory manner.” Aside from the Ramsaran’s text-book apology and “firing” of the owner’s daughter, how has the company demonstrated appropriate remedial action?
Continue reading Sorry, Not Sorry: The Business of Racism in T&T

Keep Feeding Contempt; or imagine a better world for the ‘small man’

By Corey Gilkes
August 09, 2020 – wired868.com

PeopleInteresting how fried chicken could bring to light so much issues that explain what’s wrong with our society. One chicken drumstick is all it takes to expose certain realities, all of which are integrated, interlocked and in some aspects, results of deliberate actions.
Continue reading Keep Feeding Contempt; or imagine a better world for the ‘small man’