Tag Archive for 'Selwyn R. Cudjoe'

From Beautillion Ball to Brexit Cauldrom

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 18, 2019

“Brexit has killed and saved her [Theresa May] at the same time….She knows as soon as Brexit’s done, she’s done.”

—Ayesha Hazarika, Former Labor Party Adviser

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt was one of those all-consuming weeks. I did a book-signing at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, on Wednesday March 6 before flying to Dallas, Texas, the following Friday to attend my eldest grandson’s Beautillion, one of those black coming-of-age functions that has its origin in the southern part of the United States. Another grandson called it “a cotillion for dudes,” it being comparable to the cotillion ceremony that is held annually for young black women.

It was one of those proud moments in a black man’s life when he participates in a function that emphasizes his responsibility to his people, his roots, and his family as he crosses the threshold from adolescence to manhood. They call it “a rite of passage.” It is an important stage in a young man’s life.
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Cultural Policy and National Development

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
Posted: March 16, 2019

A lecture delivered at the Public Library of Trinidad and Tobago, Adult Education Program, January 11, 1983. This lecture can be located at the Trinidad Public Library, Port of Spain, under the call number Ref. W.I. 308, Cudjoe (Trinidad Collection, January 1983). Slight editorial changes have been made to the original document for this publication.

Introduction

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBecause slavery and colonialism meant the economic, political, and cultural enslavement of our people, the transition from colonial to genuine independence must, of necessity, concern itself with the economic, political, and cultural transformation of our peoples. In fact, it seems to me, that we cannot speak of any meaningful transition, any authentic expression of the national soul/spirit unless we give some serious consideration to these aspects of our national development: none of which, I’m afraid, has been given any serious consideration by our present government in Trinidad and Tobago. This evening, I will concern myself with what I have termed cultural policy and the manner in which it conduces to national development in Trinidad and Tobago.
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The Morality of Politics

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 09, 2019

“The lesson that Kim Jong-Un has learned [is this]: If you give up your weapons, American will kill you.”

—Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBasdeo Panday once said famously: “Politics has a morality of its own.” As one looks at the unfolding of the political atmosphere in the United States, one can’t help but reflect on Panday’s prescience. Panday’s insights were not original, but he uttered a truth that is being played out in the U.S. today.

On Wednesday, as President Donald Trump was meeting with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, about the prospect of taking steps toward nuclear disarmament in North Korea and other measures to ease tensions in the Korean peninsula, Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, was pouring his guts out about the president’s amoral actions before and after he attained the presidency.
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While I Am Here!

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 25, 2019

“Until all races see each other as brothers and sisters and not as competitors or enemies Trinidad and Tobago is not going to move forward.”

—Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI congratulate the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the brave speech on race relations in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) that she delivered on Monday, February 11. While I do not agree totally with the accuracy of her “short history lesson,” thinking in and of the future is much more important than being mired in the commess of the present. Demeaning Persad-Bissessar’s important insights by castigating the probity of her having Malone Hughes, a brother who was charged and fined several times , on her platform does a disservice to a brilliant analysis of our present condition. It reduces a pressing existentialist issue to a misguided rant about non-sense.
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Sex Behind the Convent Veil

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 18, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFrom Wednesday to Saturday this week Pope Francis will meet at the Vatican with Roman Catholic bishops from around the world to discuss the global sex abuse crisis that is threatening his “legacy and the moral capital that is the currency of his pontificate” (NYTimes, Feb 5, 2019.)

Maria Abi-Habib and Suhasini Raj recounted the story of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of India who agreed to personally celebrate the First Communion for Darly’s son, a rare honor in the Roman Catholic Church.
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The Door of Tomorrow

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 12, 2019

“The civilization of the fathers was hinged on the preservation of that which already existed, not on the discovery of new things.”

—Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBrian Harry is a Trini who was educated at Queen’s Royal College. He has lost several friends because of his outspokenness. Some years ago he told me that a major difference between a developed and a developing society is one of attitude. Citizens of a developed society think of what they can do; citizens of developing societies always think about what they can’t do.

This distinction came to mind on January 29 as I read the Trinidad Express and the New York Times articles of how two jurists approached matters of public policy. The cases involved the use of marijuana and each jurist’s response to it. I appreciate that we are talking about two different systems of jurisprudence, but their responses to a similar problem was interesting.
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What Constitutes an Educated Trini?

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 04, 2019

PART 2

“The school curriculum is not delivering the quality of individual we need to build the nation.”

—Paula-Mae Weekes, President of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeNeal Phillip, professor and chairman of Chemistry and Chemical Technology at Bronx Community College, City University of New York (CUNY), wrote the following article, “Preparing Students to enter a 21st Century Workforce,” at my instigation. I wanted to follow through on suggestions to improve high school education in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). I reproduce Professor Phillip’s article with a few editorial changes.
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Thinking Dialectically About Slavery

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 30, 2019

“It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital…without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic.”

—V. I. Lenin quoted in C. L. R. James, Notes on Dialectics

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Monday the Sugar and Slavery Gallery of London Museum Docklands invited me to be a panelist in a seminar, “London’s Debt to and Involvement with Slavery.” The other panelist, Dr. Kate Donington, Co-Curator of the Slavery, Culture and Collecting display at the Museum, spoke about George Hibbert, a slave owner in Jamaica and a hugely influential presence in eighteenth-century Jamaica and London.
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The Ultimate Philistine

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 22, 2019

“Kojo [or Cudjoe] was the Asante name for a boy born on Monday.”

—Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTheodore Lewis is angry that Selwyn Cudjoe has written about a racist white slave holder. He is equally as angry that Bridget Brereton, one of our most distinguished historians, who happens to be a white woman, spoke favorably of my efforts. He writes: Professor Brereton “is an unlikely defender of Cudjoe, given her scathing disavowal of him in her published essay ‘All ah we is not one’ in which she disparages what she calls the ‘African narrative’ of local discourse” (Express, January 12).
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What Constitutes an Educated Trini?

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 15, 2019

PART 1

“The school curriculum is not delivering the quality individuals we need to build the nation.”

—Paula-Mae Weekes, President of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeA nation always needs a leader who is willing to call it as she sees it. Paula-Mae Weekes, T&T’s president, is not afraid to play that role. Her latest intervention in the island’s political and social discourse occurred on Tuesday when she offered her views on how badly our education system is doing in preparing our citizens for life in the republic.

President Weekes believes the education system has failed in its responsibility to our children and our leaders. She didn’t call it a fraudulent system, but she left her listeners with that impression. The fact that she is an experienced judicial educator and was a fellow at the Commonwealth Juridical Educational Institute lent credence to her observations.
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