Tag Archives: Selwyn R. Cudjoe

A Macabre Display

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 01, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTrinidad and Tobago, a weird place sometimes, is given to extremes. Imagine an embalmed man in a sitting position, placed in the tray of a hearse and given an open-air last ride past the Prime Minister’s office on his way to his final resting place: “Dressed in a suit and seated in a chair, Che Lewis’s body was placed in the back of a vehicle by the Dennie’s Funeral Home and driven around the capital city” (Express, November 26).
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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.
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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.
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Basta Trump; Welcome Biden

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 09, 2020

A presidency born in a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace appeared on the edge of ending in a lie about his own faltering bid for re-election.

—Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt’s 5:15 am on Friday morning. CNN has announced that Joe Biden has taken a lead in Ruby Red Georgia by 917 votes and many of us believe we can begin to exhale. We are about to get a president who will allow us to breathe again.

At 5:39 am, the NY Times headline announces: “Biden edges into a lead in Georgia as Nation awaits winner.” It was almost as though most of these outlets wanted to breathe a sigh of relief: “We have had enough of Trump.”
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The racial ghosts of the past

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
November 02, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI place myself in the category “too scared to believe it even though I wish for a positive outcome”.

I refer to Tuesday’s US presidential election and what the polls wish us to believe. In spite of what the polls say about Joe Biden’s lead, I can’t get over the 2016 presidential election where Hillary Clinton was supposed to make mincemeat out of Donald Trump.
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President Trump’s Disruptive Power

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 05, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen I arrived in the U.S. in 1964, the presidential contest between Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) and Barry Goldwater (Republican) was underway. They disagreed on many issues (for example, the use of the atomic bomb in warfare and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War), but their major difference revolved around how to tackle the legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from voting in federal and state elections. This initiative was the culmination of ten years of sustained struggles by African-Americans against all forms of discrimination against them.
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A Plea for Humility & Equanimity

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 28, 2020

“The work of the desireless doer can rightly be expected to be better than that of one driven by desire for the fruit.”

—The Gita According to Gandhi

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAt the beginning of last week, a disturbing video began to circulate on social media. It shows about a dozen school children dancing while music played in the background. These children seem to be “holding and drinking what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.” In the video, a woman is heard to be saying to another adult, “Is that what you have the children doing?” (Guardian, September 25).
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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.
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