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Blind Patriotism is Dangerous
Thursday, September 8, 2005
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Monday, January 17, 2005
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Sunday, June 6, 2004
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Blind Patriotism is Dangerous
Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2005

By Leslie

Re: A Friendly Guide to Identify a Trini by Linda E. Edwards

Blind patriotism is as dangerous as it is senseless. Many people propagate false ideas about their places of birth to boost their egos, to claim superiority over others or to relieve the pain of homesickness. Trinidad and Tobago is not the happy-go-lucky place that some make it out to be. Many 'Trinbagonians' face the constant struggle to survive and to navigate within a system that is very prejudiced, very racist and very unequal.

Trinidad and Tobago, like most other nations in the Western hemisphere can claim ancestry from various places, but this says nothing about the race relations here. Frankly, races do not mingle freely in Trinidad and Tobago. The Whites, commonly referred to as the 'French Creoles', the Syrians/Lebanese and other light-skinned ones are rarely seen as they deliberately separate themselves from the darker races. East Indians and Africans comprise the majority of the population, but the unresolved race issues and ignorance of history continue to separate them.

The 'mixed' population, who also exist in Trinidad and Tobago, gets the most amount media attention in order that the false notion of national unity is promulgated. They comprise a group who seem to complicate the issue of race relations by adding a new dimension - the issue of shadism/colourism. Many of these 'in-betweens' are ignorant of history and do not fully understand their position of privilege. Thus, they help to spread the illusion of racial harmony and equality without understanding that they, in fact, help to maintain the real evils of racism and inequality. Because they provide the approved aesthetic image for what Trinbagonians are or should be, they receive the material and physical benefits as well. And the closer mixed ones are to white, the more material privilege they receive.

The Black, African-descended population in the country always receive the rotten end of the system. They have been ignored by the governments of the country (even by governments headed by Blacks for the sake of their political correctness) even after the grant of 'Independence.' They get the worst end of the justice system, the worst end of the mis-education system, and the worst end of the job-placement system. They are stereotyped, just as in other countries as being lazy, violent and unproductive. These legacies from slavery are very evident in Trinidad and Tobago, but those who are blinded by their privilege or by their dishonesty refuse to see this. In fact, crimes such as the drug trade are squarely blamed on Blacks whose faces make the cover of daily newspapers when drug busts are made. The White and Syrian/Lebanese financiers of the drug trade are never convicted because white is still deemed as right in this country.

Trinbagonians have to deal with many of the same issues that others have. Racism, especially felt by the Black citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, has been left on the back burner and so many other issues, including crime have never been effectively dealt with. Drinks at the rum shop have never resolved the issue of poor race relations or any other issue for that matter. Passivity does not mean that things are right and in order. It may just mean that some are unarmored and cannot yet fight the war. In this regard, there is no real guide to show that one is a 'Trini' or not (beside one's accent or national ID). We have the same flaws as many other countries and have not yet been able to resolve them.

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