Category Archives: Racism Watch

Finding African farmers

By Raffique Shah
August 15, 2022

Raffique ShahIt pains me whenever I feel it necessary to confront the race issue in my column. I see it as a waste of valuable column centimetres where those of us who have been selected by the managers and editors of newspapers to highlight and comment on matters of national importance instead find ourselves discussing drivel.

But there comes a time when columnists cannot ignore attempts by influential people in the society resorting to race, playing the race card when everything else fails them, in the hope that controversy might save them from oblivion, a fate politicians fear more than they do the hell-fire that is promised to believers and non-believers alike for the sinful lives they lead, convinced they are so clever, they can fool even the Creator.
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Circling like corbeaux

By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2022

Raffique ShahNothing defined the great dividing line in this country the way the Law Association lawyers’ motion to have Attorney General Reginald Armour resign from office did when it came before the legal fraternity two weeks ago.

As people with an iota of common sense will have noted, while there was an element of race in the proceedings, it was not the only, or even the main factor that drove the campaign to oust the AG. It was all political—a straight case of who in the profession supported the incumbent PNM Government, or who supported the Opposition UNC. The stench of politics in what can be said to have been a minor confrontation was overpowering.
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Getting world history right: real African history

By Dr Kwame Nantambu
June 27, 2022

Dr. Kwame NantambuYears after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2011 as “The International Year for People of African Descent”, it must be realized that the European enslavement of African people or the “MAAFA” (“great disaster”) only represents .01 per cent of the history of African people on this planet. Put another way, for the 99.9 per cent of their history, Africans were a free people.
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What’s in a slave name?

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 20, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThe controversy started when Camille Robinson-Regis called Kamla Persad-Bissessar out of her name. Kamla responded by casting aspersions on Camille’s “slave name”, which played right into a deep cultural fissure that exists within our fragile social structure. Whatever the merits of either argument, as my mother would have said, “Is de answer does bring the row.” Hopefully, in this case, the answers should allow us to see our cultural blindness.
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The Indentures Did Not Affect the Wages of the “Apprentices”

By Stephen Kangal
June 14, 2022

Stephen KangalIndians were recruited by ” arkatias” and transported to work on the cane-fields of Caroni in Trinidad because after a period of keen observation and analysis by the occupying British and based on their experience in sugar cultivation in India (UP and Bihar) and taking into account the extreme famine of the 1850’s it was decided that perhaps with the advice of the established East India Company, Indians were going to be the most effective and economic type of unskilled labour to increase sugar production and achieve increasing efficiencies.

This was a business decision taken by the planters.
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Doh mess with ma name

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 13, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAkan people of Ghana, from which my lineage springs, have a naming ceremony eight or ten days after a child is born. It is called the Outdoor Ceremony, where the child is brought into the outdoors to see the light of day.

During that ceremony, the child is given a name that confers a specific identity upon him or her. Not a tear is shed if that child dies before the naming ceremony. It is as if that entity never existed, so precious is a person’s name in that society.
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Indian Arrival Day Celebrations Not Historically Driven

By Stephen Kangal
June 07, 2022

Stephen KangalIndians came here to increase sugar production reaching 200,000 tonnes in the 1960’s and not to decrease the cost of sugar production as their wages/conditions were set. They were deceived into believing that they were coming to “chalay chinee”. We cannot be misled by Cudjoe’s Afro-centric lenses because the jahajees were already versed in sugar cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. What did the Indians think or have in their minds as they embarked from Kidderpore Docks in Calcutta bent to Trinidad after enduring the Indian Famine of 1850’s? They survived the “Kala pani” and the “pagal samundar” en route to create a better life for us. They worked for a mere pittance that was superior to what they left in UP and Bihar and did not come on their own to compromise the high wage demands of the apprentices.
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Whiter shade of pale

By Raffique Shah
May 23, 2022

Raffique ShahI have grown accustomed to watching a scene in front of me—teenage boys kicking what life there was in a long-expired football, others of similar age and background carrying on an animated discussion on a subject I could not determine from where I stood, and yet others glued to their communication devices, maybe “chatting” with friends, maybe conducting extensive research into issue—I don’t know.
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Black Lives Matter

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 21, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt is gratifying to see the United States Embassy in Port of Spain flying its flag atop its building together with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag in honour of Black History Month.

It has taken the US a long time to recognise the important role blacks have played in the making of its country. An accompanying statement to this event noted: “Raising BLM flags on US embassy and consulate flagpoles throughout the world calls attention to efforts to advance racial equity and access to justice in the US and worldwide.” (Express, February 16.)
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When extraordinary isn’t good enough

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 08, 2022

“[In the United States] Black people have had to perform at a much higher standard simply to receive the rewards of being ordinary. For Black people, being ordinary is an extraordinary achievement.”

—Lewis R Gordon on Du Bois’s Political Thought

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDuring his lowest ebb in his political career at the Democratic primaries in 2020, Joe Biden promised he would select a black woman to be a US Supreme Court justice if he were elected. About a week ago, Justice Stephen Breyer resigned from the court, allowing Biden the opportunity to fulfil his promise.
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