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).

It is wise to contrast Persad’s position with a statement of Professor Brian Copeland, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, at its 2020 graduation: “As graduates of The UWI, you are beneficiaries of a public spending that covered some 80 per cent of what it costs to educate you….[You must] use your experience not just to develop yourself in your chosen careers but, even as you do so, that you do all you can to continue the fight of forming a society that better addresses the problems we face today….

“Our society cannot survive if it implodes on itself because of an impossibly large income gap, runaway poverty, or even the level of bigotry and hatred we saw on display last Wednesday at the US Capitol. Yours is the challenge of fashioning a more emotionally mature and just society” (Express, January 13).

While Persad sees the challenge outlined by these Afro-Trinbagonians as an “unmistakable black-race position,” Copeland sees our challenge as building “a more emotionally mature and just society” that contrasts with the US society in which bigotry, hatred and racism were displayed in the US Capitol on January 6.

This is why I suggested that race and racism, and the impulse of each group to hold on to its advantages, are “the basic fault lines in our democracy.” We may not want to accept this truth, but the death-battle between the two major groups can result in the diminishment of our republic.

Seventeen years ago I raised this question in an address, “Afro-Trinbagonians, Racism and the Education System.” I said that “no member of a multiracial society should feel smug and secure in the fact that eighty percent of its university body should consist of one race.” Given the trajectory of our society then, I asked: “How do we envisage the distribution of jobs in the year 2015? Do we expect to see all our lawyers, doctors and engineering technologists as being of one race; and all of the security guards, our service workers at Kentucky, our street cleaners being of another race?” (trinicenter.com)

Persad and Copeland have raised this question anew: is the quest for a more equitable distribution of secondary school places a “black agenda” item or part of a national problem? Could we achieve Prof. Copeland’s vision if our universities are peopled primarily by one section of our society? How healthy is it socially if our job market is skewed in such a manner that certain “prestigious” jobs are held by one group while the other group descends to the bottom of the social ladder holding all of the menial jobs.

Williams saw the free secondary school system as “a cradle for ‘a new nationalism’ that should result in the ‘assimilation of all the different cultural stock and racial strains in his country.'” Such a vision, according to Persad, was part of Williams’s “sinister” plot against Indo-Trinidadians although serious philosophers such as John Dewey, author of The School and Society, saw the school as a miniature society, and Louis Althusser, a French philosopher, saw the school as one of “the ideological state apparatuses” that transmit values to the nation’s children.

Williams was not successful in everything that he did and may be faulted for initiating the shift system which had negative consequences on our primary and secondary school systems. Williams, however, saw the school as the vehicle through which to create a coherent society. In his book Education in the British West Indies, Williams noted that the classical model foisted upon us was not necessarily the best way to move us out of our colonial position.

Most of the people who opposed the position of the 23 prominent citizens were Indo-Trinbagonians of all stripes, regardless of their political or religious affiliations. They believed that Indian achievements/privilege must be maintained and protected regardless of its impact upon the society. This was not entirely unexpected. Professor Ruth Grant suggests that “as a general rule, people can be expected to pursue their own selfish interests. People who hold power can be expected to act to hold on to it—and to increase it if they can” (Ethics and Politics).

Two weeks ago I shared my article “A More Reflective Society” with Sudhir Hazareesingh, a lecturer at Oxford University. He responded: “There are strong similarities with Mauritius: the focus on materialism and the fundamental absence of a sense of common purpose. I do wonder, taking this further, whether this is about colonialism or race, or both.”

How, then, can we talk about a common purpose when Indo-Trinidadians see the plight of African children as a “black race problem” and remain intent on expanding their power and control in the society. The siege on the US Capitol would have taught us little if we do not see how the racial schism in America threatens its very existence if it is not attended to.

Ours is one society. The plight of one must concern the other. If we do not realize that large income gaps between the groups, runaway poverty, bigotry, and hatred can spell the ruination of our small society, then we are not ready to act as self-defining subjects who are prepared to work in our own best self-interest.

How much longer will we be blinded by our own eyes?

25 thoughts on “A Black Race Position”

  1. Education systems should be merit based and not based on any black agenda policy.Indians are outperforming their African counterpart in the education system because of many factors such as diligence,culture,family input,IQ and genetics.
    The education system can be improved especially in the early developmental years to incorporate moral development of the individual.
    What about a research paper afrotrinidadians,racism and the police service where about ninety percent of the TTPS consist of one race.Policing has evolved to become an academic and scientific discipline in many first world countries.
    The ethnic disparity in the police service does not reflect the multiracial society we live in.

    1. Raffique Shah – Memories of Regiment’s first Indian officer…a personal experience

      Shah bursts open the disingenuous LIE that indians werred barred from army/police, or that african racism existed there and is responsible for less indians in these positions. He exposes how indians want their children in prestigious WELL PAID jobs and that his father was disappointed in him joining the military…and shah is muslim. What shah does not talk about is the religiously rooted and culturally cultivated anti-black, anti-african racist intolerance his community has and even more so at that time, that prevents them from living , training and eating in close quarters with africans…especially dark skinned ones. Indian religion and culture is responsible for lack of large numbers to the degree that africans have in the military and police service. In other words, indian racism is responsible for BOTH the under-representation of africans in educational achievement AS WELL AS their under-representation in the proctective services! The sinister push by indian society via religious and political actors, to retroactively ‘vault’ indians en masse to positions of power and authority in the proctective sevices should be seen as war planning. Furthermore, what indians purposefully neglect to mention in their obsessive discourse on increasing their ethnic army within the TTPS and military, is the fact that in all the decades of africans dominating the police service, AFRICANS ALSO DOMINATE THE ARRESTS AND INMATE POPULATION!
      …in other words…even after all these decades of african run and dominated military and police service, Indians are WELL under-represented in the arrests made and the prison inmate population! why aren’t there calls to increase their numbers in THOSE areas?? What happens when the TTPS is padded with political and ethnic, hedgemonic minded brahman-ists and other indians?? This is merely caste-minded (racist) power grabbing at play..

  2. Dr. Cudjoe ignores the RELIGIOUSand cultural imperative of indian society is to forcibly drive the blackest skinned, most african featured people of that society, to the bottom of the educational, social, economic and political hierarchy that haunts their religiously constructed psyche.

    Behold the truth Dr. Cudjoe:

    India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart

  3. Dalit: The Black “Untouchables” of India Dr. Velu Annamalai Lecture

    Dr. Annamalai’s lecture is a must see for Dr Cudjoe, as he is an indian born and raised as a slave in brahman-ism(Hindu-ism) , and specifically warns africans of indian anti-black anti-african racism emanating from brahman-ist scriptures in their sacred texts which he quotes in english.

    1. Mr Inconvenient, I see you have recycled your old article about Rafique Shah on why Indians are not equally represented in the Police and Army in T&T. Suggest you take a introductory course in statistics where you will learn that a sample size of one is meaningless.

      Congratulations to the ‘douglas’ of the world on Kamala Harris ascendancy to the Vice-presidency of the United States of America. Hopefully with ancestors from two great peoples, by example, she will be able to moderate the racist practices and stereotypes prevalent in the US and most of the world (Caribbean included). For mixed race children it is always a challenge to decide which race you belong to. Kamala Harris made that choice early in life and decided to attend a Black University and she has reaped the rewards of this decision. In T&T, I am sure there are numerous mixed race children faced with the same choice. How they choose can make a big difference in their success as big wig in the Civil Service, Police Force or Army or scratching an existence as a doubles vendor on the road side. Sometimes how you look can lead to discrimination within your own family. One of my mixed race colleagues at the University of Toronto had two siblings, both him and his sister had curly hair whereas their youngest brother had straight hair. He told me that he and his sister and others in the extended family would refer to the youngest child as the ‘coolie’. I often wondered how this child felt growing up as an outsider in his own family constantly trying to prove that he belongs there.

      Mr Inconvenient this is how the Indians in T&T have been treated by you and others in PNM, constantly having to prove they are part of the T&T family.

      1. As stated before, Tariqandalus is a disingenuous, manipulative liar. “Recycled” is how dim-witted tariqandalus expects to (lol), shame me into not sharing the truth.In tariqandalus’ sick world, these issues are discussed as part of a game, whereby the truth is only relevant once, and then discarded like trash. Namedropping the university of toronto is useless with me and not only does that not give any credibility to your lies, but exposes your mentality further.

        White liberalism, Kamala Harris, and the symbols of race and status | TheHill

        1. Mr Inconvenient, I think the article started off talking about Why Black children in T&T are not as successful in school compared to children of other races and sort of drifted into a commentary about racism. What Rafique Shah said 50 years ago and the manusmriti said 5000 years ago in India is is totally irrelevant.

          Why are black children disadvantaged in country like T&T where there has been a Black Government in power almost continuously for more than fifty years. Answer this question. I will give you a hint. It has nothing to do with Indian corruption or greed or racism or being Black.

          1. Tariqandalus
            Firstly, manusmirti is not 5,000 years ago and is merely the name of the moral code that governs brahman-ists (hindus), and indians in genaral to one degree or another. Therefore, it is disingenous and intellectually dishonest, to imply that the brahman-ist (“Hindu”) concept of morality, has no relevance to any society where they exist. Furthermore, the fact that ther are so many indian teachers, principals, professors and gatekeepers of this backround that have been directly involved with african children’s future in their hands rests my case.

            This was 2005,…Not 5,000 years ago.
            Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Racismat Torrib Trace Presbyterian School

            Imagine the psychological deformation that occurs…and those children are expected to compete with other children without that problem? SICKKKKKKK!!

      2. LIES as per usual!!
        When did indians EVER try to “prove” themselves to african people via the PNM or otherwise, as part of T&T? The gaslighting attacks do not work on me tariqandalus!


        Indian man found guilty of killing son’s black wife – The Economic Times

        Many Indians don’t consider Dalits, Muslims and tribals human: Rahul on Hathras case – video Dailymotion

    2. Slavery and indenturetude mean nothing but the Spanish Seistema de Casta, the real Christian Casta sytem is the problem with Trinidad. hahaha

  4. Sitting on my couch looking on at DC and beginning of a new era in politics. One would shudder to think that we are still in 1956. But the birth of the PNM and the rise of the PNM antifida is disturbing to all.

    Nevertheless we put that aside. My food of choice tomorrow for this inauguration will be biryani as I celebrate the first “dougla” and woman Vice President. Kamala will be making history and breaking another glass ceiling for us plebeians long yearning for equality.

    As we continue to look on in horror, the PNM divulging contracts from balisier house and using the signature of Dr. Rowley to spend billions of tax dollars without any general oversight. The treasury is being emptied and all the little things such as education has turned into a tribal conflicts.

    This was not so under Kamla where over 400 scholarships, thousands of lab tops distributed, school feeding well funded, GATE increased etc. Plus 106 schools along with many nearing completion. Persad versus Copeland…. just what a faltering nation needs.

    Under Rowley the minister of education was seen begging on her knees and eventually crawling for the 1% to hear her cry. Please, please can you spare a lab top please. It was the return to the days of slavery where massa gave this modern day slave a few to satisfy her. Such things should not be…. where is the pride of the black people???

    Then we see the Minister of National Security telling the black man you can’t come home and sleep in your own bed, it is okay if your neighbour to occupy your spot but you need my blasted approval to come home. Another case of the 1% shi**ing on citizenry applauded by the Balisier juice drinkers. It must be noted Dr. Rowley approved this whilst lying to the citizenry that all citizens will be home by Christmas. By all he probably meant his daughter and her friends.

    Back to my original thought, I will be on my couch enjoying the inauguration and thinking how far we have come, that an Indian woman daughter is now the second most powerful person on this planet. A child she raised singlehandedly. And she will be hated by the kkk and it’s followers but applauded by the mammas and sisters who would look at their daughters and smile with pride.

    Meanwhile in TnT we are seeing the regression of a once proud race sinking into the sea of forgetfulness……to be silent whilst your leaders abuse you is to fall from your position of humanity. It does mot matter if he gives you a job or a house. To lose your self respect, dignity and pride is the greatest injustice. That’s what massa gave food clothing and shelter along with a whip on the back for good measure..MLK fought for the humanity of his people, in TnT no one cares!

    Happy Inauguration Day to all the “fresh water” Trinis living in the U.S.A…..

    1. Kamala Harris, the daughter of an african jamaican and a REAL, AUTHENTIC Brahmin immigrant, thanked AFRICAN AMERICAN people for her election to office…not brahmins….not indians, but the ethnic group whose social, economic and political struggle and power she rode like a wave into office, and her mother rode that same wave INTO THE U.S. Education system. Stephen’s racist categorization of Kamala Harris as a “dougla”,, knowing that the Brahman-ist (“Hindu”) term literally means:

      *Kamala’s father, an african jamaican, by default of his race, is categorized as an untouchable by brahman-ism(“Hindu-ism)

      *unlawful , disgraceful intercaste product according to Manusmirti (Brahman-ism/Hindu-ism’s moral laws)

      *child of a whore (according to brahman-ist morality, Kamala’s mother’s intimate relations with an inferior varna/caste(race), automatically made her a whore and her children “Doogalas” which literally means N***** bastards!

      What Does Manusmriti Say About The Rules And Status For Hindu Women?

      Inter-caste marriage isn’t the problem, marrying a Dalit man is

      1. What you are sharing is merely human “constructs” about race and past hysterias about people. In the modern world that I live in those constructs are meaningless. Kamala had to endure segregation and was well received by her family in India. She learned, adapted and excelled at being the best version of herself. A lesson for all of us especially young girls.

        Your labels are nothing but the rant of a bygone era. You are like the guy at the back of the line screaming for attention being ignored by all. If you have good education, charisma , on screen presence as Kamala has, none of those constructs matter. Inconvenient you need to stop being inconvenient and become relevant….

    1. LOL!…
      Tman’s attempt at a rebuttal…. FAIL! How pathetic and predictable! Of course indian trinidadians support “Tourism”… Duke’s political earbending is to imply that “Tourism” = supporting AFRICAN BUSINESSES AND AFRICAN PEOPLE….THEY DO NOT! (as a group/masses) . Indian trinidadians that “support tourism” in tobago, means support for the INDUSTRY as a whole, as long as it makes INDIAN businesses $$$$$. Every adult trinbagonian knows that Watson Duke has been buzzing and whirring like a kamla/UNC/Indian political DRONE since 2010. His behaviour and tactics are typical of unc/indian controlled african drones… i.e BLAME/SHAME AFRICANS AND PNM FOR RACISM!!! Why couldn’t duke show tangible, practical examples that indian community is NOT extremely racist and in fact ANTI-RACIST like africans??
      THAT is something Tman should and could ponder. Tman’s caste-minded psyche blinds him from empathy and functionally objective logic…Tman’s posting history is bland, poisonous, anti-african, pro-unc spinning, deflecting and intellectual dishonesty!
      Tman tries to make me ponder with articles from an indian newspaper on a contentious indian-african issue? Pleeeease!

  5. The average Tobagonian gets from the Government significantly more than the Government provides per capita for Trinidadians. In the last budget for example, the spend in Tobago was $2.3 billion plus the provision of other services, water, electricity, inter island ferry, port, salaries for national security, airport services etc. Well over $3 billion. That is an average of $50,000 per Tobagonian.

    Compare that to Trinidad with its 1.3 million people and the figure works out to $36,100. This is in a situation where Tobago’s tax take is little to nothing.

    Political commentators like Shah and Cudjoe should be talking about this instead of Trump.
    New airport, new hospitals new ferries, new ziplines as the THA plays dolly house with taxpayers money.

  6. Why can black people fail to realise that their culture is part of the issue? Do you know how focused indian families are on their education? My parents pressured my brother because he was smart. I was so glad not to be him and didnt have that potential. He went to so much lessons my dad was working two jobs!! That is the sacrifice and importance Indian families put on education. Asian families are known across the world to be academic centered. My brother fell into depression and mental break downs trying to succeed. He is a med student now but he isnt happy. He is trying to please the people around him. My parents still expected good academic performance from me but not as much as my brother. As a girl this is expected as boys are usually favoured in Indian homes. I remember at SEA time my mother had us up until midnight working SEA practice papers that she would buy outside the ones she bought for school. She wanted us to do as many as we could. Many Indians can recollect the extremes their parents went for their education. Do Africans do the same?

    1. Anon,
      You loooove to associate yourself with the asian stereotypes in north america….Couple problems with that fallacy in the caribbean and trinidadian history. Indian trinidadian culture was never education focused until Dr. Eric Williams, the PNM, and AFRICAN teachers/principals CAMPAIGNED in the indian community for indian “hindu” & “muslim” parents to abandon their then practice of making their children WORK AND MARRY after 12 and NOT pursue EDUCATION. What the PNM and african people could not know then was the racist nature and history of WHY indians kept their children awawy from schools…ANTI-AFRICANRACISM! In 1869, Sir Patrick Keenan, reported (Keenan Report, 1869) to the british after consulting with indians in trinidad, that indians’ refuysed education for their children, if they were going to be educated in close proximity to AFRICAN CHILDREN! ..Keenan also reported that indians cited their reasoning was their “sacred laws” (the “hindu” “laws of manu” a.k.a. the caste system), which is scornful and dehumanizing of indigenous africans.Before Dr. Williams, africans and the PNM prosletyzing education as “the future in your book bag”, the brahman-ist/”Hindu” community, believed that their religious traditions and segregating away from africans, marrying children at ages 12 and 14 were ‘progress’.In fact, indian politics mirrored that reality just as their then mentality to education in strak contrast to africans. The DLP was more of a joke than the UNC now, because unlike africans at the time indians voted for illiterate, gangster and pundit bhadase sagan maharaj vs. Oxford scholar Dr. Eric Williams of the PNM. At that time indian communities were much more infamous than east POS for horrific crimes exclusive ti indians involving murder of women, stealing and reselling state infrastructure (electric cables etc).The model minority culture and history of middle and upper class indian nationals in north america and the UK IS NOT the history of indian descendents of indentured labourers in trinidad, guyana etc! In the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s africans were much more upwardly mobile and stable UNTIL…according to academic and field research, in the 1980’s in particular, INDIAN drug dealers purposefully and exclusively marketed CRACK in AFRICAN neighbourhoods to DESTROY africans communities that were their undefeated POLITICAL OPPONENTS’ support base (PNM)
      The african communities targeted in the 1980’s and with neo-liberal NAR (Good point Birdie McClean) and UNC destructive reigns, NEVER RECOVERED! So, aside from the racist white canadians exclusively empathizing, assisting and building education centres for indians, the PNM, Dr. Williams and africans’ selfless, thankless ‘pay it forward’ education initiatives for indian children and communities are responsible. This is why bhadase sagan maharaj hurriedly tried to build crappy schools for his brahman-ist/”Hindus”, to SEGREGATE FROM AFRICAN CHILDREN, rather than be educated and socialized among AFRICAN CHILDREN! RACISTS! 70+ years later, their dishonest narrative is that the “hindu” schools were built because Dr. Eric Williams and PNM didn’t build any for them…. LIES!!!! The DLP and indian society were anti-african SEGREGATIONISTS. Have they changed?
      Oh, and guess who PAID and PAYS THE STAFF of these “hindu” schools? PNM/STATE? Guess who were the drafted top teachers and principals at these presbyterian schools back then? AFRICANS! Dennis “Sprangalang” Hall’s father was a principal of one of the most prestigious of them.The trinidadian and guyanese africans’ educated class of yesteryear investedin and built up the indian community to where it is today out of faith in the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity, BUT, it was NEVER reciprocated! Anon, save that stolen, b******* narrative about indian/african education dynamics to american and canadian whites who are genuinely ignorant of the factual truth.

      Smashing the Myth of the Model Minority | Asia Society

      The Truth About Racism In Trinidad | Racism struggles | Trinidad & Tobago

    2. Anon,
      Are you lighter skinned than patrick manning?
      …Why do you refer to africans as (dem) ‘black people’? aren’t you black skinned as well?…or white?

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