19 August 2008

Race and Marxism in Bermuda

I left the following comment on Johnny Star's recent blog post on Marxism, which actually has a good thread on race.

Also see his follow-up post. He, like so many others, is still treating whites as a single bloc, which to me is one of the most hypocritical things we can do when trying to sort out racism... after all it's that kind of thinking that got us here in the first place.

Once again, I want to repeat my question: what makes you think the UBP is not interested in the problems of racism, institutional and otherwise?

Unfortunately the UBP cannot exercise total mind control over its supporters, but the UBP is absolutely opposed to institutional racism. Period.

Just saying it is so doesn't make it so. Specifically, and I am repeating myself, the UBP created CURE as a first step to addressing institutional racism.

There are many UBP MPs and candidates who are very concerned about race in Bermuda. In fact, while he was leader of the opposition, Grant Gibbons and others worked on ways of addressing the current racial equality on this island, including the economic empowerment zone subsequently adopted by the PLP. Also, it was the UBP that originally started the Small Business Development Corporation specifically to help small black entrepreneurs.

I will, unfortunately, have to concede that the UBP has, in the recent past, fallen prey to a common kind of institutional racism: that is, setting people up to fail. The situation with Jamahl Simmons and Gwyneth Rawlins are prime examples of this. Many people maintain that neither of them were properly suited to the jobs they held -- not because of their race, but because of their personalities and working styles. But under pressure to shed its perceived whiteness, the UBP sought black individuals and made hasty decisions.

As for whether or not the Big Conversation is effective, I will have to refrain from a total judgment, as I missed many earlier sessions. This year's modified format seems okay, but needs better moderation and less political posturing. For example, while moderating an event Eva Hodgson flat out said that the UBP never did anything for blacks. When challenged by me, she weaseled out of it with a 'what I really meant was...' But her lie will be repeated etc.

I apologize I did not have time to be more brief.


Anonymous said...

You will note I hope my qualifiers about treating Whites as a bloc. There are many different opinions and politics amongst all groups, often there are greater differences within a group than between groups.

But it cannot be denied that in Bermuda there is still some huge basic political faults along the race lines.

Opinion polls time after time have indicated that the UBP have a near hegemonic command of the White vote in Bermuda, something akin to 90%. Furthermore, in my interatctions within White Bermuda I have found that, despite some true political difference, there is alot of common ground amongst White Bermuda.

Black Bermuda is nowhere near as politically homogenous as White Bermuda.

Now, of course, there are alwys exceptions to every rule. Thats fine. But statistically we can entertain some very basic generalisations, provided we make certain qualifiers about them.

Douglas S. J. De Couto said...

I feel whites are choosing NOT-PLP rather than PRO-UBP, and that this decision is more a result of actions by the PLP, rather than essentially uniform racism on the part of whites in Bermuda. After all, if you thought that, you would have to believe 1) all whites choose the UBP because they are racist and don't like blacks, and 2) the significant number of blacks who support the UBP are, essentially, incredibly stupid, for joining up with a bunch of racists.

I don't believe either of those things.

Anonymous said...

Doug, the biggest problem with that argument is that historically 95% of white voters voted for UBP. I don't claim to know exactly why that is but I suspect it is a bit of many different reasons. No, not all white people are racists, just like not all black people are racists. Some are and some aren't. Sweeping generalizations to the good is just as obscuring to the truth of a matter as sweeping generailizations to the bad.

Historically in bermuda, the only real swing voters are blacks. Let's not get caught up in the pc knee-jerk reaction and really examine why that is.