It is not so simple
Posted By: Ayinde In Response To: Re: IF THIS MAN IS "WHITE" NONE OF YOU ARE "BLACK. (Rebelflames)
Date: Wednesday, 10 November 2004, at 10:55 p.m.
In Response To: Re: IF THIS MAN IS "WHITE" NONE OF YOU ARE "BLACK. (Rebelflames)
I am not going into the subtle political nuances behind that issue in Barbados. Those who are interested can read it from the newspapers reports, and from what Bajans will say when they come to these boards. I am commenting on what is generally behind the feelings of some dark-skinned Blacks when they protest things like that.
It is not as simple as if Black Rastas cannot write, or they cannot buy computers. It is certainly not as simple as just sending letters to the press. Usually the press does not cover the issues as they negatively impact on dark-skinned Blacks. Dark-skinned Black Rastas have it worst. They were shunned by both whites and colonized Blacks. Most grassroots Rastas in the Caribbean spend much time working in their communities, and computers are not their priority as they try to cope with daily bread and butter issues. There are so many things being done by grassroots Blacks that do not make it in the mainstream except if they get caught in crime or if there is a protest. The mainstream media in these islands are controlled by whites, who employ colonized Blacks (mostly light-skinned ones) to protect the status quo. This is not very different in the U.S., and just in case someone feels I am ignorant of what takes place in the U.S., I will go on the record to say that I was there for quite a while, and I do have biological family there. I have been in England for a while as well as other countries, so I am speaking from my observations and experiences.
Daily injustices, like police brutality, faced by dark-skinned blacks in some of these islands that I have visited and studied is underreported but if something happens to a lighter-skinned one or worst yet a white one, then we see all the newspapers covering it, and we have a public outcry. It is almost as if light-skinned Blacks have an unspoken agreement to only look out for light-skinned ones, and to do all they can to protect the white status quo. Usually when they cannot make it in the white system, they are cool to look for rank in Black gatherings, and of course as they have the better paying jobs, they are quick to purchase the cosmetic trimmings of Africanness. Their show is grand, they get the attention, and they then want to be leaders for all Blacks. Often, if politicians want to give tokens to the Black community, it is one of these types they choose. They encourage an illusion that things are changing without addressing the real issues.
The recent issue of a Rasta child being denied a place in a secondary school in Trinidad that was posted on this board, only made it to the mainstream because of some of our ongoing efforts to challenge the media to report these issues. But that was just one person who got attention; the practice is quite common, as I suspect it may also be in Barbados.
Once in a while you may see the media feature some dark-skinned Pro-African black in a positive way, and you can bet when they do that, what he or she is saying is not really challenging the status quo too much. These Blacks are usually so thankful for the spotlight that they play right into the politiciansí hands.
It is not as bad in Trinidad these days as there has been much agitation for media licenses to be granted to Blacks to own and operate radio stations to deal with Black issues. Many resent this, but our efforts are non-compromising, and they have taken note that we will not just go away quietly. Apart from which, a few of us have decided to seek out these groups that the media have always treated badly, and to get them involved in reading more and articulating their issues for themselves. It was a deliberate effort to ensure that our works leave the door open to all these pockets of Blacks who have often been denied space in the Eurocentric dominated media.
The issue of colorism is also ripe in the U.S, but often Black groups do not try to deal with it and just attack the ills of the larger white community. So it is not surprising that most Black American writers do not take colorism into consideration when they are addressing Black issues. But colorism in these times can be seen as more dangerous than racism, as it really eats away on the inside of Black communities. Colorism is played out in the homes of families. Many dark-skinned Blacks do not even bother to stand up for themselves when faced with the challenges of the more outspoken and confident and often arrogant fairer ones (Not I), as they are used to being neglected while the media seeks out the fairer looking and often inexperienced types to be spokespeople for us. This is quite common even in the US.
Often the fairer and white ones with less experience of the reality of injustices to Blacks get some insights secondhand from darker-skinned Blacks, and the fairer ones run with the issues quite badly. They are often eager to write books and promote themselves, while the real teachers are left in the background. Whites and near-whites represent the same colonial white saviour over Blacks, and many dark-skinned Blacks resent that. Removing the white saviour image is a part of addressing the colonial mindset of Blacks.
Blacks who accept the Pan-African focus are not given high-profile jobs (not that I am looking for that). The business people and politicians fear us; they are usually more comfortable with the colonized Blacks especially the light-skinned ones. Usually as one of these colonized dark-skinned Black males gets some money, the first thing he wants is some fairer one to hook up with. They then donít want to offend whites who really control all the wealth in these islands. The wealth of most of these whites is tied to earnings from slavery. Better informed Blacks are usually like social workers, and are involved in developing their own small businesses and helping fix things in their communities.
Low wages help keep the larger portion of darks-skinned Blacks struggling in daily bread and butter issues, and many will casually brush off racist treatment just to keep their jobs. For many, buying a computer and paying for internet access is not easy, and it is seen as a luxury item given the day-to-day issues they have to deal with. Many just cannot be bothered with how the world views them, and some are ignorant about how they are exploited in many other ways. But many of these Blacks are not ignorant, they just suppress feelings to get along, and it is time people start dealing with root issues so that more dark-skinned Blacks can get involved if they are serious with Pan-Africanism, or if the Rastafari Movement is to be meaningful to the wider community of Blacks.
There is much more to this, and I may respond some more or others could help explain these things to you.
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