There are many points in this article worth addressing, but I will single out one point for now:
“The main difference: The United States struggles with its problem with a white majority, while South Africa has a black majority”
One of the problems with addressing race issues is the lack of awareness of how these issues are coloured by the fact that in the Caribbean and countries in Africa, Black Africans are the majority and Whites are the minority, unlike what exists in the US.
Africans in the Caribbean are usually introduced to African awareness through African American activists and books that keep the debate within the context of Black versus White. As such, they readily appreciate racism in the US context. But most Africans in the Caribbean do not see the White faces behind the policies that disenfranchise them, as these are presented to them by Africans, Indians and mixed race folks. As a result of this, many Africans in Trinidad and Tobago do not connect with Americanized efforts to raise Black consciousness.
Each year, African activists from the US visit Trinidad and Tobago around the Emancipation holiday to speak on Black/Africans issues, and quite often, their messages are lost to most people who see them as trying to stir up racial issues here. Most Trinidadians do not directly experience racism from Whites. They are more aware of racial tensions between Africans and Indians based on how these two major races came together and how the two major political parties developed along racial lines. The white population is a minority and they are largely hidden from common folks, so most people do not see the correlation between the black struggle and white racism.
I have never heard any US activist who came to Trinidad address colorism and the Indian presence in these islands as part of the effort to ‘wake up’ Africans. They all seem to lack awareness of this bridge that connects the Black and White racial issues. In my view, most American activists are limited in how they view most of these issues and they should come to the Caribbean and Africa to learn and not just to lecture.
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