Second Installment of the Race Initiative

Tomorrow, April 16th, marks the second installment of the Government initiative on race down at the Hamilton Princess. I’m only able to make it to the first day, but I’ll report back after. Unfortunately the second day is usually the most productive in these type of events, but as this itself is the follow on from last month’s, hopefully we can get straight into it. I am expecting the recent events of Imus’s comments and subsequent consequences, along with the developing story about a German military commander training recruits on the firing range to fire at African-Americans from the Bronx, to be topics of discussion. I also expect there to be discussion concerning the Milkman’s skin colour and local white aristocracy aura, and to what extent the UBP has truly transcended its historical roots and general support base.

But I’m only guessing. I’m not sure what the plan is for tomorrow, so I could be totally off.

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2 thoughts on “Second Installment of the Race Initiative

  1. Okay, I only just got out of todays events, and I don’t have much time. It started off with the Premier giving a speech concerning the initiative and his reasons for doing what he can to facilitate it (it is after all the Premier’s initiative). This was followed by the facilitator Dr. Singley then putting the Premier and the Opposition Leader Mr. Dunkley on the spot by bringing them to the front of the room, and asking them to answer the following questions:

    1) Who was your first ancestor in Bermuda get here?
    2) Why did they come? How did they come here?
    3) How are you privileged by your ancestors? How are you disadvantaged by your ancestors?
    4) What is your responsibility in the areas where you are privileged? What is your responsibility in the areas where you are disadvantaged?
    5) What do you tell your children about the ways in which they are advantaged – historically; culturally? The same but concerning disadvantagedness?
    6) What do your children know?
    7) To whom are you accountable?

    They did not have time to get through all of the questions, I think only getting to #3. They were interesting. I did know the basic history of Mr. Dunkley, as it was in the papers during his ascension to Opposition Leader. Basically, his great-great grandfather was a dirt farmer, at some point he was able to make a loan out to someone (so had some capital), the loan was repaid with interest in the form of cattle, the dirt farmer became a dairy farmer, and the business was passed down the generations, leading to the current generation, along with branching out beyond being purely dairy. Dr. Brown revealed that the earliest ancestor he knew on his mothers side was the son of a white man and a black woman, the white father setting up the son with a business on Front Street, and he became a landowner. On his fathers side, his ancestor (grandfather) came from Jamaica as an entrepeneur to set up a cigar business in Bermuda that eventually failed; his father worked in various jobs, eventually becoming a waiter at Castle Harbour, rose to Maitre-de, became the owner of Clayhouse Inn, later went into the juke box and pool table business, which was later converted into money (the business was sold). Basically, Mr. Dunkley came from at least humble beginings, but under the prevailing system there was no obstacles to accumulating capital, which he did and passed on the benefits to the following generations, becoming part of the white bourgeousie. Dr. Brown came from the Black bourgeous, that could still accumulate capital, but was essentially depressed relative to the White capitalists. Dr Brown stated that the disadvantage his family faced was that of melanin, and Mr. Dunkley stated that he could not think of any advantages he had had other than a strong family and work ethic. Someone from the audience then stated that Mr. Dunkley had benefited from white priviledge and the white supremacist system then prevalent. It seemed evident to me that both politicians were choosing their words carefully and were trying not to say anything that would get them in trouble.

    Following this, we broke down into small groups, and basically answered each question, one by one, along with group discussion on the topics touched upon. Following lunch we completed this exercise, and dealt with the questions ‘why are we here? Where do we go from here?’

    Incidentally one side discussion that erupted in at least my own group was the order to stand as the Premier arrived or left. It was stated that this was new, and had not been done for former ??Premiers. Some stated that it was a mark of respect, and we should grant the same respect given to the Governor or the Queen to the Premier. Others, including myself, stated that as a kid I had stood for the Governor or the Queen, but today thought the whole idea was a relic of colonialism, and that we would stand for no one, no monarch, no representative of the monarch or any politician.

    I’ll write more about my thoughts on todays activities later. I am unable to attend the Tuesday event, but I hope to get an update to report here nonetheless.

  2. This is an interesting and also necessary debate, not only for Bermuda but elsewhere in the world. That said, I am cynical as to whether it will actually bring about change. If it does not, then we have gained nothing.
    Incidentally, I agree with your approach to “standing for no one. Whilst

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