This post is more of some rambling thoughts of mine. I wanted to get it down so that I could make it more coherent shortly.
This Christmas period has been very insightful to me on the issue and relevance of race in Bermuda. The December 18th election of course has played a very important part in this. The demoralisation and reaction amongst UBPers, Whites in general and a significant ‘fifth column’ of white expatriates has laid bare to me a lot of white fear.
As I am white, I am still largely connected to the ‘white’ world of Bermuda, more in the sense that I was socialised into that ‘white’ Bermuda, and I can’t find any draft Guinness in the ‘black’ bars, which, as trivial as that may be to some, forces me often to the ‘white’ bars. A lot of Caribbean literature focuses on the question of identity, and I think that remains a very pervasive question for us here in Bermuda as well. I am white on account of my skin and my European ancestry. I am proud of the achievements of my people, and also aware of their sins. In this Bermuda with two (and increasingly more, with expats, Portuguese and south-east asians) societies I find myself moving between the two worlds frequently. My politics, my ideology and my worldview, causes me to be ostracised (my feelings based on deliberate baiting, aggression, ‘whisperings’, snubs, both subtle and obvious) from White Bermuda. I do not feel comfortable there. But I am still able to enter that world, and to an extent can sympathise and understand these fears that run rampant within that community, fears that today are more clearly defined, more articulated, naked.
I still believe that we as a people, that is, as Bermudians, are closer to reconcilation than ever before. The defeat of the UBP for a thrid time and the resulting malaise amongst White Bermuda has led to a crystallisation of White resentment and fear. While this will indeed lead to a hardening of reaction amongst many, it can also serve as a catalyst for the ‘death of whiteness’ which is similteonously the death of blackness and the development of a creolisation of society, a transcendence of the politics of race and towards ideology. ‘Whiteness’ cannot be completely defeated in Bermuda alone, and a constant rear-guard action will be necessary to combat its resurgence, but for the most part that new creole generation is already becoming a reality, although a true creolisation of our society will take a few generations.
There is a lot of white fear out there. The PLP has admittedly contributed to this, partly by near-sighted political expediency, partly through ignorance, partly through miscommunication. The task of the coming period, integral to the success of progressive labours truly emancipatory mission (and this is separate from the Party that bears the name) apart from combating oppurtunism and the growth of an oligarchy dressed in green, is to combat this perception, to deal squarely with the white fear that threatens to consume a significant portion of our people. White fright can become white flight, and while the nation will survive this, it is something we should strive to avoid. White priveledge and the remaining vestiges of white supremacy (largely unconcsious, but by this very fact more tenacious and harder to tackle) must continue to be fought, but success on this front requires engagement with the Whites not on a confrontational stance but with conciliation – although there will be many who will continue to misrepresent and misunderstand the intention. But patience and perseverance are necessary.