Minister Roban’s Email

There seems to be quite a bit fo discussion originating from the back and forth email correspondence between Ms. Claire Smith and the new Minister without portfolio Walter Roban. I was originally just going to ignore the whole issue as I didn’t think it was that big a deal, but it seems to have become a bigger issue than I had thought.

To begin with, I want to make it clear that I do think Minister Roban’s email reply to Ms. Smith was quite an overreaction to what Ms. Smith had written. In many ways I think he would have been a lot better just ignoring the email or responding to it in a different way, perhaps something along the lines of ‘I respectfully disagree with your position’ – maybe add a little bit about why he disagrees with it and his perception of the demonstration in question and how he feels a large part of it was borne from White anger/marginalisation and all that. Its likely that this too would have caused some upset and all, but it would have done so in a way more conducive to discourse and mutual understanding.

What I personally think happened is that Minister Roban responded to the email in the immediate aftermath of the demonstration. Demonstrations, regardless of which side you are on, can be highly emotional – liberating for the demonstrators and traumatic for those facing the demonstrations. The fact that there were certinaly racial undercurrents in that demonstration is obvious to me. While I support the reasons for the demonstration, and dispute the attempts to portray the demos as completely race motivated and the like, I do think it is disingenious to say that there were no racial elements involved. With our history of racism and its continued legacy of inequality, reinforced by US media images, and a clear racial-political division, this is hardly surprising.

Trying to ignore the argument that found a physical manfiestation in that demo and isntead deflect it with race as a spin tactic however, is not helpful. It is helpful to articulate the racial undercurrents and analyse why they exist and how they were manifested, thats fine, but it should not be used to misrepresent and deflect the arguments about procedural issues that were the spark for the demos.

But I digress. I think that in the immediate aftermath of the demos – and it is clear from a post of Minister Roban’s on the plp.bm how he percieved it (rightly or wrongly) – Minister Roban responded to that email in a way he probably wouldn’t have after some more reflection. His sentiments may have been the same (that he saw some racial motivation in Ms. Smith’s argument), but he no doubt would have articulated it in a way more conducive to mutual understanding and not in a way that would incite further miscomprehension and mistrust.

Now, Mr. Roban’s comments, in his email, have started quite a bit of a backlash, especially in light of the rather emotionally charged aftermath of the demos in question – in particular as a result of the PLP spin and deflection of the demos as race motivated (and in so doing avoiding the more substantial argument that motivated most of the demonstrators). In some ways though I think that a lot of the backlash comes from the comments in question serving to reinforce the preconcieved perceptions that many who oppose the PLP have about the PLP. In short, many people (and this is mostly within the White population) DO see the PLP as practising a form of reverse racism. Comments like the recent ones by Mr. Roban just serve to reinforce these perceptions amongst many such people who are already pyschologically primed (for various reasons) to find the PLP as divisive and racist and all that.

I think that is a mistake. Certainly the PLP does play the race card, and does benefit at times in so doing. The UBP however is also not guilty of manipulating race for its own ends (the most striking is their Party membership and support being overwhelmingly White and in direct contradiction to the racial composition of their parliamentary candidates. And I certainly think the PLP has deliberately misrepresented the motives of the demonstrations by overemphasising (to the point of excluding anything else) the racial elements.

Mr. Roban was wrong in responding to Ms. Smith’s email in the heat of the moment and not taking into account how his reply would be recieved and used to reinforce anti-PLP sentiment. He knows better to be frank, and could have easily responded in a way much more conducive to discussion without abandoning his position. He (and others) could argue that no matter what had been said it would have reinforced such perceptions; this is perhaps true, but it would not have had as big a reinforcing effect.

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59 thoughts on “Minister Roban’s Email

  1. There is no excuse for his response, or his previous letter for that matter. I could liken it to me losing my temper at another driver for cutting me off and throwing out a racial slur. Then apologising after saying I was out of line because I lost my temper. There is no excuse for that behaviour period. And the difference is Roban will not apologise and thinks he is right. Not only that he has the sycophantic mouthpieces like Commissiong and Furbet and Dill backing him up. Might makes right on this island I suppose.

    I hope they are saving and investing they payoffs well, as there will be nothing left when they are finished with this place. Me? I have back-up plans, I feel bad for the poor bastards who are stuck here to deal with the place once Brown has finished raping it.

  2. Wentworth Chrtistopher PLP Public Relations Officer commenting on Claire Smith in the Gazette http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d973af30030009&sectionId=75;

    “It would however not be unreasonable to say she appears to have a genetic predisposition or a socialisation experience that gives her an anti-PLP bias”

    That has to be the most racist statment I have ever heard coming from the PLP. Completely and utterly unacceptable and an unreserved apology and retraction are due from no less than the Party Leader without hesitation.

    Mike Taylor

  3. The whole situation is inane enough to bring VB out of briefly retirement already.

    I mean, really Jon, you can try to justify it and rationalise it all you want, but the bottom line if roles were reversed there would be the proverbial sh!tstorm.

  4. The ‘genetic predisposition’ line is certainly out of order and renders the letter by Mr. Christopher, well, contradictory in spirit. The ‘socialisation experience’ argument is valid – and as much as the genetic basis for pigmentation is a factor in how one is socialised and all that, it is completely false that there is any genetic basis for Party support. I am surprised that Mr. Christopher even included it, when the socialisation experience should have been sufficient. It does indeed compound the original problem.

    Hi Letariatpro, not trying to neccessarily justify it or all – as I stressed the email response was out of line. I do think that the same sentiments could have been conveyed without giving ammo to those already primed to oppose the PLP was my main point.

  5. Well, the fact that the sentiment of his emails have been reinforced and justified by Mr. Christopher in the paper, Commissiong on the radio news and Dill and Furbet on the radio with equally outrageous and ludicrous statements, if you know anything about propaganda and I know you do, these lot are doing a bang up job to keep everyone in line.

    I think a slip up I could see, but with WC’s letter to the paper following on its heels the stance of the party is pretty clear. If there was any concern about giving their detractors ‘ammo’ against them they would simply not say it. These are not stupid people. Of course they could have left it out. The fact that they have put it in printed word shows they have no fear of repercussion. And they are probably right. They are doing this to prove a point. Plain and simple. The are being inciteful and divisive.

    There is no defense of this garbage, and they are not even trying to defend it, they are promoting it.

  6. If the viewers and posters here and on other sites take the bait, don’t say I did not warn you.

    The plans are made, an SDO has been approved, the finances are there and all it takes now is to gather the labour.

    Don’t sign up.

    We already have what we have so lets use it wisely.

    Reminds me of past days. Look up the definition of “Recruit” and then look up “Mission”.

    Today….I will have a rum. All I need to do is find a ‘bar’…….Oh yeah!! Att. Generals office is open right?

  7. starling, most people i’ve talked to are supportive of mr. roban and chalk this crazy woman’s ranting up to misplaced white rage – the gazette has sen that it can’t tear down dr.brown so it seems that they are now taking aim at those around him.

    can you imagine someone getting front page coverage if the roles were reversed

    RIP MJ

  8. “His sentiments may have been the same (that he saw some racial motivation in Ms. Smith’s argument), but he no doubt would have articulated it in a way more conducive to mutual understanding and not in a way that would incite further miscomprehension and mistrust.”

    Mr. Christopher’s comments aside, I’m afraid the heat of the moment argument loses credibility when Mr. Roban, a week after sending the emails, responds as follows:

    “You can see what I said and leave it there. If Ms Smith wants to make it a public issue she is entitled to do as she likes with it.

    “My conversation was with her. If she wishes to give it to the media, that’s no concern of mine. I have nothing else to say about it. Let the public decide.”

    Sadly, I can find nothing in those responses to suggest that he seeks mutual understanding.

  9. Bud is now a Cabinet Minister. This means that there is collective responsibility from the entire Bermuda Cabinet for these remarks. The silence from the other Cabinet members is hurting my ears. Unless indiviual cabinet members come out and take a position, then we must assume that they are in agreement with these statements.

    Sad, Sad, Sad – maybe I will take Tigga up on that New Zealand offer!

  10. No, sir. This was NOT a spur of the moment thing.

    This was a racist dismissal of a constituent, plain and simple, and is a prime example of how this Government behaves. The fact that Mr. Christopher claimed that there is a “genetic predisposition” to not like a political party is not “out of line”, it is racist. It is a completely ludicrous and false statement designed to dismiss an entire race of people and to render them impotent politically. It is disgusting. It is supremacist.

    There is, and can never be, any proof of a genetic predisposition for this.
    He knows this, yet he used it anyway.

    This statement is just plain vile and is inexcusable. It reeks of the “study” that “proved” that black folks were inherently stupider than white folks. It reeks of all that disgusting, horrific racist bullshit that the white supremacists use. No, not reeks. It’s EXACTLY like that.

    This whole thing is, and should be, very, VERY scary and anyone that thinks that statements like this are ok or even excusable should take a good hard look at themselves.

    I’m just sickened that we have a government, and that that government still has supporters, that allows their representatives to speak to the people of Bermuda in this way.

    As for the racial component to the protests, I’m sorry, but no. Any “racial component” was rendered moot by outrage that this man disrespected ALL of us so badly.

  11. JS, your piece is a master works of fence sitting.
    The emails are nothing short of disgusting coming from a government official elected to serve all constituents.
    I am surprised at you for not taking a much firmer stance against this,

  12. You know, its always interesting talking about race online, both here and over at BIAW where this thread has sparked a spin-off of sorts.

    It can be both highly illuminating and extremely frustrating reading over the comments that these things trigger.

    I stress, yet again, Mr. Christopher’s statement re genetically predisposed, is wrong, it is to be condemned, it is, yes, a racist statement. The focus on socialisation experience, as it relates to race in Bermuda and how this factors in to political issues, that is legitimate, and that is the focus – I feel – of Mr. Roban’s statement. AGAIN, I stress that his comments were unhelpful, however his sentiments, in as much as they can be interpreted as referring to race, socialisation and politics, is something that I feel is legitimate and should be the focus of discussion.

    My point is not to argue that Mr. Roban and others in the PLP have a prejudicial view of many White Bermudians. I am sure he and others do – just as others have prejudicial views of Black Bermudians. As far as I am concerned we DO live in a racist society, and it HAS influenced ALL of our perceptions and prejudging of people. It is human nature to do as such, and we are mistaken if we think we are somehow immune from this. This doesn’t mean all hope is lost; rather recognising it as a fact is a key step in fixing the problem, both for our current generations and those that are to follow. Most of us are consciously opposed to racism, and that is good. I am not questioning anyone’s commitment to opposing racism. But we need to recognise its a fact, that we’ve all been influenced by it, and we need to talk about it and work on destroying the causes of it.

  13. IMO, I see this issue having more to do with the fact that Mr.Roban and many other current PLP MPs are just plain unprofessional and let their personal feelings get in the way of running the country properly.

  14. “The focus on socialisation experience, as it relates to race in Bermuda and how this factors in to political issues, that is legitimate”

    Are you saying that you can look at the race of a person and know their life experience?

  15. For what it is worth, my earlier cooments from JEWEL

    “Do not forget that we are dealing with those who come from the era of the civil rights movement and all that was associated with that locally; in addition, there are hangers-on that find this vehicle useful.

    I am becoming quietly more confidant that the whole thing is deliberate, and is done to destabilise Bermudian society. It must be pleasing to Brown/Furbert/Alvin/Calvin and others that this is happening.

    Stirring up the crowds by using the rhetoric, e.g. liking the recent scenes to a lynch mob, is actually quite clever. It elicits the response they want to see from whites in particular. They will continue to goad and push, in the hopes that something/someone will crack.

    That must not happen.

    I also think white people should stop responding to the Furberts/Alvins and Roban’s of this world. We should stop sending Letters to the Editor. It does no good, it simply makes the goaders smile”.

  16. Hi J Galt,

    I am saying that based on my experiences and observations of groups in the context of Bermuda, yes I do often prejudge people’s behaviours based on my past experiences. And I do believe that ones socialisation experiences do in a large way influence an individual’s present behaviours.

    I cannot straight away look at an individual and predict their behaviour, but I fully admit that based on past experiences I do base my perceptions of individuals in a way.

    In Bermuda I do think it is legitimate to say that different racial and class groups (gender too) do have different socialisation experiences though, and it is not unexpected that one would hold preconceptions of these peoples behaviours as a result.

  17. I should also qualify that by saying that holding preconceptions of people based on ones past experiences is not a bad thing, as long as one constantly criticises the tendency to generalise from these. Furthermore, one should not discriminate based on this.

  18. Martin,

    Go straight to the head of the class! On the other sites we are seing more of the usual talk about starting another party and how we need to be careful not to allow any third party be associated with the UBP or white Bermuda. An exercise in futility if you ask me. As long as white Bermudians DON’T vote for the PLP, ANY other party is easily framed exactly the same way the UBP is framed by the PLP. All the PLP have to do is keep pissing off whitey and they are good as gold for the foreseeable future.

  19. Oh John. Post #18…..”preconceptions” ?

    Tell that too the Germans that had “preconceptions” as to what the “Third Reich” did, and what transpires in Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Mrnnama, Korea, Check this and that, Sweden, et al and the band played on.

    Lets hear about your family struggles and how you feathered the things you talk about and how it affects us today.

    Keep it short. I am an old PLP/UBP stalwart. Governance as best we have seen it since 1947………

    Scotland is great, Bermuda is lying in wait.

  20. I disagree.

    Assumptions and prejudging aren’t really the way forward.

    Also, one’s “socialization” doesn’t necessarily define them.

    I grew up in Fairylands. I don’t think anyone that knows me would say that this defined me. I’m not a Fairylands kinda guy.

    Assuming someone is going to be a certain way based on their skin colour is wrong.
    It’s wrong when it’s done to black people and it’s wrong when it’s done to white people.
    It’s just plain wrong.

  21. Starling,

    This is about the most balanced post I’ve seen from you, and as expected, you have taken arrows for it at Bermudaisanotherworld for it. I lament Roban’s email. As you wrote, he could and should have made his point in a far more constructive, instead of divisive, manner. At the same time it is utterly laughable for anyone to suggest that Mrs. Smith was merely “a concerned voter”. Her opening email was not constructive either, in case you missed it. She did not attempt to build bridges with the Senator. She effectively spammed the group of Ministers with a generic taunt/threat that, “The march on Parliament on Tuesday will pale when you see the turnout this Friday.” It sounds like a WWF wrestler delivering a verbal beatdown before Wrestlemania XXV. Translation, we are going to come out in numbers so high your head will spin, and we are gonna bring him dowwwwwwwn Robaaaaan. Brown is going dowwwwwwwn!!! That she did not actually attend the first march is totally irrelevant to the fact that she began the discourse with a threatening and divisive tone based upon her perceived attendance of the first rally. This does not condone Roban’s response in any way. I am merely stating that it is utterly hypocritical and false to paint one of them as saint and the other sinner. She was delivering a threat, and it should be seen just as that.

    To Mrs. Smith’s point that the issue is not about race, I can only ask you and other posters to pay close attention to the poll. It seems like all of you are sidestepping and ignoring the most important statistics:

    1. Only 40% of whites agreed with the Uighers being brought to Bermuda vs 61% of blacks. This is regardless of the method by which Brown carried this out.

    2. In terms of Brown’s methods, 97% of whites disagreed versus 69% of blacks.

    3. 80% of whites think that Brown should step down over his recent actions versus only 36% of blacks.

    It is bizarre that anyone can say that race had nothing or so little to do with the protests when we can quite clearly see that the feelings held about it are actually quite far apart amongst the races. The idiotic reasons being thrown about for why blacks did not join the protest to remove Brown are just that – idiotic! It wasn’t that blacks feared for their jobs, couldn’t take off lunch breaks or didn’t want to get ostracized. The reality is that only 36% actually believed that he should step down versus 80% of whites. That is an absolutely MASSIVE divide, clearly showing that while both races take issue with what was done, their reaction to it is actually WORLD’S APART.

    Instead of asking why blacks did not turn out to protest, let’s ask:

    * Why are whites so much more opposed to bringing the Uighers to Bermuda on any basis?
    * Why do so many more whites disagree with Browns tactic?
    * Why is it that whites more than double blacks in demand for Brown’s resignation?

    I honestly want to hear a response to these questions, because so far the finger has only been pointed at blacks as if something is wrong with them.

  22. I agree with Martin, the slights are too focused, too scripted and too blatant to be slip ups or a string of poor judgements. This wreaks of calculated mischief. Nice try fellas.

  23. Elvis…

    I agree with you, assumptions are wrong. Often we do it because it’s a shorter route to decision making about someone. We gather information rapidly when we first meet someone – what they look like, how they talk, how they dress and so on.

    You qualified your Fairylands reference by saying that anyone who knows you would say living there has not defined you.

    Pop into a poorer area of Bermuda and ask 10 black people to define you. You already know the answer to that.

    We all do it – irrespective of skin colour. The clever bit is to test your assumptions before applying them or better still, not to have any at all.

  24. “Stirring up the crowds by using the rhetoric, e.g. liking the recent scenes to a lynch mob, is actually quite clever. It elicits the response they want to see from whites in particular. They will continue to goad and push, in the hopes that something/someone will crack.”

    I think that some need to take a step back from the conspiracy theories before they comment. The PLP spin/rhetoric from Zane Desilva, Thaaoo and Brown, came AFTER the first march. You can’t blame them for the pockets of anger and disrespect that was on display at the first march. People in that crowd were pissed on arrival, and those who were behaving in a hostile manner have no one to blame but themselves

  25. Just a question,

    There is so much incorrect with your post, I don’t know where to start.

    Who has been painting Ms. Smith as a saint?

    Seems to me like it’s you that’s trying to paint her as something she’s not… as well as holding her to the same standard as a Government Senator.
    She is a constituent and, as such, has every right to complain to Ministers.
    Your rewriting of what was said shows a very strong bias and, quite frankly, seems more than a little apologist.

    There is NO excuse for Bud Roban’s response. None. And worse, there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for Mr. Christopher’s statement about “Genetic predisposition”, a comment that sickened me to the core. A Government official saying that there is something GENETICALLY WRONG with white people? I note you didn’t comment on that.
    For Bud Roban to claim this woman is a racist with absolutely no evidence reeks of the tactics of Vance Chapman. Just curious. Do you approve of this man’s tactics as well?

    As for the stats…

    My question to you is: Why does it matter. Aren’t we all Bermudian? Assuming motivations of an entire race based on a sampling of 400-odd people is wrong.

    I thought assuming things based on race was denounced in the 60s and 70s. Isn’t that what the Progressive Group and later the PLP worked so hard to fight against?
    Or is it ok NOW because it’s being done to white folks?

    And your closing statement boggles my mind.

    “…the finger has only been pointed at blacks as if something is wrong with them.”?

    Are you kidding?
    “Genetic Predisposition”?
    Calling someone a racist because she’s white and doesn’t support your party?
    Referring to a legal protest as a “Lynch mob” and the supporters in the most vile terms one can think of?

    You’re actually saying that the finger’s being pointed a BLACK FOLKS as if something is wrong with them?

    Take a good look. That’s not even CLOSE to being true.

    Now, for your questions…

    Actually… I have no idea. I don’t disagree with the Uighurs coming here, so #1 doesn’t apply.

    As for the rest, I wouldn’t begin to speculate, as you’d obviously just dismiss it as… what was it?… oh, yeah… “Idiotic reasons”.

    Why bother answering your questions, when you’ve already made up your mind?

  26. I’m working flat out on my dissertation at the moment, so I don’t have the time to make a full comment here. However I thought I would just point out a few things.

    UE – Minister Roban is NOT a Senator. He is an elected MP; he was a Senator previously, but was elected to the House of Assembly in the 2007 election.

    Steve – AGAIN, I do not control who participates actively on blogs. The fact that the majority of those that do may not be partial to the PLP is what it is; alternatively one may ask why those that are partial to the PLP are such a minority online?

  27. Just a Question, let’s ask:

    * Why are whites so much more opposed to bringing the Uighers to Bermuda on any basis?

    Personally, I could care less about the Uighurs being brought here, they could have brought all 17 if the proper channels were followed. Is it a good idea? Well, considering our land size and property availability, our job market and our limited resources, tourism impact, and any relationship with China, perhaps not. Why, what do you think it is?

    * Why do so many more whites disagree with Browns tactic?

    Good question. Perhaps a better question would be why do so many blacks agree with a conscious decision to break the law? If you believe this was humanitarian you would be as idiotic as those you brand for listing reasons people may not have been at the protests. This was nothing more than a ploy dreamed up by one of Brown’s high paid lobbyists to curry favour with the US. Brown’s tactic was tantamount to treason, letting another country tell him to keep it ‘silent’, breaking the trust with the UK and the Constitution. To agree with the tactics is just plain ignorance.

    * Why is it that whites more than double blacks in demand for Brown’s resignation?

    Probably because he purposefully antagonises whites with his racial rhetoric which does not affect blacks. And like most of his transgressions, without deep investigation, his actions just turn up as ‘unethical and not necessarily illegal’. Except for this most recent one. So again that is an interesting question. Are black Bermudians fine with having an unethical, perhaps even criminal running the island? Does the PLP propeganda actually work? I would venture to say it works to appease many blacks and agitate most whites, which plays into his favour. No?

  28. Letariatpro…

    I am becoming lass and less convinced that Blacks are happy. I accept one swallow does not make etc…but the tone and quantitly of LtotheEd is changing of late. Example:

    Dear Sir,

    Walter Roban should be ashamed of himself!!! This newest member of the PLP Hall of Shame forgets that he works for ALL Bermudians, black, white, multi-racial, purple or yellow!! How DARE he call a constituent a racist or bigot! If that isn’t the teapot calling the kettle……… I wont finish that quote!! Maybe Walter couldn’t think of an intelligent way to respond to a concerned constituent, thus resorting to immature name calling “I don’t like what you have to say, so I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” Sounds like playground antics to me!!

    Of concern to me, but hardly surprising is the lack of a response from the ‘people’s party’. A politician who makes such remarks to a constituent makes himself sound like an ignorant fool, and makes his party look the same if they condone such behaviour!!

    CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIAN

    http://www.theroyalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d974af30030005&sectionId=75

  29. Steve has a valid point about being compared to other local sites.

    Since the ‘Three Amigo’s’ banned me from their site it’s still the same ole people posting everywhere. Pick a name, cut and paste and vola…….

    Youn wonder why we are where we are? As I have stated many times before, put you mouth where your face is…

    Inflation is down?…..Not by the amount of hot air from the same people over and over..( yes I have been guilty of that in a jovial sense) But you all got the answers, all twenty of you….

    I need a rum…….

    Sorry for running off topic but who cares…who’s gonna call me on it…..no name..no blame…..off too the Aquarium…have to dissertate some crustations……………..

  30. Agreed, but there are many more out there who really see no problem with the situation. I can understand that, as it really does not affect them. This fact will lead only truly progressive and informed blacks who can see that things are not quite right to speak up and attempt to correct the behavior of the elected officials. And they are really the only ones who can at this point, so my support goes to them and I hope they can make a difference.

  31. CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIANs don’t sign CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIAN – only whites posing as CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIANs sign as such

  32. Post # 33…..Come on Steve, roll up your sleeves. Expose the hidden agenda. Hell I give you credit for common speaks …ok back too Sahara. Damn, travelled this far to learn I was mislead………

  33. Well – I had given the CONFUSED BLACK BERMUDIAN the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was a confused negro.

    Clearly – I was wrong. Back to the drawing board.

    Thanks Steve!!

  34. Letariatpro – Steve’s point is that anyone can sign a letter to the editor as ‘concened Black Bermudian’ or ‘PLP supporter’ or anything to that effect. There is a widespread belief (and I personally totally support it) that the UBP has and does use letters to the editor to sow division by using such false names – especially in the run-up to elections. Similarly organisations like that anti-independence group which were active (though shadowy) in the last election are seen as proxy UBPers.

    What proof do we have that an anomynous letter writer is indeed the race or political supporter they claim to be? Especially when these ambiguities have been exploited in the past? I still read the arguments but I increasingly just ignore the signee.

  35. Johnathan…

    Steve’s point is not that. His point is that that a Black Bermudian would not sign a letter that way.

    Not been black, I have to accept Steve’s superior knowledge on these things, although it beats me that he appears to be all-knowing with regards to the way black people think and work.

    You’re right – we have no proof that the letter is indeed a race or political supporter. The only hope I can give you is that (when I used to write to The Ed), they did call me once to check the validity. Not sure how much that happens – but it is a facility they can use.

  36. No Jonathan…that is not Steve’s point.

    He says it cannot be written by a black person. Beats me that he knows exactly how every black Bermudian thinks and writes, but there you have it.

  37. Is there any proof that the writers aren’t exactly what they seem?

    Or is it too out there to think that black Bermudians would “betray” the plp and actually speak their minds about things they disapprove of?

    Are we to treat everything written anonymously with suspicion? Or just when what they’re saying is inconvenient?

    And Jonny, “steve” didn’t say that. He said “CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIANs don’t sign CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIAN – only whites posing as CONCERNED BLACK BERMUDIANs sign as such”

    UE – Minister Roban is NOT a Senator. He is an elected MP; he was a Senator previously, but was elected to the House of Assembly in the 2007 election.

    My bad.

    Kinda makes it worse, though, don’t it, that an elected official would speak to his constituent like this?

    That’s a definitive statement.

  38. What Steve really meant to say is:

    “That no right thinking non-Uncle tom black Bermudian would crtiticise, much less publcily crticise, the Dr. Brown regime, and identify themselves as being black.” And that any black Bermudian that does is a “confused negro” or compared to a Nazi collaborator through the Worker’s Voice. Am I getting warm “steve?”

  39. “What proof do we have that an anomynous letter writer is indeed the race or political supporter they claim to be? ”

    What proof do you have that they are not?

    As far as I am concerned I cannot prove they are and you cannot prove they are not, but to tell me they are not is not more wrong than for me to say they are, unless you have some sort of proof other than Steve’s word, or your conspiracy theories.

    They most likely are real, but what I would suppose is that they are but a handful of handpicked letters to make a point by the editor. There are probably just as many letters to the contrary, if not more.

    I do not take these letters as a sign of the majority of blacks feelings on the island, no more than I take Steve’s comment, “starling, most people i’ve talked to are supportive of mr. roban and chalk this crazy woman’s ranting up to misplaced white rage.” as a reflection of their feelings.

    There seems to be a double standard for generalisations.

  40. Elvis,

    Let me start by saying that I think you are far too angry at this point to engage effectively in this dialogue.

    “Seems to me like it’s you that’s trying to paint her as something she’s not… as well as holding her to the same standard as a Government Senator.
    She is a constituent and, as such, has every right to complain to Ministers. Your rewriting of what was said shows a very strong bias and, quite frankly, seems more than a little apologist.”

    How is it that I am rewriting what she said? What would you say was the intention of her email? Was she pleading for help from the recipients of her mass email? Was she trying to convey her hurt and made a call for mutual compassion and unity? Was she trying to bridge the racial divide? Was the tone of her message positive or healing in any way? I can’t see how her email, which makes several speculative accusations and clearly threatens a much larger protest to remove the party leader, could be considered the kind of email that builds bridges. Roban’s mistake was in assuming that she was a racist and also failing to make the effort of turning a negative exchange into a potentially positive one. By the way, when it comes to race relations, I hold each person at an equal standard. Smith is just as responsible as Roban in setting the tone of racial dialogue. To date, I cannot recall a single Editorial, Letter to the Editor, Blog, Thread or post, which acknowledges that Smith did not engage Roban (Senator, Minister is irrelevant) in a manner that was conducive to improving the situation. No one has acknowledged that she was mass-mailing an angry threat to all PLP ministers. This is what I mean that one is being painted as a saint and the other a sinner. I’ll ask you again, what was the point of her email?

    “There is NO excuse for Bud Roban’s response. None. And worse, there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for Mr. Christopher’s statement about “Genetic predisposition”, a comment that sickened me to the core. A Government official saying that there is something GENETICALLY WRONG with white people? I note you didn’t comment on that.
    For Bud Roban to claim this woman is a racist with absolutely no evidence reeks of the tactics of Vance Chapman. Just curious. Do you approve of this man’s tactics as well?”

    I certainly wasn’t offering an excuse for Roban’s response. I do think though that Jonathan provided a solid reason for his motivation. Unfortunately a lot of people say a lot of things in the heat of the moment that they probably regret after they have had time to think about it. Perhaps Roban would have responded differently if he had taken time. I think the same could be said about Smith as well. Both of them likely wrote their emails in the heat of the moment. I know the following will anger you, but I think it needs to be said. Roban is unquestionably wrong for making a racist assumption, but we should not outright dismiss the possibility that Smith actually could be a racist. It is unfair for Roban to have drawn such conclusions about who Ms. Smith is, but it is also rather ignorant (given our history and Smith’s age) to draw a conclusion that Smith is absolutely without racial baggage. It would have been so much better if the two of them actually could have sat down and had a conversation about their differences, but the fact is that it got off on the wrong foot from the start.

    I didn’t think that I needed to comment on Christopher’s statement. Logically if I wrote that I lament Roban’s response then I obviously think that Christopher’s response is at least as lamentable. And just in case you want to continue this senseless inquisition, I think that Brown’s white privilege comment was lamentable as well.

    “As for the stats…

    My question to you is: Why does it matter. Aren’t we all Bermudian? Assuming motivations of an entire race based on a sampling of 400-odd people is wrong.

    I thought assuming things based on race was denounced in the 60s and 70s. Isn’t that what the Progressive Group and later the PLP worked so hard to fight against?
    Or is it ok NOW because it’s being done to white folks?”

    I’m not sure if you are accusing me of assuming the motivations of an entire race or not. I certainly am not. The point I was making is that a random survey of 400 Bermuda residents shows a major difference in response to this situation, yet the survey itself isn’t generating much discussion in the papers or online. If you believe that a random survey of 400 people is not reflective of the entire society, that’s cool. This is your perception of surveys. But there still leaves a huge question about the 400 people who were randomly surveyed. If you look at the protestors, who by and large were white, they claim that they have no problem with the Uighers. The survey instead shows that all residents in general are opposed to the Uighers, but white survey respondents are far more opposed to them being here on any terms. There is a 30% margin between white and black respondents on Brown’s method of bringing the Uighers to Bermuda (why is that?). There is a 44% difference between white and black respondents regards Brown stepping down. A difference so massive, yet there is hardly any discussion about this.

    “Now, for your questions…

    Actually… I have no idea. I don’t disagree with the Uighurs coming here, so #1 doesn’t apply.

    As for the rest, I wouldn’t begin to speculate, as you’d obviously just dismiss it as… what was it?… oh, yeah… “Idiotic reasons”.

    Why bother answering your questions, when you’ve already made up your mind?”

    As I wrote from the start, I think you are too angry to effectively engage in a race dialogue right now (as evidenced above). Actually I would appreciate you speculating on why there is such a margin of difference between whites and blacks amongst these 400. The reasons I’ve read on BIAW are idiotic in light of the survey results in my opinion. Statements such as blacks didn’t march because they can’t take long lunch hours, because they are govt workers and because they don’t want to be seen as sellouts are just plain ignorant. Only 36% of blacks vs 80% of whites surveyed thought that Brown should step down. We also don’t know if the survey was taken before or after the first protest. It would be interesting to know when, because of the fluctuation in numbers and diversity from protest 1 to protest 3. All I am saying is that the notion that this has nothing to do with race is utterly ridiculous if you think that a random survey of 400 is reflective of the population at large, and that we should be discussing why there is such a difference rather than ignoring them.

    Honestly, please speculate on the difference between the 400 respondents.

  41. Letariat

    “Personally, I could care less about the Uighurs being brought here, they could have brought all 17 if the proper channels were followed. Is it a good idea? Well, considering our land size and property availability, our job market and our limited resources, tourism impact, and any relationship with China, perhaps not. Why, what do you think it is?”

    Thanks for providing your response, but what about the statistic? What do you make of that?

    “Good question. Perhaps a better question would be why do so many blacks agree with a conscious decision to break the law? If you believe this was humanitarian you would be as idiotic as those you brand for listing reasons people may not have been at the protests. This was nothing more than a ploy dreamed up by one of Brown’s high paid lobbyists to curry favour with the US. Brown’s tactic was tantamount to treason, letting another country tell him to keep it ’silent’, breaking the trust with the UK and the Constitution. To agree with the tactics is just plain ignorance.”

    69% of blacks disapproved of the tactics. For the 31% you are assuming that many blacks agree with a conscious decision to break the law. It’s the same kind of unfortunate assumption that Roban has made. Unfortunately the survey does not ask if respondents think that the law was broken. You would need that question in the survey to draw the conclusion you have made – What percentage of blacks who believe that the law was broken still approve/disapprove of Brown’s tactic? You have assumed the answer.

    “Probably because he purposefully antagonises whites with his racial rhetoric which does not affect blacks. And like most of his transgressions, without deep investigation, his actions just turn up as ‘unethical and not necessarily illegal’. Except for this most recent one. So again that is an interesting question. Are black Bermudians fine with having an unethical, perhaps even criminal running the island? Does the PLP propeganda actually work? I would venture to say it works to appease many blacks and agitate most whites, which plays into his favour. No?”

    Wouldn’t you then say that both blacks and whites would have a fundamental challenge in evaluating what Brown actually did here? I certainly do not believe that there has been a rational, objective discussion about the matter yet. You have Brown claiming that no law has been broken, and the Governor saying otherwise. I think we really need a court decision to determine that the law actually was broken, and I hope that the libel claim will give us that. If this is all clearly illegal, why has the UK Govt not yet taken action against a law-breaking Premier? More to come? They certainly shouldn’t let him get away with it if he has. The same applies to all of the random claims of corruption that are thrown about. Where do these rumors come from, and how is it that such a corrupt person has not yet been caught? I think that once we lose objectivity, we can convince ourselves of anything.

  42. Looks like some members of the party are wisening up to Brown’s crap, despite the propaganda, character assassinations, spin, lies and deceit. It is only a matter of time before he has alienated all his supporters. I’d have no problem supporting and defending a strong black man as long as he was honest, responsible and ethical, how long will people support Brown, do they really want to find out in the end they were supporting a crooked car salesman? You want a strong black man to lead the country, fine, lets find one of integrity, quality and concern for all Bermudians and get him in there. You could not deny this place would be in a different space.

    Only a matter of time before self-preservation kicks in and people realise if they let him take this island down the drain, things will not be so hott for them, while he can just toss off to the Caribbean or U.S.

    It sucks, I agree, I would have liked him to be good for the island too, he does have charisma and drive, unfortunately he applies it in the wrong manner and down the wrong path.

  43. Mabe Steve has had too many “BUD” lights……

    And no Steve, I ain’t crazy. I’ve been here at MAWI for so long I’m quite the opposite………

  44. Can “Just a Question” please cite his/her source for these statistics? Can s/he also clarify why it matters if a Bermudian who happens to oppose Brown is white or black?

  45. “This fact will lead only truly progressive and informed blacks who can see that things are not quite right to speak up and attempt to correct the behavior of the elected officials.”

    Spoken by a “truly progressive and informed white (man).

  46. By the way Jonathan, as I see it, by creating “Bermuda Jewel” you’re just giving the same people the opportunity to have their say on numerous blogs. It’s not as if I’ve seen any new posters – just the same old, same old, anti-Brown/anti/PLP posters who move from blog to blog – Catch a Fire to Bermuda Sucks to Bermuda is Another World and now to Bermuda Jewel and back again to Catch A Fire to Bermuda Sucks to Bermuda is another and to Bermuda Jewel, etc. etc. And the beat goes on.

  47. Beats me that he knows exactly how every black Bermudian thinks and writes, but there you have it.

    Easy. Only crackas white folk or Uncle Toms “confused negroes” would write anything critical of Steve’s hero.

  48. Wow…

    I’m too angry to effectively engage in this dialogue?

    ok, then.

    VERY nice job painting me with the same brush as the “lynch mob”. I like that you used the same criterion… my skin colour and that I was disagreeing with you.

    Here’s the thing. There is NO evidence of Ms. Smith being a racist, based on her emails (or at least the selections I’ve seen.) There is, however, plenty of evidence that Minister Bud Roban IS a racist, based on his response.

    Or are we to assume, as he did, because of the colour of her skin and because “it is also rather ignorant (given our history and Smith’s age) to draw a conclusion that Smith is absolutely without racial baggage.” (another assumption, based on nothing but speculation.), that she’s a racist?

    Do you know the lady? I do and have for years and, though, as a white man with a “genetic predisposition” and the assumption, again based on nothing but skin colour, that I can’t possibly be “without racial baggage”, my opinion will be dismissed, I have seen no evidence of her being a racist.

    But let’s not let evidence get in the way, right?

    And, finally, why does it matter what race the protesters are? Are you assigning motivation based on race? Are we to dismiss the protesters, as Ms. Furbert so famously did on the news, because of the colour of their skin?

  49. just the same old, same old, anti-Brown/anti/PLP posters

    There you go again trying to pretend that the two groups are the same. When the PLP were elected ten years ago I was concerned but they’ve actually done a pretty good job, at least until EFB rose to power. I’m not anti-PLP in the least. And I’m definitely not pro-UBP – they’ve got a long ways to go before I can support them. But I am anti-Brown.

  50. “Can “Just a Question” please cite his/her source for these statistics? Can s/he also clarify why it matters if a Bermudian who happens to oppose Brown is white or black?”

    The poll was on the front page of the Royal Gazette about a week ago. Check the website. As for why it matters, it is about understanding ourselves and each other. I think that it is a basic human fact that blacks and whites have their own hang-ups. Some of those hang-ups are conscious/overt while others are subconscious. Socially and culturally there are patterns that can be found in various groups – race, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, nationality. If you see a consistent pattern, then it makes sense to ask what REALLY motivates that particular group, particularly as it relates to subconscious behavior. For example, we have protestors claiming that they have no problem with the Uighers. But when you consider that someone launched a Bermudians Against Terrorists Facebook page, and when you consider the survey results, clearly a very large segment of the population has a problem with the Uighers. Digging deeper, whites have an even greater problem than blacks with the Uighers. So let’s discuss why this is the case so that we can better understand our reasons for support or protest.

    Why do you think there is such a difference, 32n64w?

  51. Just A Question, I do not know if you have seen the clarification of the numbers by the research firm, but the numbers the Govt used to show the imbalance were wrong, so the discussion is moot.

    Ms Furbert, I don’t believe any of these online blogs or forums restrict participation unless someone is particularly abrasive and offensive. I don’t see anything stopping people from participating, in JEWEL especially, unless they are not interested or agree with what has already been said by others.

  52. “VERY nice job painting me with the same brush as the “lynch mob”. I like that you used the same criterion… my skin colour and that I was disagreeing with you.”

    Actually, I read BIAW, and you frequently write angrily, in my opinion. It’s not a sweeping generalization about white people. You are just always hot under the collar, and I think that it doesn’t allow you to engage people properly or respond objectively. It’s sort of like someone stuck in rush hour traffic screaming and cussing at everyone while giving Johnny Barnes the finger. The angry man leaning on the horn hears no one.

    “Here’s the thing. There is NO evidence of Ms. Smith being a racist, based on her emails (or at least the selections I’ve seen.) There is, however, plenty of evidence that Minister Bud Roban IS a racist, based on his response.”

    But that wasn’t the point I made. Like I wrote, you aren’t listening. You are just flaming up at the collar, and there is no sense in me responding to the middle section of your post, if you can’t even respond to what actually was written.

    “And, finally, why does it matter what race the protesters are? Are you assigning motivation based on race? Are we to dismiss the protesters, as Ms. Furbert so famously did on the news, because of the colour of their skin?”

    Does it matter that the PLP leadership is almost exclusively black? Does it seem odd that Kim Swan of all people is the head of the UBP, when so many others with obviously greater talent sit on the sidelines? If you go to a PLP rally, it is almost exclusively black. If you go to a UBP town hall, the vast majority of people are white. It would be willfully naive to propose that race has nothing to do with the motivations of blacks and whites. I don’t think that either group is objective, and I am simply asking (without success) why you think that there is such a huge disparity amongst the races in the poll.

    Pop a chill pill and share your thoughts, please.

  53. “Just A Question, I do not know if you have seen the clarification of the numbers by the research firm, but the numbers the Govt used to show the imbalance were wrong, so the discussion is moot.”

    Actually the PLP’s criticism of the poll was answered by a response that the number of respondents was weighted, and thereby making the numbers valid. Where did you read, other than from the PLP, that the results were flawed?

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