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May 24, 2007

Comments

DJosey

You know Nicolette, it is time that people of goodwill like yourself, take the initiative and convene theses discussions in a more inclusive national forum. You in particular represent most that is good about us as a people. Your focus is national and forward thinking. Your legacy is to take that which burns within you and infect a new generation of Bahamians if we can no longer redirect an older generation.

One of the things I realized during the last general election is that whatever national goal, concept or philosophy we seek to pursue, we have the wherewithal to pursue it if it is important enough to us. A little time, a little thought and a little finances (well maybe a lot of finances).

The transformation of the Bahamian mind needs to begin. It is conceivable that in our National Arts Auditorium a series of discussions led by the writers of this media et al. would be very appropriate. Further if these informed discussions with an appropriate format for questions, answers and discussions are developed, I see no reason why you would not assist the Broadcasting Corporation in realizing one of its most important roles.

Nicolette, we can no longer wait on the political order of the day to lay the framework and direction for our future. We need a roadmap for the future which is BAHAMIAN and not PLP,FNM or BDM. As you pointed out in your article 40 years after majority rule we still face issues which the political directorate will not adequately address.

My major concern is that 40 years after majority rule we still do not have a sense of national identity, unity or purpose. We do not know who we are and hence we have no idea where we are headed. We have camped out at the mountain of the late Sir. Lynden Pindlings' Vision and have not moved on to a new and inspired vision for the future of our country (shucks, I could deal with an un-inspired vision for our future –just articulate one).
Until we have this in place, we will continue to live off of the Vision of men like Sol Kerzner who will build our hotels, Baha Mar who will redefine our landscape, and the Chinese who will build our National Institutions. We expect everyone else to do it for us. We take no pride in building our own institutions then celebrating them. We lack a central core as Bahamians.
We cannot address this issue of race, simply because we have no idea what it means to be Bahamian.

nicob

Point very well taken. Extremely well taken, and your suggestion is so simple I'm almost surprised that it hasn't already been done.

The only thing that I would add, though, is that unless we are willing to talk about race and heritage and sexuality -- all the things we like to avoid or to obscure with blankets of one-sided rhetoric -- we can't talk about being Bahamian. There's no point in doing so unless we can gather all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds together to participate in the dialogue.

Cheers, and thanks again.

Vince

As a white Bahamian who left the Bahamas for the US for wide ranging reasons including Race Relations, I feel compelled to comment on this.

Being white in the Bahamas is enough to make you hated, for no other reason. I am accused of being a racist (couldn't be farther from the truth, since I'm mixed) and an oppressor (how can I oppress when I am being turned down for jobs for the color of MY skin). But outside looking in, trying to figure out where this hatred comes from I wonder if anybody considered this.

When slavery was legal a very small percentage of white people owned slaves, the ones that did were the very rich. In 1860 the white population in the South was a little over 8 million. Of that 8 million 384,000 of them owned slaves. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASownership.htm so LESS THAN one half of one percent of white people owned slaves. But today 100% of white people are being held accountable and blamed for the atrocities performed by the smallest minority of the past.

I am told that white people are responsible for stealing Africans from their motherland. Have you looked at the motherland? I would say that 98% of slave decedents in the Western Hemisphere are better off then 95% of Africans in Africa! Not to mention that when ever I researched it, it was Africans who SOLD Slaves back then and still do it today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_slave_trade While this is sometimes disputed, I think is disputed based on what people want to believe, I haven't seen any facts the support the dispute.

My family was never in the half of one percent of white's who owned slaves. My family was never wealthy. Why am I hated, held responsible, expected to apologize for something that my great, great, great grandfather DIDN'T DO? Something that he didn't do that made African decedents better off today then the brothers they were stolen from?

A bit off topic but:
These attitudes are killing the Bahamas. Bahamians seem to take this attitude and present it in its tourism products? I left the Bahamas 10 years ago. I still return often to visit friends and family, but I've been gone long enough to no longer be recognized and am perceived as a tourist. I realize that this is getting off topic, but Bahamians are shooting themselves in the foot with these attitudes. As a tourist I understand why people don't want to return to the Bahamas, you are not made to feel welcome.

I really appreciate the chance to ask these questions and discuss these issues.

dadon589

Very good issue. To provide some commentary on your points, I would say this.

1) The dynamic that exist in the Bahamas is unique and can not be equated/compared to the Black Diaspora in the United States. Yes. You have a very visible active, and vocal minority in the United States. You have to examine why. Answer: They are still "to a degree" a disenfranchised lot economically, socially, and legally. Not totally the case in the Bahamas. When the PLP took over in the late 60's, you didn't see massive lynch mobs and riots burning down "white-owned" establishments. You didn't see the government promote racist policies that ran white folk out of town and out of business. White Bahamians (who already owned all the land and damn near everything else in the Bahamas) were allowed to continue prospering. White Bahamians who are of lesser economic status share the same access as do black Bahamians. The fear Bahamians have is that there is direct and significant correlation between holding political office and amassing wealth. The perception is that those who primarily control 90% of the country's wealth now have direct access to control the political direction of the country (e.g. The Bushes of Texas, The Kennedy's, and God hope not....Mayor Micheal Bloomberg who bought is political office). One thing I will always remember from my English Literature class at SAC....POWER CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY. This is always the truth. In order to stay at the top of the food chain you've got be able to affect it. Don't be fooled by this outcry for racial harmony in the Bahamas. White Bahamians who want to retain power and influence use this "race card" on the flip side just as black Bahamians do.

2) The Haitian situation in the Bahamas needs to have a new approach. The Bahamas has to find a way to better integrate them into the fabric of the country so that it tears away the negative perceptions that Bahamians have of being of Haitian descent. Bahamians are truly a melting pot of West Indian/Caribbean cultures. We have been infused with people from just about every island in the region. We need to acknowledge and be accepting of this fact. On the economics, we need to invest in Haiti. Its fertile land is of great importance and we have not tried to take advantage of creating substantial trade with Haiti. The instability of the government is a problem, but what Haiti lacks is interest in development. Not hotels, but industry. We also have to realize that the power of our dollar ($BSD) goes a long way as you go south. The Caribbean is still a untapped market that we ignore because we want to be American so badly. We want to eat what they eat, etc..

3) Bahamians can do better than Brent Symonette. And I don't say that because of his skin color. He simply has nothing in common with most Bahamians. L.O. did. Hubert did/does. Perry G. did. He can not empathise the average person on the street nor does he want to. He simply knows that continued access to power and influence secures the Symonnette, Pritchard, Sands, Albury, Thompson, Knowles, Kelly, etc. nest egg for 10 more generations. They own 90% of the country's wealth. Question. Why would a man who has so much want to be involved in the political drama of the Bahamas? Hmmmmm!! Regardless of who is Prime Minister or the governing party, he and them don't worry at all. When the PLP is in power, they stay silent, kiss their a--es, and make their money. When election time comes, they shell out big bucks to displace the PLP only to tell Hubert what they want and how to go about getting it for them. There more better potential leaders in the country’s minority than Mr. Symonette. Brent is the watchdog for the Bahamian elite. He is there to ensure Hubert takes care of “their” business and follows through with “their” directives. Over the next 2 years you will see what I mean by “Directives”. MORE MONEY!!!!

And that's my 3 cents for the day.

EBC

Definitely your most insightful and pertinent article to date. You hit the nail right on the head.

As a white Bahamian dating a black Bahamian, my girlfriend and I have had many, many interesting discussions about race and the history of the Bahamas and while we acknowledge that this country is far advanced in its race relations compared to many places (on the whole); it is still evident that racism is very much alive amongst both whites and blacks.

All is not lost, however. I think that the white/black issue is steadily resolving itself as history marches forward. What troubles me is not so much the question of race, as the coming 'culture' wars.

The last time being Bahamian was 'defined' by a 'visionary' politician was in the days of LOP. We know what that vision looked like and we are only now coming out of its shadow. From 1967 to 1973, I think that 'vision' was precisely what was needed from the leading politician of the day, but the idea of being Bahamian after Independence was never really overhauled because it was still politically expedient for the 'old guard' to rally their base that way. As the 'old guard' retires and dies off, that vision is murkily fading, but no new vision has been proposed to take its place. I hope the current PM takes a step toward redefining that vision and I think he might have already by proposing Symonette as the DPM. The Bahamian people responded in kind by voting FNM, but that vision of the 21st century Bahamian should be expanded upon. The idea that Symonette would reverse the country to UBP days was a preposterous notion and one that probably hurt the PLP more than they realize. No Bahamian would fall for such a ridiculous scare tactic, since no white or black Bahamian would ever want such a horrid thing to happen in the first place. It simply wasn't possible and suggesting that such a thing could happen made the PLP look very silly and very desperate indeed.

The reason I think it is so urgent to define the 21st century Bahamian is because of the other problem your article indicated - Haitians and immigrants in general. If we aren't confident in what being Bahamian means, then rabid xenophobia will naturally occur as immigrants come in. If a people are confident and self-assured about their identity, then they don't over react when faced with a different cultural identity. The immigrants are here now and they will continue to come. I think a 'culture war' will result with language, ethnicity (not simply white black, but Haitian, Latino, Asian, European), social values, sexuality and religion coming more and more to the fore. Are we prepared to deal with these matters? How will we define being Bahamian in light of the very rapidly all encompassing reality of globalisation?

Will Bahamian mean simply someone who likes junkanoo, soca and reggae; eats conch and goes to the fish fry occasionally; drinks Kalik; is generally happy-go-lucky; speaks only English - as the current murky vision that is fading would have us believe? Or will being Bahamian come to mean something that is a little more sophisticated and savvy on the international scene? Personally, I would love to see a healthy blend of both that would be born from a healthy attitude towards the outside world - rather than reactionary posturing. If the PM would challenge Bahamians to identify being Bahamian with both going to fish fry and eating conch, but also embracing other cuisines of the world; with drinking Kalik, but doing so knowing that it does truly does belong in the pantheon of the great beers of the world because we proudly sell it next to all the other kinds we can make available here; with knowing the finer points of both the Queen's English and our native Bahamian dialect while ensuring that we know at least one other language - be it Creole, French, Spanish, German or even Chinese or Japanese (future tourism); being proud of our little country because we love it, but also because we have been to other places and willingly travelled with open eyes and realized how blessed and fortunate this country is; in short, while preserving all the currently great and wonderful facets that we universally recognize as Bahamian while not being afraid of a multi-cultural environment that taps into all our mixed and shared heritages and embraces the other in order to better know the self...

That is the challenge. Race is such an old hat. It would be nice to move on from it, but the new issue is going to be the question of culture and how we conceive of Bahamian culture in a globalised tourism and financial services driven economy.

I hope this new challenge is embraced head on by this and future governments rather than waiting for the crisis to emerge, as has been the order of the day up until now. The 'culture' wars are dominating the USA now, and, as in all things, it is only a short time before they reach our shores in full force. The problems are already here and with us, we just aren't fully aware of them yet. Let us not wait for the problems to make the headlines... for once, lets have leaders and policy makers defining solutions as our headlines.

larry smith

Well said. Before 1967 the Bahamas was officially white. Since then it has been officially black. Now we need to decide what being officially Bahamian means.

Rick

Let me jump in with both feet.
You suggest that so few White Bahamians are involved in anything other than politics that people feel we are all expatriates.
I’m not sure that 10% - 15% of the population can be expected to have more of an influence in the country, however you seem to ignore the contribution of the many White Bahamians that are involved in business, church, service clubs and more.
There has also been the continual barrage of political rhetoric about how bad we are that one tends to shy away as a result, reinforcing your comment about melting into the background. And that seems the way certain political leaders want it to be. Although after an election they do let the rhetoric die down.
The propaganda surrounding the White Deputy leader of the new government was astounding to say the least. I do not think that there are many Bahamians that would wish to return to the policies of pre-1967, at least that is never discussed in the circles I travel in. Maybe you know something I don’t though?
There are many opportunities for mingling in spite of your suggestion to the contrary. There is church, the Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, and numerous other social events. Not to mention private dinners in each others homes and holidays with each other etc.
I’m not sure why I would be expected to participate in Junkanoo for example. It simply does not interest me enough to get involved (I do enjoy the rush of 20 minutes of those cow bells and drums though, and after that I’m done). Just as reading Freiderich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman might not appeal to you.
Thank goodness we have the freedom to choose how we wish to contribute to our society and our Constitution guarantees that right.
This does not diminish the value of the discussion though. Maybe that freedom does influence the end result of the talking though. And that just might be what causes the angst of some Bahamians?
The main reason I don't go to the Independence celebration for example is because I hate standing in the hot sun waiting for the politicians (royalty) to arrive.
In fact, that is why I attend few public events. I would rather be doing something I enjoy than waiting past the announced start time (sometimes it was an hour or more) for the programme to begin.
I think it is human nature to be comfortable among people they know and doing things they enjoy doing. Colour does not seem relevant, at least in the groups and associations I have been involved with.
It seems we automatically ascribe ulterior motives to those Bahamians that do not attend national events.
I must admit to being uncomfortable with certain aspects that are attributed to Bahamian culture. Like sweethearting and having outside children, the way funerals are conducted in certain churches etc. But maybe that is not what you want to get at?

nicob

Rick, I've answered some of your points on Bloworld (http://nicobethel.net/blogworld/?p=292#comments). I don't think that the solution is retiring to one's own comfort zone. While colour may not seem relevant there (and often isn't), it is hugely relevant in the wider society.

Vince, I think the idea that it's all related to slavery and slavery alone is a red herring. I'm going to write about this at more length, but who did and didn't own slaves is not the issue. What's more, the statistics you have pulled up are not necessarily relevant to The Bahamas, whose slavery took a very different form; we have to be very careful when we take information produced by and for Americans and others and think that it has meaning for us. Slavery ended 173 years ago in The Bahamas, but it was not until 1956 that it became illegal for business establishments to discriminate against people on the basis of their skin colour, and it was not until 1967 that Black Bahamians gained majority rule. The first took place in my parents' time, and they (despite the lightness of my own skin) were affected by it; my father and my uncle and other members of their families could not work as tellers in banks, or serve in shops on Bay Street, or go into hotels, or any number of things until they were in their twenties. The second took place in my lifetime, and changed the face of my town; when I was a little child, I saw plenty of White Bahamians. By the time I was a teenager, I didn't. What Larry said is truer than we know, and hate is the inevitable result.

Rick, official independence events haven't been held during the daytime since 2002, and the independence celebrations have taken place over far longer than a single day for the past five years. I should know -- as long as I've been in my current position I've been working on the celebration activities. They are made up of concerts, Junkanoo, commemoration services, and a flag-raising at midnight.

I'm not sure I want to get into sweethearting and having outside children; but I would hesitate for a very long time before I accepted that this was exclusively a Black Bahamian habit. Sweethearting and having outside children, after all, is how many of us got here; my own heritage is profoundly mixed, and very few of my White Bahamian male ancestors were married to their Black Bahamian sweethearts, nor were all of their children legitimate. Those activities are endemic in ex-slave societies. Whether or not white people owned slaves (and this point is debatable), all whites -- and fairskinned people of colour too -- benefitted from their skin colour, while all blacks, and darkskinned people of colour did not. Who owned whom was often incidental to the structure of power that emerged.

As for the 10%-15% - African-Americans comprise 12.9% of the USA's population, and are far more integrated into the American psyche than White Bahamians are into the Bahamian one. Whatever the motives, the fact remains that being invisible doesn't solve anything for the society. It may increase one's personal comfort level, but when one can then write an open letter to the Prime Minsiter thanking him for making one feel at home in one's own country, I have to wonder how far and how deep that comfort goes.

Finally, I didn't start this debate to go over old ground, as I said. We just need to talk -- without the expected rhetoric. dadon, I don't buy the idea that white Bahamians still control 90% of this country's wealth; that is as much of a red herring as the idea that whites whose ancestors didn't own slaves should not be blamed for slavery. We are almost all of us richer than we need to be, and more irresponsible with our wealth than is good for us; who has more really doesn't come into it, and ignores the real issue.

Finally, DJosey, I will see about organizing face-to-face meetings. The question is, how many people of goodwill will come? It's worth a try for sure, but if we stick to our normal habits and avoid spaces where we will run into one another, then what will it do?

Thanks for the discussion so far.

haitianministries

Thanks for starting this discussion, Nicolette! I find it to be deeply fascinating. As an expatriate-American immersed deeply in the Haitian immigrant community, I have learned a lot from observing the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) racial dynamics of the Bahamas and, more importantly, it has made me more sensative to the nature and subtleties of racism in my own country.

In regards to the suggestion to hold face-to-face meetings to facilitate discussion on these issues, I would like to point out that the Bahamas Human Rights Network (BHRN) in collaboration with COB and the Eugene Dupuch Law School is sponsoring a panel discussion titled "Shackled Freedom: Immigrant Communities in Crisis, Human Rights and Social Justice" that will be held in Abaco on June 22nd. More specifically, BHRN is looking for a venue in the Mud, one of the Haitian squatter settlements near Marsh Harbour, to facilitate as much participation from the Haitian community as possible. One of the necessary steps that must take place for constructive dialogue to happen is to step out of our own comfort zones and meet with "the other" on their own turf, which is what BHRN hopes to facilitate through this activity.

Secondly, I'd like to note that Pastor Clint Kemp of New Providence Community Church, a multiracial congregation in western New Providence, is a good example of a white Bahamian who has actively sought to address issues of both racism and classism within the context of his congregation (and not surprisingly, is also an ardent supporter of BHRN) and that has significantly shaped their outreach to the broader community. So, the conversation is taking place and people are thinking about these things; the question is how to connect with one another and broaden the dialogue.

I look forward to following the continuing discussion and posts on this subject.

Rick

But we are all entitled to withdraw to our comfort zone Nicolette...both black and white Bahamians...and we do.
Even though the events have been held at night I still do not wish to stand or sit thorugh that stuff. That does not make me any less patriotic than you or anyone else, does it?
I don't suggest that only black Bahamians sweetheart and have outside children. That's your interpretation. I said that was a part of our culture I do not like.
I can share a personal family issue with the UBP that made my father despise Sir Roland, the first Bahamian Premier, but there are always three sides to every story so it's not worth it, at least in this forum. In a nutshell. you might say the"advantage" provided by white or light coloured skin might not apply to everyone.
I am far from invisible though. I served my Rotary Club for 19 years, I have worked in the political process, I have helped the Nassau Institute and the Chamber of Commerce review public policy for many years now etc. I just do not go to many public events and you appear to wish to deny me and other black and white Bahamians that personal desire.
By the way I didn't see you at last summers jazz fest at Sandyport. Joanne and I were there almost every weekend. But I get personal satisfaction from that, where I don't get it at boring national events.
Since you asked, my comfort disipates rather quickly when the political rhetoric starts I can assure you.
One thing I have learned in my 33 years of work life, is you have to get the bitching out of the way before you can move forward with change. So you will have to go over old ground over and over again.
You have not yet said you want to do anything more than talk.
So we're talking.

nicob

Rick (and others):

Bitching isn't the idea. Sharing is. While everybody -- and this issue has turned into a black/white issue, and hasn't incorporated the other side(s) of the race question (Haitians and other recent immigrants) as much as we might have -- most certainly has the right to withdraw to his or her comfort zone, if no one feels generally at home in this country of ours, we collectively have a problem, and sticking to our comfort zones will not fix that problem. Burying one's head in the sand doesn't make the sandstorm go away. It only gives one control over the sand that gets in one's eyes.

I think we collectively have a problem. When the bitching is moved out of the way, it seems to me that what lies at the bottom of the rhetoric (which doesn't solve anything because it's just defensiveness or accusations and gets stuck) is Bahamians' fear and mistrust of one another, a fear and mistrust that sometimes flirts with hate.

This varies, it appears, depending on which/whose party is in power. Of the two politically important ethnic groups in the country -- White Bahamians and Black Bahamians (the rest say way ya put muh) there are members of each that appear to feel more at home when one party or the other is in power. Without talking about the hurt instead of responding out of it (stories about how the UBP government was not good for all White Bahamians are important truths that need to be shared, not hidden away) we can't move forward; we will always be in a place where turning to the easy scapegoat of race will be the superficial solution for all our problems, and will continue to be dredged up during election time.

I don't imagine for one second that race will be irrelevant in 2012. The salt-and-pepper current leadership of the FNM is fine for now; but if the FNM does not create an integrated society out of the fractures that still exist, a society in which all benefit, race will be fundamental in five years' time, and the backlash against White Bahamians will be strong.

My point about Independence, Rick, is not incidental. There is a strong general feeling among non-white Bahamians of my generation, not articulated in many places other than on political platforms, that White Bahamians are not proud of our independence. This is a feeling that is passed on, rightly or wrongly, to our children, who only get half of the story but all of the emotion. A student once told me something to the effect that because white Bahamians had nothing to do with the formation of our nation, they could not be considered Bahamian. Of course he had the wrong end of the stick; but how do we turn the stick around?

So you see, comfort zones are all very well and good, but they don't change anything. Within them we don't have to think about how what we say or think will make the other group of people feel, or what those opinions say about us. We need to face one another -- in person ideally, but on the screen or page if need be -- and tell one another what we say within our comfort zones, and see us with other people's eyes. It's only then that change will happen.

Categorizing this process as "bitching" -- or even turning the process into a bitchfest -- is not the point. Getting defensive and refusing to share isn't the point either. Telling personal stories that reveal our fundamental humanity beneath the politics and the skin colour might well be the point. I don't know.

Rick

I am sharing!
It's funny, we started flying the Bahamian flag at our business several years ago. Now others are doing so.
When I lived in Canada, I had a Bahamian flag on my name plate, so everyone that asked me about it could be filled in on the Bahamas.
But because I don't go to Independence celebrtions I am less patriotic.
What am I, and other black and white Bahamians that do not 'particpate' as you call it supposed to do?
I don't get it?

drew Roberts

"There is a strong general feeling among non-white Bahamians of my generation, not articulated in many places other than on political platforms, that White Bahamians are not proud of our independence."

Race and racism is a funny thing. (Odd funny that is...)

When you listen to the radio and hear language that infers that you are not bahamian, or that infers that all bahamians are black, it does not make you want to jump for joy.

Living here as a white Bahamian, has made me more aware of the issues black U.S. people deal with. Though to no where near the extent as a result of the economic differences between the two groups.

I am proud of our country though. I am proud of the people of our country. Black and white. Brown, yellow, and let's not forget the greeks. (Side joke John.) I was born under what we call white rule and lived most of my life and my entire adult life under what we call majority rule. And politically, this was done in peace. The blacks won and assumed power peacefully, and the whites yielded it up peacefully when they saw the writing on the wall. Perhaps I am mistakenly proud of this, but I am proud of it none the less. And thankful for it.

That said, the only time I am generally uneasy being a white Bahamian in my own country is generally during political seasons.

We have an odd situation here though. In the US, they seem to make a big deal if the make up of their political houses does not fall close to racial lines, ethnic lines, etc. (I am not the biggest political animal, so correct me if needed.) Here things are different.

Do minorities make up proportional portions of our elected officials? Of the government work force? Etc. Using the figures I see quoted here, shoudln't this see the Bahamas with 4.1 to 6.15 white MPs? Like I say, I am not the biggest political animal, but surely we don't have that many do we?

(Not that I think that is the best way to look at things in any case. We might just as easily look into the overrepresentation of lawyers winning seats as compared to the percentage of lawyers in the general population. Or women. Or people above average income. Or...)

One of the problems with starting a conversation on such matters is the danger of not putting down all you want, of being misunderstood, etc. This is not helped where there is a good amount of mistrust still. One feels like one is taking a chance.

Now a bit on the foreign / immigrant issue...

I think we have problems. I think we need serious talk here as well.

An initial thought is that we need to welcome people. Make them feel welcome and at home. (Surely a christian people which we like to lay claim to would have such concerns?) But, we need to make serious efforts to integrate people who come to stay for any length of time into our mix.

What we see too much of now to my way of thinking is "colonies" of non-Bahamians withing our borders. I don't think having the high percentage of people that we have amoungst us living like this is a good thing. (I refer to the Hatian situation that might be obvious to everyone, but also to the gated communities and private island situations as well.)

This is too long now, but I have more to say if I may. I will take it up in a future post.

all the best,

drew

Over Da Hill Boy

I had to say something to this issue. Our society is far from one Bahamas, Orville Turnquest and Dunward Knowles can tell you this. There's a major problem when we look into our public systems (utilized by all) we almost always only see Black Bahamians. Please correct me if I'm wrong but I've yet too see white bahamian teachers. White Bahamian Policemen, Firemen, custom and immigration officers. The only place I've seen white bahamians is in other white bahamians businesses or their own or at home in their select communities. :). Oh wait, I also saw the most white bahamians mingling with the blacks at the FNM rallies. They can come out there and stand up and be squashed up to watch the FNM but cant say let me go to the SAME place Clifton Park of the rallies for my country's independence celebration. Any white Bahamians were out to the Labour Day Marches today? Can the majority of the white bahamians really say they know about any other roads or areas other than the main roads, and their comfort nests (blair,eastern road etc.)?

My problem I have with this whole situation/issue is what we have is tons of Black Bahamians(Mostly FNM Supporters) who purport that race is not an issue. Yet in no public forum I've heard any white bahamians state the same; "race is not an issue". Actually when our now dear deputy Prime minister Symonette had the chance to address this issue he went on platform at Clifford Park and defended his father and his legitamacy as Bahamian. He never said let's all unite and build one Bahamas; maybe that was a pipe dream but hey i figured that was the perfect time to unite black and white bahamians but yeah I guess that's not happening.

So now here we are again in full circle 2nd in charge in the lower house is a white man and first in charge in the upper house is a white woman and still we haven't come the closer to black and white bahamian unity.

Any forums that take place I will surely attend.

Love you all, black green, white and purple.

drew Roberts

Well, Over Da Hill Boy, if I count as a white Bahamian, let me say it for you. (kindly)

As far as I am concerned, race is not an issue. (Well, we should not make it one at least.) I certainly would be happy for it not to be one. How do we get here from there? Who holds what share of the fault/blame? Do we need an answer to the second question before we can answer the first?

"I've yet too see white bahamian teachers. White Bahamian Policemen, Firemen, custom and immigration officers."

To take a contrary position only for the sake of further discussion... and this is because? If you had no black American Teachers, Policemen, Firemen, Custom and Immigration Officers, would you blame the american whites or the american blacks for the situation?

I personally think the issue here is a complex one. Your thoughts?

"Can the majority of the white bahamians really say they know about any other roads or areas other than the main roads, and their comfort nests (blair,eastern road etc.)?"

My guess would be they don't, only a guess based on stereotypes though, I don't know. Myself, I spent my teenage years out on Marshall Drive at the end of Blue Hill Road. A good part of my married life as well. I would still be out there probably if a Hurricane had not chased me out. Now I am back in my younger childhood home in Sans Souci.

So, except for changes since I moved, I know a lot about east street, nassau village, soldier road, blue hill road, cow pen road, bone fish pond, fire trail road, and many other roads that I know to drive but can't always remember the names. That was my neck of the woods and I loved my time living there.

I know a bit about some other areas as well. Bain Town, Kemp Road, Fox Hill, etc. mostly from going around friends in those areas.

"So now here we are again in full circle 2nd in charge in the lower house is a white man and first in charge in the upper house is a white woman and still we haven't come the closer to black and white bahamian unity."

Well, my gut feeling was that we are not ready for this yet, but we seem to have it and I guess we will see how it goes. I hope it goes well for the country. I am often wrong about things so my gut feelings are not something I trust without question.

I also think that a lot of what we take for race issues down here are really class (or income) issues - I don't like the class terminology myself though I am not sure I have found something better. (this is dangerous - you can lose the argument based on the terms from the break) Thoughts?

all the best,

drew

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