Posted by: Ms Morris | August 4, 2009

Are White Bermudians Irrelevant Politically?

Martin asked for my thoughts on comments made in the above named RG article in another post. Since my comments would be off the original topic of that post I’ve created post to discuss views and opinions.

This is hard for me because I’m sure that my comments will be unpopular but I must be honest with my opinion however unpalatable it may seem to some. My hope is to break down personal defenses and get people to look at the reality of the situation we are in and hopefully broaden perspectives. Disclaimer aside lets get into it.

In answering the title question of the article my response is: at the moment, pretty much. Should white people be politically irrelevant, of course not but the situation is out of their hands right now. Until some major changes are made such as the formation of a viable third party, white people will have no voice in the future of Bermuda.

Looking at Rolfe Commisiongs comments, on many points I agree. In the 40 year history of the party the overwhelming majority of white people have voted against the PLP. Since most white people vote for the UBP then it really isn’t surprising that they feel marginalised because their choice of political party was denied by the black majority of Bermuda. This is not to say that their opinions on other topics should be ignored as well but as far as the leadership goes whites are outnumbered and as such their opinions on who should lead this country moot.

Many people dismiss Rolfe because of who he is but it doesn’t change the fact that what he is saying is correct. Instead of decrying the man I urge white people to reflect on the content of the statements made in this article and give it proper consideration. Denying the statements or refusing to believe that he could be correct only gives credence to the belief held by some black people that white people won’t even consider an opinion outside of their own. (This statement could also be applied in the larger context of racism, just a thought as I’m typing)

The statement about blacks being sceptical of whites is a hard one, hard because there is definite truth in the statement and I am afraid that people will not take the time to understand why or dismiss the statement altogether. Understand this caution isn’t about hating whites or wanting anything bad to happen to them and its not even to say that people who are cautious aren’t friends with white people. The caution comes from history, its a survival tactic, defense mechanism, plain and simple. Black people are cautious around whites because of the possibility of repercussions, because of how we may be judged, because of opportunities that may be denied us. We watch what we say and how we say it, we share some things and not others.  At the same time the level of caution varies from one person to the next. It can be affected by socialization and experience.  I think older blacks are more sceptical of whites because they were affected personally. (I think it is important to also mention that just as there are blacks who have been affected by segregation today there are whites who benefited from segregation living today so it’s not that big a stretch that people would be sceptical) Actions have always spoken louder than words and in politics words are cheaper than the air used to utter them. The UBP cannot escape its past and white people cannot escape their legacy; not as long as people can tell their children how their mortgage got recalled for speaking out against the so called white establishment and such.

As for the PLP being divided ideologically. Definitely true. I think that’s obvious with the split that caused the NLP. What the PLP learned from that is that they have to stay together despite differences and essentially do like white people have been doing, sticking together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The UBP is holding the PLP together. As long as the UBP exists the PLP will not break apart. It is not seen as in the collective interest of black Bermudians. A credible third party led by blacks or at least a mixed group (wish it didn’t matter but we all know it does) and are open to all races, who have come together because of similar ideological beliefs will be a serious threat to the PLP. One because the PLP won’t be able to use race as a weapon and two because there own supporters who are dissatisfied or have similar beliefs to the third party will change sides.

I’ve been typing this for a while and I’m tired so I’ll end here but I do want to add this last point. The RG states that Mr Hayward would lay the majority of the blame for the divisiveness of the PLP on Dr Brown alone. I disagree with this point. He may have laid the foundation but others put up the walls and laid the pipe for the plumbing. They need to take responsibility for their actions as well.

I hope what I have written is received in the manner it was intended. An honest observation and commentary on a social situation with the hope of broader dialogue that may lead to better understanding.


  1. any bermudian thats not kissing the butt of the plp are Irrelevant Politically, in the eyes of the PLP.

    just like it was when persons who were not supportive of the ubp were Irrelevant Politically during their administration.

    the problem the the westminster system and the lack of universal representaion of all the people of bermuda regardless of their political perspectives.

    not race…race is being used as a distraction from the issues of political systemic reform….a tactic that only works on the politcally illiterate people.

    the plp only deals with the issues of the paid up party members…pay to play.

    this is why one continues to hear the refrain…if you join the plp as a paid member you can have acess to effect change…..thats pay to play.

    our constitution does not promote this form of politics.

    taxation without representation….the plp only hear the voices of thoese who have paid them money to join their gang.

    every one who is not a paid member of the plp is Irrelevant Politically in the eyes of the plp

    we voted out this style of selective representaion of back in 98…yet it still remains.

    party politics in bermuda is and always been corrupt

    Comment edited.

  2. Thanks Ms Morris,

    I certainly didn’t expect such an open and lengthy response – so thanks.

    I think the one thing you bring to this is credibility. You see, you make the point about Rolfe and listening to what he says, and whilst I can understand that, he lacks credibility.

    It’s now also very old ground, but I sense the Premier must still be biting his lip over the “we had to deceive you” remark. That is one issue to which the “this too will pass” cannot apply.

    The Premier, therefore, has little or no credibility in the eyes of many and certainly white people.

    Frankly, I am not yet convinced that a new 3rd party will stop the use of the race card by the PLP. The race card is not against the UBP, it’s against white people in general.

    I hope this thread opens up further.

    In so far as the word skeptical is concerned, whilst you may be right in your observations, don’t forget that skepticism knows no colour.

  3. Ms. Morris,

    You should know that the mortgage pulling incidents had nothing to do with banks or the establishment, at least not as a group. Banks did not offer credit directly to people until the 1970s. Prior to that, banks acted as middle-men or agents for the wealthy looking to make an investment. These mortgages were private deals between the borrower and the lender, with the bank as facilitator. It was those individuals who called the mortgages, not the banks or the establishment. Quite often, the bankers were against the action, but there was nothing they could really do, because it wasn’t their mortgage. From what I was told, some were pulled in spite, but most in order to get pieces of property more cheaply. My parents didn’t hold a mortgage until 1979 for that very reason.

    As for the rest of your post, in agreement there.

  4. The UBP makes white people irrelevant. The PLP understand that no matter how many blacks are in the UBP, they will always be “the white man’s party”. No amount of marketing or damage control will ever change that fact.

    Whites have no choice. If you can’t beat ’em… join ’em. I fully expect more and more whites to join the PLP simply because of a lack of other viable options.

  5. Let us just say Rolfe is correct in so far as we will end up with two black based parties, i.e. no UBP.

    Further, lets say that the PLP might loose the election to this new party.

    That scenario begs the question, is the PLP saying (or just Rolfe) that the risk of loosing Government that is inherent in the scenario is worth it, simply to see the demise of the UBP?

    Is the hatred so great?

    And in a similar vein, is the hatred so great, therefore, against “white people” simply because the UBP is associated with whites?

  6. The UBP must go away. Any new party must be completely independent of what the UBP is, and shouldn’t align itself in any way with the UBP, or members of the UBP. It will be extremely difficult for whites to be front-line players for any new party. There is no hope for any remaining UBP members in a new party, and it wouldn’t be a sound political move for a new party to accept any UBP members.

    As I said before, whites politically will be better joining the PLP and attempting change from within.

  7. Hi sparxx

    I have been trying to understand for some time ‘why’ the UBP does not disband.

    I might be ‘flying kites’ so to speak, but I suspect the thinking is that they will:

    1. be looking to capitalise over the recent issues with the Premier, the subsequent marches etc.
    2. looking to capitalise over the state of the economy – the overall results which probably will not be good and also the size of the borrowing (reference Terry Lister speech)
    3. be looking to get aggressive with their campaigning ensuring every available white votes UBP.
    4. anticipating a swing back to the PLP by certain black people after 3 terms of a PLP government.

  8. Thanks Ms. Morris – a very pertinent and well thought out piece.

    There are several things I’d like to talk about. Firstly the title. Yes, I believe that in today’s Bermuda, whites have no political voice. At least, not through ‘official’ or ‘democratic’ channels. The bottom line is that the current PLP government were elected by an overwhelmingly black group, and with their vote they knew they were voting for the ‘black’ party. At the time there was only a token hint of diversity in the PLP candidates, indeed it had been a couple years (I believe) without a single white member. Ignoring what this means to the white vote (because again, it is too small to actually matter) the implication of this is that those voting for the PLP are happy enough to have the country’s government be single race.

    And this is exactly the same thing as the whites did when the UBP was in it’s pomp, and whites still held enough voting power (due to boundaries as well as demographics) to control the government.

    I would hope we’d all agree that neither of these actions are helpful in bringing together Bermuda, of uniting the races. The only difference between them is on whether it hurts you or helps you. I honestly believe that loads of whites are massively upset and pissed off at their marginalisation, at the same time forgetting that the exact same thing happened to blacks back in the day. People are inherently selfish and survivalist.

    Anyway, that brings us to today. The PLP have done nothing to show white Bermudians that they care in the least about their opinion during their time in power. And in my opinion what’s worse is that they have the temerity to come out and say well come on, join us, while at the same time actively disenfranchising whites. The current PLP leadership have shown time and again spite towards the white community. But whites can do nothing. They protest and dismissed as racist. They write to their MPs and are dismissed as racist. They call into talk shows and are hung up for being white. They try and have discussions and are told their opinions are irrelevant.

    So what can they do?

    Well I guess one option would be for them to pack up and leave. Certainly you wouldn’t struggle to find hardcore PLP supporters who would encourage this. But that would be both weak and stupid, particularly given how deeply entrenched many white Bermudians are in the island’s history.

    So they stay, and have no voice. For now. I think come October 2010 when Dr. Brown leaves, Bermuda will be ready to move forward. Because with him will go a core group of sycophants which have done things that make their stay untenable once their ring leader has stepped down. At least, I pray that this is the case. I pray that we get a PLP leader who is willing to and keen to hear the voice of the minority, recognising that not very long ago our ancestors fought very hard for minorities to be given a voice at all.

    Because a few decades ago a prominent PLP figure said the way that the PLP would take over Bermuda is to go and fornicate in the bushes. It should have been an ignorant statement, demeaning to black Bermudians and indicative that pure black numbers are all that’s needed, because they won’t think and will just vote PLP. If I’m to have any faith at all that her words and implications were not true, then I have to trust all Bermudians will soon be at a stage to vote on issues, not race. Maybe the divisiveness and vindictiveness of Dr. Brown will prove that catalyst. Wouldn’t that be an irony…

  9. For me, the issue is not so much about political power but fair treatment, going forward. Bermuda is a black-majority country and I’m OK with that. I don’t think the PLP have a manifesto to explicitly cut me out.

    But when black on white acts of racism, (getting cut off on call-in shows, being threatened by political functionaries for speaking one’s mind, as Limey in Bermuda was, having to read ignorant, bigoted comments by PLP MPs such as those about Ms. Smith, and so on), aren’t sanctioned by any legal body, it suggests we’re a long way from fair treatment.

  10. Martin, I wasn’t expecting to write such a long piece but it was like a bag of chips, once I started I couldnt stop. Until I got hungry anyway.

    You make an interesting comment in reference to the 2 new black parties scenario and I think you’ve interpreted it incorrectly. My interpretation of the scenario (and the convo I had with Rolfe on this very topic almost 2 years ago), the 2 black parties would form only after the demise of the UBP. It’s only after the UBP are gone that the PLP would split in two becuase only then would they feel comfortable that whatever options comes next black people’s interests would be considered and it is felt that under the UBP it would be given any consideration.

    You ask the question “Is the hatred so great?” I say it’s not about hate and if it is it’s from the opposite direction. What I mean is that white people have hated on black people and shown us such contempt that the people who don’t really agree idealogically will stick together just to make sure that the people who opressed them never got back in a position to oppress them again. It’s defensive is anything.

    Sparxx, I wish just as much as anyone that the UBP would go away so Bermuda politics can move forward but white people joining the PLP is highly unlikely. In the 40 plus years of PLP existence they wouldnt even vote for them. White people joining the party in significant numbers is as likely as me going swimming with sharks without a cage. Not gonna happen.

  11. John,

    I am finding it more and more difficult to take a positive view of tomorrow.

    Conversation at the level of the individual is fine. But, what makes you (anyone) think that after 400 years of “not being kind” to blacks, that this (indeed any Government) is suddenly going to say…”it’s ok, we forgive you….call the chat lines and we will talk to you…sorry Ms Smith, I didn’t really mean it”.

    We make the mistake of asking white questions.

  12. For me the issue is no accountability, Despite the all the divisive statements, dubious actions and evidence of wrong doings the Premier and his supporters have no one to answer to. No one that can/will officially take them to task. Effectively they are doing what ever they please. The Uighurs being to most obvious recent example. Even today they have obtain jobs at Bermuda’s premier golf club (a project close to Ewart’s heart/wallet) and when asked if the proper immigration procedures were followed we are greeted with the standard no comment from our government.

    I would argue the all Bermudians outside Ewart’s “Circle of Trust” are politically irrelevant at the moment, not just whites.

  13. Ms Morris

    I was going to joke that maybe you need to buy a smaller bag of chips – but then thought better of it. LOL.

    It’s only after the UBP are gone that the PLP would split in two because only then would they feel comfortable that whatever options comes next black people’s interests would be considered and it is felt that under the UBP it would be given any consideration.

    How different would this other black party be from the exisitng PLP? Where would it’s views, thoughts, manifesto, come from? Are you saying these ‘alternative’ views exist now in the PLP?

    Presumably, although Rolfe talks of whites being able to choose which party to vote for, the reality is they wouldn’t chose the PLP. So, all whites would vote for the new party?

    This new animal might not be controlled by whites “of old” and indeed wouldn’t be called the UBP…but I suspect we would still have…PLP represents blacks and the new party represents whites and blacks.

    Struggling here to grasp this.

  14. Ms. Morris,

    I must disagree you with you on your hatred point. To incinuate that there is no hatred shown towards from the black community to the white community is simply incorrect. I have been subject to some pretty vicous abuse growing up here due to my skin pigmentation. I have been ridculed, robbed, beaten up due to me being a a “white boy,” “crackkka” etc. My little sister has been subject to even greater abuse during her years as an adolescent in Bermuda. I think that was down to her being a timid girl as compared to myself where I started fighting back and sticking up for myself.

    This hatred stems from, as you noted, from centuries of bad treatment at the hands of whites. But it is still hatred no matter how you look at it or call it.

    At the same time there are probably numerous white Bermudians who hold the same amount of contempt for their black Bermudian counterparts. But I don’t keep black or white company that talks with such hatred.

    The only hatred they talk about is how they hate to see what this island is quickly turning into. And they choose to stay away as long as possible.

    In order to heal white people must acknowledge past injustices carried out by their ancestors and not shy away from talking about the subject due to guilt. At the same time there is a prevalent mindset that all whites are direct descendants of slave owners, which I find quite disturbing.

    In order to heal black people must be willing to forgive the past injustices carried out upon their ancestors by white ancestors.

    Without acknowledgement or forgiveness this island will go nowhere fast. Sort of like where BDA is heading today…

    In regards to whites, we are politically irrelevant, plain and simple. We hear it all the time from PLP stalwarts/supporters/members.

    We get told to leave the island if we don’t like what’s going on. We get told not to waste our breath because oour opinions and votes no longer matter in BDA.

    We get told this by the same individuals who fought hard for eual and just representation in the not so far past. Now these same individuals seem to be fighting for what they were fighting against only 40-50 years ago. Strangest feeling I am feeling…

  15. Martin you ask a lot of me from a hypothetical situation but I’ll attempt to answer your questions.

    How different would this other black party be from the exisitng PLP?

    THere are so many different paths a new party can take. Bermuda Jewel are advocates of direct democracy and politics from the grassroots up. I would hope at least one of the parties would go that route. There could be differences in structure where they could be more like the UBP in that a secret group run things. (I wouldn’t like that personally, don’t trust it). I actually think the PLP’s infrastructure isnt that bad with a few minor changes here and there. The ideologies could be different. One group could be labour oriented another could be more business minded. A Bermudian version of the democrats and republicans. Maybe a green party, that would be cool. Who knows? Skies the limit.

    Where would it’s views, thoughts, manifesto, come from?

    The people that make up the party I would think. Those who have similar views would now be free to advocate their positions. All options are on the table since it’s brand new.

    Are you saying these ‘alternative’ views exist now in the PLP?

    Of course they do. Just because the members are predominantly black doesnt mean everyone has the same opinion. As I said before the PLP sticks together in response to the UBP. Individual views must be put aside for the benefit of the group. Borrowing from the BIU, United we stand, divided we fall. The big picture is it doesnt serve the collective interests of black people in Bermuda to leave the PLP becuase of idealogical differences. That would provide an opening to the UBP and that is a fate that black Bermudians do not want to go through again.

    Would all whites vote for the new party?

    I don’t know. I would hope so. I can’t see them just opting out altogether. If the UBP and the PLP are both gone they gotta vote for somebody right? And to be clear even though the parties may come from PLP members the politics would no longer be based on race. Truth be told the partieds wouldnt have to come from the PLP but a mix of persons would be required if they wanted to be credible to the public. Too many whites and it will seem like a reincarnation of the UBP and vice versa. Also very important to note is that just becuase the Leader of the PLP and some of the executive who take orders from the leader have a particular view of white people it doesnt mean that that thousands of people who make up the membership feel that way.

    Hope that makes things clearer.

  16. Thanks for the time and input.

    No more questions, I promise you. Perhaps just leave you with one of your statements.

    “Too many whites and it will seem like a reincarnation of the UBP and vice versa”,

    I agree – trouble is they wouldn’t vote PLP as I said, so it wouldn’t take much for some to see it as just that – a reincarnation of the UBP.

  17. I sincerely believe that if whites need to be relevant they need to join the PLP. With no third party available, it is suicide to believe that the UBP can best represent the white man’s interests.

    Until the time comes that a third party evolves and declares it’s intentions, whites will walk the political wasteland in Bermuda.

    One thought is that maybe whites should not be involved at all in the current political process. If the UBP was to disband and whites made a political statement that they will no longer participate in the political process, I wonder what the government would think? Consider the effectiveness of a diminished voter turn out and protests at polling stations around the island…

    Silly as it sounds, if whites are truly irrelevant, then our votes don’t count, and voting for a broken UBP is akin to voting for Harold Darrell (which I did in the last election).

    The choices right now are clear for white people. join the PLP and attempt to make change from a members pov, continue to throw away votes for the UBP, or simply recognize the futility of not having a valid opposition and force the UBP out by not voting at all.

  18. sparxx

    The problem I see is I don’t think you can count on getting a consensus view amongst whites to not vote. Some will see it as vote against the PLP.

    Secondly, I am not sure you can count on the UBP to call it a day!

    Take the last election. PLP 16800 (52%); UBP 15161(47%); Others 67. I forget who in the UBP said it, but “we represent every other citizen in Bermuda”.

    Add to that the recent factors that are alienating whites, e.g. lynch mobs…etc, etc, probable pickup from the PLP vote from thos who are not happy with them, and you have a recipe for potential success – if you are an ardent UBP supporter that is.

  19. We are going through an inevitable period of “our turn” politics. Black Bermudians, despite the failings of the PLP are sticking together and for the next while will continue to keep the PLP in power. The PLP will continue to focus on race because that is the easiest way in today’s Bermuda to stay in power. But within that approach is the potential unmaking of the PLP.

    White Bermudians are now marginalized but not to the same extent as black Bermudians used to be in the old Bermuda. We should remember that. It is easy for white Bermudians to focus on how the PLP has marginalized us but the reality is that we have also marginalized ourselves by failing to join the PLP. We have been pretty stupid.

    The solution is really quite simple:

    1. White Bermudians should join the PLP in large numbers.

    2. The UBP should be disbanded.

    The disappearance of the UBP will leave a vacuum but that vacuum will inevitably be filled. As long as the UBP continues to exist no 3rd party will successfully emerge. In time we will have two black political parties and white Bermudians will find themselves in the enviable position of being the swing voters. If the PLP continues to focus on race it will find itself out of luck when Bermuda realigns.

    In the meantime white Bermudians should speak up and when appropriate demonstrate. The last few demonstrations with strong white support had an impact. So we are not totally marginalized. Even those who the government chooses to ignore have power if they are willing to stand up and be counted. That is one lesson we should learn from our black brothers and sisters.

  20. I keep hearing this “White people should join the PLP” call.

    I don’t get it.

    Most people I know aren’t members of either political party. They ARE, in fact, swing voters. However, it’s become a “Lesser of two evils” thing at the voting booth.

    Yes, in the past, it was absolutely “I would never vote PLP, so I vote UBP.” I’m not denying that.

    But lately it’s more “Why should I vote for the PLP? They don’t care about me or about Bermuda or the law or anything but being in power. The UBP are useless, but at least they won’t actively try to mess things up for us” or “Why would I vote PLP after all the racist crap coming from them?” rather than ANY sort of support of the UBP.

    Believe me, if the PLP wanted to kill the UBP once and for all, they’d buckle down and start doing the job of running the country properly and stop pulling this racist crap.
    You want to see 75-80% of the electorate vote PLP? Get them to do their jobs and stop actively trying to drive white folks away.

    It’s really that simple.

    Comment edited.

  21. Slick

    “White Bermudians should join the PLP in large numbers”.

    Alternatively, whites could walk away from the franchise. Don’t vote for either party.

    PLP wins election (will anyway), UBP finally gets the message that it’s time to put the light off and close the door, and a third party eventually emerges from the ashes.

    Whites then join new party as can’t/won’t/not exactly welcome etc, to join PLP.

    The House of Assembly would be a strange place for a while – (no opposition) – but then it’s a strange place anyway – plus the opposition we do have is not effective.

    Struggling to understand why whites would join the PLP.


    None of you Bermudians will be treated equally here until party politics is banned….and until we change the system of governance from the westminster system to the full evolution of one man one vote one vote of equal value.

    This means systemic reform of governance of bermuda to a full democratic society….a bottom up democratic system run be parished based elected individuals that will form a governing council of 9 that are fully and totally accountable to the people…..with the people having full and total voters rights.

    until then there will always be people who are considered to be politically relevant.

    only a corrupt system represents a selected few of a populace….again … political relevance isnt just about race….its also about money…social status…and what your last name happens to be.

    people who keep making this about race are not looking at the big political picture …and basically are part of the problem

  23. UE – There are obviously risks in doing so but with a lack of options, and to remain politically relevant whites should join the PLP and try to enforce change from within.

    Martin – The numbers presented do not represent themselves in the house. It is not that close. You are hoping that discontent with the current regime will swing votes. If anything, it has been shown that the PLP aligns itself in order when times get tough. We should expect no difference from the electorate.

    black press – the only way the changes you speak of happen is through independence. The people have rejected that notion time and again, although I would not doubt that the current government finds a way to force the issue through one way or another.

  24. JMad, I think you misunderstand the point I was trying to make. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that hate does not exist between the races. On individual and institutional levels it most certainly does exist.

    The comments I made were in response to a question that Martin asked and should be kept in that context.

    The point I was making was dealing with the political sphere alone. In that it is not hate for the UBP that keeps the PLP together but more the desire not to return to our recent history is so strong that people with different ideological beliefs will stick together despite their beliefs. I will say that certain individuals within the party are allowing hate to consume them and affect their behaviors. A truly sad and irritating occurence.

    I do agree that white people need to accept and come to terms with their historical legacy so that we can move forward. I personally think its a major stumbling block towards reconciliation. I think the acceptance of history by whites will make it easier for blacks to forgive.

    “At the same time there is a prevalent mindset that all whites are direct descendants of slave owners, which I find quite disturbing.”

    This is a tricky comment because I can hear the counter argument in my head already. By attempting to separate slave owners from other whites it could be viewed as an attempt by whites to shuck accountability as records are few and far between. It kind of weakens the acceptance argument becuase it becomes like only white people whom it can be proven owned slaves should be held accountable. If the white race is to accept and acknowledge the historical injustices they put upon the black race then the whole group should do it. I fear making exceptions will make the acceptance less credible and stunt the forward movement.

  25. Ms Morris

    Did we not just recently have a tooing and froing on “sweeping generalisations” and the problems, indeed the dangers of doing so?

    I don’t believe for one minute that had the records been complete, that we would be in any different a situation than we are now. I am certainly not trying to ridicule, I said earlier that I think you bring credibility to the issue.

    One of the problems of blanketing, is that it will prevent blacks from acknowledging any progress at the individual level, There won’t be any point. With that, comes the white person saying, “well, not much point in ME accepting any accountability then”.

    On top of that, blacks will use individual issues to enforce the blanket.

    Take the Professor Gates issue of late. How many blacks said…”see, I told you all whites are racist”.

    It has no end, it just keeps going round and round, hence Dr Hodgson’s 7 generations and the holding the ‘as yet unborn white child responsible”.


  26. On the issue of race – over and out!

  27. This is a tricky comment because I can hear the counter argument in my head already. By attempting to separate slave owners from other whites it could be viewed as an attempt by whites to shuck accountability as records are few and far between. It kind of weakens the acceptance argument becuase it becomes like only white people whom it can be proven owned slaves should be held accountable. If the white race is to accept and acknowledge the historical injustices they put upon the black race then the whole group should do it. I fear making exceptions will make the acceptance less credible and stunt the forward movement.”

    V, in this same vein, then, those that feel that Black Bermuda are the only ones who need to take responsibility (and thusly fix) the spate of gang violence/violent behaviour are justified by your example. Acknowledgement of past injustices seems to be tied all up in assigning blame and that’s exactly the wrong path to go down… for when, if indeed ever, does it stop. Do we blame half white people? A full quarter of my family is white, some married in but most ancestorally… do I blame them too?

    “To have a better future, you must give up all hope of a better past. ” Nelson Mandela

  28. I guess one response would be to simply not blame anyone, and acknowlegde where we are today instead, and how we can come together to solve problems.

    Yes, a history of segregation, reduced opportunities and decreased education has led to a disproportionate underclass of black Bermudians, who are (generally) those perpeutating gang violence. I’m not sure knowing this actually helps us tackle the problem at all though.

    The only effective way of curbing gang violence is to give gang joiners a better option. That is something we can do, through education, community outreach programs and so forth. Sports, music, dance, heck even debate. White and black Bermudians should get together and offer these services, we certainly have the resources.

    I just think that kind of approach is more helpful than the backwards looking one that tends to be used a lens through which our issues are viewed. It extends to almost anything – housing, jobs, sports – all inequalities have their roots, but we’ll never 100% understand them, and there are diminishing returns to trying.

  29. UE asks,
    “I keep hearing this “White people should join the PLP” call.

    I don’t get it.”

    I think this comes from people like me who have played out the 3rd party scenario in their heads and come to the conclusion that the same people will support the 3rd party as currently support the UBP; and the same people who don’t support the PLP now will continue to be against them. This will allow the PLP to keep on using their race nuke to give them all the power and keep us in the same political dynamic we are in now. I think people like me have come to the conclusion that P, L, U, B and P are just letters and that it’s the malevolent individuals in power who we need to get rid of. I think it’s time we take away the PLP’s perpetual Bennie once and for all.

    The political situation in BDA now means that white Bermudians can make no meaningful effect at the voting booth. If they were to massively infiltrate the party membership, perhaps in a focussed and organised manner as part of a movement for change, they could affect this change from within. They could do this because moderate Bermudians who seek racial harmony and good governance are at least in a slim majority. The only thing keeping the “Our Turners” in the power seat of the leading party is probably vote splitting of moderate Bermudians which keeps the PLP in power and hands the real democratic power (power by vote) to the PLP central committe. Just as moderate vote splitting keeps the PLP in power. The splitting of moderate party members and activists between the two parties keeps the “Our Turners” in a majority in the PLP and leaves them with the power to call all the shots.

    A movement like this could nullify the arguments used by the PLP to “prove” that they are black so any other party is white. Perhaps it could even help to allow constitutional change and political reforms so we can move away from the winner takes all party game. I don’t suggest anyone vote for the PLP until they are singing the right tunes. You can join the party and still vote for whoever you think is the best party/candidate.

  30. Tips, the problem with your scenario is that members of the party hold no real power. The branch committees are the only only ones that can vote for the executive… and for who can actually run in any constituency. In fact, normal membership can attend CC meetings but cannot vote. The system is actually very democratic and does not allow for ‘coups’ such as what you are proposing. All you will be doing, for the most part, is shoring up the party’s coffers.

  31. I agree LiF. I dislike the idea of assigning blame simply for the sake of doing so. It solves nothing and, in fact, mires a constructive conversation in the task of trying to “appropriately” assign. Acknowledgement is a much more healing exercise and allows for movement forward. Seeing the past instead of focusing on it.

    I do believe that understanding the roots of our issues is important but mostly to the extent of remembering what not to do.

  32. I’m not really talking about an overnight coup. I am talking about getting into the branch committees and even the CC eventually. Perhaps the PLP is structured to make this sort of thing impossible inside of 10 years? I’m looking for input from the former/current PLP members here.

  33. Martin, I was only pointing out a flaw in an argument. The issue had to be generalised because it was asked of the entire white group of course there will be differences on the individual level but that’s not what was presented.

    T, I totally get what you’re saying but I’m just debating the points raised. JMad said that whites need to acknowledge the past and on this I have to agree. The fact that there has been no acknowledgement is a sore thumb between the races. That is clearly evidedent. If there is no acknowledgement then what is the alternative? How do we get bridge the distance if there is no acknowledgement? How are people truly going to forgive if you don’t say sorry or acknowledge what happened. I don’t see it as being about placing blame I see it as a beginning point in the healing process. People get their back up when people say “get over it” so what else can we do? I’m open to suggestions cause I really can’t think of anything.

    Tips, even given time I don’t think white people joining the PLP would change much. THey would be met with much distrust for the simple fact that they the majority have never supported the PLP and now that the UBP is politically pointless to flock to the PLP in numbers it would be seen for what it is, a tactic and one that I think would cause more harm than good.

    As for the the party infrastructure executive positions are voted on by delegates at the delegates conference. Delegates are members of branche committees who have paid the delegates fee. There are also alternates who can attend the conference but they cannot vote. Any financial member can attend CC but only branch chairs can vote, I think. Not sure on the last point I’m sure Jon will correct me.

  34. Tips, of which I am still one, lol. I would say that according to the constitution, the likelihood of this plan working within even 20 years is extremely small.

  35. Ms Morris

    I think Alsys captured the difficulty succinctly.

  36. Ms. Morris,

    What would you consider an “acknowledgement” on the behalf of white people?

  37. V, see that’s where the problem arises, when you interchange acknowledgement and assignation of blame (apologizing). They are two different actions.

  38. sparks….you are incorrect…..that system existed here in bermuda b4 party politics, and only failed because of the mentality of the people of that era….ie overt racism supported by law etc etc

    we were still a colony way back then.

    the failure of that body of indipendent governing council way back when…..can in no way happen in modern day Bermuda.

    this is y public education on this is required in the form of town hall forums in order to dispell the myths that there cannot be any type of systemic reform in governence here unless we are indipendent.

    bermudians need to stop being chickens….stop putting these meaningless political parties over country…n grow some balls

    (Hope these overly sensitive admins dont censor me for saying that)

    and start thinking out side of the westminster system box.

    We the people can tell the uk exactly what form of governmental system we want…while still remaining a colony!

    i find the people who automatically say theres no way to reform this islands governance are people who for whatever twisted reason, are die hard supporters of destructive party politics continuing in the country…thus repeating the cycle of negative out comes for the bermudian people who have to live under a system that does not equally represent all.

  39. Ms. Morris,

    Frankly, I would fully suspect it to outrage a huge portion of the PLP base, but that doesn’t really bother me at all. It’s not a tactic it’s just exactly what the PLP mouthpieces have been calling for for years. I’d love to see if they’re serious about welcoming whites who believe in the principles of Progressive Labour and reject the UBP. Maybe it could make things worse but from the perspective of someone who is “politically irrelevant” it’s hard to imagine what worse would look like. Frankly, I’m starting to think naked racism would be a lot better than the Black Supremacy in sheep’s clothing we have now.

    Now, if it turns out that the PLP constitution really is set up in a way that prevents the grassroots from having any say, fine, I’ll agree that there’s no point in anyone of any philosophy becoming active in that party. Maybe a 3rd party would be the only viable option in that case but to be brutally honest I am so far unimpressed with most of the ideas for that 3rd party I’ve been reading.

    We need to forget the old guard, forget the race of the candidates and just look within for the future leaders. We don’t need a party we need a Movement with a party attached to it and that movement needs to start with the youth. We need high energy, high quality campaigning with a message that comes from people who can easily float between Rubber Tree, Tamarind Vale and Point Shares. Music and Sport need to play a lead role. Concerts, tournaments, cruises and parties are the way to get the message out to the youth, get newspaper and television exposure, and let the older generations know that the movement can be taken seriously and a vote for a 3rd party wouldn’t be wasted. I am certain that most people would be shocked to discover how much money is out there right now waiting to be poured into a movement that is run by top class, intelligent people with their fingers on the pulse of the island. Show the people with money the talent and dedication and the funds will flow. The posters and lurkers on these sites need to wake up to the reality that those with the talent and dedication include them in no small part.

    Whatever we are going to do, it needs to be done now and it needs to be first class because while many of us including myself have come to accept that a huge segment of our population is irrelevant, it’s time to cease that kind of thinking. White Bermudians are part of a distinct cultural group and we need to have some say in the running of our own country to allow our culture to continue to contribute to the rainbow tapestry that is Bermuda. If we accept being considered insignificant and ignorable, our culture will continue to be eroded and frankly, that will leave little reason for any of us to stay.

  40. I am certain that most people would be shocked to discover how much money is out there right now waiting to be poured into a movement that is run by top class, intelligent people with their fingers on the pulse of the island. Show the people with money the talent and dedication and the funds will flow.

    I’m hearing this quite often as well … from those with the $$.

  41. Good question JMad.

    Acknowledgement to me would mean an acceptance of black existence, experience and reality.

    That is, acknowledge that persons of African descent were harmed and damaged through the actions of chattel slavery in such a deep manner that they are still affected today in many ways and in varying forms from person to person. Acknowledge that the ancestors of the European race inflicted psychological, sociological, physical, and spiritual damage on person of African descent and the ramifications of such have caused varying problems within the psyche of black people. In acknowledging the severity of the damage done then and how it effects our present, recognise that in order for full healing to occur those of European descent must attempt to put themselves in the shoes of black folk and work on reconciliation from a point of mutual understanding.

    I’ve always said I didn’t care to much about apologies. To me the words I’m sorry can be said but it doesn’t due justice to the reality of what happened or the ramifications of. I just want real understanding. I want white people to see black people for who we are in the context of our history and be sensitive to that. At the same time this is something that black people as a whole can use as well. It’s no secret that due to our history some of us have trouble believing in ourselves.

    I think if black folks feel that white folks actually understand where they are coming from then walls can come down and bridges can be built.

  42. Tips, wow.

    I’m typing and deleting words because you’ve said something that has really thrown me for a loop. The comment being: “Frankly, I’m starting to think naked racism would be a lot better than the Black Supremacy in sheep’s clothing we have now.”

    I understand the comment comes from a place of frustration but at the same time it also comes from a place of unenlightenment on the true nature, affects and behaviors of racism. If you think this “Black Supremacy” as you call it is bad, “naked racism” would be a hundred times worse as its not about just shutting you out of certain circles but also the destruction of one’s spirit.

    In my previous comment I wrote on how important it was for there to be understanding of the past and how it affectected black people; I think your statement proves that there is much work to be done. Racism can never be allowed to return to common practice in any shape of form, even if it is reversed. No one should have to go through that.

    I do like the idea of a movement started by the youth in the interests of Bermuda. We need to start fresh and young people do need to be involved for it is our future that we would essentially be creating. I could really get behind a project like that and all the things that could follow. The question is what unifies us? What would be the thing that connects us together and grow momentum for a movement. That is where we need to start. Suggestions anyone?

  43. […] the scene and allow for an evolution of Bermudian politics. In particular this has sparked some discussion over at Bermuda JEWEL, as well as this piece from 21 Square. This discussion also comes at the same time as particularly […]

  44. Ms. Morris,

    Racism already has been allowed to return to common practice. No not the same as it was before. I would never cheapen the experience of black Bermudians by suggesting that. If you think that many white Bermudians (particularly younger Bermudians) are not already experiencing attempts to destroy their spirits then I guess we might both need some enlightenment. I always thought that the racially motivated beatings, robbings and racial slurs many of us endured growing up were common knowledge but maybe I was wrong.

    I sincerely doubt “naked racism” would be a hundred times worse than what we have now but then again that’s an undefined term that could have a totally different meaning to you as it does to me. In my opinion we are either already there or barely a hair away in a lot of areas. I just mean that many people might stop pretending we are somewhere that we are not and perhaps with a little more honesty and clarity we could finally begin to move forward. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have a desire for us to go there, but I’d hardly be bothered by seeing the racists coming out of the closet if it’s part of a process that allows for us to identify the behavior and move to eradicate it.

    I think the things that unify most of us are:
    Abhorence of philosophies of racial supremacy/inferiority.
    Desire for poltical reform along the lines of proportional representation or direct democracy.
    Desire for Educational Reform including a restoration of technical secondary education, massive increases in school discipline and at least some form of tiered secondary education.
    Desire for ethical governance.
    Desire for radical improvements in the quality of law enforcement.

  45. As per the topic….YES.

  46. “I do agree that white people need to accept and come to terms with their historical legacy so that we can move forward. I personally think its a major stumbling block towards reconciliation. I think the acceptance of history by whites will make it easier for blacks to forgive.”

    IMO, most whites already have accepted the sins of their ancestors’ past. If blacks cannot accept that statement, then exactly what do whites have do to “make it easier for blacks to forgive” us. I have yet to receive a practical answer to that question. Also, what can we all do to stifle the growing nasty racism in some plp ranks…?

  47. Man Tips, absolutely awesome, thought provoking piece.

    From your first sentence though I could see we come from different viewpoints. And that’s cool, becuase that’s reality. It’s like that movie, who’s name escapes me at the moment but was about an assassination attempt from 8 different viewpoints. I think it was set in Italy, the Vatican to be precise. Anyways, you say “Racism already has been allowed to return to common practice.” I say when did it ever leave? It’s changed form most defiitely but never left. I sincerely believe you when you say you’re not trying to cheapen our experience I just think we view the experiece differently. And that’s ok. Really it’s to be expeceted, right? So now it’s about accepting that we have different views of the same event and allowing both our views of the world we live in to be broadened by seeing through the others lens.

    I do not think that white Bermudians do not experience any of the things you’ve spoken about. I’ve seen it for myself. I do think however it evokes different things in different people as you pointed out with the difference between yourself and your sister. “Naked racism” to me brings up a lot of different things. In addition to being made to feel inferior or not a part of society, there are the physical, psychological, and sociological pains. These things cannot be separated from the history they are what makes racism what it is. I share my thought process because I want white people in general to have a fuller understanding of where the emotion in regards to racism comes from. I think too often anger is the only feeling that is attributed when it’s truly deeper than that. There is sadness and a joy too from having endured.

    Since my definition of “naked racism is not the same as yours if you give me your definition I can comment on that and have a better understanding of where you are coming from. I do think however, that in general Bermudians are a lot closer than we are apart. I just think that a few people with a divisive mentality have taken over some (not all) key positions of the PLP and resultingly the leadership of Bermuda and using their position and access to media to forward their beliefs and make it seem as if more people are with them than against them. While I am sure there are those who follow that line of thinking there are more people like Janice Battersbee and myself who disagree.

    I wish it was easier to identify racist people and deal with them but that is not the case. It becomes even more complex when persons don’t even realise they are being racist. (In reference to the letter to the editor I read over the weekend) It’s a hard topic to broach and many different roads to fix it.

    As frustrating as it is, as circular as the conversation can sometimes get (I think that happens when no one acknowledges the another persons viewpoint) we push on and have the convo anyway. Why? Because we can’t leave it alone. We can’t allow racism and racist behavior any rest, and that’s why in acknowledging the things that divide us we also focus on the things that unify us. Thanks Tips the list is great. This is what happens when we push forward through the muck, this is why we keep talking.

  48. Starman,

    You say that most whites have accepted the sins of the past I am asking how have they done that? I haven’t seen, heard or read anything to give that indication. The response on this blog alone is mixed at best. Maybe I missed something, can you please clarify what you meant?

    what do whites have do to “make it easier for blacks to forgive” us?

    One of the things that comes up often in articles and books is that white people do not come to the table. A lot of experts say that it is now in hands of white people to come to the table “get out of their comfort zone” and meet black folks half way.
    Another way of putting it is black folks are more readily willing to talk about race and race relations than white people who rarely come willingly or broach the topic themselves. Once we are at the table then we can make some headway.

    At the same time this forum is a bit like being at the table so we’re getting somewhere.

    I guess this is another one of those situations where black and whites have 2 different views. What do you think the middle ground for that should be?

    You ask what can we do to stifle the “growing” racism in some PLP ranks? I don’t believe that it’s growing. There are those who feel one way and those who feel another. Unfortunately those with the negative message have the greatest access to media that allows them to voice their opinion. Maybe its my more optomistic side coming through but I urge you to ignore the hype.

  49. “Starman,

    You say that most whites have accepted the sins of the past I am asking how have they done that? I haven’t seen, heard or read anything to give that indication.”

    Ms. Morris,

    Thank you for your definition of acknowledgement I requested earlier. Now my question is how do you expect whites to show that they have accepted the sins of the past?

    I know that within my generation it would be very hard to find an individual who argues against the negative impacts which still endure amongst the black community due to slavery and subsequent segregation. We all acknowledge the impact it has had on both races.

    Cab you therefore please explain a little further on your below two comments so I can gain a greater understanding of your pov:

    “You say that most whites have accepted the sins of the past I am asking how have they done that? I haven’t seen, heard or read anything to give that indication.”

    What exactly are you looking to see, hear or read to confirm this acceptance? The only thing I can think of is an apology, which you have already stated has been pointless. What are you looking for in the form of tangible evidence?

    “A lot of experts say that it is now in hands of white people to come to the table “get out of their comfort zone” and meet black folks half way.’

    What does that mean? What is half way? And what are whites supposed to bring to this rhetorical “table.”? Apologies and/or acknowledgement are about the only thing I can think of. But what exactly does that solve? Is that enough for the black community (acknowledgement/acceptance by white people)?

    As per your last paragraph this is where there is a big divide. The language used by the current PLP administration and a few party stalwarts makes it very hard to see this “optimism” that you speak of and the lack of condemnation from the moderates only fules the “anti-white” perception of the PLP and helps to further drive the wedge even further especially in light of my generation. It has to stop as it affects every level of our social and economic well being. But even my most optimistic side tells me that won’t happen anytime soon unfortunately.

    Thanks for your input and replies to my above queries.

    Here’s to being irrelevant in your own country:)

  50. JMad, I hope this helps.

    “You say that most whites have accepted the sins of the past I am asking how have they done that? I haven’t seen, heard or read anything to give that indication.”

    The thing I want the most is true understanding because I believe that once that happens a lot of other things like racial discomfort, racism, and racial misunderstandings will be lessened. Unfortunately I can’t say that we have that. That’s what I haven’t seen, heard or read. When we can take what has been disussed in this conversation on the general level and see changes applied on the individual level then we will know we’re really getting somewhere.

    To make it clearer, it’s like this. Understanding causes fear to dissipate. I want white people to understand that black love, embracing one’s African heritage, or being pro-black does not mean by default that you hate white people. It means that one celebrates and loves their culture, and sees the need to share that message with others. Black people need more of that really. It helps us heal and be better. Slavery and segregation taught us to hate ourselves. Years of negative messages seeped into our collective consciousness or psyche and now we have to rebuild our self-concept.

    What makes the process harder is that in celebrating ourselves we are met with resistance. Resistance from whites because they are uncomfortable and fear revenge. Resistance from blacks who still have that self-hate within them. I guess what I’m asking of white people in particular is allow us to love ourselves, embrace African history, give our POV equal weighting ie. don’t be so quick to say how we view something is wrong, try to see a story from where we are coming from. By ignoring us, overlooking us, seperating yourself from us, and not supporting the education of us on us, is it that big a stretch to see why some blacks might feel that white people have not acknowledged or accepted the past?

    A lot of experts say that it is now in hands of white people to come to the table “get out of their comfort zone” and meet black folks half way.’
    What does that mean? What is half way? And what are whites supposed to bring to this rhetorical “table.”?

    To me it means embrace us. Go places where we go. Come to us like we go to you. Something that always stuck in my mind growing up were school fairs. MSA and the Berkeley always had fairs but I noticed as a child coming up was that there would be mixed groups at MSA but none at Berkeley and it stayed liked that even while I was in high school. What are whites to bring to the table? That’s easy. Yourself. Be open to us just as we’ve been open with you.

    While optimism fuels me to move forward, more than anything I am a realist. Don’t think that the bulk of the membership are happy with what certain leaders have said and done. There have been setbacks and disappointments but it’s far from over. Like I said before don’t believe the hype. People are still vexed and they are still working to get brown out. What he has done has assaulted the sensitivities of many on a deep level. This battle isnt over, so don’t lose faith yet.

    Quick question, JMad how old are you? You don’t have to be specific, you can give me a range. It’s just that you mentioned your generation and I don’t know which generation that is.

  51. @sparxx

    I can only shake my head in wonderment at your continued calls for white Bermudians to join the PLP. I think this just shows a lack of understanding of how many (most?) white Bermudians feel about the PLP.

    The analogy I’m about to make is admittedly somewhat overblown, but I’m hoping that it will introduce a little reality in this discussion.

    Asking white Bermudians to join the PLP is kind of like asking black people to join the KKK.

    Yes, I concede it’s overblown – but I granted as much before I said it

    Sure, I know what the response is going to be – ‘But the PLP is open to all people, irrespective of race’, blah, blah, blah. And some of my best friends are Jewish, too.

    There is a long list of _actual events_ which put the lie to that bogus rhetoric. When people like Ms. Foggo and Mr. Bean, who hold high office in the party, say the kind of things they said in the last election – and do not suffer any _real_ consequences as a result – that speaks a lot louder than any words.

    When another high official responds in an offensive manner to a voter’s email, based on her race, and nothing substantive happens to them – that speaks a lot louder than any words. And the list goes on an on.

    Yes, there are many good people in the PLP who are probably disgusted by some of this. But there are also clearly a lot who support and/or condone this kind of thing.

    When people start actually paying a price within the PLP for this kind of thing, then I might pay attention. Until then, if it walks like a duck, it is.


  52. white people need to put their support behind systemic reform and banning of all political parties

  53. “what can we all do to stifle the growing nasty racism in some PLP ranks”….

    Starman, maybe start at home, the stop doing it too others of your own background, genetics, et al.

    Maybe if you spent more time worring about relative things instead of stirring a pot and worrying about ‘spallin’ we could make progress.

    # 19.

    Gotta run…Eyels of Cahpree await me.

  54. Political parties are systemic?

    To a degree they are part of the system. To ban them would be like Korea et al. Jonny five can jump in any time and show us and tell us how and why the great nation of Russia has fallen apart and how the sibblings have been overun by promises of cordiality by other foriegn powers.

    The family I refer too cut of the tougnes yet call out for throat surgeons.

    I need a rum….

  55. “..being pro-black does not mean by default that you hate white people.”

    You may not hate white people, but it means that you see a difference between people based on skin colour.

    I do not see how you can cure racism with more racism.

  56. Galt, it is important to understand what racism is if you want to engage constructively in this discussion or any in which it comes up. There is a list of terms and definitions that Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB) has produced recently that might be of help. If you or this site’s management are interested the President of CURB would be happy, I’m sure, to send you a copy.

  57. “1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others……”

    So can we agree that racism is judging an individual, not by his / her own character or achievements, but by judging them on the character and achievements of a group of people defined by race?.

    How would you define racism?

    to which you constuctively replied,

    “Gadt, I will not provide a definition because I don’t think you would agree with it based on your interpretation of the definition you provided. We would simply have more back and forth….”

    I think it would be a very constructive exercise for there to a be a thread where we can all debate the definition of racism,

    On a side note I do not like how you imply that someone doesn’t understand an idea or is unable to “engage constructively” in discussion because they do not share the same view as you . I would like an apology.

  58. JGalt, I would ask you to re-read my comments. When taken in proper context you will see that the entire statement was about black people loving being black and gaining a sense of pride in their heritage after having so much negative things linked to their heritage and culture. It’s not a black over white thing at all. How white people interpret black people loving and or supporting black people is another thing.

    “You may not hate white people, but it means that you see a difference between people based on skin colour.”

    To be blunt there are differences between black people and white people. To notice the differences doesn’t make one racist it just means that they have eyes. To make judgements about people because of those differences is racist.

  59. Mr. Morris, you have just made judgements. Are you a racist?

  60. “On a side note I do not like how you imply that someone doesn’t understand an idea or is unable to “engage constructively” in discussion because they do not share the same view as you . I would like an apology”.

    It is virtually impossible to have a constructive conversation about apples if someone insists on
    seeing them as oranges despite the common understanding of what an apple is.

  61. Frances,

    I gave you an example of an “apple” and you refused to provide your example of an apple or orange.

    Can’t you just say what you think racism is? If you had done that on the previous thread we could have avoided all of this.

  62. “To be blunt there are differences between black people and white people.”

    What are the differences?

  63. I think Francis is seeing what they want. It is quite obvious by the remarks and verbage they make.

    Constructive conversation has nothing to do with apples and oranges. It’s a perception taught too you and that is why the tree bears no fruit Francis.

  64. I really do regret getting involved in this conversation. My intention was to offer a source for
    clarifying what racism is that is not my personal view, yet people choose to interpret even this in a way that suits them.

    Ms Morris, you have done well. Cheers.

  65. Rummy I’m lost what judgement did make? Oh and its Ms, Mr Morris is my dad. 🙂

    JGalt, of course there are always exceptions to the rules but there are some things that are noticeably different along racial lines.

    Skin color is of course the most noticeable but even that isn’t reliable. I myself have mistaken two people who identify theirselves as black as white.

    Medical stuff. Black people are more likely to have sickle cell anaemia and less likely to get skin cancer.

    History and Culture. The story of persons of African descent is different to those of European descent. It shapes who we are as a people and how we express ourselves.

    Again, being aware of these differences does not make one racist. They are facts. It is when one makes judgements on people because of these differences that whether they are racist or not can come into question.

  66. Excellent Ms. Morris.

  67. “History and Culture. The story of persons of African descent is different to those of European descent. It shapes who we are as a people and how we express ourselves. ”

    Just a question, if History and Culture shapes who a person is, Why is it wrong to hire or not hire someone based on that?

    For example if want to hire someone who is less likely to be arrested for a violent crime, why can I not look at the history and culture of a person to help me decide?

    Or based on your earlier comment

    Why can I not look at skin colour and be more, say pro white and decide to rent an apt out based on that?

    How about deciding to support or not support a store based on the skin colour of the owner? Is that wrong?

    You seem to be saying that race is real and there are differences between people of different races. Is that correct?

  68. There are tides Mr. Galt. There are also very strong ‘eddys’.

    A risk one takes when swimming or associating with sharks.

  69. “Just a question, if History and Culture shapes who a person is, Why is it wrong to hire or not hire someone based on that?”

    Because history and culture has nothing to do with what’s on a person’s CV.

    “Why can I not look at skin colour and be more, say pro white and decide to rent an apt out based on that?”

    Truth be told, if it’s your property you can do what you want but don’t let the Human Rights Commission find out. There are laws against that.

    “You seem to be saying that race is real and there are differences between people of different races. Is that correct?”

    I think I was pretty clear in saying that there are differences and I outlined what a few of them were.

    JGalt, I’m trying to understand your posts. Do you think its ok and fair to judge people by skin color or ethnicity alone? Are you truly seeking clarification?

  70. “Because history and culture has nothing to do with what’s on a person’s CV. ”

    I think only a very few individuals get a job based on the CV, the interview is to make sure the person is a correct fit for the company. By what you have written, I think you are saying the interviewer is not wrong to allow a person’s group history and culture to factor in to their decsion on hiring.

    I think it is irrational to judge an individual based on the colour of their skin.

  71. JGalt you are very incorrect if you believe that I think an interviewer is not wrong to judge a person based on skin color. On the contrary I believe the opposite. I would think that wuite obvious from my post.

    Being that you and I both believe it is irrational to judge a person based on skin color, what’s was with the line of questioning? I’m just asking cause it kind of seems to suggest that you believe the opposite. Hence why I asked you if you believed that it was wrong. Just trying to understand your process.

  72. I offer this as a relief from relentless resistance:

  73. Hello Frances – and indeed anyone else who might want to chip in…

    I wonder if it would be helpful to add a couple of points re: whites, slavery and the wider issue of ongoing discrimination. You’ve probably heard them before, but I thought it was worth putting them up.

    1) I mentioned earlier about the problems of ‘sweeping generalisations’. For example, if I was to say that ‘blacks are not intellectually bright’, you would rightly be offended.

    By the same token, therefore, when blacks say ‘whites are racist’, it is a problem to us. Firstly because not all of us are racists, and secondly because of the ‘my ancestors were not involved so why should I be labelled a racist’ syndrome.

    I can see that the use of that phrase ‘whites are racist’ is the strongest and perhaps only way of dealing with the issues if you are black, if only because you cannot identify the individuals in all cases and you are left with no other way. But it brings about ‘switch – off ‘ for white people. And I would have thought that was the very last thing you would want.

    2) White slavery existed as you know, although I sometimes wonder if black people know the extent of it; into the American colonies for example. It is generally held (I believe) that there was a significant difference between black and white slavery, what Thao Dill labelled ‘dumbing down’,

    One of the problems white people have is the fact that – despite any differences – black people do not accept (or appear to accept) the enslavement of whites over the centuries. It’s as if to do so, muddies the waters and takes the eye off the ball.

    3) In so far as Bermuda is concerned, one view is that we have a white population that is ‘feeling uncomfortable’. Well – to be honest – I don’t see that anywhere. But for a minute – let’s suppose they are.

    Do you think that the best launching point for getting whites to ’embrace us’ (as Ms Morris mentioned) is while whites are feeling uncomfortable? Personally I do not.

    We need to find a different formulae. Regretfully, I don’t know what it is.

  74. @ Ms. Morris

    [i]The story of persons of African descent is different to those of European descent.[/i]

    First, I think it’s important to recognize that that is a generalization, and is not true of everyone with the requisite skin colouration. E.g. one member of our living-group when I was at uiversity was ‘skin’ black, but not ‘culturally’ black – if you didn’t look at his skin colour, in all other respects he was indistinguishable from the rest of us.

    Second, the whole concept of black ‘culture’ (always remembering, of course, the prior point) is one I don’t think gets enough attention, and I think that that deserves a lot more exploration. It’s a truism that Jewish people have been successfui out of proportion to their numbers because of Jewish culture, with its insistence on (and respect for) learning. Is there something similar with black ‘culture’, especially in Bermuda?

    (I should say that my sense is that if so, it’s but one thread of the causes for the current situation among many black Bermudians, e.g. in school results. Although Larry Burchall has somewhat famously highlighted the seemingly inexplicable _decline_ results at Berkeley over the decades, I still don’t think we all have really understand why that happened – and my sense is that we should make every effort to understand why, because I suspect that that situation at Berkeley is, in a microcosm, the situation that ails a lot – but not all – black Bermudians today. I have my theories on what factors are behind that decline, but that’s for another day.)


  75. @JGalt

    “if History and Culture shapes who a person is, Why is it wrong to hire or not hire someone based on that?”

    Because everyone is an individual, and
    statistical truths, even if true, don’t necessarily apply to a particular individual. (E.g. my living-group friend, above.)

    At the same time, to the extent a given statistical statement about a group _is_ true, I think that’s fair grist for a sociological/political discussion – i.e. not in the context of a particular individual.


  76. Martin, Thanks for your invitation.

    1) First of all I have not heard black people making the absolute statement that “whites are racists” and if they have, my response is that it is a gross generalization and reveals a lack of awareness in them. Also, what is the context? To be called a racist seems to be something that people most fear and react to. Those who say it may take pleasure in pressing a button they are guaranteed to get a reaction to. Why get defensive about it if it is not true of you (meaning anyone) individually? There is no need to respond to anyone that puts that label on you. That someone says white people are racists does not make whites racists. There was a time that whites, in the main, were racists and those who were not had to act as if or experience the consequences. That is not to say that there are not white racists among us now. I think a way to conquer the worries about being called racist is to welcome it. At the very least if it causes a person to think about whether he/she is or not, what harm is done?

    2) To your second point. Most people regardless of race are ignorant of the true extent of slavery in all of its forms in the western world and globally despite there being much written on it. I’d love it if we would all get involved in reading. There are three books on the subject I can recommend that are most absorbing: The White Nile by Alan Moorhead, The Life of Olaudah Equiano authored by himself, Up From Slavery by Booker Taliaferro Washington, and our own Mary Prince authored by herself, are a few for starters. I think a book club would be most useful so that we could use them as points of discussion.

    2) The slavery of whites as a racial group has no parallel in history compared to the slavery of blacks as a racial group as far as I know. Can anyone site an incidence when there was a large population of Whites that was legally degraded to animal, deemed to have no feelings or morality, no capacity to reason, family and culture destroyed to the point of not knowing his origins? W. E. B DuBois wrote that American post slavery resembled pre-industrial England in that every effort was made by the ruling class to prevent the poor from rising up into full manhood. I agree with Theo that when some white people respond with the argument of white slavery the intent and effect is to “dumb down” or marginalize the Black experience. It is usually used as a defense mechanism. That is not to say that the brutality of whites upon other whites deemed to be “less than” was not devastating. It takes much study to understand the depth and breadth of this business to know how it was practiced in different places. Whites , whether they were engaged in the practice or not have been negatively affected by it. It is up to whites to actively take the steps toward removing these effects from our collective consciousness. Blacks are not separate from this collective consciousness. We are all in this together. There is a thing called Karma which means something like accumulated debt of experience in Indian philosophy which has it parallel in western religion. We are all familiar with “the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son.” This should not be interpreted to mean that the son carries the guilt of the father. It means that he inherits the negative effects (as well as the positive) and has an obligation as a human to clean up what does not serve humanity so that he does not have the guilt or burden of carrying it forward. Blacks also have their work to do.

    3) I am disappointed that the Big Conversation got off to a rough beginning and had the effect of shutting down Whites, but what is done is done. If people are uncomfortable now (this includes also Black people) then now is a good place to start from. It always is. I have also encountered many whites who report that they are uncomfortable. So let’s say I’m uncomfortable right now. Who else but me is in a better position to ask the question “why am I uncomfortable?”. Rather than deny the discomfort and transfer it to who I might think is to blame (ie, Dr. Brown, Rolf Commissiong), get in touch with the feeling. The problem is that often the feeling is guilt or anger and people don’t know what to do with it. Both emotions are not necessarily a bad thing in themselves, they are useful tools to moving toward dealing with an issue that would rather be avoided. It’s normal and human. If you want to get past the discomfort it is necessary to go through it. Let me say that I do not think it is necessary for people to feel guilty. No, not at all. But if that is what is felt then it is best to ask again what it is that you feel guilty of or angry about. I do think that both Blacks and Whites need help navigating the internalized thoughts and emotions that by now have formed into undefined obstructions from not having been addressed properly. One remedy for this, Martin, is to request assistance from the BRRI, CURE and CURB.

    There are other tools: reading, attend the lectures hosted by the BRRI, CURB, and others. the atmosphere has changed. There is one tonight by Dr. Quito Swan; at the Methodist Church on Church Street . The topic is Abolition to Garveyism. Knowledge is not only power but it can be a path to recovery and healing.

    With regard to what to do? See suggestions mentioned above and address the inner resistance. Fear is everyone’s worst enemy. It is almost always greater than reality. Allowing fears and other people ‘s opinions to be barriers to engaging more fully is to be resisted. Again read, read, read and listen listen, listen and talk with people who are willing.

    The dysfunctional systems and defective consciousness that created the inequities in our world have to end…as soon as possible. we cannot afford to carry on this way. I have a question for all readers. What world do you envision for the year 2020? If you had the power to create it what would you do to make it happen?
    Would it be a world in which it is a reality that the same opportunities and basic needs are met for everyone regardless of racial or cultural background. If it does not, why not?

    New suggested formula: A) See me as you. B) There is enough resources for all of us if we share.

    Old formula that we have been using for centuries: A) You are separate from me. B) There is not enough to go around.

  77. Because it’s discrimination Mr. Ph.D .

    Hello……………Anyone out there at MIT?

    Lord save us………….

  78. “I’m just asking cause it kind of seems to suggest that you believe the opposite.”

    Strange cause that’s what I thought about you. You say racism is wrong, but state you believe that there is a difference between “Whites and Blacks”, You mention being pro-black, I can’t help but think that is racist as well.

  79. Thanks Frances…

    Much to read and digest – will do so.

  80. Frances…

    You might find this interesting. Often when searching for white slavery info, it has the tag “forgotten slavery”.

    It remains to this day, something which is not discussed in the countries that were responsible. Hidden from view.

  81. Thanks Martin. Our own Dockyard was built by so-called “convicts” from England along with African slaves. The truth is many of them were kidnapped from the streets of London and in many cases taken to corrupt courts to find them guilty of trumped charges. Many were skilled artisans. They were held in nasty rat-infested hulls (converted ships) when not at work and many died as a result of yellow fever and ill-treatment. There must be Bermudians alive today who are descendants of these unfortunates.

  82. I agree the subject of slaves who were white is overlooked, but I’d like to see a really good scholarly treatment of the issue (i.e. well sources, preference for primary source, etc).

    One finds things online like these:

    but I would rather not rely on them as I sense they are written by advocates with an axe to grind, and I don’t know if they are reliable. I mean, they might be basically correct, but I just don’t know.


  83. Book suggestion: “When Race Becomes Real” edited by Dr. Bernestine Singley who partnered with Dr. Robert Jensen to lead the first year of the BRRI in Bda.. I particularly recommend reading Jensen’s piece as he successfully identifies and articulates his own conditioned responses and feelings around race and how he addresses them.

    You can actually hear 6 of the essayists reading from their chapters on the series “The Tavis Smiley Show”. Links to it are at

  84. Boy you just don’t quite trying to push your ‘religon’.

  85. This is so only because you think so Galt.

  86. Noel

    This is a very late entry, but it may help with what you were asking re: scholarly treatment.

    It’s a link to the National Archives in London, and essentially 4 articles written for the Archives on the subject.

  87. Martin

    I appreciate the link you provided. Did you attend the lecture at the BUEI recently at which the two visiting researchers informed the audience of evidence that early slaves were brought to Bermuda from Angola?

    It is curious to me that Adoulah Aquiano, who is featured at the Bermuda Maritime Museum, does not mention any connection with Bermuda in his autobiography. He does mention that there were slave traders from Bermuda who used Bermuda sloops for their trade.

    Does anyone know of other connections between Bermuda and Aquiano?

  88. Hello Frances

    No – I didn’t make it to the lecture. As to the link, I figured it was the closest one could get to an unbiased review.

    I should have thought about the Nat Archives before!

  89. @Martin

    Interesting link, but it’s almost entirely about the African slave trade. I was looking for a careful scholarly treatment of slaves who were not Africans, e.g. the transportation of the Irish under Cromwell, etc.


  90. Noel…

    For white slavery, you have to go back to Wikipedia, in the main. Not so much for the script, but for the references (and links) which are attributed to the script.

    In the main, they do not open up to other web sites.

    As to concerns over whether there is bias, the references at least give you the satisfaction of knowing that the script is reasonably correct. I would have thought!

    I do get the impression reading various references, at least with regards to the UK, that “generally speaking” white slavery is not something that Governments over the years want to talk about.

  91. Noel

    Maybe this helps?

  92. @Martin

    Hey, that’s a _great_ one. Thanks very much for tracking that down for me.

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