“Today I do not honor terrorism, reinforce fear or plot revenge. No. I pause today to commit to less violence and more peace. I choose today to be a part of the healing instead of part of the destruction. I remember today that peace begins within and love is an action.”
In George Lamming’s debut novel – In the Castle of My Skin (1953), this famous Bajan son of the soil describe the psychic scars of racism in direct and powerful terms. In The Castle of My Skin he wrote, “No Black boy wanted to be white, but it was also true that no Black boy liked the idea of being Black. Brown skin was a satisfactory compromise, and Brown skin meant a mixture of white and Black… There was a famous family on the island which could boast of the prettiest daughters. Their father was an old Scottish planter who had lived from time to time with some of the labourers on the sugar estate. The daughters were ravishing, and one was known throughout the island as the crystal sugar cake.”
Grantley Adams, a British educated lawyer – who later rose to political prominence as the first Black Prime Minister of Barbados – had an English wife. ‘At that time’ Neville recalled, she was a member of the Aquatic Club in Bay Street and Grantley was not a member, he was a Black man, he wasn’t a member, but she… had that privilege as a white woman to be a member of the Aquatic. And Grantley would carry her to the Aquatic Club, drop her there and turnaround and come back down the road [laughs]. Tell me when you’re ready and I’ll come back and pick you up when you ready to go… He dropped her there. That is your thing. You belong to that club. I’ll put you there, you come back when you’re ready to come, call me and I’ll come back and pick you up.’
It is now 177 years since the Wilberforce Abolition Act of 1833; 147 years since the American Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the 44th years of Barbados’ Independence from British rule and sovereignty since 1966.
A whole new generation has grown up across the geographical, geopolitical divide where overt acts of racism are outlawed and where the geo-spatial markers of segregation are now less obviously recognizable.
In Rajen Persaud’s book, ‘Why Black Men Love White Women: Going Beyond Sexual Politics to the Heart of the Matter’ is a fascinatingly funny, yet illuminating discourse on this critical issue of interracial dating and the identity politics which challenges our notions of “RACE” and it effects on the Black psyche today. We are forced to look at ourselves and our cultural intonations pondering matters of how celebrities from Michael Jordan to Bryant Gumbel to Tiger Woods – high-profile interracial affairs and marriages with no shortage of theatre, intrigue and controversy has played upon us as men. We must ask: Are Black men choosing white women – or rejecting Black women because of SEX? Does the issue of “Race” affect how white male insecurity is the key and at the heart of our understanding of structural as well as institutional racism? Is it more than love that brings interracial couples together? How is fear used to gain power, from sexual politics to global war? And finally, how movies and television keep Black men running to white women through the cultural machinations of the media?
Susan Crain Bakos in a NYPress article – ‘A White Woman Explains Why She Prefers Black Men’… begs the question: “How many white men can treat a woman like a lady and ravish her” all at the same time? She forcefully opines, “Black skin is thick and lush, sensuous to the touch, like satin and velvet made flesh. There’s only one patch of skin on a white man’s body that remotely compares to nearly every inch of a Black man’s skin. The first time I caressed Black skin, it felt like a luxury I shouldn’t be able to afford. I craved it more strongly than Carrie Bradshaw craved Manolo Blahnik shoes. That phrase, “Once you go Black, you never go back” is all about the feeling of the skin.”
She further contends that “I want Black men. They want me. We look at one another and exchange a visible frisson of sexual energy in the lingering glances. And our attraction is based first on race… that deliberate seeking of the specific other makes some people, especially Black women, damned mad… We are what they denigrate and castigate: white women and Black men who choose one another because of our racial differences. They resent our taking their men. Black men are two and a half times more likely to marry a white woman than a Black woman is to marry a white man. Black women can point to that statistic in justifying their wrath. But in truth, Black sisters, we’re after the sex, not the ring and these guys aren’t the marrying kind anyway. Yes, the sex!” Continue reading
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
For Christians like me, Easter is a time of remembrance and reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death as payment for my sins and His resurrection as the doorway to the gift from God the Father: everlasting life through Him.
However for those who aren’t Christians or don’t even believe in (a) God, the words above attributed to Jesus are still worthwhile as a life principle. Whether you believe that the biblical account on the life and death of Christ is real or it’s just a fairy tale with moral implications, the storyline that He willingly laid down His life for mankind so that we could be reconciled with God, is a powerful allegory on how we all should demonstrate our love for one another. It also brings to mind these other words of Jesus on how we should love each other… the second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself” Mark 12:31.
Regardless of your belief or faith or lack thereof, if we applied these principles in our everyday lives in our dealing with others, is there any doubt that the world would be a better place for all? It doesn’t even have to entail literally sacrificing our life for others, but just figuratively laying down our life by sacrificing our pride, ambitions, self-centeredness, selfishness, desires for others… for our wife, children, family members, friends, co-workers, etc. If before we spoke or acted, we considered treating others as we would want to be treated, regardless of what they did or said to us, (laying down our pride or need to be “right”), there would be less hate in our lives.
The simple message I have gotten from Easter this year is the sacrificial nature of love, which although manifested in the death of Jesus, doesn’t have to be based on any religion, ideology or philosophy. In fact, the Nike slogan works just as well: “Just do it”.
“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” Dr. Asa Hilliard
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… and let’s face it guys, this is primarily a day for us men to show the Queens who have blessed our lives, just how much we love and appreciate them. However, I wanted to list some of the subtle… and not so subtle ways… in which she demonstrates her mad love for us. Now I will neither confirm nor deny that I have personally experienced any or all of these situations, but the word on the street is that you know she loves you when:
1. She changes the channel from The Bachelor to Sportscenter when you enter the room.
2. She announces to her family that the last piece of chicken in the bucket is yours.
3. She finds that photo of you and that White girl you used to kick it with, smiles with a “ummm, umm, um”… and then puts it back in the box.
4. She will give you a long, deep “good morning” kiss every so often, before you even brush your teeth.
5. She still fixes you a plate although she is so pissed at you, she won’t even look at you. (Still get one of the kids or the dog to taste the food before you chow down!)
6. She enters the bathroom, right after you had to run out of there because you’d dropped a major toxic gut dump… and put on her makeup. (She may affectionately refer to you as “stank ass” throughout the day.
7. She holds you tightly and cries with you when the Raiders… uh… ahem… I mean your team loses the championship game.
8. She calls you at work every other day to tell you that she’s gonna kill that beetch at her job who’s working her last nerve.
9. She wears your favorite black and red negligé on your birthday, slams down a bottle of Hennessey on the table, grabs you by the throat with one hand, pulls you into her breasts and purrs in your ear that tonight she’s gonna treat you to some “prison love”. (Remember to agree on a “safe” word).
10. She suggest that you, her and her ghetto fabulous but real sexy aunt… the one who is also a couple years younger than she is … engage in a ménage a trois.
11. She sends you a dozen roses with balloons at work for no special reason… just because she adores you.
Something for the fellows!
Something for the ladies!
Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Merry Christmas!