Emancipation from race obsession
I am writing this as I sit in the waiting area at Piarco Airport
awaiting my delayed Caribbean Airlines flight to Miami. The
airport is teeming with activity and everyones in a
hurry rushing here there and everywhere.
Dr Morgan Job is moving among the crowd, talking to passengers,
engaging some of them in lively debate. Families hug, kiss
goodbye and wave tearfully as loved ones depart.
Many people seek to grab their last-minute KFC or Royal Castle,
to chow down before boarding, to wrap up and carry on board
to then unwrap and unveil, with that finger licking goodness,
while the aroma wafts through the cabin space. This is our
T&T, our emancipated T&T and this is the land that
You look at the panoply of faces, races, classes creeds and
cultures which just make up this morning mix at the airport
and you realise that we really have a wonderful melting pot
You look at the way people of different races creeds and cultures
can get along and work out their issues quite fine, when freed
from the debilitating influence of some of the politicians,
preachers, pundits and populist leaders who often feed a steady
diet of racial tension and intolerance down the throats of
their followers, in order to preserve their little cabals
They seek exclusivity instead of inclusiveness; they seek
to divide and rule instead of fostering harmony and unity
among the people.
But no matter what is preached, propagated or promulgated,
the essence of the human spirit, the nature of the human condition,
is such that we will always find ways in our private lives
or personal situations, to accommodate, to get along and to
live with each other.
As I indicated in a previous article, the reality of T&T
is that dougla making every day.
The evidence is out there whether we wish to accept it or
not, and in time to come, a significant population group in
this country will be mixed, and hopefully at that
stage we will begin to see ourselves as Trinidadians first
and foremost, without seeking to create these divisions and
lines among us.
The scourge of racial, tribal, ethnic discrimination is so
pervasive that in places like Rwanda, you had the Tutsis and
the Hutus, who for all intents and purposes look just like
each other and yet were killing and slaughtering each other
by the thousands, because they belonged to the wrong tribe.
In India, you still have the caste system which actively causes
discrimination among and between Indians themselves and in
some situations, they even treat their fellowmen as outcasts,
and yet theyre all Indians.
When we look at such situations, we recognise that we really
have all the makings of a paradise here on earth in this precious
piece of land we call T&T, if only we can expand our vision
and focus to become all-inclusive and embracing, rather than
segregationist and discriminatory.
On the morning edition programme this week I heard some of
the organisers of the annual emancipation celebrations make
a very valid point.
They managed to navigate their way around some of the verbal,
linguistic and intellectual jousting with Dr Morgan Job and
made the point that in their view, the emancipation celebrations
should be inclusive of the entire society and should include
all colours, creeds and races and it is a valid point indeed.
We all as a nation should celebrate emancipation. We need
here in T&T to start the process of emancipating ourselves
from the strictures and confines of traditional beliefs and
dogmas which seek to divide and control us into little pockets
of Indians, Chinese, Africans and Syrians.
We need to free our minds to realise that we have the potential
to truly become a player on the world stage and to be able
to show the world what a fantastic nation we could be, drawn
from many streams, flowing in to one river.
But this takes time, it takes leadership and it takes initiative.
It also requires our politicians to have a change of mindset
so that they can change the minds of the people.
They need to lead by example and a very good testing ground
would be the upcoming elections and the silly season which
accompanies it. Can our politicians carry out their election
campaigns, on the hustings, in the heat of electoral frenzy
and battle, without resorting to using race as a factor?
Will they ever mature to a point when they do not have to
raise that race bogey and seek to instil fear among their
supporters, that it is them against us and if you dont
vote for us, then it will be pressure and hell from dem?
Can we as a people mature to the point where, even if the
politicians throw that bag of hogwash at us, that we reject
it and refuse to buy in to that archaic and outmoded type
of thinking, which is so deleterious to the progress of the
The power really resides within each and every one of us,
as to how we meet and treat with these issues, but as we evolve
as a nation, it is also important for us to evolve to a state,
of emancipation from race obsession.