Irish Times: Most Barbados Red Legs have bad or no teeth. Many blind, without limbs.

I’ll leave the discussion on this one to our readers!

Excerpts from the Irish Times article Remnants of an indentured people

“In 1636 a ship sailed out of Kinsale bound for Barbados. Its cargo? Sixty-one Irish people destined to join thousands of others as indentured servants. Photographer SHEENA JOLLEY met their descendents, the Red Legs, who still live there today.

AN ESTIMATED 50,000 “white slaves” were transported from Ireland to Barbados between 1652 and 1657. Having succeeded in recruiting Irish men to die in the services of France, Spain, Poland and Italy, Cromwell turned his attention to others – men and women press-ganged by soldiers, taken to Cork and shipped to Bristol where they were sold as slaves and transported to Barbados. (snip)

Today, most Red Legs have bad or no teeth due to poor diet and lack of dental care. Illnesses and premature deaths due to haemophilia and diabetes have left men blind and without limbs.

They are no longer plagued by the old diseases of hookworm, typhoid, and cholera, but school absenteeism, poor health, the ill effects of inter-family marriage, large families, little ownership of land and lack of job opportunities have locked those remaining on the island into a poverty trap. Even today the Red Legs still stand out as anomalies and are hard pressed for survival in a society that has no niche for them.”

The Peter Simmons Solution to black prejudice against Red Legs: Wipe out the race through intermarriage with black Bajans

Peter Simmons

Peter Simmons, in a report for the ministry of education in Barbados, suggested that a solution to the poverty and stigma of being a Red Leg is better education and intermarriage with the middle class blacks. He wrote: “Born with a brown skin and armed with a basic education, these children shall never know what it really means to be a Red Leg.”

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51 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Race, Slavery

51 responses to “Irish Times: Most Barbados Red Legs have bad or no teeth. Many blind, without limbs.

  1. reality check

    Inbreeding has horrible physical consequences if anyone has noticed some of the white bajans after centuries of inbreeding.

    This is why some of the religious groups such as the closed brethern have looked to other countries for suitable spouses.

    While forced mixed marriages is not politically acceptable, hybrid vigor has a lot going for it.

    There are some amazingly beautiful healthy children from mixed marriages.

    Peter Simmons is partially correct provided the arrangement is encouraged by the larger society and voluntary.

    In several generations from now it won’t really matter as we will all be a shade of yellow.

  2. I wonder how easy it is – coming from a background of impoverishment and isolation to “intermarry into middle-class blacks “.
    As an Irish person who has travelled the world as a musician and met people of Irish descent I have the Irish/Caribbean that seem to be in a mental/financial prison even now after 400 years. Having lived on the Irish border for 20 years I know how attitudes and education can either alleviate or destroy people and families.

  3. cormac cullen

    i watched a documentry on tg4 29/12/09 and to my shock/horror i discovered a most disturbing reality that there exist the direct desendents of the brave irishmen and women who stood firmly against oliver cromwell at the seige of drogheada middle 17th centuary and were shipped to barbados to work as slaves on sugar cane plantations. ireland is renouned for its genourosity to to empoverished peoples the world…how could we not have come to the aide of our own disenfranchised people who are in dire straits.

  4. Sheena Jolley

    I think you have misinterpreted what Peter Simmons said. His is not a solution to black prejudice but rather an alternative to growing up as a disadvantaged poor white shunned by both black and white.

  5. I didn’t misinterpret it I just know from experience that intermarriage is more difficult than it sounds or is sometimes portrayed. Even today one hears people say – he married beneath him or she could have done better. I think it must have been even worse generations ago. I wish the world could look deeper than race, colour, religion and such. The reality is however (obviously) much different.
    The Red Legs should receive support from Ireland if only to support any efforts at education. Always the best door to growth.

  6. Wolf

    Sorry, Sheena! Peter O’Connor is right.

  7. Hants

    The “Red Legs” are Barbadians.They have the same rights and privilages as all other Barbadians.

    Prehaps they need to be assisted in taking advantage of their rights starting with free education to University level.

    Diversifying their gene pool is too complex an issue for me to deal with.

  8. Makaveli

    Like an extremely endangered species they run perilously close to extinction…when I was a child I saw them, they existed, now they seem about as rare as butterflies… Where are they?

  9. Sundowner

    Makaveli
    Drive up through St John you’ll see many.

  10. J

    It’s not at all necessary to marry into the black “middle class”. Marriage or child bearing with the black working class is just fine.

    Rihanna the granddaughter of a “redleg” grandmother is doing just fine. Her white grandmother was/is a sensible woman.

    I heard that she earned $500,00 for her Old Year’s night performance in the Middle East. More of the Irish descended people in St. John Barbados should do the same.

    This is exactly what Peter Simmons means.

    Wait until the Irish discover that Rihanna is one of theirs.

  11. Irish Rihanna?

    Could be! After all, the Irish appear to have discovered Obama’s “Irishness”, with a group singing, “O’Leary, O’Riley, O’Hare and O’Hara, there’s no one as Irish as Barak Obama”. Check it out on You Tube.

  12. george bushhh

    fyi. There were also alot of scottish slaves taken to the barbados

  13. Jen

    Wow! Rihanna is part Irish!!!! hahahah thats funny… anyway @ Peter, I agree with ur statement apart from the comment ‘intermarriage is more difficult than it sounds or is sometimes portrayed’ are u in a mixed marriage? I am, and have to say dont have ANY problems nor do my 2 kids, wonder if its a case of where u live, or if its attitude (to other people), we get looks sometimes but laugh it off…..

  14. Yes I’m in a mixed marriage – With a Dutch woman and though it sounds weird to many who think of Irish as being red-haired and pale, when I lived there in summer working as a house painter (outside) I would go so dark that many thought I was Turkish or Moroccan – I got a LOT of stick because of it – once they heard my ‘funny’ accent it convinced them I wasn’t white.
    More to the point I was never, in 18 years in Netherlands, accepted as one of their own.

  15. KJK01

    What an amazing community and an amazing chapter in human history. These little pockets of diversity should be welcomed and celebrated, not have people making plans for their assimilation. Here is a community that has survived on the brink for almost 400 years, and now people are trying to determine what is best for their ‘survival’. Maybe just leave them alone and stop trying the ‘help’ them. They’ve survived for this long without our help, maybe they know something we don’t.

  16. Eire

    I agree with KJK01. These people should be left alone. If they want to intermarry,then I am sure they will but diversity is what makes this world beautiful. An attempt should be made however to bring their standards of living, health and education up to match that of the average Bajan.. This responsibility does not only fall on the Barbadian government but the Irish government. too These people’s ancestors fought for Ireland and received unjust treatment at the hands of the British. There ancestors should be honored as should their descendants.

    In Ireland we always talk about our disapora yet the part of the diapora which needs our attention the most seem to be receiving very little of it. These people should have the same access to their fellow Bajan or fellow Irish citizens.

  17. 199

    Most Barbadians don’t even know who the Red Legs are!
    Whites general do not make the effort to interact with their Black Barbadian counter parts. These statments sound biased, what do black barbadians know of the whites who live on the island, and how do whites feel about barbadians in general.
    Do the Red Legs consider themselves Barbadian?
    They have discrimnated againist them selves. They choose to live Isolated and to intermarry, as for poor education many families all over the world struggle and fight for education.
    As for marriage with other barbadians they could have tried.
    They could have intergated into society. What have they ever contributed to barbados or barbadian culture! Many disenfranchised groups show, have, and continue to struggle and fight for equallity.

    To me it seems they live like anyother gated community except they are poor.

  18. bajan

    So the solution is to marry middle class blacks? Why do you think a well education black person would want to marry an illiterate white man or women. Are we that desparate for a white partner or brown skin baby. i think not. Barbados has fee education, these people can take advantage of this, just as the black middle class did.

  19. Good for you bajan.
    If anybody wants to help with Irish ex-slave-communities the Irish people – via NGO’s should step up to the plate. As an Irish person who has travelled the world playing Irish music I’ve met many that need a lift – of all colours and creeds. Would that the world were different.

  20. Rhoda Green

    What a valuable lesson for all Barbadians today? Self interest and disregard for our fellowman depletes us all. Succeeding generations bear the historical scars. Barbados’ maturity as a responsible island nation is reflected in how we view those called “Redlegs.” Today’s Barbadian majority has a responsibility to the world community to show that we respect and embrace fellow human beings who suffered a similar fate as our ancestors. Many of those Bajans of Irish and Scottish ancestry call themselves Barbadians and many of us share their blood lines. We are all Barbadians and we should express it how ever we can.

  21. Mark Fenty

    199, I beg to defer, and quite frankly I take offense to such imbecility. Friend you can’t take your individual experience, and unilaterally or arbitrarily painted it broadly with respect to our fellow white Barbadians. Instead of making such broad generalizations about whites in Barbados, I suggest you speak from your individual experience.

    It is fundamentally unintelligible in my opinion to advance such a perspective. Who are you to make such a judgment? Friend my experience is quite different than your. My mother worked her whole life as a helper for several white Barbadian families, and I can honestly say to you, that they were decent human being who respected, and love mother.
    Not to mention that as a young man growing up in the Bush Hall just behind the District a Police Station. Annually the white people would keep their Dog, and Horse Jumping shows. And I must say quite frankly that I have met many white Barbadians who were great individuals at those shows during the years.
    I remembered quite distinctly a young white girl by the name of “Rachel Dean”; her father was a very wealthy man, but Rachel was a down to earth girl. She played and interacted with us who were black.
    So friend, I dismiss you misguided perspective as mere nonsense.

  22. Mark Fenty

    I’m going to state this position without any apology, before the black majority in Barbados find any fault with the white minority. I think that it is important that the black majority take a penetrating view at the way in which their treat each other.

  23. Mark Fenty

    199, With respect to whites living an isolated life in Barbados, one can make the same argument for blacks, as well Hispanics in the United States of America. In America one generally finds blacks congregating in a specific locality, as well as Hispanics, but is it fair to label them all as racial separatist?
    Some sociologists or anthropologists would probably tell you that it is a cultural phenomenon, for people of the same ethnicity to association among each other. So given the fact that Barbados is a predominantly black country, it only seems quite natural that whites would want to congregate with each others, in an effort to keep alive their common ancestry.
    Now don’t get me wrong, because I well aware of the fact the there is racism deeply embedded in the Barbadian cultural soil. But with this in mind, we can’t smear with a broad brush, the collective white population with this frame of mind.

  24. Mark Fenty

    199, I can only guess that you have been raised in the heart of the country, in some isolated locality. Because I think that your militant view with respect to our fellow white Barbadian, speaks volume of the kind of ignorant which is still pervasive within our culture.

  25. Mark Fenty

    I’ve realized that there is a commonality, a universality, which connects us as human being, and is it our humanity. It seems like the idea of race has forever been imprinted on the conscience of the human species. There is an unconscious tendency on the part of some of us, to view almost everything we do through the medium of race. But I’ve realize that the only solution to this “Race Problem”, lies fundamentally in our love, and respect for each other. Dr. Livingston said these irremovable words long ago. He said that, “When we look upon every human being, we must do so with a sense of respect; because our Hearts and Minds are influence by the way we look upon others.”

  26. Duppy Lizard

    @ Mark Fenty – I totally agree with you. Anywhere you go in the world you will find enclaves peopled by the same enthnic or cultural group. We often hear with pride of the resilience of the black people to have survived the ordeal of slavery. As if they were somehow unique in their life experience. However, if you go back through history you will discover that ALL etthnic groups have at one time experienced exploitation and discrimination. The human race is driven by greed and anyone who stands in the way are fair game.

  27. Mark Fenty

    Someone had made a statement not to long ago, regarding the fact that racism still exist in the Barbadian society, with respect to the white and black elements. But that somehow the under- classes of which I state my membership unequivocally, weren’t cognizant of this reality.

    This might well be true to some extent; I’m not disputing this reality. But the fact remains that my individual experience is quite the contrary. Let me categorically state my position regarding this comment. If racism does exist in Barbados as the individual contents, then it is a sad state of affairs for the infinitesimal island of Barbados. I think that it is safe to say that, it is within the interest of both white and black Barbadians, to come together Because our very survival depends on it.

    Worse yet, It could never be more truly said that Racism is moral disease which eats away as the tapestry of civil society, and undermining its very foundation. So with this being said, we have come too far as a nation, to adhere to a mindset which keeps both races in abysmal ignorance.

    Now my mother, a women gifted with a profound insight worked practically all her life for several white Barbadian families. And I remembered quite vividly as a child one such white woman by the name of Mrs. Sergeant, who my mother worked for until her departure to Australia. My mother took good care of several of Mrs. Sergeant’s children, and as God is my witness, to this day her children still reverence my mother with the up most respect as Mrs. Sergeant did.

    However, after Mrs. Sergeant departed for Australia my mother worked for Mrs. Toppin who had owned Toppin Super Market on Roebuck Street. As teenage I remembered going to work with my mother, because Mrs. Toppin wanted some work done outside her home. And as conscientious young man clothed with an acute sense of observation, I was concerned with the way in which Mrs. Toppin interacted with my mother. After hear the horror stories of how white people treated their black servants like slaves. But what I founded was quite the contrary; I recollected quite clearly that Mrs. Toppin treated my mother with the up most respect also.

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s I attended the Roebuck Boys Primary, and saw firsthand white Barbadian interacting on a social level. As a matter of fact in 1980 I worked at Home Center for a short period. (I’m quite sure that this store has long since been out of business.) Nonetheless, I remembered with great affection working with several white older women who were kind and thoughtful lending me a hand when needed. Now it is important to note, that I only knew these white Barbadians fundamentally on a work basis. And what I had gathered for my interaction with them was such; they were decent human being gifted with patience, and decorum.

    In any instance, my time spent at Roebuck Boys was fruitful. I remember during our lunch time going to Cave Sheppard, and observing the many white people along with the high yellow blacks working at the front of the store, but no real black skin Barbadians. I thought nothing of it because such were that standard opinion of the time. Stout’s Drug Store was much that same Mr. Gibbs and his wife run the store with the many white women who had worked there. Some years later my elder brother worked for the Drug Store, and Mr. Gibbs son Barry and my brother developed a close friendship.

    As matter of fact my God mother was a white woman who once owned a store on hindbury road opposite Dean Village. My neighbor for some twenty one years was a white man called Natty Gibson. So when one speaks of racism in Barbados let it be said that it should be done with reference to one’s individual experience.

  28. rastaman

    As a product of a mixed couple,and the experiences I have had over my many years ,up to now, ,I would tend to disagree with you. The friendships work up to a point,but you always will know when blood is thicker than water.

  29. Tamara

    This is actually disgustingly shocking, I just stumbled upon this and knowing this moves me a lot. For any group of people to be stigmatized and discriminated against is hurtful and highlights the worst traits of mankind. I agree that more must be done to support encourage and lift up these people and as much as is humanly possible, enable them to have the same and equally given oppurtunites as much as any other human being deserves.
    But, forcing them to marry middle class black people is neither an acceptable way of dealing with the situation. Its all about installing and restoring education (of their history) and what society expects of them e.g morality, ethics thus bringing about self worth and dignity that will then enable these ‘redlegs’ to consciously start making ‘right’ decisions. By this they can then be intergated into society not being a burden, but by recognition and inclusion they can start contributing positivley to society.
    As the human race continues to progress in knowledge and information we as a people with compassion, care and consideration simply must extend a hand to uplift our fellow brothers and sisters, no one can afford to be left behind, when there is so much potential and oppurtunity to be had.

  30. ricky

    Imagine if someone advocated that Jews marry Germans in order to wipe themselves out through intermarriage, so they couldn’t be exterminated in the Holocaust because they would committed suicide as an ethnic group through intermarriage. That is exactly what Simmons is advocating for the Irish diaspora in Barbados & the Caribbean. White people have a right to, exist and preserve their heritage, culture, AND blood and physical characteristics, just like the black and Asian races. Race & ethnicity are not constructs but are real as family and blood ties that people feel and observe everyday. The Irish of Barbados have a right to exist and anyone who opposes that, like Simmons, should be denounced the anti white racists and anti Irish bigots that they are.

  31. Mikey

    As it stands, directing welfare at these poor people in order to ‘raise’ them up to normative educational and health standards wouldn’t work because they wouldn’t have the genetic capital to take advantage of it.

    Race-mixing is probably a non-starter too – for the cultural and social reasons laid out by previous posters.

    There are only realistic 2 options here. The first is to allow these genetically wounded people to tragically decline and die out. And the second option is the introduction of genetic material donated by heterozygous individuals from the Celtic nations in order to ensure their children are brighter and stronger.

    The latter would also be concordant with the red legs’ genetic and cultural heritage.

  32. Mark Fenty

    @Mikey
    Mikey your argument is predicated upon sheer buffoonery, are you aware of the fact that Asians perform on all levels better than that of the Celtic- Nations. So, run alone with your “Fairytale Reasoning” and try to convince the brainless wonders who see it fit to entertain your kind of imbecility. Who are you to determine what someone should or shouldn’t do? Sir you have shown an egregious insensitivity for your fellow human- being. And your audacious impudicity speaks of a mind still narrowly confined in a common state of ignorance. Thank God that the world in which we live has progressively moved away from your kind of thinking. Sir you need to search for the facts, and stop relying of frozen -stereotypes, and empirical -generalizations.

  33. Mikey

    Dear Mr. Fenty, it would be marvellous if you could debate your fellow man without resorting to histrionics and ad hominem attacks which are thinly veiled in coded academic language with very little in the way of substance or possible resolution.

    At no point did I assert any opinion pertaining to racial superiority, only that it is highly probable that healthy people from Eire are more heterozygous than the red leg population, and that any DNA influx from said healthier population would likely produce more attractive, resilient and intelligent offspring (a widely accepted scientific assertion).

    Pray tell why it’s an ‘egregious’ insensitivity to for me to state that any demise would be tragic? And why offering a solution that is empathetic to the cultural and genetic background of the red leg’s Irish ancestry is an affront to humanity in the way that you claim?

    Finally, it stretches credulity to think a suggested solution provided on a blog by a single poster determines the fate of the red leg population. So may I suggest you dismount your reactionary high horse and cool off before responding again?

  34. Mark Fenty

    Mikey, you’re in no position to impose your private will on others, keep your personal views to yourself, especially when it comes to moralize on other races. Individual of your mental capacity just makes my blood boil. It just amazes me to see how people of your intellectual- caliber think that their have the solution to life’s pressing problems. But I can’t really blame you sir, because with the brain-power of an ant and the judgment of a frog. It is not surprising that this kind of elocution has spewing from the lips of an individual of your intellectual reference. One could well imagine the kinds of principles and convictions that directs your kind of thinking.

  35. Mark Fenty

    Mikey digest this scientific fact, Chimpanzees possessed 97.1% of human DNA.

  36. Mark Fenty

    @Mikey
    Mikey, Let’s deal with the issue of intelligence since you want to test my intellectual prowess.Now, let’s established this fact first, would you agree that factors such as “Environment”, and “Biology” influences intelligence to some extent?

  37. Mark Fenty

    @Mikey
    Mikey, I take offense when individuals much like yourself, use their interpretative extrapolation to intellectually besmeare my character. It
    seems rather disingenuous on your part to judge my sense of intellectual awarness. Based fundamentally on the way I’ve enunicated myself in manner slighly elevated about the level of social discoure. My use of verbosity to articulate what I want to express shouldn’t be misconstrued as a veil of ignorance. Now let’s not talk about me, now with respect to your argument regarding your ill- concieved statement

    Mikey, you have said that you’re not a racist, but I most follow the facts. Your reference to DNA influx sound more like the ideology of Eugenic, which was practice in the 1800s in the United States, and then in Hitler’s Germany in the 1940s to exterminate the Jews. The concept of Ugenic was based fundamentally on a policy to extermine certain segment of the population that was deems less than human.

  38. Mark Fenty

    @Mikey
    Let me state my position categorical and unequivocal here Mikey, If you think for moment that that which you have written thus far is appropriate. Then I must sadly conclude that you’re wearing your convictions and beliefs like a borrowed Raincoat.
    Yesterday, I felt that I didn’t address your Half- Baked hypothesis effectively. So the first point that I’m going to address is the concept of “(Intelligence)”. By definition “Intelligence” (is the faculty of knowing and reasoning). And even child with an unexercised- mind and a limited intellectual capacity can reason to some extent, would you agree? So therefore, Intelligence is one of the abilities which require some development and cultivation.

    Furthermore, even if scientific-reasoning supports the findings that Intelligence to some degree is influenced by “Environmental, and “Biological” factors. I see no evidence thus far to support your Haft- Baked hypothesis that one group of people are more Intelligence than that other. Each and every one of us, irrespective of our Race, Ethnicity, and Culture are endowed with Intellect, and this needs to be cultivated to its full potential. It is only through the collective exercise of the Intellect, and imagination that man has been able to advanced in the field of Science and Technology.

    Now, not to long ago in America of all places, and I’m quite sure that you’re well aware of this fact. It was suggested by some in academia that since people of African- descent weren’t performing that great in the Sciences. That biologically they were missing the essential component of the Brain which enables one to understand science, or it wasn’t fully developed. So sir, be critically careful how you ascertain, and disseminate this type of mendacious information. For example, at one point in American history, and this was during the Institution of Slavery. People of African- descent were looked upon as docile and imbecilic even though they weren’t given that opportunity to develop their intellect. Since our emancipation people of color all over globe has excel in area of academic. Sir Arthur Lewis comes to mind, because he excelled in academic undermine the prevailing racial orthodoxy that blacks were unintelligible he gained first class honors at the London school of Economic.

    Now, the second point that I’ll attempt to address is your unfounded characterization of my academic- stance. Forgive me sir if it appears like I’m stewing in my own self- loathing, but as boy growing up around the intellectual element of the Barbadian society. I came into contact with individuals who articulated in discourse impregnated with sheer verbosity. And I must say in all honesty that this fascinated me. So about the age of twelve I made my desire, and pleasure to memorized the Lexicon from top to bottom. I hope that answered your question regard my elocution of the English- language.

    To address the concept of Histrionic, as you allegedly accused me of. Quite frankly Mikey, it is not a matter of over –dramatizing as you have suggested, but you’re willful- ignorance had aroused some deep-seated emotions in me. Do you honestly think that what you have written thus far is quote, unquote Political- Correct? Now, even if the institutions of scientific learning lend some measure of validity to your Haft- baked Hypothesis, would you not object to such blatant insensitivity towards the poor- white Barbadian of European descent, out of sheer human- decency?

  39. Mark Fenty

    It is just unconscionable in my estimation, for anyone to use frozen criteria to confine a people or culture in a box. I believe that God endowed to every man and woman the Intellect, and Hardwired the wisdom and knowledge around him to cultivate that same Intellect. I also believe that every race or culture brings something uniquely of theirs to the table of humanity. And this unique quality comes from man’s long ingrained experiences, and struggles with his physical environment. There is a saying, “Man is not fully condition or determined, but determines for himself whether he’ll give into conditions or stand up to them.”

  40. Mark Fenty

    Mikey, I hate to admit it, but I’ve notice a measure of intellectual –
    cowardliness on your part, its time you grow a pair of Balls my friend. And as the saying goes, put on your big- Boy pants and defended with conclusive and corroborative evidence the garbage that you’ve written thus far.

    Furthermore, let me be forthright here for a moment Sir. Because indeed, I find no pleasure whatsoever in confabulating on issues which relates to my person. But, since you’ve open wide the avenue of discourse. I’m afraid that I’ll have no alternative but to defend by fact. And not by perception as you have done thus; the hyperbolic concealment of my intellectual stance which you have allegedly accused me of.

    In any case, if you’re around my age as a Barbadian would commonly declare. Then I’m quite sure that you have heard the name Dr. Don Blackman mentioned in the political arena of Barbados way back in the early 1980s. He was one of the Barbadian politicians who confabulated in a manner stretched beyond the intellectual comprehension of the general populace. Well, he is one of those individuals who inspired me with the art of articulation through the medium verbosity.

  41. Well done sir a good, clear and informative rebuttal to some of the earlier comments. You are to be commended for your resilience and fortitude.

  42. My comment about fortitude etc was of course at GR Diener

  43. Jay

    Ireland should bring them back home

  44. David Wilson

    This is interesting, because while there were many Irish sent to Barbados, I believe the majority of the Bajan Redlegs are Scots, shipped out as indentured servants in the 17th century. there is a BBC Scotland doc film about it on YouTube.

  45. mercy

    My grand parents are both black bajans, on various trips to Barbados, I’ve never seen any redlegs or white bajans… I’ve only heard it mentioned to me, i remember a distant cousin told me, I quote “shut up ’cause you lot have Eckky Beckkys in your family” and when I asked my granddad he defined it for me and that was it…

  46. George London

    Mark Fenty, seriously, you write in some of the worst prose I’ve ever encountered; there’s being articulate then there’s being unnecessarily turgid. You sound like myself when I was 15 years old trying to be a smarty-pants by using polysyllabic words. Learn to write, please.

  47. Grandad Keith.

    How many “Redlegs” are there? Does anyone remember the Alan Whicker TV programme about them sometime in the 60’s? His main interest seemed to be their Elizabethan English (!) accents.

  48. Hope

    I have not heard or thought about the term ‘Redleg’ of ‘Ecky-beck’ for years, probably not since Gabby’s “Miss Barbados”. It’s disturbing to know that any ethnic minority within my country – through a complex conspiracy of choice and history – finds itself in such challenged circumstances.

    As a black Barbadian with relatives of all complexions in my immediate family and one who has gone to school and worked with people from all over the world – from Russia and Dubai to Italy and the Phillipines – I am blessed with not having to see the world in shades of black and white if I choose not to. This said, I’m not naive. Growing up in a fairly well-to-do St. George neighbourhood I remember overhearing my ‘white’ neighbour bemoan the fact that another white family in the area (having loud domestic disputes at the time) did not ‘respect their colour’, and I remember my parents’ black co-workers attempting covert ‘drive-by’ visits because they couldn’t believe people like my parent could ‘get so far without help’. Sometimes people look at me strangely because my kids are a few skin shades lighter than I am – I guess Bajans would call my husband’s complexion ‘red’ or ‘bright’.

    Modern racism is not only colour-based – it is also psychological and comes from a lack of self-belief and fears, some justified other less, about one’s economic limitations and social status relative to others. It undermines rich and poor, the educated and uneducated, persons of all races, religions and cultures. Hopefully this young generation of Irish and Scottish Barbadian slave descendants will conquer that the part of racism that is self-inflicted, learn from the past and take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them in our (still) great nation.

    ***

    Finally, let’s not confuse preserving ethnic heritage with pursuing racial/ethnic purity. It’s simply not what nature intended and a dangerous idea with tragic health and social consequences for small communities as we see here. In 2013, I think we can find better ways of preserving our culture without destroying ourselves.

  49. Anonymous

    I’ve designed a cultural flag for the Red Leg community. What do you think? https://sites.google.com/site/threefoldnow/red-legs

  50. Pingback: Barbados Red Legs flag – A symbol of cultural affirmation | Barbados Free Press

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