Bermudian Senator LaVerne Furbert accused of “dancing to white man’s tune”
“(Furbert is) a marionette, a black puppet dancing to a white man’s tune.”
…Larry Burchall in the Bermuda Sun
“(Mr Burchall’s comments are) extremely offensive. I’m not a person who has my strings pulled…
At this stage of my life I will dance with anyone. I don’t care if they are black or white. I just want to dance.”
…Bermudian Senator LaVerne Furbert
Listening to the current debate about development at Tucker’s Point in Bermuda, for a moment I thought we were back in Bridgetown in the 1960’s when the white-flight was in full swing and black racial pride was more about “time for some payback” than building our children’s future.
Things have settled down some since those days, but this week in Bermuda the unwarranted injection of the race card overwhelmed what should have been the focus of the discussion. The debate on the real economic, social and environmental issues fell off the tracks as persons on both sides traded racial taunts and accused everyone else of playing the race card (except themselves, of course).
As we’ve said at BFP for a long time, in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean race is always just below the surface. Sometimes those racial perspectives and an exaggerated racial consciousness combine to hold us back as individuals and as a country.
Sometimes though, the racial awareness alarm bells go off and it’s no false alarm. Whatever their race, many folks would like to think that only the other races can be prejudiced, but that’s nonsense and all you have to do is hold hands in public with another skin colour and watch the faces around you to see what I’m saying.
Thinking back on the history of these fields, you can understand how racial perspectives are embedded in the mind and pop up in the most unlikely places.
Is choosing the colour of your new car a racial issue? Is choosing which tooth paste you use a racial issue? Sit in on some classes at Cave Hill and you might have your eyes opened about how the economy and mass advertising and race and culture intersect as you reach for a particular brand or a certain packaging catches your eye.
Yes, a heightened consciousness of race will be a reality in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean for the foreseeable future, but…
That’s no excuse for letting ourselves become blinded to the really important debate: which is about the proper balance between economic, social and environmental factors as we try to preserve and enhance what we have without starving to death.
And the way things are going in Barbados, if we continue to pave over the whole island there will be precious little to debate about in a few decades because developers aren’t debating: they are paving and our politicians are letting them do it in exchange for “campaign donations.”
And that, my friends, is the race-doesn’t-matter truth.
The Royal Gazette: Furbert hits back at ‘dancing to white man’s tune’ commentary