by P. O’Connor to the Barbados Advocate and Barbados Free Press
With reference to the Barbados Advocate article – Straight to the Point: Prime Minister David Cameron should apologise – by Mr. John Blackman in the advocate 30/12/12
I have just read this article whilst visiting the island as a tourist from the UK and I am stunned that a national newspaper from a modern progressive country such as Barbados would employ a journalist with such prejudicial and homophobic opinion never mind put in print the blatant manipulation of a very complex topic such as colonialism. I will explain further but your editorial staff should be ashamed to promote such borderline medieval opinion, Google results alone paint a poor picture of this gentleman’s past rhetoric and his veiled journalistic style.
Mr. Blackman does well to highlight the abhorrent nature of colonialism and the bullying practice, which the west continues to use against its former colonies as well as the Middle East. However he does not seem to recognise that it is as a result of this colonialism that such hatred and prejudices remain. This is certainly something that should not be held onto and celebrated but disregarded along with the emancipation of colonialism. As a developed country one would not and should not patronise you into assuming that you and your readers are not capable of accepting, supporting and understanding basic human rights.
Granted it is difficult to dissect the article it is written in a scholarly tone but that does not disguise the fact it is clearly constructed to direct your readers towards the writer’s homophobic stance. Absolutely no one can justify the criminalisation and persecution (to the extent of hard-labor and death penalties) of homosexuals in the Caribbean and some African countries. To be hetro or homo sexual is an orientation of which we are born life does not make us gay or straight, but an article like this promotes the idea that to be gay is to be somehow morally wrong. Would the advocate promote the prejudicial view that to be born with a disability is wrong? or to be born black is wrong? No you would not.
Cameron should not apologise for promoting basic human rights, or for suggesting that the continued physical and mental abuse of gay people who happen, purely by chance, to be born in the Caribbean or Africa should be abolished. Granted he should not resort to the tactics that are associated with a painful history, however Mr. Blackman and the Advocate should credit Barbadians with a little more intelligence, and moral understanding to recognise that they too would not condone such prejudices to their fellow man or woman.
It is the responsibility of journalists to not incite hatred and as such Mr. Blackman is abusing his position but more over the Advocate is promoting his view placing your publication stuck fast with opinions last seen in the mid 20th century, in the UK it would be acceptable to report such an article to the police on the grounds of inciting violence and your paper would receive a call from the police. Perhaps a homophobic view is in place top down at the Advocate’s offices? I challenge you to print this reply because as a straight married man on the island with my wife and daughter it goes to show you do not have to be gay to be offended by homophobia.
Pull your socks up Advocate and join in with the rest of us its 2013 not 1950.