Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Time to move past fondness for fairness


Mark Fraser

It is with reluctance that I make this contribution to the discussion which has been foisted upon us by the alleged assertion by Mr Fitz­ge­rald Hinds that he has become aware that certain elements in the People’s National Movement (and, no doubt, in the country) have been expressing the view that Dr Keith Rowley is “too black” to be Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

This writer will point out there is reason to believe that Mr Hinds’ assertion is credible. I am nevertheless to express deep regret that after 50 years of independence from a dominant, white, colonial power, we continue to hold on to what I can describe as be­ing an “old-hat” philosophy which, indeed, if anything, may have unfortunately continued to remain even more embedded in the society at large.

We must recall that this philosophy has had its roots in the paramountcy accorded in Caribbean states to descendants of the white massas who created an “off-white” cadre when they fathered offspring via black female slaves and servants. These offspring were themselves accorded privileges which were superior to those rendered to “pure” blacks. Unfortunately, this “colour scheme” has since extended to the East Indian section of our population where it is not unusual to hear reference being made to the “fairness” of the skin of one Indian descendant as opposed to another.

In general, therefore,

it is clear that mistaken “fairness” of one’s skin,

by itself, automatically

endows one with certain assumed, “God-gi­ven” privileges, inclu­ding employ­ment oppor­tunities and societal privileges,

in Tri­nidad and Tobago.

Some time ago, this writer happened to have made contact with a research sociologist from a reputable foreign university who was visiting this country on a fact-finding mission, which was expected to explore the “secret” for the racial harmony with which this country was purported to be blessed. This was, of course, in deference to the words of our national anthem.

While the “findings” of the mission did not surprise me, however, coming from a white foreigner, they were somewhat embarrassing. They were that: (a) Trinidad and Tobago was bedevilled not only by the broad spectrum of race, but (b) even more disheartening, there was a marked tendency to discriminate in favour of the lighter shades of skin colour. This latter, I must say, supports the assertion reported by Mr Hinds and is, of course, tantamount to saying (and this is the fundamental issue) —that one’s skin and outer appearance are by themselves superior to the inner disposition of one’s heart.

I suspect those who are said to be uttering such unadulterated nonsense about Dr Rowley’s “blackness” are no doubt themselves, like him, in search of political office. I know not neither their names nor the colour of their skins, however, should they approach for franchise, they should be dismissed without any reflection as being manifestly unsuitable for the office to which they aspire.

Errol OC Cupid