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2002-09-12 01:04:18

The Colour Line

Editorial from The Nassau Guardian, Sept. 11, 2002

The pre-Colonial era to the mid-1950s and up to 1967 was a dismal period for the black majority in The Bahamas. They went through a time of perpexity that not only thrived on their physical labour but also perpetuated the enslavement of their mental capacity.

That was a dark time for the country, which changed on Jan. 10, 1967 and was solidified 15 months later on April 10, 1968 when the Progressive Liberal Party won overwhelmingly at the polls and put in motion the 25-year reign of Sir Lynden Pindling as the head of government.

In all that time though, and the subsequent 10 years of the Free National Movement and the country's second black prime minister, the mentality of the majority has failed to rise beyond the colour line, with the masses now controlling the direction of the discrimination.

In the 35 years since the PLP toppled the United Bahamian Party, the white membership of the House of Assembly can be counted on two hands. The oligarchy that once ruled has become practically non-existent in the political direction of the nation and are usually quiet about government actions unless decisions affect them directly.

The UBP was the white party but black men were a part of it and sat in the House as UBP members, elected by mostly black men, and in some cases white voters. Prior to the creation of the Free National Movement, a black man was the chairman of the UBP.

The show of racism is on the other foot today and despite it being a tight fit, some people refuse to take it off and ease the pain. There are those persons born after the fact but they cannot forget the stories heard of blacks not being able to go into the Savoy Theatre, the Grand Central Restaurant or the Colonial Hotel. Their minds have been poisoned by the historical hysteria of 300 years of slavery and they see every white person in authority as "the master with the whip."

This is what Brent Symonette, and every white person who aspires to political leadership in this country has to face. Symonette is told that he is a racist simply because he is white and his daddy, Sir Roland Symonette, was a UBP.

That is unfortunate in this time when we claim emphatically to be One Bahamas and one people under God. This reversed racism and hypocrisy is unfair to the Bahamian people generally and particularly that 15 percent who make great contributions to the economic development of the country.

Today's masses are educated people who should be free in mind and body, and can be and do whatever are their aspirations. They must not let repressed racism surface and overpower them whenever it suits a selfish purpose. 

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