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Like many others, I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to watch the much anticipated Black Panther movie, which from all accounts has reignited a worldwide consciousness of the magnificence we possess as a people.
For many years the Israel Lovell Foundation and pan-Africanists alike have worked assiduously to sensitise Barbadians about our African heritage and prowess.
I invite Barbadians to join me in congratulating them for their heroism. Psychologists often speak about positive reinforcement being a powerful tool that can shape a person’s perception of themselves. The same can be said as it relates to the mirror image of who we are as a people.
As a teenager who possessed a sizeable quantity of low self-esteem, I was one of many who were reminded by some adults that we would not amount to much and that our capacity to be awesome was remote. I remember being told that the advanced concepts of physics and chemistry were beyond my capacity and perhaps I might find some purpose in the confines of the woodwork room.
It is clear that this kind of negative reinforcement (self-fulfilling prophecy) continues to be practised by some who should know better. If we tell our children that they are stupid, if we tell our children that they are possessed by demons, how do we expect them to react and to behave? I again would like to remind those whose voices are widespread and whose words bear influence, that words are more destructive than sticks and stones.
So, just like the Black Panther movie has energised the ethos of what it means to be black, let us use words when we speak to each other that will positively empower our collective consciousness as a people and enlighten us as individuals to be all that we can be.
I remember whispering in my children’s ears as they slept. I told them that “there is no limit to what you can achieve, other than the limit you set for yourself”. I am grateful to see the wonderful effects of that positive reinforcement.
– SEAN ST CLAIR FIELDS