Posted on

Bruggadung and two-faced Bajans


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Bruggadung and two-faced Bajans

Social Share

EVERYBODY DOES IT.
And nobody objects – generally speaking.
Nobody objects when generalizations are made about politicians. You don’t hear a peep when people generalize about today’s West Indies cricketers. Generalize all yuh want about white people – black people don’t give two hoots that yuh generalizing.
When we say Americans igrant, who quarrels about generalization? Generalize about Trinidadians, about Jamaicans, about the British, about Indians, about Guyanese women – who cares? Tar all men (or women) with the same brush – no one from the other gender takes exception.
And there are no protestations at generalizations about employers/managers.
But let somebody generalize about Bajan workers and people looking to crucify them.  
Seems very convenient to me.Now, I am not condoning hasty generalization – as you know, that is one of the faults of illogic, often called a fallacy.
And for purposes of logic and clarity, we really should try to be more careful.
But let’s be honest: when people make certain generalizations it is usually understood that they don’t mean everybody in the group referred to. That is their way of sayingthat a very troubling number/proportion of the group display the behaviour(s) mentioned.
Of course, it is not true that all workers in Barbados are lazy and/or inefficient. But I find that we miss the point when we nit-pick over the fact that it is not all or it is not the majority.
Don’t we understand the criticalness of critical mass (a worrisome, consequential number)? Do we want all or a majority of workers to be slack before we see it as a problem? Don’t we realize that critical mass could be five per cent, ten per cent? And that when things reach critical mass yuh up de creek? So, I am telling you this: If you don’t know that a critical mass of workers in Barbados are slack, you should make more trips back from Saturn. Dem moons got you loony (if you still understand Earth language).
Every day it ringing in my ears – and in yours – and not from Bruggadung Johnson: complaints about construction workers. Clerks (and, as we used to say, clerkesses). Port workers. Office workers. Cashiers. Lawyers. Doctors. Teachers. Policemen. Nurses. LIME and Digicel workers. Plumbers. Electricians. Mechanics. Receptionists. Security guards. ZR and minibus workers. BWA workers. Roadside weeders (like the ones that a former Prime Minister had to jack up).
MTW workers. Those in Customs and Immigration, who so often give the impression that they vex that you have the opportunity to go away at that time and not them. LIAT workers. And Ihave surely left out some.
The late Errol Walton Barrow called the Civil Service an army of occupation and we made him a National Hero!
Take customer service. A mob-o-ton o’ complaints. Sam Couchie and the Duppy complaining. Tom, Dick and Harry too. All man. Tout monde. Everywhere you go. Every day.When you hear about good service in Barbados, you does nearly get a heart attack.
Then there are complaints ’bout clock watchers. Long lunch “hour” takers.
“Sick” days liars. Birthday absentees. Everybody got stories of third-rate work, lousy work attitudes, lax work habits. Not one story. Not two. Lots and lots. Yet, all the complainers lying? Including you, who have told so many stories yourself, but now saying that it en truethat workers slack?
You think I didn’t hear you? You even talk about how the wet-behind-the-ears university graduates don’t know anything and have unsatisfactory work attitudes.There was even a sign to advertise laziness and /or inefficiency: Slow Men Working (referring either to the workers in the area or to the signwriters!) So, your hypocritical (disingenuous? double-dealing?) slip is showing!
’Cause here it is now that somebody other than you say the same thing, and all of a sudden it en so.
Apparently, it is okay for 270 000 people to individually tell stories about poor workers’ practices every day several times a day, but not okay for one man to say that “we as a people have grown lazy and inefficient”. One-one blow don’t kill old cow no more! Lord, come fuh yuh world, do.
Is it that the statement targets a group (workers) to which you belong, so even if the cap don’ fit you, you must tek up fire-rage?
Bruggadung’s generalization, even with its accompanying narrowness of insight, draws our attention to an iceberg of low productivity, poor/no systems and mediocre management.
Don’t let us hit it and sink because we were more concerned about arguing that somebody – a white man at that (Oh my God! Is that it?) – is making too much about what we are now claiming, incredibly, is only a small piece of ice.
Barbadians would do that, yuh know, ’cause we major on taking offence rather than on facing facts and solving problems.
Lemme see wha’ yuh gine do with that generalization! •Sherwyn Walters is a writer who became a teacher, a song analyst, a broadcaster and an editor. Email [email protected]

LAST NEWS