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THE LOWDOWN: 40 shades of Bim


THE LOWDOWN: 40 shades of Bim

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MANY YEARS AGO a simple misunderstanding landed me in deep trouble. Late one afternoon I had to go to Graeme Hall to check experiments. Then colleague Frances Chandler suggested I take her sister along for the drive.

I was holding a rather large and grotesque zucchini squash. In the growing dark the sister mistook it for something else. March 22 will mark 40 years I’ve been paying for that misunderstanding. Lord have mercy!

So let me hasten to correct another misunderstanding. Last week, I quoted Dr Deryck Murray as suggesting that someone from the white community should apologise for the alleged behaviour of three white individuals towards a watchman during a recent search.

Apparently I misunderstood. Dr Murray meant that the perpetrators should apologise to the gentleman and that, “as the beneficiaries and the ones in whose name the alleged acts of aggression were carried out, the family of the woman who was missing could publicly condemn and distance themselves from any such acts that might have been carried out on their behalf”.

Sincere apologies to Dr Murray. And I fully endorse those sentiments. Deryck and I, by the way, played music together in Guataka for some time. He is the drummer on the Guataka CD, I’m the mandoliner. He’s a genuine person.

Not surprisingly, however, as a pan-Barbadian with no external allegiances, I differ considerably from the pan-african viewpoint. Take Ado’s ado about “two Barbadoses”. Tell me, are there not two Guyanas, two Trinidads, Ukraines, Iraqs, Syrias, Dominican Republics, Haitis, Rwandas, Nigerias . . . you name it? Were there not race riots in England in 2011? Are American blacks not saying race relations are now as bad as during the civil rights era? Even in civilised Canada, don’t the original inhabitants live on reservations while the newcomers don’t?

The two countries phenomenon is nothing unusual. To Barbados’ credit, however, different races have coexisted without the outbreaks of hostilities seen elsewhere. Nor have I experienced anything but friendliness, co-operation and assistance wherever I go. I played in bands for many years at some of Barbados’ roughest venues as the only white person probably for miles around without the slightest fear or worry.

In my experience, race discussions go nowhere. Edward Cumberbatch once held weekly sessions at his home on that very topic. Trevor Rudder and I were regulars, Hilary Beckles, Keith Laurie and others came from time to time. They achieved nothing.

Nor do I think activists want them to achieve anything. If they took every cent from the white people, made Glendairy a reservation and put us there, I am willing to bet activists would complain: “Look how those whites get to live in a gated community! And they can enjoy using the gallows for bungee jumping!” Stoking racial tension from a historical perspective has been “the gift that keeps on giving” and has taken many an activist to the highest corridors.

Thus whites who helped search for a black man are ridiculed as “token” and “elite”. Eighty odd black plantation owners aren’t plantocracy. A “poor black man” can have $20 million in the bank. Daily we see black youths shooting each other, ZR drivers doing foolishness. That is no reflection on the decent majority. But let three white men do foolishness and all whites are condemned. Moreover, those three, one with a piece of rope, constitute a “lynch mob”. Wow!

Let’s move on. Kim Kardashian has revealed that she and husband Kanye West do it “500 times a day”. This is great news. It doesn’t mean, of course, that every woman should demand it 500 times a day. That’s over 20 times an hour. She has to cook. But it does show what is possible.

My Fontabelle spinster aunt claimed one of the Hoad boys did it 23 times one day with a Venezuelan girl. Brother George always cautioned me against such excesses. “Once when you wake up, again while relaxing after lunch, and, of course, the perfect nightcap. That is enough. Always err on the side of moderation”.

This is a major concern in many Bajan households. The National Organisation of Women and the Gender of Bureau Affairs need to get cracking with an appropriate campaign: “Kan ye, women? Yes, ye Kan! If Kim can cool Kan 500 times a day, what about you?”

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]