Letters to the Editor

Living through the changing faces of racism

Dear Sir,

It does not matter how educated or well learnt a person may be, they will never reach or lay claim to the pinnacle of perfection. Why, Mr Editor? Because there is no end to knowledge, nor will we live long enough to know or be able to acquire it all.

Although we are working towards our development for a better future today, itís all based on hope, for we are yet to know what that future would look like until our succeeding generations actually get there.

Yet, as we stand here on the platform of the present day planning for the future for which we hope to achieve, we do have within our reach the chronicles of the past. It is not just the change in technology that we can look back on, but the changes made under the banner of humanity or our social achievements.

Yes, there are lessons to be learnt from our past, lessons that we should still take seriously even up until this very day. The fact of the matter, Mr Editor, is all we really have is the past. We live only for the very next moment and we could die at any time. Yet, if you live long enough, you would have a history attached to your personal past.

I say that, Mr Editor, because if I live to see my next birthday, I will be 70 years of age. Thus I think that I have lived long enough to be able to express my opinions and experiences of those moments in my lifetime.

Tell me, Mr Editor, do you think I have already at this point in my life lived long enough to be able to explain to you my personal experiences and the facts of my past?

Iím not a racist but it is the topic I wish to express and how I see it being played out in todayís world. I have come up with a terminology that I use to define todayís style of racism ó ďtechnical racismĒ.

I created that term, Mr Editor, because of the racism of today, which, like a chameleon, has changed its colours to fit into a social environment and makes them more difficult to detect.

Todayís racists are more technically minded in their approach and behaviour. They are more educated and more crafty in their approach than the old, in-your-face racist of the past. These people use the most deceitful and cunning ways to express their racist behaviour, knowing that in most cases it can be difficult to prove in a court of law that it had ever happened. The case may even turn out in favour of the racist, and not the victim.

Mr Editor, I have lived long enough to know and understand just what the characteristics of racism look like. I have lived long enough to have been able to see its evolution.

Racism is a little more open in the United States, thanks to Donald Trump. As far as Iím concerned, he has given a quiet thumbs-up to all white supremacists and Klansmen types across America.

In a little place such as Bermuda, it is not that apparent. The division among the races still exists: in the black churches and clubs that are still practically all black; a large number of whites donít support black businesses, as if they have a built-in instinct to boycott black businesses.

The only time I ever saw white people come out and demonstrate against a government was when the Progressive Labour Party was the government ó never before. Iím talking about whatís happening today, Mr Editor, not something that went on 50 or 70 years ago.

Some people may ask, why I am living in the past. What they need to know, Mr Editor, is that the past has caught up with us and that an old negative, backward ideal has landed in our present midst, all dressed up in a brand new package.

Mr Editor, I have lived long enough to have experienced racism coming at me from both sides of the racial divide. Thatís why I took a great interest in psychology. I lived through that period of public enforced segregation, I know what it is like to be attacked by both black and white perpetrators.

A light-skinned girl once told me that she hated light-skinned men because her grandmother told her that they were deceitful and could not be trusted.

Mr Editor, believe me sir, I had never known or met that young lady before that very day and I have never forgotten her face, even though the incident happened more than 40 years ago. I still see her today in passing from time to time.

I may not live to see it, Mr Editor, but my almost 70-year period of my life on this Earth has given me a great knowledge of the behaviour of mankind, and I hope some day it will change for the better.

E. MCNEIL STOVELL

Pembroke