Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Assimilation degree...

"Resistance is futile"  ~ The Borg (Star Trek Next Generation)

In my favorite version of the Star Trek Series, The Borg, a cybernetic expanding collective who travel around the Delta Quadrant destroying everything in their path. Assimilation of every known species is their agenda. If you're a fan like I am, you can still wonder if such a force is possible, if there ever was or ever could be a superior race of beings that simply force their way through time and space destroying culture and civilizations in the blink of an eye.

I began reading Marvel comics as a kid. Like millions of other kids, I loved Spiderman, The Avengers... but more than any of them, I loved the X-men. The original X-men: Cyclops, Beast, Marvel Girl, Angel and Iceman. As the group transformed and grew, then split off into other factions, I tried to keep up, but other distractions, girls, bikes and music got in the way. My love for the X-men remains today, and while I don't read comic books any longer, I love the big screen epics that roll out every couple of years. It keeps me young.

I love sci-fi. Not so much the stuff of today, but I definitely loved The Planet of the Apes movies, James Bond is still my favorite human hero, Star Wars, Alien, into today with Lord of the Rings and so on. There is a lot of similarities in these works of art...ok fiction, but to the true believer it's most definitely art. Good versus evil, the struggle for a better humanity, a better universe. The Borg believed that assimilation was the easiest most direct form of destruction. The X-men fought Homo-Superior (mutant) versus Homo-Sapien (human) and other mutants for the right to be accepted as different but equal. Magneto believed that only the mutant should survive that mutant-kind was indeed the ultimate development for all of mankind. Hatred manifests itself in many ways. These ideas albeit fantasy are manifested from our own world, and deal with issues we have been dealing with for hundreds if not thousands of years. Since the beginning of time, man has railed against those who are not similar, those who are different, those who do not look, sound, or pray like us. Ethnic cleansing is the worst case scenario now... genocide, the extreme elimination of one specific culture because of a failure to... assimilate.

Assimilation has happened. Right here in our lovely island, ok the Borg may not have taken over and we may not have been assimilated as such, nor are we in any race war (not yet anyway) but a lot of our cultural and racial identities have caused blacks to assimilate to the only known culture they can accept. A white man's world. The hard part of all of this is that while not wanting to deal with the issues of being black on a personal level, the assimilated black man has forgone his attempts at an identity for a seemingly harmonious place in the white man's power structure. It is indeed a very sad thing. The struggles of the civil right leaders, the blood of millions has faded into a distant memory and for the most part they have been assimilated. The white man's unrepentant path has devoured the souls of those who are too weak to fight. 

Thank god, that isn't the case in every situation. Thank god there are quite a few black men and women who are not so ready to concede everything, are not so ready to be assimilated. Thank god we can still dare to dream as MLK did. It is an important thing... identity. Fighting for it. Standing up for equality on every level and moving beyond hate. The hard part is getting those who have assimilated to understand that it is indeed important to be black. It is important for those who are bi-racial to NOT be consumed by their whiteness and allow themselves to be accepted in BOTH areas of society. Last but not least it's important for WHITES to not be so damn uptight about it. Blacks needing to be BLACK is not a threat to our security, far from it, it's a chance for Whites to move beyond assimilation, move beyond the systems that forced blacks to assimilate, and let a proud culture of diverse elements emerge as one nation!

namaste _//||\\_

Friday, June 24, 2011

Who we hate... why we hate...

Interesting thoughts entering this distorted view. I'm not sure why I spend so much energy in concern for my white brothers. The endless drivel that occurs on one of our local forums berating the current government for anything and everything is mind numbing. More than that it's really getting old. Their ability to incite each other into levels of hatred led one such valued member not so long ago to threaten a violent end to then premier Dr. Brown.

I will applaud those few brave black brothers who continue to offer a bit of resistance on that forum, but I can not, for it is simply not a healthy idea for me. There is debate for debate's sake, and there is a fight. I will gladly debate openly on issues that matter, but at no point will I be dragged into the muck by those who would be already blinded by hatred. I know now that the "buddy system" is used and anyone who offers any sort of resistance is eaten up by the piranha mentality of vicious white people who have clearly moved beyond any form of reconciliation.

What does that say for our society? What does that say for the state of race relations in our small country? The legacy of hatred for anything black is bound to infect generations to come unless we find a common ground from which to stand upon. Unfortunately, no one knows if that common ground even exists. The really sad part about all of this is the negative effects it will have on our children. It is the sort of disease that is taught to generation after generation of white kids. That these white men can consistently beat this drum is not easy to take. I fear none would be strong enough to stand outside their pen names and offer the same fight in a public manner. Their fear drives their hate, their fear of losing the power that still moves them.... money.

I will offer no apologies for them. Their denial in acceptance of responsibility for the sins of the past is clear. They will not do so, for they believe they were not responsible. Then who exactly was responsible? If whites today could go back 20 years, 30 years, 40 years... 100 years and apologize for the racist system that they imposed on our island, would they? No... probably not. So the issue has never been truly resolved, it's been swept under the rug, and hopefully someone else will deal with it.

Likewise I will not accept mismanagement or abuse by the current government. Hate is hate and it is truly colorblind. Zane Desilva can not hide behind them, nor can any member of the PLP be excused for using terms to incite hatred in the house and in public. What may be used as general vernacular in today's world is not acceptable in the social conscience and as such should be done away with. We should hold our politicians ... all of them to a higher standard, and hold them accountable when violations occur. Apology or not, Mr. Desilva should have been reprimanded by the speaker, and further by his party seniors.

Talk the talk... walk the walk. Teach your kids to love and respect all people and you preach hatred, whether online or anywhere else, you are a hypocrite.

On a personal note, I umpired the middle school boys softball tournament this week. Congrats to all those participating teams. Special note of congrats to Warwick Academy for winning the tournament. Saltus finished second, Somersfield third. It is clear that those boys who play baseball have a far superior advantage and these middle should be encouraged to continue their softball development It is a mandate by the Softball Association to encourage this development and hopefully we will do so soon enough.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Thoughts...

Just some quick hits on what's happening in my world...

Not that I'm a believer, but God doesn't like ugly. A huge sigh of relief that the Miami Heat lost, on their home court, the NBA championship last night. The year long coronation of the "three" as the next big thing failed. The pain that has been the over-hyped new dream team has finally subsided with the NBA title going to Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks. Now I'm not a Cuban fan, but no one NBA owner lives and dies with his team as he does. Congrats to the Mavericks and in some strange way to the Cleveland Cavaliers who might feel that justice has been served.

Sticking with the sports world, the NHL playoffs... the finals... are still ongoing. The longest season in professional sports continues, and as a hockey fan I don't mind it one little bit. That said, I won't cry when it's over. A Canucks victory would restore the faith in Canada that the game is still something that they do better than most, even though the NHL titles have been few and far between. Apologies to the long suffering Leafs fans, but one must believe that Ottawa stands closer to winning a championship than Canada's version of the Chicago Cubs does (1967 must feel like 1908 in Toronto).

On the local front the CSL (Softball) heads into it's final week (or so). Much maligned, the sport when played at a competitive level is very exciting and as president of BASA, I can only hope for the day we can get our fast-pitch demons behind us. Bermuda deserves to have a competitive fast-pitch league, needs to have the game developed and played at the highest level. If I can do only one thing... let it be having fastpitch played again...

Moving away from sports, I see we had another minor "quake" yesterday morning. I'm no expert here, and I gather that these things happen quite often, but I wonder if I need to add earthquake insurance to my home insurance policy?

Also... RAIN! YES!!!! Let's hope it stays around for a while. My tank definitely needs some help. Apologies to any tourists paying the exorbitant hotel rates, but this has been a LONG time coming.

The BIU has sent a 21 day strike notice to the Transportation minister. How does a Labour government end up having labour problems? Hmmmm....

The Deputy Governor (who?) has gone on record as stating that the Uighurs are not here permanently. Any bet they will be here longer than the Deputy Governor?

Why is it that we can recognize a tourist caught with ammunition is no threat to the island, and let them off without charge, and yet when a woman comes to the island with marijuana for "medical use" (as noted by her physician), we treat her like she's the worst villain in the world?

CURB will be hosting Part 3 of a Discussion with Black Bermudians Wednesday at the Leopard's Club beginning at 7:30 p.m. hosted by Dr. Eva Hodgson and Cordell Riley. I can't support this effort enough. CURB is doing some amazing work in Bermuda and I only wish more Bermudians would take note. In a society that continually draws a line between black and white, the experience and dedication of CURB to the public can not be overstated.

Last but not least, another school year is coming to a close. Our kids have worked hard and hopefully most will continue to make progress. We can not blame them for the failures of an inadequate educational system. We can not blame them for the continued neglect that happens within the school system, nor should we blame them for the budgetary restraints being placed upon teachers, and schools within the system. What it does require is more effort from us.... the parents. We need to be far more active in the education of our children and be more pro-active rather than reactive. If we spend the necessary time and effort with them at home, keep on top of them at school, it will be a much more successful community, and ultimately .... country.

namaste _/||\_

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Independence Myth...

Independence.... it will eliminate racism in Bermuda. It's just that simple. Ok.... it's not just that simple. Independence has not prevented racism in other countries in the world, and it's highly doubtful that it will stop it from happening here. The world has fought this battle for far too long and the plague of racism still exists. In it's most simple form, racism is hatred, an intolerance for anyone who is different. It is projected as Black/White, and in our specific example, here in Bermuda, it is as simple as black and white.

In order for us to grasp the concept of racism in Bermuda, we need to look at our lives, and more specifically how we got to where we are today. Any understanding of the world as we know it, MUST include a concentrated look at history, and how our society has arrived at this point. It may be easy to say that those problems of the past don't exist today, but if the systemic structure has not changed, then those problems that some may believe have mysteriously vanished (for there was no official decree ending racism... note... an end to segregation is NOT an end to racism) have not just been eliminated from our social conscience.

The ramifications of a system that was built over hundreds of years that indeed was racist, are not simply gone because we wish them away. The structure of our society was developed to give Whites a distinct advantage, and it's not just here in Bermuda but in many countries around the world. Most assuredly, even Barack Obama wouldn't admit that his country's racial struggles are over, and the idea that our world is "post-racial" is naive and simply wrong. The White elite still runs the world, and it would be folly to deny it.

Let's look closely at our own island. A Westminster government, with a Queen's representative as the head of state. Our island has been built on White money and Black blood. Front St. is still controlled by the White oligarchy that has existed for generations. While we may miss Triminghams, Smiths and the known 40 thieves, they have been replaced by others. The names may change, but the faces haven't. The Black money hasn't made it into a significant position (if it exists) and there are too few Black CEO's making an impact on our society. It is important to continue the battle cry of Dr. Eva Hodgson, who notes that even though we have a Black government, nothing has been done to eliminate the economic disparity between the races.

It's a difficult picture to envision. A structure that has been built with a clear racist agenda, all of a sudden is no longer racist because that's the way we want it to be. Hate has simply become a thing of the past and we are a new world where everyone is equal, where women get paid the same as men for doing the same jobs, where blacks are welcome in white neighborhoods without a cautious eye or a question as to why they are there (it does happen). We won't begin to note organizations where Blacks can not exceed middle management, and like women, are not paid the same as whites are. It is easy to deny that it doesn't exist because the government, the PLP, historically Black, is now in power.

Strange as it is, they have done very little to break those shackles. It's a difficult proposition stepping into the unknown. Independence. It is a subject that has a strong emotional element to it. People are strongly divided on the subject and for the majority here (as per a referendum in 1995... 16 years ago under a UBP government) seem to be against it. If those results were in the least bit tarnished (only 58% of the electorate voted) and a call for a boycott by the PLP withheld voters in 1995, one would have to wonder if those results might be a bit different here in 2011. There is no guarantee of course. There may be more of a movement against it now. Fear of the unknown allows the worst kind of propaganda to exist. 

The advantages of staying a British Overseas Territory are clear. A cozy relationship with her majesty, an ability to travel to the motherland and into the EU. Protection. Our best interests are always at the forefront of those in WhiteHall. Or so we would believe. Our business relationships are secure because of our relationship with HRH (another myth). An image that we are much more stable with her majesty's assistance than without it. I daresay that even today that image isn't what it used to be. 

While I am sure that there are countless other advantages to remaining aligned with England, I have highlighted those that seem to be the most important. We have enjoyed the benefits of this Westminster government for so long now, and as the old saying goes... if it ain't broke... don't mess with it.

If Independence does anything for us, if it creates peace of mind, if it engages our people on a new level of responsibility and self-determination, if it allows things like equity, and allows us to finally break away from a system that created this problem in the first place, then isn't it worth it? Isn't our freedom worth any price? If those who are tired of the race card being played are truly tired of it, why wouldn't they do everything in their power to prevent that from continuing to be an issue?

At this point we aren't even moving in that direction, all we are talking about is having a discussion. An independence discussion. A chance to learn, share and debate a very important subject. A chance to engage those in the highest echelons of our society and discuss options for change. If I was a White person, I might be truly worried. 

Hold on... I am a White person.... so why am I not worried?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sins of the sons.... (and grandsons)

Just have to add my two cents to a debate brought up this week by Senator Laverne Furbert. She questioned the need for the media to expose MP Neletha Butterfield in a criminal case against the MP's grandson. It should be noted that this is NOT a black and white issue, as we have had people's relations brought to light irrespective of colour or party affiliation. 

Here's my spiel. This practice MUST stop. If you do it for one you must do it for all. Are we interested in finding out who David Cox, who is being tried in the death of Yankee Rawlins, parents are? Or who is grandparents are? His great grandparents? Cox is a pretty powerful name in Bermuda. Would we be willing to expose a lineage of the Cox name to find a relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with the case?

Shame on the mass media for doing this. Not only here in Bermuda... but around the world. We need less sensationalism and more important coverage paid to the crime itself.

Behind These Castle Walls...

while it really seem like the kings life seem glamorous
as seen through the eyes of untrained amateurs
because the camera's don't see beyond the walls of the smiles
only counts until it falls in the pile - T.I.

Artist T.I.'s lyrics send home a message that begs to be heard. It's not all pink sand and blue skies here in our beautiful Bermuda. The erosion of our sins from years of abuse are finally catching up with us and the promises of bountiful futures are now as weak as the fortifications that once secured our shores. Limestone dreams turning to sand in our hands. The rot is finally coming to the surface and if we fail to react properly and quickly...our castle walls will crumble.

Prophecy of doom? Maybe. Are we able to see the promising futures we had all hoped for? Is the crystal ball clearly giving us hope for a better tomorrow? Of course not. There are no magical instruments, no tarot cards, and no biblical prophecies that can ensure that our future generations will have the ability to recover from the damage that we are doing. Let's not talk of personal futures, let's begin to think about our children, their children, their children's children. Let's project what our island will be like in the next 25 years.Are we as confident that the way we do things now are going to be able to sustain us? When will the economy rebound? Will Bermudians  be able to get jobs? What can we do to curtail the violent streak that has plagued us the past few years? Will we ever be able to come together as a community, irrespective of those things that continue to separate us (religion, race etc.)?

Interesting questions for sure. In my previous posts, I discussed the importance of change and that we should start considering the ways we can create change in our country. There has been a change in recent years, and it really is important to look at those changes and note whether or not we can continue on this path. Ultimately, who is responsible? The PLP, or does it indeed go further back, back to a legacy of racism that has left most of us concerned as to the future. Are we willing to concede that what has seemingly worked in the past, isn't working now and that we need something better? This isn't a condition of the PLP government, this is the effect of a legacy of failure, of selling out our people, selling out our country to those who truly only care about their bottom line. What happened to our bottom line?

Before we wallow in our sorrows, and drown them in Heineken, we must recognize that while the PLP government is not solely to blame for the problems that plague us, they must, as a government accept the responsibility of fixing it. If they don't, things will only continue to spiral downward. You can not expect the UBP.... oops... the OBA to do anything. They can bluff their way into making some believe they have a good hand, but at the end of the day, they offer nothing new. The same old retread, the same old rhetoric... the same old UBP. Thus it is CLEARLY the current government's responsibility to implement the changes we need to make to get out of this mess.

Let's not hold our breath shall we?

It's always been in our ability to determine our future, and it will always be. The Independence debate is rearing it's head once again. Brought up in the House of Assembly, and further discussions in the daily gazette, by Walton Brown, various letters to the editor, debates on whether or not we need to remain tied to the UK, and what those ties do for us. It really isn't that much of a debate though is it? Our self determination, our ability to make the most important decisions will always be made by her majesty, the Queen. It's a comfortable shoe and the "perks" that go with membership to the Queen's club are somewhat satisfying to those who would deem independence as nonsensical. It is strange that those who are against independence are also anti-government (PLP) and yet would not seek a more significant manner of change. The belief that the opposition is capable is far worse than the idea that the government is incapable. I fear the belief that the UBP....oops.... the OBA has a chance in any forthcoming election fuels a fire of delirium in support of that faction.

This leads us ultimately back to my first post about change. How badly do we desire it? How badly are we willing to work to get it? Should we not be discussing alternative methods of government now? Should we not be discussing the very real possibility of the next election and the options that are available to us?

The status quo only gets worse. Viva La Revolucion!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stepping into the deep end...

My last post discussed the emergence of the OBA (One Bermuda Alliance) on the political scene and no matter how much things seem to change, they in fact stay pretty much the same. The discussions that seem to be prevalent in and around our society seem to be related to when and if an election will be called, and if we as a nation are prepared for it. Such discussions seem to include talks of independence, and as usual all things underlying (racism...colonialism). Devolution of our sensibilities is well under way, and before we know it, we will be drowning in propaganda and all things that will keep us away from the decisions that must be made, decisions that will ultimately determine our future.

When it comes to making important decisions, we have a hard time with the connection between head and heart. Our head tells us that we must make an intelligent decision based on facts and figures, issues and policies. Our heart tells us that we must make an emotionally intelligent decision, following our heart, and not allowing propaganda such as "the race card" to blindly drive us to make a decision that in retrospect might not have been made in a non-election period.

It is always advisable to know how to swim before we jump into the deep end of the pool. In fact, it might be advisable to make sure there are enough life preservers around, just in case we need one. Recent elections, have shown that without a viable opposition, we will have our current government for a long, long time to come. The status quo. Certainly there are some who believe that the status quo is unacceptable, but the vast majority, who can not conceive voting for the opposition, would seemingly rather drown than seek the only other option available.

Currently the options are the governing PLP, or the UBP.... oops.... I  mean the OBA... I forgot that there was a difference. Are these the only options that we have? We could choose to NOT vote, which I do NOT personally approve of. The last by-election, showed only 40% of the constituency's electorate participate, and that can not be acceptable at all. How can a candidate be elected when under half of those who are able to vote, don't? In fact, the majority, by not participating are conceding their futures to choices made by others! Insanity. The birthright of everyone in our country is the right to vote, and if it means that much then get involved in the process and get in a candidate that will best represent your views.

There is a third option (or fourth if you have an independent candidate in your constituency), and while a third option would not be a vote of confidence, it would send a clearly defined message to our supposed leadership. A move of huge proportions, a vote of "un-confidence" in the leadership and the opposition. A vote that speaks volumes, and explains the level of frustration in the community and in our country as a whole. The key is to set in motion a movement of change, a movement that will set in motion the steps of a new democratic environment, one that would allow the people to have the ultimate say as to who they want to lead their country.

The third choice... the "spoiled ballot". To enter the voting booth and make the only choice that we can. To purposefully and dramatically write UNWORTHY on the ballot. To tell those who would seek to lead that we will not vote for people simply because there is no choice, but that we do indeed choose... none of the above. A radical approach. What then? Will the current government remain in power by default? What will happen then? We can't possibly go off half-cocked and simply destroy a system without a backup plan, without a plan for the future... can we?

I actually would like to believe that we can do this and before we go to the polls, we can have a backup plan, we can have a better idea, we can get rid of the partisan politics that continue to inspire hate and divide us, that we can at long last have a government that is representative of our people and will answer completely to us. A fair balance of representation in 9 parishes, 3 corporations, and ministers for each major portfolio. A smaller, harder working government that works for the people.

A chance for change. A chance to have accountability, respect and a vote that matters. Isn't that the way it should be?