EDITOR, The Tribune.
I WANT to know who writes the editorial section of The Tribune. I am asking because the unattributed section of the paper has been on a roll since the senseless violence in Charlottesville, Virginia — and by on a roll I mean like off a cliff.
On August 15, 2017, the editorial used the events the horrifying events of Charlottesville to exhume the apparition of so-called “anti-white” racism in The Bahamas – the “unexpected icy glare”, being over-charged at cash out, the absence of the colour white in our flag where black represents the “vigor and force of a united people.” I’m still uncertain why vigor and unity of a people, nouns that come with no colour scheme, can’t be represented by the colour black for all of us.
I use the word “apparition” here with intent because anti-white racism doesn’t actually exist—not in The Bahamas and not anywhere that comes to mind.
White Bahamians may at times feel prejudice or discriminated against in their interaction with their black counterparts, but racism as an ideology, as a social phenomenon, is driven by the belief that humans are naturally divided into distinct groups (based on physical traits, social behaviour, cognitive ability, etc) and that those groups can be ranked as inferior or superior.
I am happy to step out on a limb and say that I don’t think black Bahamians think white Bahamians are inferior to them. I would also advance the theory that if white Bahamians do in fact experience a cut eye or two, and feel like they are being overcharged every once in a while, it is likely a reaction to what black people experience every day — a system of economic and social oppression structured through and within the context of actual colonial and neocolonial racism.
While racial discrimination can be the result of racism; discrimination is not racism. That anyone would venture to compare dirty looks, the cost of a few extra dollars and a missing colour on a flag to a history of racial segregation and racist colonialist socio-economic exclusion speaks directly to the kind self-centredness and fragility that might just lead one to pick up a tiki-torch, citronella wick ablaze, to shout, “We will not be replaced!”
But, the editorial section did not stop there. In the August 16th, 2017 Tribune, Leader of the Opposition, Philip “Brave” Davis, was then compared to Topsy, the “delightful little slave girl in (the book) ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’” because of what the editorial calls an “unthinking and stupid statement”.
Let us put politics aside for a moment. Let us even assume, hypothetically, that Davis’ statement is disingenuous, prima facie. Of all the analogies, imagery and metaphors that literature, film and everyday life provides, in what world is it the correct editorial choice to compare Davis to a “delightful little slave girl” from a book called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”? This isn’t just a question of racism; it is a question of judgment. What is Simon Lagree’s extension in the news room—is he the one pushing out these editorials?
The juxtaposition of Tribune editorials on the 15th and the 16th is, in no uncertain terms, problematic. Given that I know and have worked closely with the journalists at The Tribune who I deeply respect, as an avid reader I expect better. As a national paper and given the historical moment with which we are currently faced — a resurgence of fascism, white supremacy and the politics of prejudice, not just in our backyard but across the globe — the country deserves better. Taken in its totality, I can only return to my opening line: I want to know who writes the editorial section of The Tribune because we need to have a talk.
August 16, 2017.