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Editorial: So What Direct Action Will We See Over Racism?

It is nearly a month since the killing of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests against racism.

We hardly need tell you about those protests in detail – the news and social media has been full of the response, from highlighting other instances of police brutality to declarations of support for the Black Lives Matter cause.

So while we welcome The Bahamas calling for a debate on racism last week during a United Nations Human Rights Council event, we are not entirely convinced of the sincerity of that call.

The call has been for an “urgent” debate on racism. Urgent? How urgent is it if you can wait a month before making that call.

And while we absolutely agree with the need to ensure equal treatment and to condemn all forms of racism, we suspect the sincerity of the call can be judged by one thing: what happens next.

How will the government engage the people of the nation now on this “urgent” matter? How will the discussion be had? More than that, what direct action will be taken?

If the answer to this turns out to be nothing, except perhaps a bit of talking shop between officials in different member states, we’ll be able to judge exactly how importantly the government takes these matters. Our reporters stand ready to hear how the government plans to go forward tackling these issues.

The issue of police behaviour has been thrown into the spotlight again after three men in a car were shot dead by police earlier this month. One gun was found at the scene.

That has prompted a declaration that body cameras are expected to be rolled out by August – which is still too slow, but movement on the issue nonetheless. That needs to be accompanied by rules on when body cams should be turned on, and the availability of the footage afterwards in such instances. There is no point having the equipment if it cannot be accessed to see what happened in such circumstances.

As for issues regarding racism, those too need exploration – although issues in The Bahamas show themselves in different ways to those in the US.

But if these are to be more than just words, we need to see the next step. Otherwise, next time the government declares something to be urgent, we will be perfectly entitled to ask if they really mean it.

The horror of crime

The opposite side of the crime situation is shown by the brutal robbery of singer Sammi Starr.

Forced to lie on the ground in front of his family and robbed at gunpoint is a horror no one should have to go through.

This is the kind of viciousness that police have to deal with, and why sometimes they do indeed have to respond with deadly force to protect themselves or the public. It is a deadly balance – protecting the public without going too far and becoming criminals themselves.

Crime can touch any one of us, as Mr Starr’s incident shows, although we know that some communities suffer crime more than others. The areas with the most criminals are often the ones with the most victims – these are no civic guardians, but predators who turn on those around them.

We hope that Mr Starr recovers from his ordeal quickly. We hope that those who robbed him are swiftly caught and face the courts. We wish the police well in bringing Mr Starr’s attackers to justice.

Comments

themessenger 2 weeks, 4 days ago

The “urgent” debate on racism in the Bahamas has already started with the consensus being , at the moment at least, to sanitize our pre majority rule history, tear down historical statues and replace them with statues of corruption tainted political figures from our post Colonial history which will only serve to further alienate the minority white Bahamian population who were conveniently excluded from our flag at Independence. In a country where the population is 85% black some consideration has to be given to the very real problem of reverse discrimination, justifiable in part, but after half a century of black rule we should have long ago buried those bones and moved on, maybe not upwwards but at least on the level.

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joeblow 2 weeks, 4 days ago

... one could argue that some white was used to create the shades of aquamarine and gold!

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themessenger 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Are you truly that color blind Joe or is it those rose colored glasses that you and so many other Bahamians seem to prefer?

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joeblow 2 weeks, 3 days ago

... quite frankly I don't look at color, never have, I look at behavior. I put a persons humanity before their ethnicity!

In any number of posts I have highlighted the issue of reverse "racism".

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themessenger 2 weeks, 3 days ago

There you go Joe, the same myopic view one gets looking through those rose colored glasses. I wasn’t referring to skin color in response to your remarks , rather to the mixed pigments on your palette when you painted our flag.

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joeblow 2 weeks ago

... sorry your girdle was so tight you didn't see the humor in the statement!

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GodSpeed 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Are we gonna talk about black racism against whites too or no?

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joeblow 2 weeks, 4 days ago

... no, that topic is forbidden, but we can talk about the silent racism against the mango skinned with nice hair!

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