27
Aug
08

Slavery Denial Will Be Next

Thanks to JW at Bobolee Chronicles for pointing me to this:

New York New York – Distorted words on Emancipation
Published on: 8/8/08.
BY TONY BEST

Some extracts from the article:

“SOMETIMES WE FORGET that our two major ethnic groups – Africans and British – first arrived on the same ship.”

Barbados’ Minister of Culture Steve Blackett used those words to articulate an interesting thesis: Emancipation celebrations in Barbados are for everyone, not simply people of colour.

“This,” he said of the Emancipation season, Crop-Over included, “must not be seen as being only for persons of African descent.”

…Blackett’s implied suggestion that because Blacks and Whites came on the same ship, there was some measure of equal status for the two ethnic groups.

Dr Kamau Brathwaite, historian, world-famous poet and a professor of literature at New York University, and Austin “Tom” Clarke, a Barbadian who is one of Canada’s most celebrated authors – who also taught writing and African history at several universities in the United States and Canada – have reacted negatively to Blackett’s statement. Clarke urged him to be “more precise” in his pronouncements.

“The relationship between the people arriving on those ships into Barbados was certainly not one of equality,” Clarke said. “The slave was kept penned up in darkened unsanitary holds below deck and the Whites were either the slave catchers, the slave owners, the seamen who had no respect, sympathy or feelings of equality for the other passengers, that is to say, the slaves.

Falsifying history

“For a minister with that portfolio to propagate this is to refuse to acknowledge a more modern day equivalent of that imbalance in the relationship, meaning he only has to look at the plantation system in Barbados, which existed probably in the same way that it existed years and years ago to see that the slave, in spite of his emancipation, had become a cane field worker and remained in that status for many years in spite of certain enfranchisement.”

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