Our Readers' Opinions
March 4, 2005
So where are we to turn… who is right?

EDITOR: Help me with this. I am trying to reconcile the views expressed last week by three different writers in two different newspapers.

Casper London, a respected writer and activist, wrote in The News of the perceived necessity for a “new Black Agenda” to counteract the “political tribalism” and “Political hatred” he sees today. {{more}}

The Vincentian printed a second in a series of three articles by Iesha Foster on “Unity Through Cultural Diversity” (very thoughtful and very well composed), and a piece by Drishna Gibson on moving past slavery into Caribbean unity through integration (both articles written by Young Leaders). All three articles were persuasive in their presentation and emotionally compelling, as well as honest in their presentation of verifiable facts.

So where are we to turn? Back to Black Power and Liberation Theology, or forward to the vision of acceptance of diversity as a non-exclusionary basic principle, and towards an integrated Caribbean people, politically and culturally?

Who is right? These are mutually exclusive paths. It seems to me that in their time Black Power–the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panthers in the U.S., and the various Black Power movements throughout the Caribbean, under various shifting names and initials did fulfil an essential need in their time, and served it well. But that time is passed. However fitfully and painfully, and however slowly, real progress toward an integrated society has been made in Africa, in the U.S. and in the Caribbean, as well as in the Balkans.

That, I believe, is the future toward which we have to be moving: a world where an individual’s historic identity is not overwhelmed, subsumed, and erased by the dominant cultures of a given area or nation, but integrated and respected as a necessary contributing element of the greater whole.

There is wistful talk in parts of Africa of the “good old days” of colonialism when there was security and prosperity, before Independence and the dictatorships, civil wars and racial and tribal slaughters that ensued.

Security and prosperity and freedom are not mutually exclusive. We have only to acknowledge and respect each other’s individual and particular positive contributions to the culture we live in today to realize that we would be diminished by the absence of even one contributing culture: Amerindian, European, East Indian, African, Middle Eastern, or Far Eastern. Our survival depends on it. My thanks to the Young Leaders for pointing this out.