WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?
D. J. Bravo with partner Regina Ramjit
Random Thoughts
September 2, 2022
WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?

“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the colour of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?  … Who taught you to hate the race you belong to, so much so that you don’t want to be around each other?!”.

Malcolm X speaking in Los Angeles, 1962

The recent skin bleaching debate involving the new but highly regarded Foreign Affairs Minister, has given me cause to verbalize my thoughts on the overarching issue of skin colour and love of one’s own ethnicity.

The extract above, from a speech delivered by Malcolm X 60 years ago, shows how long this issue has been around. Some may think that his words have no connection with our Caribbean situation, neither by time nor by geography. Others may say it is so relevant that it sounds like Malcolm X is speaking directly to a regional audience in 2022. Here is something else upon which you may ponder.

These Photos tell a Story

I saw in a few photos recently, certain features that appeared coincidentally linked at first, but upon reflection, they indicate a clear social pattern. These are the images of well-known West Indian cricketers and their spouses or partners.  What are your first impressions?

Keiron Pollard and wife Jenna Al

 

These photos, by themselves illustrate the trend of black cricketing celebrities to be engaged in lifelong relations with ladies who do not happen to have the same skin tone as their very own mothers and sisters.

Sir Viv Richards, Neena Gupta & their daughter

Coincidence or Pattern?

This is more than a coincidence. It begs the question whether Afro-Caribbean sons (and maybe daughters) are not so enamored with the pigmentation that God has bequeathed to them. To paraphrase Malcolm X’s question, who taught us to think this way? Is it that our social structure, evolving though it may be, has taught us, generation after generation, to think that the lighter the hue the better our circumstance will be? Is it an inferiority complex that we brought on ourselves or was it stoked by our historical condition and by the people of another race?

Rutherford & partner

None of our celebrity cricketers have gone down the path of bleaching, (except, maybe a particular left-arm fast bowler) but by the information available, most prefer companions who even fall outside of the One-Drop Rule (a US legal construct of the Jim Crow era – that even if you are 1/8 black, you were regarded legally as being black).

Brian Lara & partner – ex Miss Scotland

I was told by someone (a Caribbean sister) that West Indian black women are perceived by our men to be difficult to deal with and are often too aggressive. This is not the reality I know. But relations between our young men and women are being exacerbated by the greater success in academic and professional excellence by our more disciplined and ambitious females.  Could this be one of the reasons?

There is so much beauty, intelligence and grace among our Afro-Caribbean Women – no alterations necessary

Region-wide, we need to show a greater appreciation for the beauty, grace and intelligence of our black sisters and daughters and who in turn, must continue to love themselves for who they are.  Unless they fulfill a medical purpose, let the importation of bleaching creams be a thing of the past.

Our cricketers may marry whomsoever they wish, but should never exclude the fair consideration of their own kind, with whom they have spent all their formative years. As a rejoinder, let a black female lawyer, teacher or accountant know, that a worthy male companion could also be found in a good black plumber, farmer, salesclerk or, yes, cricketer!