Vincy Workplace
September 2, 2005
Colonialist, sexist mentality holding us back

In order for Caribbean nations to be truly free, it is imperative to free people, especially young people, from the crippling effects of the colonialist, sexist mentality that is stifling the growth of businesses across the region.

If the Caribbean is to be truly competitive on a global level, an adjustment has to be made in the way we think and do business. The call for businesses to improve training and radically revamp customer service and operations seems to have fallen on deaf ears. {{more}} Many businesses do care, but the lack of action can be blamed in part on the effects of a colonialist, sexist mentally that’s affecting Caribbean people personally and professionally.

In the colonial days, the house slaves often thought they were better than the field slaves. After all, their new post was a promotion out of the hot sun and squalid conditions of the sugar cane fields. Instead of using this new position to help the field slave, quite the opposite happened. On many occasions house slaves often betrayed, scorned and worked against the field slaves.

Hundreds of years later, the saga continues on a more sophisticated level. Many people who are working and have obtained a little education and a comfortable job, feel as though they have arrived. They can no longer associate with those not as fortunate and sometimes go out of their way to obstruct the progress of others.

Attitudes change with a little success, but someone who truly understands success would know that there is always room at the top for one more and your success will be magnified when you help others achieve their goals. Wake up and see that although physical slavery is gone, the old divide and conquer strategy is still working. Education is for everyone regardless of their class or age. It’s the only way to succeed.

Another plague which is alive and well is sexism. Do not be mistaken, a call for equality in the workplace is not a call for women to abandon their homes or for young women to shun the idea of pursuing a family. Before a woman enters the workplace, she may meet opposition at home from male relatives who may not like the idea of her holding a position in the workplace. Even if she attends secondary school and takes a break to start a family, she may be discouraged from pursuing her education further because some may feel she is too old, even if she is in her 20’s or 30’s. If she gets to the workplace, she is probably just happy to have a job and may never explore the possibilities that she could accomplish more.

Then there are women who are aware of their potential and possess the drive but their opposition comes from men in the workplace. Men who are not sure of themselves will feel threatened if they must work with a woman who earns more, knows more and commands more power. The goal is to push the Caribbean forward so we can compete globally. It doesn’t matter who leads, whether it’s a male or female, the objective is to get the job done. The onslaught of American and European companies literally evading Caribbean shores through the free trade agreement is setting some Caribbean nations to be enslaved all over again. This time it will be easier because mentally many are still enslaved.