Do not squander the freedom we have achieved
On January 10th, The Bahamas celebrated Majority Rule Day commemorating the date in 1967 when for the first time, the majority of the Bahamian population was properly represented. As history bears out, prior to that time, the voice of the majority was suppressed and there was a significant and protracted struggle to gain a right that should have been afforded many years earlier. Bahamians we should celebrate this day regardless of political or other persuasion because it was a day of justice, and a day of destiny.
For too long the flawed and broken ideology had persisted that the black population of African descent was somehow inferior to the white population of European descent. There were many reasons for the proliferation of this ideology – but suffice it to say it was and is a diabolical untruth that is not even worthy of dispute. Time has shown that skin color has absolutely nothing to do with intellect, intelligence or the ability to lead. When given equal opportunity, black people have excelled in every profession on every continent on planet earth. This is an indisputable fact.
With that said, I believe Majority Rule Day should be focused on emphasizing how we achieve the ideals in our constitution and on preventing any residual effect of broken ideology of white supremacy from ever occurring or persisting even in its most latent form. Today, the philosophy is still seen in the population as we still pursue European definitions of beauty to gain a higher sense of value. It is manifested in the proliferation of weaves, perms and plastic surgery, as we seek to look like the European ideal rather than embrace the beauty of who we are without apology.
I recall recently a contestant in one of the major beauty pageants who dared to appear with a natural hair afro style and many questioned whether she would be accepted or if her natural appearance would diminish her chance of success in the pageant. Such questions should not exist in our world today.
The unadulterated truth is that we are all created equal and have intrinsic equal value. While it is great to celebrate something that should have never been an issue, we must now consider ensuring that the generations that follow have no platform for such a debate to continue because we would have effectively solved the issue. We are all created with equal value, but we differ in talents and gifts. Those talents and gifts have nothing to do with our skin color.
Jesus provided the ultimate example when he broke many customs, traditions and taboos. We all recall the incident with the woman at the well who was not a Jew and according to custom was not qualified to engage a Jew. He affirmed her value by breaking the custom and providing her with an affirmation that she did not expect. Another incident involved the widow and the widows’ mite, a poor and insignificant woman in the eyes of many. Jesus affirmed that she was valued and her gift exceeded those who were wealthier and may have looked down on her because of her poverty. As the old song says, “Red, brown, yellow, black and white they are precious in his sight.”
We say thanks to those involved in the struggle for majority rule, and thank you for the sacrifices and the atrocities you endured to bring us what was ours by right. Thank God we are now free to move about the country, to hold high office and to lead in any profession or position. May the freedom we achieved not be squandered by a low self-esteem that would cause us to abuse the privileges we have gained or fail to fully recognize who we really are.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to [email protected]. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.