The stain of colorism

Dear Editor,

It is so sad that a black woman at a PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) rally referred to “darkies”, meaning skin color, but the strong implications were demeaning of us black people, the majority of whom are sufficiently melanized or are dark-skinned.

It is ironic that this “hater of self” comment emanated from the podium of a rally by a party that has struggled and fought for equality of our people, particularly us darkies who often experienced cruel prejudice from our own black people.

We tend to gravitate to those light-skinned blacks, and it can be seen that Bahamian men, who are amply melanized, rarely marry dark-skinned women.

Whilst this can be seen throughout our society, it appears to be more noticeable amongst the PLP male politicians and its political wannabe counterparts, although it permeates throughout society by our sufficiently melanized black Bahamian men.

Because of this, women in our communities spend thousands of dollars purchasing many unhealthy products to lighten up their skin color.

Incidentally, what we as black people fail to appreciate, is that God has bestowed such a wonderful gift of giving us so many different shades of color – light-skinned, bright, dark-skinned, midnight, brown and even including being referred to in some instances as “beige”.

Unfortunately, our white counterparts are not as blessed as they are simply white, and the only times their color seems to change, is when they are, sadly, “deathly” sick and in that instance their skin color turns blue. White people’s skin color also changes when they have sun-tanned.

On this note, there is always the butt of jokes that if there were a nuclear explosion the dark-skinned blacks or “darkies” would survive longer than their light-skinned counterparts or whites, as the melanin in their skin would be beneficial to their living longer.

Whilst it may be a blessing that we as black people have a variety of skin colors, as referred to earlier, we still render malicious prejudice against those who are dark-skinned.

These “darkies”, as PLP Vice Chair Patricia Deveaux demeaningly categorized when speaking at the PLP rally, often are prejudiced against, in priority, in obtaining employment or even preference in receiving promotions or benefits on various jobs.

Even little innocent infants who are sufficiently melanized, do not get the “play” or traction as being “cute” as do the light-skinned or “bright” babies.

I recall years ago when a utility first opened for business, all of their cashiers were light-skinned or “bright”, and as I was angered by such noticeable prejudice, I started raising my voice and complaining why no dark-skinned persons were cashiers.

The line that I was on waiting to be served had only one other person my color, who could be described as “bright” or light-skinned. And we both voiced our objections very loudly.

However, the line was inundated with very dark-skinned people or “darkies” and rather than join in with our protests, they looked at us as if we had lost our minds because under their breaths they were saying: “[You’re] the same color like them cashiers!!!”

Seriously, though, it is such a disgrace and shame that this intelligent female who appears to want to be a politician of a party, the Progressive Liberal Party, an institution, could make such a downright stupid and asinine reference.

It is this same Institution that had once made us “darkies” feel proud and that we belonged at the helm of every sector of our communities, achieving the highest standard of education or accomplishments in the various careers; or, that we the “darkies” could set out to achieve anything we worked hard to do.

Yet, it is this same institution that has not found it necessary to have our people recognize and celebrate the American’s February as Black History Month.

We, as Bahamians, act as if we are citizens of the United States when we acknowledge and celebrate Americans’ holidays and special dates; for example, Thanksgiving Day, the 4th of July, Super Bowl Sunday, etc., but we never seem to include Black History Month, for if we did, I can almost guarantee that Deveaux would not make such a nasty reference because she would have known that us “darkies”, who incidentally look like her, would have historically contributed to so many things that we take for granted that make our lives easier.

There are so many accomplishments by darkies that cannot be listed or mentioned in this letter.

But this is the institution’s fault.

During the reign of the Progressive Liberal Party, our leaders never found it necessary to pass legislation for our schools to incorporate Black History Month, so that students would be taught and made aware of the positive and massive global contributions that people who look just like them have made.

This, obviously, would have improved these children’s self-esteem, and perhaps we would not have been faced with a society that has gone “criminally viral”.

The PLP has not even passed legislation to re-name Burma Road, and they have had ample time to do so.

Every January, in social media lingo, I SMT (suck my teeth) when members of that institution beat up their mouths about acknowledging our “heroes”. Yet, when in power, they do nothing about instilling knowledge in our youth about how powerful we as “darkies” are and the many contributions we have made to this planet.

These PLP politicians must do better, and it is a damn shame that such an ignorant reference came from one of its members.

I am not sure I expect the Free National Movement to do the foregoing as it is not an institution and appears to be simply “a movement” with wanting status of a political party.

The sad thing about this whole reference mess is that PLP members appear to make it a gender issue by highlighting the verbal mistakes of Miriam Emmanuel, an FNM MP.

This lame excuse by the PLP will not justify or give credence to the way they treat women in giving them unworthy or unwinnable seats and non-ministerial positions.

– E.V. Albury 

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