Are we so Blind? An Open Apology to Black Lives Matter

Racism is Systematic and Systemic



It is clear that racism in the USA is not a chance affair. Racism in America is deep down and embedded in the hearts and minds of many. It is systemic and structural. Racism is at every step of the way – from birth to death; from school, education, jobs, marriage, religion, home ownership, car ownership, loans, business development, clearly-developed, defined and enshrined in laws, lores, mores, traditions and culture.

It means that getting rid of this racism pandemic has to be system-wide – it has to do with dismantling laws, systems, values, structures, statutes (and statues); but most importantly, it has to do with changing the hearts and minds of a nation.


How can America Lead?




Racism in America raises a number of questions that we need to consider. How can this Great America care about the world, about poor people, about democracy, about justice, about human rights and about the environment, when they cannot even treat their own people fairly and justly? Why are so many people still wanting to live the American Dream, when, for so many black Americans, it is a nightmare?


Are we Caribbean Supremacists?


I was just wondering, because I feel that we have a Caribbean Supremacist approach to African Americans. We feel that we are better because we are lighter; we talk differently (the Queen’s English); we are educated; we don’t have the recent trauma of slavery and systematic oppression and our fifty shades of brown frees us from some forms of racism. Yet, we gladly migrate to the USA and Canada and probably take the jobs that African Americans would have, if only they were given the opportunity.


Aren’t we Indians also Racists?



And it is no different from how we Indians see us blacks in Trinidad and Tobago (lazy, good-for-nothing criminals); not realising how privileged we Indians are (escaping poverty in India, coming to the Caribbean, working for 10 years and getting 5 acres of land or passage back to India – most took the land, of course); whereas after 300+ years of slavery, we Africans in the Caribbean got nothing (and the 40 acres promised to Black Americans never happened, and when it did, the White Supremacists razed their development e.g. the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921).

The point is that we are all guilty. Like White Supremacists, we Caribbean Supremacists inflict pain on Black Americans without giving a hoot.


Are We All So Blind?


I visited the USA (Iowa and Washington) in the late 1980s when I was completing a Doctorate at a British university. It was no problem to get a 10-year visa, having two degrees under my belt. I felt supreme. But I noticed that I was different. I spoke differently, almost everyone was friendly, especially after they learnt that I was not born in the USA and I was a visitor/ a tourist. I felt immediately superior. And I did not give a hoot.

Although being born in a post-colonial society if Trinidad and Tobago, I had not realised, and never bothered to understand, the unique plight of Black Americans. And so now, many of us Caribbean, White, European and other Supremacists have to open our eyes; to understand our own privileges; to understand how we ‘secretly benefit’ from an unjust system. For this oversight, I deeply apologise.


Are Even Academics and Universities Blinded?



We also need to ask: How is it at all possible that in the USA, economist, scientists, sociologists, researchers, journalists, academic journals, ivy-league universities, banks, insurance companies, and other ‘reputable’ institutions to claim to carry out research, write books and even explain social, economic, health and medical phenomenon, such as poverty and economic growth, without analysing one of the most important causalities – systemic and systematic racism. It is akin to analysing the causes of a recession and not looking at interest rates, real wages, consumer confidence, etc.

It appears that not only does his story (history) and (and her story) need to be re-written, but every single so-called academic paper that pretend or claim to explain these phenomenon.


We Need to Listen to Our Hearts and Our Consciences



We all have to look within ourselves and work hard on being better persons – to listen to our own hearts and our conscience. We need to Care. We need to Love Deeply. We need to search within ourselves. We need to understand, to think, to share, to discuss, to analyse and debate.

We also need to ACT – to vote with our money (our purchases) and our feet (do not return/patronise unjust businesses).


Slavery is NOT an Excuse



It is true that slavery resulted in the destruction of families, of faith, of hope, of confidence. Slavery left many empty and hopeless. However, if we continue to abuse our women and our children, not even God, or the Government, can help us. Let’s not let slavery be an excuse!


What Will Our Children Think of Us?



Finally, let us spare ourselves from the hard questions that our children will pose to us in the future. I wonder what today’s children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents are asking their parents about how they benefitted from slavery; how they permit black to be lynched; and participated in them as social events; and continue to ‘secretly benefit’ from an unjust system.

Today, a major injustice to the Palestinians is taking place, as we speak, as we write, and as we continue to live. And we do and say nothing; pretending that it is none of our business. What will our children think of us?

Food for Thought from Dr. Auliana Poon, Tourism, Trade, Technology and Humanity Expert.

June 29th, 2020.

Tell us what you think. Leave a comment below.


Further Reading

This is the second part of my blog on Black Lives Matter – Implications for the Caribbean and the World. Here is the link in the event that you missed it.


Black Lives Matter – What does this mean for the Caribbean, and for the World?



For some facts and figures on the systems, laws and practices of systematic and institutional racism in the USA and the outcomes



For an Indian Perspective, the award-winning author’s interview Arundhati Roy