Frequently Heard Claim: “Conversations about race in Barbados are divisive and stir up hatred which will lead to violence…”

A Black person holding a colourful sign saying“We’re not trying to start a race war we’re trying to end one”
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“If people stir up these conversations about race it is a slippery slope. This focus on the negative just creates divisions which stir up hatred and will lead to violence/revenge. Just look at Mugabe’s Zimbabwe etc…”

It is extremely important for white Bajans to recognize that fear has always been one of the main mechanisms of racism.

This fear of Black violence and retribution has consistently been used to shut down conversations and slow the progress of anti-racist movements, including but not limited to the abolishionist movement.


Fear, even when it’s overblown or unwarranted, has been a powerful component of racism because it is both contagious and anti-logical.

This is why it is so important to be proactively ‘anti-racist’, rather than passively assuming that just being ‘not racist’ is enough. We have to be critical of the fear we’ve been taught and actively examine the claims and assumptions we have been making as white people in Barbados…

Conflating demands for equality with demands for revenge is a racist fallacy that has been used to shut down conversations and movements for equality in society for centuries.

Let’s be logical:

Why would we ignore the plentiful examples of relatively peaceful constructive progress across modern societies?

While there are of course, examples of violent movements that exist and can be construed as ominous warnings (white people’s own behaviour not least among these examples), what makes us think that Barbadians are likely to follow anything resembling that path when we have countless examples of non-violent, or minimally violent, diplomatic, socially conscience movements for equality and justice by a majority of the Black population historically and internationally?

Who exactly are you talking about?

When you fear this imagined violence or revenge against white people in Barbados, do you really believe many of your Black friends and relatives would support it? Would any at all? If not, perhaps you need to examine why you believe that they are the exception and that the rest of Barbados is particularly violent or amoral?

Does it make sense?

If, as most white Bajan’s tend to claim, racism today isn’t really a big problem, why would Black people look to exact revenge on people who weren’t even alive during the time of slavery? Are they particularly violent, illogical or amoral ?

As white Bajans we can’t allow the fear of an unfounded hypothetical future cause us to ignore the realities of our present society and try to silence discussions seeking to fully recognize and reckon with the repercussions of our collective past.

While it is tempting to try to simply ‘not see colour’ or just focus on positivity, when there are underlying issues hurting people in our society positive thinking alone will not lead to tangible positive progress.

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Becoming Anti-Racist

Becoming Anti-Racist

A resource list for ALL white or ‘pass-fuh-white’ Bajans, and other white people living in Barbados.