Frequently Heard Claim: “ Every race segregates and hire their relatives and friends, not just White people…”
A section of “Becoming Anti-Racist in Barbados: Q&A”, a resource list for ALL white or ‘pass-fuh-white’ Bajans, and other white people living in Barbados.
“Black people and other minorities (Indian, Chinese, etc) do the same things that white people do here — they also socialize mainly with Black people, and hire their relatives and friends.”
Statistically, it makes sense for Black people to mostly socialize with and support one another — Black people are over 90% of the island’s population.
It is also common for many reasons for minorities of any ethnicity to socialize with each other to an extent, as we often lime with our families who are racially similiar and then our social circles extend from there.
However, when the people with the most economic power primarily lime with one another, this creates a place where power and opportunity stays in the hands of the wealthy.
We all very well know that through socializing, we learn about job opportunities, investment opportunities, and we “help each other out” in a million ways big and small.
It feels natural to help out our family and friends, but by doing this we often exclude (perhaps unintentionally) others who are just as deserving. This happens all over the world and is not specific to Barbados, but it certainly is one of the most obvious and impactful examples of how systemic racism negatively impacts the people of the island.
Also consider the ways that keeping within our ‘White Bubble’ can also reinforce racist ideas and behaviors because there is no one to challenge our assumptions about the way the world really is for everyone else.
This removes us from the motivation to use our positions of Privilege to help the rest of the country to advance and improve. For example, if all white children go to the same ‘white’ private schools, then it is much less likely for us to not notice the problems in the wider school system because they don’t affect us and in turn we are less likely to do our part to help correct those problems. This perpetuates an inequality in education, which affects job opportunities and so on and so forth.
Remember, you might not INTEND for a behaviour to be harmful, but that doesn’t stop the results from being harmful. The onus is on us to examine and change where we cause harm, regardless of our initial intentions.
If you feel alarmed, fearful or attacked when you come across initiatives to support Black Businesses (eg. #bajanblackout), we would challenge you to examine those feelings. Remember, it’s not about punishing you for being white. It’s about making sure the path to success is not blocked for those who are not.
We have a responsibility to Barbadian society to help pave an equitable path forward for all segments of Barbadians. And if you’re already doing your part then you have nothing to worry about, don’t get sucked into the reflexive white defensiveness that was taught to our ancestors 400 years ago to maintain the status quo for those who were exploiting others in the name of capitalism.
Continue to reflect and examine , because there’s always room for improvement for ALL of us in forging a better Barbados.
Frequently Heard Claims
- “Racism is more of an American issue…”
- “I’m white and I’m not wealthy, I don’t have white privilege…”
- “Slavery happened years ago, why can’t people get over it?”
- “I have Black family and friends etc. I’m not racist…”
- “As a ‘white minority’ I’ve experienced more racism than Black people…”
- “I don’t see colour… Why don’t we just spread positivity?”
- “It’s not about race, it’s about class issue etc.”
- “Indentured servants were slaves too!”
- “Black workers are lazy.”
- “My Black friends & family agree with me on this…”
- “Every race segregate and hire their relatives and friends, not just White people”
- “There are many Black people who have done very well for themselves”
- “All Lives Matter”
- “The Nelson Statue should stay, we can’t change history!”
- “ Having conversations about race in Barbados is divisive and will only stir up hatred and violence…”
- “I don’t like the tones of these conversations when they become angry and extreme!”
- “Black people sold others into slavery; other cultures enslaved people throughout history”
- “Some Black people were treated well under slavery”
- “I’m not a fan of Blackout Tuesday. What does it accomplish?”
- “Changing all of these brand names is foolishness”