Master’s Voice: Racism comes in more than one color and is not just skin-deep
“The vast and overcrowded peninsula of India […] is in its native condition most miserable and no better in a moral point of view, as exhibited in the picture which Sir Emerson Tennet draws of the Tamils of Ceylon: ‘[…] Sensuality and gain are the two passions of their existence, and in the pursuit of them they exhibit a licentiousness so shocking, and practices so inconceivably vile, as would scarcely obtain credence from those who are familiar with the aspects and usages of civilised life even in its lowest and least attractive forms.’ He is deceitful and always prepared to take advantage of the unaware” -–Louis Antoine de Verteuil
“[T]hese are the brutes with whom I spend my life. If again in contributing to make my life more painful they gave me some hold on their poor souls which have cost the blood of a God and which are blacker than their black faces. I cry in the desert. The majority of my savages are like Jean de Nouille’s dog.”–-Abbé Armand Masse (French Catholic parish priest of Oropouche, South Trinidad), 1880
These distasteful, racist observations will set the tone for my next couple articles. Since February, several articles and memes have appeared which exposed yet again the ugly reality of racism, racist ideas and colorism in this society that many, almost always those who went to the best “educational” institutions, strive to deny.
T&T is a fascinating study of contradictions; through its strong African and Indian diaspora, there is an abundance of raw sexual energy. Yet, daily, people hiding behind bibles, Qu’rans and Gitas, struggle so hard to be distanced from anything resembling open sexuality. The country has given the world some of its deepest thinkers like CLR James, Lloyd Best, Eric Williams and Rudranath Capildeo, Claudia Jones and Vidia Naipaul, yet there’s an equally deep anti-intellectualism.
We are warm and open to people we never even met before, yet we can be callous, xenophobic and spiteful in a heartbeat. All ah we are one but the degree to which white superiority racism is embedded in the fabric of this society is downright shocking.