Any ideology that threatens the unity of this country should offend everyone
I cannot speak for the rest of the Indo-Guyanese community but I cannot let Parvati Persaud-Edwards speak for me. I would like to let my brothers and sisters of African descent know that I am proud to live by their side and share a unique history and country with them.
I would like to let them know that the only people who scare me are the ones who make and defend bigoted remarks for personal or political gain, because I cannot fathom such self-absorption and sociopathic unconcern for others.
I would like to let them know that the racist language of Ms Edwards’ editorial sickened me, but that private everyday racist language worries me more. I apologise for the pervasive ethnic segregation of this country.
I would like to remind Ms. Edwards that Cheddi said “Racism is the greatest curse of our land … anyone who spreads racial propaganda must be severely dealt with. Such a person is an enemy to himself and his country.” If she is afraid of “innocent, clean-living black youths” then that is a problem to take up with a counsellor or a spiritual guide or someone, not a national newspaper.
I would like to let everyone know that equating certain traits and characteristics with a particular colour of skin is racism. It’s not a joke and it’s not a fact. The real facts are these: 1) crime, indecency, discrimination, violence, intelligence, moral fibre and success come in all colours, shapes and sizes, 2) we may look different and come from different places but we’re all headed in one direction – our future as a people and 3) racism hurts. Racism may be the sad norm but it is not our culture. It is the result of colonial indoctrination; of bondage and slavery. We can rise above it if we are willing.
I would like to remind everyone that social development goes hand in hand with economic development. We cannot even get off the ground if we hold on tightly to old divisive ways of thinking and being. We have to stop discriminating against people because of their age or the way they dress or whom they love or the colour of their skin. At some point, we have to let it all go and move forward together.
Any ideology that threatens the unity of this country and the basic rights of its people to live with dignity and respect should offend everyone who loves Guyana fiercely.