I read Freddie Kissoon’s article of February 24, 2020 in Kaieteur News entitled “50 years of wishing and hoping and leaving” where he expresses the view that with cultural confusion in the Caribbean, none of the countries stands out more as a failure than Guyana.
I agree with his pessimism about the current state and future of Guyana. He states that we cannot go on blaming the psychological effects of colonialism and the legacies of Burnham and Jagan.
To a certain extent, I agree with him on this point too. But I am sure that deep down he knows that the problem is the divisiveness born of racism – it is a phenomenon that has led to the poison we have experienced in the past, are experiencing at the moment, and will continue to experience for some time in the future. Until we solve the racial issue we will continue with the anti-intellectualism that permeates the society and which is seen in our culture.
Racism is an enemy to rational thinking and a reasoned intellectual disposition. Any right-thinking person would not hold racial views because they would know the consequences of racism in Guyana. The racists know this and they hate and condemn any intellectual who points to the racial underpinnings in the society and warn of the dire consequences to this country.
Because racism blocks our thinking, our leaders and members of the society, seem to have lost the intellectual ability to reason. We see this consequence in the rejection of persons with sound intellectual capabilities and who appear to be honest, and the promotion and maintenance of persons who are intellectually weak and corrupt. It therefore means we will continue to struggle as a nation.
We can see the effects of racism and division and the consequent lack of intellectualism currently playing out in the United States. We are seeing corruption, removal of restrictions to avoid the vagaries of climate change and protection of the environment, attempts to leave a swath of people without health care, inhumane treatment of people at their southern border etc. And similar to Guyana, the basis of much of these problems is the abandonment of reason.
For the betterment of everyone, we need to start thinking about how racism is destroying us and what can be done to counter it. But with the inherent destructive nature of the oil industry, I agree with Freddie that nothing is going to change for us in the near future.
Professor Kean Gibson
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