Though I can no longer go to the site to confirm, Tony Brannon’s quote regarding tourism was essentially that Black Bermudians egged on by the BIU were responsible for the fall of tourism.
The island has been in an uproar since these comments were made with many people I’ve heard on the radio attacking them, threatening to boycott and condemning free speech.
For those who condemn free speech I’d like to remind them that without those first few who used freedom of speech to say slavery was wrong, we might still have slavery on our island today. Despite the fact that Tony Brannon may forever be branded as a racist for his remark and nor do I agree with it, he does have a right to voice his opinion.
I’d like to take a moment to analyze Mr. Brannon’s comments. “Black Bermudians egged on by the BIU” is being taken to imply that he meant all Black Bermudians are responsible for the fall of tourism. I don’t believe this is the case and I think his message is being taken out of context.
A slight modification to his phrase changes it quite drastically. “Black Bermudians [who were] egged on by the BIU” turns it into a phrase that points to a specific group of Bermudians who were egged on by the BIU to have a bad attitude. It does unjustly identify a specific race of Bermudians yet many people are proclaiming that he meant all Black Bermudians are to blame for why Tourism has failed when this does not appear to be the case.
In all reality, noone could condone or approve of the way Mr. Brannon chose to phase his opinion. Indeed he could have chosen much better ways to say it. It was not Black Bermudians or White Bermudians who were responsible for the decline in tourism, it has been Bermudians in general.
Very simply put, many Bermudians have a bad attitude. If we were to make a book of “Bermudian phrases”, “That’s not in my job description”, “I can’t be fired, I’m Bermudian” and “suphht” (the sound of sucking your teeth) would be near the top. When was the last time you went to a restaurant and got more pleasant service from a Bermudian then from a foreigner? When was the last time you tried to buy something in a shop and when asking for assistance from a Bermudian they sucked their teeth and looked at you like you’re asking them to do something utterly below themselves, despite the fact that they’re getting paid to do exactly what you’re asking.
We, as Bermudians, seem to quickly forget what likely brought on Tony Brannon’s admittedly racist remarks. Not too long ago, our former Premier made the comment “I am sick and tired of taking crap from people who look and sound like Tony Brannon”. Many may be quick to disregard this comment, yet for many white people and especially Tony Brannon, it was a racist and offensive remark. The Premier never apologized to Tony Brannon for it and only apologized for using the word crap. It does not surprise me that Tony Brannon is now lashing out for the failure of Bermudians to step behind him and demand an apology. He did deserve one whether the comment was a mistake or not.
How about our present Premier who suggested that Grant Gibbons is a racist dog. I have yet to see any examples put forth of any circumstance where Grant Gibbons has done anything racist and to use the argument that he is white and rich to justify the claim is utterly appalling. Simply because he is white and wealthy instantly makes him a racist? Again, the apology of “I did not call him a racist dog for clearly he is not a dog” does not suffice.
Bermudians love to get all up in arms when a white person says something that he shouldn’t have said. If a white UBP Premier said about a black person what former Premier Scott said about Mr. Brannon, many would have been ready to lynch him. Yet when a black Premier says it of a white person, it’s not a racist remark.
We need to end our double standards about racism. Many Bermudians act like we have it so terrible, like it is such a horrible existence we live in as the richest country on the planet. To all those who do, I recommend you go watch the movie “Blood Diamond” for a wakeup call of what life could be like. We could go back to the days where we were ready to kill, rape, pillage and enslave each other simply so that we could betray ourselves for the mighty dollar. Isn’t that how African slavery began in the first place?
If you’re going to boycott Hawkin’s Island, why don’t you also boycott every store, restaurant, hotel, taxi and every other service on the island who supports Bermudians with bad attitudes. We need to get over ourselves. Let’s stop fighting over race and realize that regardless of how poorly he said it, if you take out race and the BIU, Tony Brannon was right when he said Bermudians have destroyed tourism in Bermuda.
If you’re a tourist and unless you want service with a scowl, don’t come to Bermuda, we clearly don’t want your business.