Stay out of local politics

Hopefully immigration Minister Derrick Burgess is hot on the heels of race relations expert Tim Wise to remind him that non-Bermudians are to stay out of local politics.  According to the precedent set by our Immigration Minister, Mr. Wise  should restrict his comments to discussing race alone and not offering his opinions with regards to any proposed legislation.

That is unless such remarks are a one way street and our government feels it is only necessary to give such warnings when foreigners promote opinions conflicting with those of the government.

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10 thoughts on “Stay out of local politics

  1. key word is PAID political consultant,this fool parrots anything they pay him to say, to stir up emotions with history revisionism,to win elections .
    They did it in 2003,importing the buffoon from Britain “rev. tweed”
    Fact is, there has been enslavement of whites and all races in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and finally in America from Roman times to the beginning of the 20th century.

  2. Ha! My thoughts exactly. Isn’t this the government that has spent millions on foriegn consultants?
    I don’t agree with Sal that Mr. Wise will change his tune based on payment–he doesn’t have to. He’s been making his living this way for a long time. If he were writing that pure racists have been marginalized and reduced in number and that institutional racism is far from proved while issues such as education are far more important, he’d never be hired to come here in the first place.
    If issues regarding race were to be resolved he’d be out of a job. So would CURE. So would CURB. And there would be more accountability in the current government. Is it any surprise that the actions of these interested parties seem largely skewed in counterproductive directions?
    Let’s keep it real shall we?

  3. “If issues regarding race were to be resolved he’d be out of a job. So would CURE. So would CURB. And there would be more accountability in the current government. Is it any surprise that the actions of these interested parties seem largely skewed in counterproductive directions?”
    SDG, your comment seems rather cynical and I honestly do not agree with it at all. Following your logic, any person or institution that is in place to right any wrong is simply there to perpetuate the problem. That’s like saying the police want people to commit murder/theft/armed robbery so that they’ll have crimes to solve (and thus keep their jobs). Or the health department wants local eateries to sell bad food so that they can reprimand them (and thus keep their jobs, too). Theseinstitutions exist to find, root out and elimate problems; not keep them going for the sake of long-term employment.
    If you want to keep it real, at least try to be realistic.

  4. Of course its cynical–does that automatically make it wrong? Of course not.
    Both crime and health are issues which are unsolveable. Police and healthcare are there to manage them not end their existence. Racism is, one would hope, is not the same and is something that can be eradicated. We aren’t there yet, but I sincerely question the assumptions and approaches of these groups and whether they are helping or hindering the process.
    Also, if you think people don’t act in their percieved interests (whether consciously or unconsciously) then, respectfully, it is you my friend who is being unrealistic.

  5. Nobody has said that cynical comments are wrong — I said that I didn’t agree with it (there is a difference). In addition, I never said nor implied that “I think people don’t act in their perceived interests.”
    I happen to think that people DO act in their perceived interests. I think that it would be in Mr. Wise’s interest to help end racism… the same way it is in my interest and your interest to help end racism. If it is eradicated, he can always find new work (he’s a very intelligent man). But just because his views do not align perfectly with yours does not mean that he is being counter-productive to race relations. Have you even been to hear him speak? I doubt that you have… otherwise you wouldn’t be making such ridiculous assumptions.
    And how can you say that crime and health issues are unsolvable? Both have existed for a long time in human civilization… and so has racism. All 3 problems used to be worse, but through effective management (as you say) they are getting better. If you think that crime and health are things that can’t be resolved and racism is something that can, then I guess we’ll have to disagree on that. I happen to believe that all 3 will never be eradicated; however, the problems associated with them can only be mitigated. People will always get sick. People will always break the law. And (some) people will always give preferential treatment based on race… our quest is to help fight these problems. But to think that any one of them will cease to exist is, sadly, unrealistic. That’s what I’m talking about being realistic…
    Your tangent onto ‘perceived interests’ has nothing to do with what we were talking about, but it is definitely a convenient diversion. Let’s keep focused!

  6. Bermudian,
    Funny that you assume I’ve never heard him speak. I wonder why that is? Surely not because I disagree with you, right?
    Just so you know, I have and that is why I take the view I do.
    After listening (with an open mind believe it or not) to his discussion I was less than impressed with the logical framework of his ideas, or more precisely the lack thereof, which seemed based on gross generalizations about races, human nature, and which ignored significant facts which do not support his theories on race. (not to mention some of the other far nuttier views he has in the bio he hands out at meetings) If you are predisposed to agree with him, as most if not all of the audience was, those problems would be glossed over (human nature). But to a critical, but fair, observer almost everything he said just doesn’t hold up.
    Naturally I expected, correctly, that some of his statements were incredibly racist against whites, but was surprised that he also had comments which were racist against blacks too. One line in particular was “unless it relates to not being able to sing, dance, or jump there aren’t any negative stereotypes to being white” implying those are the only positive aspects of being “black”–I could mine that statement for days about how wrong it is on so many levels on both sides of the equation.
    Regarding your other point, I do recognize that you may not be talking about perceived interests but that is in fact what I’m talking about in making my point about politicizing race.
    I also disagree, and suspect we will have to agree to disagree, on whether racism is the same as crime or health. Health problems exist as a part of life. We can’t cure AIDS, let alone the common cold. Crime is the result of a lot of things, but fundamentally it stems from human nature–people want what others have, they get angry and do stupid things, etc.
    Racism, although difficult to eradicate because of human nature’s tendency to produce “in” and “out” groups, can be resolved because its a learned behavior. The tendency of in and out groups doesnt mean race automatically has to be an issue, just that it can be and that it may be more suceptible to that.
    I think the best way to make progress is through interaction. Why? I think its far more difficult to demonize or dehumanize an out group if you interact with them. The type of interaction I’m discussing however is contrary to what Dr. Brown, Cure and Curb seem to believe, i.e. that such interactions have to be uncomfortable or painful for one or both parties. I think in fact that such interaction should be above all else natural and unforced, but ideally positive.
    Think about it–when was the last time you walked away from a heated dispute thinking constructively about the other side? Most successful negotiations (and beleive it or not race discussions are a social negotiation)look for positive ways to make both sides happy and meet both sides interests.
    Then, how can you have a positive interaction if one side claims infallability as happens when certain people claim blacks can’t be racist and define racism in such a way that they think (although I beg to differ) precludes blacks from being racist. Or what about the politically motivated piggy backing of race onto social issues as a way to escape accountability? (cough) education (cough)
    It is precisely a fair and win-win discussion on race which is missing from what’s going on in bermuda. Unfortunately what is said typically is all about retribution and revence IMO.
    In many cases I find the themes personally offensive because they attempt to invalidate or devalue the very real human relationships I have with close friends and family members who are of different races than me, not to mention the somewhat mixed background I have myself (despite appearing to the average passerby as simply “white”) and of which I’m quite proud. If we are honest most of us are in this boat too.
    The current path we are being forced down isn’t the way.

  7. SDG,
    Actually the reason why I presumed you hadn’t heard him speak was because despite the fact that you do not agree with them, you cannot attack the character of Mr. Wise and the hardworking people at CURE / CURB by stating that they are trying to perpetuate the problems so that they can remain employed. Mr. Wise in particular has dedicated much of his life to the cause of tackling racism, yet you discount everything that he has worked for by saying he is in it for himself. Tim is a white man living in a “white man’s world.” The very fact that he is willing to discuss these problems (as opposed to ignoring them completely) says something in and of itself…no?
    You speak of those who were predisposed to agree with him, but my question to you is whether you consider yourself to be one of those “critical observers.” If you were, surely you wouldn’t have “naturally… expected” that his statements were going to be racist. It seems as if you were predisposed to disagree with whatever he had to say.
    The very fact that we are all talking about race now is a credit to the PLP Government. I can’t tell you how many white people I’ve heard saying that all these race problems weren’t here 9 years ago… that just illustrates how for the majority of the population, people were just ignoring the issue because I can assure you that in the black community, these race-related issues were alive and well. But nobody wanted to talk about it… and now we are and all of a sudden it’s the Government’s fault. It just shows you that there was such a disconnect.
    Racism cannot be resolved because there will always be racists. What we can do, however, is limit the amount of influence that racists have in our society. We can also allow people to engage in conversations were they can discuss their race-related concerns… rather than ignoring the problem completely. The interaction doesn’t have to be comfortable, because evidently everyone is not feeling ‘rosy’ about the current state of affairs… so some things will come out that will make some people uncomfortable, but that’s ok and healthy in a way. It’s kind of like counselling where you speak exactly what you are feeling, rather than some politically-correct bs that’s meant to keep everyone happy when deep down inside you think something else.
    The fact that you see race discussions as a “negotiation” says a lot. As a black person, I see race discussions as a way to seek equality… and I would hope that all parties can be in agreement with that. Why should anyone have to negotiate when it comes to being fair and equitable?
    At least one thing we can agree on is that there are racial problems (FROM BOTH SIDES) and both need to be addressed. Dialogue (forced or otherwise) is the key to solving these issues. Not talking at all and pretending that everything is ok won’t solve anything.

  8. Bermudian,
    You are right that my original post was a bit harsh as a broad stroke. I certainly think there are some dishonest brokers out there on this issue, chief among them being Ewart Brown, the PLP, and, yes, CURE. Both have, in my opinion which is based on either public positions or personal interactions and observations, given clear evidence that they are not interested in truth and race is a political weapon. I certainly do not withdraw those comments in those instances, however, given that CURB is new I should have given them more of the benefit of the doubt especially since, as I rethink my interactions with them I realize they are far less in number and point more towards well-intentioned individuals who are more misguided than anything else (my definition of course). So I will leave CURB out of my criticisms for now and appreciate that you called me on that. Whatever you may believe, I try to be fair.
    That said, I think you are plain wrong that even those well-intentioned individuals which do exist cannot be counterproductive in their actions. We’d be in a utopia if intentions alone saved the world.
    As for Mr. Wise I completely disagree. Where you see altruism I do not. We could both argue that the other is engaged in a self-fulfilling prophecy—you agree so you think he’s altruistic, whereas I disagree and see him more akin to a corrupt televangelist. We may not make progress on that.
    And yes, I do believe I was an open-minded observer. That’s different from neutral because I had read some of his work prior to seeing him in person and because we don’t live in a vacuum. I attended to get a more complete picture of what he had to say. Worst case, I’d at least be able to counter his arguments rationally. Plus, I thought he might have something fresh and enlightening to say and even change my mind on some issues. Was I skeptical, of course, but was I open to hearing him—absolutely.
    In any case, Denis’ point and my addition stand. If Mr. Wise advocated a contrary view he’d either never be invited in the first place or he’d be escorted to the airport.
    I think we are better put to discussing areas where we can make progress. But to do that we have to be fair and not mischaracterize each other. I think how you paraphrase the “white” arguments about worsening race relations is not helpful. You seem to be taking their statements that race relations are worse as saying there weren’t any race problems 9 years ago. Not so. My view is that it was a still-healing wound. Was it cured? No. Was it healing? Was progress being made? I would think so. The type of comment you are criticizing is meant to point out that EB & Co. have been picking at the scab of that wound in such a way as to divide Bermudians and probably create a new generation of racial mistrust, etc.
    On your next point, I’m sorry that you feel there will always be racists. Practically, you are probably right. But I don’t see any reason why that has to be the outcome for the reasons I’ve already outlined. I’m glad though we can agree that reducing the influence of those racists who are around is a great goal.
    My problem is that we don’t agree on methods and we don’t agree on definitions. I think EB is a racist. I doubt you do. How do we deal with that? I see progress. You apparently do not. Again, no one is advocating putting our heads in the sand and I’m certainly the last person to advocate politically correctness, but there is a flipside to those things you are ignoring. Simply put, you can’t put your head in the sand regarding progress and you can’t make a PC requirement that blacks are incapable of racism or that all criticism by any white person against any black person is going to be race-driven.
    In any case, I think its great we are having a civil and rational discussion on the topic. I wish that could happen in the broader community–but please don’t tell me that’s what Rolfe Commissiong was doing b/c that’s another long fruitless topic.

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