Fifteen minutes of fame, and then what?

Following the murder of George Floyd, there was a flood of verbal outrage and spontaneous marches, all to reflect the umbrage that was felt.

A lot of people suddenly realised that it was wrong to treat black people so badly. The police should stop killing them. But nothing was said about housing them. Nothing was said about their proper education, as opposed to brainwashing. There was no mention of their health care, especially since it was admitted that they were dying at an alarming rate because of Covid-19.

The threat of financial boycotts drove many businesses to the realisation that black lives mattered, to their businesses. After all, black people lead the world in wasteful spending. Of all the expressions of change, this is the one strategy with the most potential to bring about the change of which people speak, but the least likely to succeed. Of course, that is not relevant to Barbados.

However, as the 15 minutes of attention passes, the need for more meaningful reflection looms large in the consciousness. Whither our people?

Wherever you find black people, you find a strong religious tradition. No one can controvert the evidence that religion has not helped to liberate us. In fact, the opposite is indisputably true. Yet, the religious loyalty continues.

Many who have accepted the reality of what religion continues to do to our people have concluded that there is no God. Well, maybe if I were homeless and hungry with no hope of shelter or a meal, I might also question the existence of a caring God. However, the suffering of Barbadians has not stopped them from saying that their leader cares.

To point to the ineffectiveness of religion is to misunderstand its role. Actually, it has been very effective in doing its job of pacifying and controlling an oppressed population, and nowhere better than in Barbados. To convince a people not to remove their necks from beneath an oppressor’s knee is no mean feat. Therefore, in reality, there has been no stronger force in the black communities around the world than religion.

But is the flaw in religion? This same practice has been used by others to liberate themselves. Why has it had the opposite effect on black people? If white people use it to project themselves as rulers of the world, how could one conclude that it is bad for them?

The Jews use it to convince the world that they are the only chosen people of the master of the universe. How could it be bad for them?

How has black people used it? It is no longer sensible to gripe about how it has been used against us. That time has passed.

I recently heard a black Seventh-Day Adventist Christian deliver an impassioned sermon that was purely historical. I never knew that such historical knowledge resided in anyone in any church. All he said would have convinced any normal human being, who was not black, to run as far as possible from Christianity and Islam, but, his knowledge notwithstanding, he still clings to his religion.

He admitted that racism was rife in his church. But he remains there. Moving to another denomination was out of the question because he was able to demonstrate that they were more racist than his and had a terrible history relative to the treatment of black people. But he defends religion.

And then there is politics. Black people hold political office and authority in many countries, but they have never been able to translate that into the liberation of their people. Either they continue to sell out their own people, or they really have no power, despite their authority.

This can sometimes be masked in the black faces in offices, but we had a fantastic lesson in this phenomenon when Barrack Obama was the President of the United States. He may not have been respected by white America, but no one doubted his ability: his ability to manage the affairs of the country, that is, not to liberate black people. After his constitutionally limited two terms in office, he left without fundamentally improving the lot of black people in America.

But this is not a criticism of Obama. If he were a failure, it was a failure of expectation, for there was never any possibility that he could profoundly change the American society.

The basic message here is that it is futile for black people to be interested in any religion or political association that is not focused on their liberation. The fact that the leaders of these organisations are black should mean nothing, for these people serve their own interests and not that of their race. A little knowledge of the history of our people would amply demonstrate how black people have been used to destroy black people. And it is still happening.

In the words of brother Bob, liberate yourself from mental slavery. Only you can free your mind.

Barbados Advocate

Mailing Address:
Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
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Phone: (246) 467-2000
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