Reply to comments in ‘Gale force win’ in

This is a response to comments following the publication of the below article in the

We have made several attempts to respond to them directly, but fortunately we have our own platform.

It amazes us that the shape of women’s bodies is still considered a topic of discussion.

Women should be able to celebrate their bodies regardless of their size, and those people who try to shame them back into the dark should take a look at the family members, friends, and work colleagues that they also seek to repress.

Living healthily is a completely different subject, and not one that should be confused with women celebrating the body shape they are, rather than the body images thrust upon them by the media. has gone to great lengths to show real people in their adverts of all shapes and sizes. This is a trend is being adopted around the world and we should not fall behind.

Bajan women come in all shapes and sizes and we should raise our standards to embrace all body types.

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Response to the ‘Jail Them’ article in

This letter is a direct response to the article in the BarbadosToday entitled ‘Jail Them’.

We made our attempts to comment directly on the comments section of their article but our comments were rejected.

Fortunately, we have our own voice.

Dear Barbados Today

I am writing in conjunction to your article entitled ‘Jail them’ published in the Barbados Today.

Most of the direct interviews were more about being disgusted with a fuller figured woman, than with the skin exposed.

One interviewee talks about “I saw big women with cellulite on the road. The string was so far up you couldn’t see nothing”

I would like to think that the interviewee would have the same view were the women in the parade been of a smaller frame, but this was discounted in the next sentence

“Yes, you have slender girls with these things [on]. But when you see a full figured woman in this, for me it is disgusting..”

Full figured women should not be made to feel ashamed of their bodies.

Stating that it is acceptable for slender women to where skimpy outfits, but fuller women should cover up is an outrage.

This is nothing short of discrimination to fuller figured women.

The suggestion is that fuller figured women should find other ways of participating in a parade that is designed for everyone, should have is defending the rights of all people.

Kadooment Day and Crop over are celebrations of who we are as a people and this should be all inclusive.

Barbados is made up of different skin tones, shapes and sizes, and to not be tolerant of each others differences, on such a small island, makes us no better than tourists who bring these deplorable attitudes with them when visiting our country.

To suggest that we have a sort of ‘fashion police’ that will arrest those that they consider indecent goes against the spirit of carnival.

If a particular state of undress is unacceptable for one, then it should be unacceptable for all, male, female, larger or small.

The article goes on to talk about applying the law, yet it is against the law to have an open container of alcohol, to be drunk and disorderly, and to play music above a certain decibel, however these laws are put to one side for the collective enjoyment of the people for the exception of these carnivals.

A person, male or female on these exceptional occasions, should be able to celebrate their body within the bounds of the law, and the acceptance of their peers.

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The issue of Golliwogs has, once again, raised its ugly head, dividing those living in Australia, between whether it is a harmless toy, or whether it is a offensive representation of black people from an era where blacks were seen as nothing more than slaves.

The image of the doll has become the subject of heated debate.

The argument is that the image should be retired as a relic of an earlier time when racism against those of West Indian and African descent was both blatant and acceptable, while opponents in its favour argue that it should be preserved and passed on as a childhood tradition.

We are sensitive to both arguments, but our position is that the phrase Golliwog and the depiction of the character is a throwback to a time when black people were seen as second class citizens, only fit for slave labour and the amusement of white people.

In the same way that the attitudes towards women being seen as second class citizens continues to improve in some areas of society, so should attitudes towards those of West Indian and African heritage.

This image of black people is not one that should be passed down to another generation of children, in the same way that the unacceptable language of the past should not be taught.

To perpetuate these images in the pictures, toys and artifacts that still adorn shop windows is either to express apathy, or worse, pleasure at the offence that it causes the black communities.

Manufacturers throughout the world have recognised that they do not wish to offend the very people who buy their products, and as a result have removed the characterisation from their products.

There is only a small minority that are still unprepared to accept, or refuse to care about, the offence that these characterisation cause in the wider community within which we all live.

Oprah’s visit in 2009 served to raise the profile of the offence that Golliwogs cause amongst some members of a wider Australian community that considers itself to be multicultural and tolerant to the needs of others.

Seven years later and this week a shop owner in Geelong who is selling the product, says that he would be upset if anyone is offended by the dolls, he continues to says “Certainly no offence or racial overtone is intended. I understand the politics which could be associated with this type of product”

Yet in the next breath he says “We’re certainly not going to pull the product…It’s our best selling product…we are increasing our order of them.” Clearly this shop owner has not understood the politics, or worse, he has chosen to ignore the politics and any ethics for is own profit.

The fact of the matter is that these products sell, and sell out, which means that the general understanding of this issue in Australia is poorly lacking.

Our research has determined that Australia is the only place where Golliwogs are sold so openly, and the only country where the feelings of those it offends are so readily ignored.

Justification for the sale of Golliwogs is then masked in a thinly veiled passive aggressive attitude in Australia which is hard to ignore.

If it were a doll that depicted a sexualised white child, there would be a national outcry and the product would be removed instantly, however because this product offends black people, white Australia does not care.

This is yet another example of how the rights and wishes of black people are ignored in Australia.

We can only hope that those who continue with this outdated tradition of selling and collecting these offensive stereotypes will become more sensitive to those original Australians, and those of West Indians and African heritage, who over the years have made Australia their home.

However if people who buy and sell Golliwogs are unable achieve this sensitivity on their own, then more activist action may be required to highlight to shop owners that their can be no profit is selling a offensive images of black people.

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Healing Haiti Directly

There has been much discussion on how we as Black people can contribute toward the rebuilding of Haiti.

As we are all aware, Haiti is the foundation of Black freedom in the Caribbean, being the first Caribbean island/country to fight for and win its freedom, only years later to have to buy their freedom again from the French, with a debt that would last 200 years, and cost them their economic freedom to this day.

Without Haiti’s rebellions, history for all Caribbean islands would look very different.

NGOs, charities and the UN are not providing the appropriate aid for the people. For example, USAid deliver toothpaste and other inappropriate aid to Haiti after the recent hurricane, as opposed to sending food, fresh water and building materials for houses.

NGOs and charities get grants for governments and countries in which their administrative base exists. In receiving these grants they are expected to carry out a number of tasks in countries and cities that require aid, including sending aid.

Unfortunately aid agencies have board members to pay and highly paid staff to employ, skills do not come cheap, so not all of the money that should go in aid can go the those in need, some of it is required for administrative costs.

So aid agencies need to be seen to be distributing aid in order to get their next grant, but they also have massive overheads, so the solution is to send aid that is not appropriate. That way you can say that you have sent aid, governments can continue to give money to these aid agencies, but nobody had said…was the aid useful to rebuilding the lives of the Haitians.

The Black Caucus recently sent representatives to Haiti, were we spoke to Haitians about the plight of their country.

They confirmed that the poor were getting little or no aid. Houses were not being rebuilt, rivers and waterways were not been cleared of rubble and rubbish and no efforts were being made to give people the tools to feed themselves and self sustain.

Of course there is also political and economic capital in keeping everyday Haitians poor.

Politicians and the rich whites lived in luxury in gated communities with armed guards at their doors. Money was getting into Haiti, just not getting to the people that really need it.

So what can we do to help these people to whom we all owe our freedoms?

How can we ensure that the money that we contribute goes to those who need it, and used in a manner that is good for them?

How about we bypass the agencies all together and give to money straight to the people.

How about each Black person across the world gives a small contribution to a Haitian family directly.

How about each Black family of any size, sponsors a black child through their childhood and school years.

But here is the difference, how about we do it directly.

How about you have the name and address of the person, or family that you are sponsoring.

How about you know about them and their lives, and can point them out in a crowd, rather than just knowing the name of the agency that collects your money.

Yes, there will be some mistakes, and yes some families may not put the money to good use, but if even one in three household used the money appropriately, we as Black people would have made a direct difference to the lives of those we have sponsored in Haiti.

Help them to help themselves, rather that keeping the dependent on aid.

Why is it taking so long to rebuild Haiti?

How can we bypass the aid agencies? We do not know, but one suggestion was…the phone book.

If everyone picked a name out of the phonebook, made contact and established a means to sponsor a member of that family, we would be on our way.

If not the phonebook, the national census, a housing benefit registry, or anything that would get us directly closer to those in need.

True unconditional charity to those that really need it.

This is an open idea, to all our reader and beyond.

Run with it, develop, it and put the money directly into the hands that need it.

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Interview with Kev Carmody (Part 1)

It’s not often you get an opportunity to have a chat with a famous Australian who you have admired from afar for many years. Someone who you admire for their music, for their activism, for their elder’s role in the community, for their earthy humour and for their story-telling genius. Recently I got lucky. I was fortunate enough to interview Kev Carmody, one of Australia’s most respected singer / song writers.

On the back of a brilliant performance by Kev at WOMAD in Adelaide in March 2016 I reached out to Kev and requested an interview. Kindly he said yes. After a 40 odd minute chat with Kev in April 2016 I now have an even greater respect and admiration for the man. I assumed our chat would focus on his music and his activism for black rights. Kev took these conversations and others and linked them, in his most natural way, to the big picture. Kev has such a natural, easy charm and turn of phrase. Effortlessly he steered our conversation across many different subjects, across many different points of view. I was left richer for the experience. Sadly this article cannot give full and just expression to our conversation. But try I must, across a series of articles, of which, this is the first.

Kev’s thoughts and outlook strike me as those of an elder who has seen many moons, has walked many miles across this beautiful earth and met people of all persuasions. He has an implicit understanding of people and of how things work in this world of ours. He understands what is needed to bring about significant change in a society: patience, maturity, consensus and the courage to act.

Kev told me a golden nugget of a story that I found quite remarkable. Kev sung at Gough Whitlam’s public memorial service in late 2014 with Paul Kelly. Kev told me that Gough, the man who pulled Australia into the modern world, wrote the script for his own funeral and specified he wanted Kev & Paul to sing ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ at his own funeral. Such was the significance of this song and its related events to Gough. Such was the regard that Gough had for Kev and Paul. The song was co-written by Kev and Paul in 1993, and is based on the story of Vincent Lingiari and his Gurindji tribe’s land strike in the 70’s as part of the Indigenous struggle for land rights and reconciliation. Gough is the ’tall stranger’ referred to in the song handing back the soil to its original owners, the Gurindji. The protest led to the Commonwealth Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. This event, the successful 1967 Constitutional Referendum and the 1992 Mabo High Court decision / 1993 Native Title Act (terra nullius) are all significant milestone achievements in the struggle for Indigenous rights in Australia. These hard won achievements and the patience and struggle needed to achieve them have obviously shaped Kev’s big picture view and his understanding of the world.

In current day Australia, Kev believes that the ‘Reconciliation movement will progress – it has to. Recognition is good but it must be a partnership – recognition in the constitution and coupled with a treaty for Indigenous people. Prior sovereignty needs to be recognised. And a treaty is needed as well. Our mob have to discuss it, right across Australia. This takes time and we need a partnership approach’.

Kev reflected that he was a 20 year old at the start of 1967 and at that time he was not a citizen in his own country. The 1967 Referendum changed that and to this day it is Australia’s most successful vote. At the time, Kev noted, the global political movement for civil rights provided the necessary momentum, especially in the United States where Afro Americans were very active for change. Consensus for change in 1967 was found across society in Australia, Kev believes, because of this global movement. Do the same conditions exist today to give momentum to the Reconciliation campaign? Kev sees a lot more conversations needed to be had across Australia before we can reach a similar consensus as was achieved in 1967. Kev also pointed out that crucially consensus is needed amongst Indigenous Australians as well. His mob is divided on a number of issues. This will take time and patience to change. To reach consensus broadly across the whole of Australia it will take time, patience and most importantly, maturity. We need all our leaders across the spectrum that is Australia to speak up with a Gough inspired voice. To speak with a courageous voice that helps accelerate the growth needed to achieve this maturity. And then together we can ‘again’ pull Australia into the modern world.

A few times in our chat Kev returned to the same theme: Women. The respect for, the rights of and peace toward Women. I hadn’t expected Kev to bring this up. Which upon reflection was rather ignorant of me. It’s obvious to me now that Kev’s care for others extends far across all of society. His empathy has a broad reach. This is most probably inspired by his good parents and his strong culture. His songs and spoken word talk fondly of his upbringing and his mother especially. Also inspirational would likely be the strong Indigenous connection to Mother Earth. Kev spoke of the scourge of domestic violence occurring in the Indigenous communities. The level of domestic violence in the Indigenous communities is as bad as other parts of Australia. The common denominator? This disease in our communities across Australia is fuelled by alcohol and drugs and most critically by bad attitudes toward women. I am sure that Kev was raising this issue in our chat to keep the conversations about domestic violence alive. To keep working patiently towards the changing of attitudes.

At the end of our chat I asked Kev for any advice he could give me. Kev offered: ‘keep working on your intellect; make your intellect aware of the infinity and ancientness of this country; get a feel for this country; really feel it; get your being to feel the night sky’. This made sense to me. It reminded me of a time I was looking up at the stars at night in Papua New Guinea with no city lights to interrupt the darkness. I felt it then. I was in awe of the beauty of our cosmos. I also felt small and so temporary. I felt the weight of responsibility to preserve the beauty of our earth for those that follow in our footsteps. Just as the Koori people have done in this country for more than 40,000 years.

Author: Sam Evans

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Caribbeans in Australia – A community divided by colour

Recently the Caribbean community in Melbourne celebrated the launch of their book ‘Adding Pimento’.

The book is a well-constructed collection of community stories that discuss the trials and tribulations of the West Indians’ migration to Australia.

The book also talks about how West Indians were received in Australia and what they overcame to take their place in the wider Australian populace.

However the book stops before exploring the varying degrees of integration into Australia, and does not focus on the continued internal conflict within the community.

This article will take the first steps to objectively discuss the conflicts within our small West Indian community.

It will discuss the rise of that which was once a growing organisation with the potential for greatness, and the fall of the association amidst narcissism and corruption.

So to begin…

The West Indian community in Australia is made up of people from several islands in the Caribbean, spanning from Cuba and Haiti in the upper Antilles, to Guyana and French Guiana in the lower Antilles.

Due to the White Australia policy, white and light skinned Trinidadians, and Guyanese were allowed to migrate to Australia before their darker-skinned equals.

This was not only considered a privilege by these white West Indians, but also served to reinforce the established and misguided belief handed down by slave masters and their offspring, that they were in some way superior to their fellow darker-skinned West Indians.

In the West Indies, we still see examples of this ‘high yellow’ mentality today from politics and banks, through to shops and restaurants, where light skinned managers, senior staff and the overly successful, oversee their darker colleagues.

Unfortunately some white and light-skinned West Indians in Australia have brought their slave mentality with them from the West Indies, and consider themselves better than their darker West Indian equals.

This ‘Slave-master’s child’ mentality is well documented.

David Lowenthal in a paper for MIT Press states “The coloured middle class helped to sustain this hierarchy just as their forebears had during slavery.”

Again Lowenthal “light-coloured folk assumed the roles, and the behaviour of the whites.”

Edward Byron Reuter writes “The black race is separated from its natural leaders and remains … a contented and helpless mass,”

Back to Lowenthal who writes “The elite in Haiti, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia is no longer white but light-coloured…

He also writes “Middle-class obsession with status based on colour emphasizes sectional discontinuities and keeps the whole structure precariously balanced….”

He continues to write “Almost every West Indian territory is dominated by a small white or light-coloured group whose way of life is both the unattainable envy and the dreadful burden of the predominantly black majority….”

For the record, the immigration story to Australia includes the previous wave of migration after the first and second world wars, as Black West Indian and Black British service men made Australia their home.

In a country which, according to the latest census 1500 people in the state of Victoria in Australia claim West Indian heritage, this light-skinned middle class misguided superiority has now proven to be destructive, and a divisive mentality within such a small community.

Carter G. Woodson in The Negro Professional Man and the Community (Washington, D. C, 1934), details this superiority complex when he talks about a Trinidadian’s frank phrase, “a path to another niche in the elite of skinocracy.”

But I will put that to one side for now, and focus on the beginning of the story, or at least my entrance, stage left.

I was born and raised in London, where the Caribbean community was a cohesive group, forged in the flames of the Brixton and Toxteth riots.

In London, we were able to identify people from other islands, but largely this did not matter because black people were under siege, much like Muslims in the 21st century.

Blacks were being spat on, marginalised, and beaten in the streets back in the 50’s through to the 90’s, first by the rockers, then the punks, then the skinheads, but always by the police.

In England, we had learned to put our petty differences aside, to fight a more deadly foe.

So, when I came to Australia in 2005, I immediately sought out my fellow West Indians, and found them organised in their latest incarnation called The CaribOz Family.

I watched from the outside for a couple years, before becoming involved in creating an exhibition at the Melbourne Immigration Museum.

The headquarters of CaribOz was based in Sydney, so for grant reasons, in 2009 we officially separated, and formed a separate entity, and that was how the Caribbean Association of Victoria or CaribVic was born, of which I was made President.

The committee was made up of people from diverse backgrounds, representing a mixture of islands, and a spread of age groups.

The organisation was designed to be an all-inclusive association that was aimed at all those who associated with Caribbean heritage. We had regular committee meetings and public brunches every month to provide the community with an opportunity to meet, and mingle with each other. These brunches also served to welcome new members to the community.

In addition there were more periodic events such as cricket days, dinner dances, cycling, and cultural days which proved to be quite popular.

The organisation was not-for-profit, and through regular consultation with our members, our aim was to put the money back into the community, for the benefit of all those who had contributed to CaribVic’s development.

Now I am not saying that it was a Utopia, and I am certainly not suggesting that we did not have disagreements, but I am saying that it was a completely transparent organisation that engaged with many of its members in diverse ways.

I was replaced as president in 2011 but still remain part of the broader West Indian community.

After all, the association is only one part of the Caribbean community in Melbourne. There are now a number of organisations that service the community in different ways, and the community is better for all of them as long as being a member of one does not preclude you from being a member of any others.

So, there is the rise.

However, so far all I have done is tell a story.

Like most things in life, the points of analysis, and detailed discussion, do not begin until the fall.

One of the key projects that CaribVic undertook back in 2006 was a collaboration with the Immigration Museum of Victoria, the state where I live.

Entitled “Callaloo: The Caribbean mix in Victoria”, the installation told the story of those with a West Indian background and their migration to Australia.

When we were creating the installation, the differences between the social constructs of class crystallised into disagreements about how the West Indies should be portrayed.

Members readily admitted that, were they back in the West Indies, they would not fraternise with others around the table.

This clash of the Caribbean was because of the construct of class that I mentioned earlier in this article, reinforced by the “50 shades of black” construct.

There had been no beatings of West Indians in the streets of Melbourne. There had been no mass rejection of the West Indians that had made it past the White Australia Policy. There had been no hardship to rally all Caribbean people of different colours and stations behind a common cause or enemy.

We see examples of this in the Islamic communities across the world. The more that the world forces them into a corner, by trying to force them to conform with what the world considers to be safe behaviour by denouncing a small percentage of radical elements of their community, the more they retreat into their religion, customs and identity which only serves to galvanise them further as a community.

Ironically, it would be this lack of oppression that would contribute to the downfall of CaribVic.

There were a number of factors that contributed to an accumulating disquiet.

  •  The first was a superiority complex that manifested from a highly privileged, class and colour culture.
  •  The second was a belief that citizens of one island should dominate the committee of an organisation originally designed to treat all countries equally.
  •  The third was the belief that age determines your position in the hierarchy
  •  And the final factor was the concept that people will naturally default to a way of thinking that they know best.

So let us explore these points further.

‘A superiority complex that manifested from a highly privileged, class and colour culture.’

In the Caribbean, as mentioned earlier, there is a conditioned mindset where light skinned people are identified as being privileged, even better looking and more desirable as mates.

This condition is perpetuated by those with lighter skin and, surprisingly reinforced by the darker skinned, who appear to accept this unsubstantiated superiority, and even subconsciously reinforce it.

We see this evidenced in the number of bleaching creams that are on the market and the number of derogatory slurs and insults that all involve how dark someone’s skin is.

This mindset exists all around the Caribbean, but has been found to be more prevalent in countries that also had a high Indian population, through the indentured workers brought into the Caribbean.

The Indians brought with them the same “white is right” mentality from British occupied India. They also brought with them a caste system, that complemented the class system imposed by the British, and amplified the belief that light was right and privileged.

Now what does any of this have to do with CaribVic?

The committee went from having a pretty fair representation from different islands and consisting of a wide spectrum of skin tones, to only consisting of members from one island (Trinidad) and dominated by, not only the light skinned from that island, but the privileged middle-class from that island.

Effectively through corruption and nepotism, the committee became a representation of the socio-economic elite of that island, a direct reflection of the political landscape of the island in question.

Edward Byron Reuter, in his publication ‘The Mulatto in the United States’ (Boston, 1918) writes “The mulatto, . . . flattered by a racial designation that separates him from the peasantry and imbues his superiority to it, maintains [an] . .obsequious and respectful attitude of mind toward his superiors.”

‘A belief that subjects of one island should dominate the committee of an organisation designed to treat all countries equally’

I touched upon this in my previous point but I will illustrate it further now.

The misplaced superiority displayed by the later committee members verged upon arrogance.

The committee stopped having regular meetings which members of the community could attend, becoming the only paid member’s organisation I know that did not have regular meetings for its members.

In fact, the association had become so dominated by Trinidadians, that it was now widely known by its nickname ‘TriniVic’.

‘The third was the belief that age determines your position in the hierarchy’

The committee that now consisted of people of a certain age, reverted back to activities that were of interest to them in their youth rather than listening to what the broader community wanted.

They believed that their age made them ‘elder statesmen’ and they drifted further away from the reality of community needs.

The concept of being an elder is one that is prominent and established in the Aboriginal community, but is still tentative in the West Indian community in Melbourne.

Lowenthal states that “Light-skinned, Middle-class people often profess to be more ignorant of lower class ways than they really think they are.” And this had become evidenced here.

CaribVic attempted to create and sustain a steel band, but as opposed to drawing a vibrant energetic youthful band troop, it became seen a pet pastime for ageing pensioners, funded by the fees of an unimpressed membership.

This was demonstrated by the other activities that took place, which had now become few and far between. Those which were held began to be less subscribed as the community became increasingly disengaged.

‘Finally, the concept that people will naturally default to a way of thinking that they know best.’

Occasional educational lectures were still held, but instead of dealing with complex issues like slavery and abandonment, the focus shifted to less taxing matters such as the history of Caribbean music. Once again, the interest tailed off.

This ageing committee reverted back to what it knew best, putting on carnivals, playing steel pan, and becoming a band of minstrels, rather than an association that encapsulated the needs of those it served.

The committee had become out of touch with its community.

Factions had begun to manifest within the committee along country and colour lines.

The organisation quickly lost credibility throughout the community evidenced, for example, by the very poor turn-out at its staple events like the annual cultural day and the xmas party.

The Caribbean Association of Victoria was now lost.

H.Orlando Patterson in ‘The Social Structure of a University Hall of Residence’ stated “West Indians like to say that colour no longer matters to them. They know very well that this is not true, though it is more true than it used to be. But they will not like to admit it to an outsider or to have it suggested to them by anyone else…”

This is reinforced by A. P. Thornton in ‘Aspects of West Indian Society’ which states “A great many West Indians, in short, are highly sensitive about matters of colour. As one observer put it, to talk about ‘the colour question’ or race relations’ is to pick a way through thorns while walking on eggshells, as even the commonest adjectives of description appear to bear allusive barbs.”

Now by this time, although I had long left the running of the organisation, I had not left the community it served.

I had become involved in other community organisations, including the Black Caucus, about which I am also here to speak.

The Black Caucus looks at world issues from a black perspective and with local focus.

Like many organisations, the question of how to engage the community as a whole, but specifically the youth, is always one that is difficult to master.

The organisation that I manage now makes every effort to reach out and engage the community through every aspect of social media as well as lectures, forums and conferences such as this. [Caribbean Studies Association conference – Haiti]

We make every attempt to listen to our audience and reflect their views, as opposed to just the views of the senior contributors.

We ensure that we tailor our content for all aspects of the Black community, from aboriginal issues, through Caribbean and Black British news, to African migrant hardships.

The audience sometimes demands that we deal with harder, more political issues and, as an organisation that serves the people, we can not shy away from this.

The structure of the Black Caucus is such that there can be no colour bias either in its decision making body, or its content. This is because the Black Caucus is driven by the content of all its contributors. These contributors have huge editorial control over their submissions and anyone with an opinion that they are prepared to put their name to can submit.

The success and direction of the Black Caucus is solely in the hands of the contributors and the consumers.

In conclusion:

The old slave mentality consisting of a colour hierarchy or “skinocracy”, reinforced by a self-serving age or elder structure, that is still evident in the Caribbean today, could not be sustained in a modern day, free thinking society.

Only an organisation devoid of these antiquated ideals will survive in an ever changing, increasingly equal society.

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Spectres of Colonialism: Citizenship and Freedom in the Contemporary Anglophone Caribbean

 Dr Aaron Kamugisha

University of the West Indies

Cave Hill, Barbados

 Wednesday, 6th May, 5-6 pm

City Flinders Campus, Room FS 1105

Any attempt to account for the banality of significant features of life in the Anglophone Caribbean postcolony and to understand the despair of those who reflect seriously on the contemporary moment requires interventions at several different levels. This paper proceeds on that basis, and attempts a philosophical critique of many aspects of life in the Caribbean, the common theme to all being the persistent denial of full citizenship to many persons within the nation-state. I use the term the “coloniality of citizenship” to describe this complex amalgam of elite domination, neoliberalism and the legacy of colonial authoritarianism which I suggest lies at the heart of the colonial state. This work situates itself within a long tradition of critique of the Caribbean post-colonial state, and aims to continue the long process of uncovering what Kamau Brathwaite has called the “inner plantation,” or rather, coloniality’s persistence in the contemporary Caribbean.


Aaron Kamugisha is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. His current work is a study of coloniality, cultural citizenship and freedom in the contemporary Anglophone Caribbean, mediated through the social and political thought of C.L.R. James and Sylvia Wynter. He is the editor of Caribbean Political Thought: The Colonial State to Caribbean Internationalisms, Caribbean Political Thought: Theories of the Post-Colonial State and Caribbean Cultural Thought: From Plantation to Diaspora.

The Black Caucus in conjunction with the Community Identity Displacement research network is proud to present one in a series of CIDRN seminars and public lectures on the City Flinders campus of Victoria University.

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