Discussing Ethnic Minority Dominance In A Small Island Developing State and Implications For A Predominantly Black Barbados

Some interesting research  to complete a Master of the Arts degree was done by Haajima Degia (female) in 2007. The paper titled  ETHNIC MINORITY DOMINANCE IN A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF BARBADOS makes for eye popping revelations.

From inception BU has recorded our concern at the effect the inflow of various ethnic groups will eventually have on a predominantly Black host population. A dearth of research has made discussion about race and ethnicity an emotional and controversial affair for Barbadians. Degia’s thesis listed the following research questions:

  1. What perceptions do white Barbadians, black Barbadians and East Indians have about the issue of ethnic-dominance?
  2. Do individuals from each of these groups believe that the minority ethnic groups control the wealth and economy of the island?
  3. What does each group think about the ways in which this wealth has been gained?

The document is 138 pages but is riveting by its revelations. The author was raised in Barbados as a member of the Gujarati ethnic group. BU snipped excerpts from the thesis from the first 54 pages for those who do not have time to read the full document.

  • Self-ethnic identification system points to another aspect of ethnic identity. Levinson states that every ethnic group has its own classification system, and the place where the individual situates himself in the social system will vary depending on the individual’s relationship to the person with whom he or she is communication and the context in which the issue arises. Thus East Indians would identify themselves as Indian to the black and as Gujrati, or Indo- Guyanese, or Sindhi to each other.
  • In this regard, Barbados is a small-island developing state whose vulnerability has increased since the 1990s with the worldwide promotion of globalization and trade liberalization. In a geographically challenged environment with little or no resources, social instability is imminent as ethnic groups compete with each other to maintain power
    and privilege.
  • However, Lewis (2001) argues that the dominant white minority, which
    constitutes the old plantocracy, has retained its power but makes concessions to the dominated black majority class as long as its interests are not compromised (p. 146). Furthermore, Lewis states that intermarriage among white Barbadian families and expatriate whites has allowed the Barbadian white minority to accumulate capital which it then circulates among itself.
  • Additionally, in a study which explored the role of race and class in promoting globalization, Ramsaran (2004) states that, consistent with their historic role, the market-dominant white minority of Barbados promotes neoliberal policies when their interests are served. In this regard, MacAfee (1993) argues that the white capitalist elite of the Caribbean collaborate with the Multinational Corporations in promoting tourism and neo-liberal projects, because the benefits accrue to them and are not widely dispersed.
  • Hernandez- Ramdwar (1997) postulated that Indians see mixing with the black population as part of an attempt by the African population to secure sexual and cultural political conquest. Furthermore, Reddock (2001) argues that the Indian notion of Indian culture and identity is based on a sense of traditional purity while the African notion of African culture and identity is one that is open, malleable and mixed. She proposes that the Indian social structure as it prevails in India preordains hierarchy, and when Indians immigrated to the Caribbean, they reconstructed hierarchy in relation to race and ethnicity.
  • However, as Karch (1981) noted, political independence did not herald
    any kind of economic democracy for the black majority population, and
    intermarriage among white Barbadian families and expatriate whites, and the persistence of historical forms of interlocking directorships has allowed the Barbadian white minority to retain its economic hegemony in the retail and commercial sectors. The white minority has thus ceded political control of the island to the black majority, but makes concessions to the black elite as long as its interests are not compromised (Lewis, 2001, p. 146).
  • The state’s response to globalization is thus dependent on the interests of the economic elites, and according to Ramsaran (2004), while on the surface of it state resistance to globalization is underpinned by a nationalist discourse; the actual development policies implemented reinforce the market-dominant positions of the elites. In this regard, the neo-liberal model which promotes tourism has been accepted as a viable form of development by the white elite who has, in the post-independence era, benefited the most from tourism (Karch, 1981).
  • Indeed, it is clear that issues of race, class and ethnicity permeate the social structure of Barbadian society. However, large gaps remain in the areas of theory and primary research examining how ethnic group affiliation and the phenomenon of market-dominant minorities can preclude development. This applies especially to the case of the Gujratis and Sindhis, where hitherto, only one study (Hanoomansingh, 1996), an ethnography, has sought to understand their cultural practices.
  • There has been a general dearth of research studies which have examined the role of the Gujratis and the Sindhis in the social and political landscape of Barbadian society. The result of this lack of interest in ethnic-minorities has perpetuated the view among Barbadians and the academic community that Barbados is a homogeneous community with a white minority and a black majority.
  • However, the geography of Barbados lends another dimension to the notion of homogeneity since the small size of the island precludes any ignorance of the fact that ethnic groups are competing for a few resources. Additionally, globalization and its concomitant, trade liberalization, has plunged Barbados’ economy and by extension, its society into considerable uncertainty, as the trade preferences which the island enjoyed under the LOME agreement with the European Union has dissolved.
  • Furthermore, given that the ideology of free market capitalism which underpins globalization is being promoted with much vigor, Barbados’ leaders now have to grapple with redefining the social democratic ideology by which most of the contemporary black middle class became socially mobile. Since independence in 1966, Barbadian governments have all adhered to a social democratic ideology which emphasizes the
    government’s role in providing social services to the population. The social democratic model has allowed many people to gain an education which has led to a consequent upward social mobility. In an age of globalization however, the social democratic underpinnings of the Barbadian political economy is being eroded.
  • In the case of Barbados this is very true, and additionally, India becomes a major source of spouses with some Indians returning home to find spouses to take with 51 them to the Diaspora home. The Indian community in Barbados manifests what Levinson (1994) refers to as a ‘persistent identity system.’ A ‘persistent identity system’ is a culture that has survived in a cultural environment where it successfully resisted economic, political and religious assimilation (Levinson, 1994, p. 78). This identity is generally based on the real or symbolic notion of an ethnic homeland and the use of the indigenous language. In this regard, the Indian communities seem to have assimilated only partially, what Levinson refers to as ‘partial assimilation.’

0 thoughts on “Discussing Ethnic Minority Dominance In A Small Island Developing State and Implications For A Predominantly Black Barbados


  1. Quoting Haajima Degia’s very interesting conclusion ” it is important that in the Barbadian context, social policies to address the economic grievances of the black majority population be addressed”

    She’s right.


  2. May I quote:
    ” Hernandez – Ramdwar (1997) postulated that Indians see mixing with the black population as part of an attempt by the African to secure sexual and cultural political conquest.”

    The above statement at a glance can be glossed over, but a detailed analysis poses problems.

    Ramdwar professes to know what Indians are thinking, perhaps he can justify this statement by evidence based research however, if he cannot and the thoughts are those of Ramdwar, he can think as he pleases – no argument from this quarter.

    With regard to : …”an attempt by the African to secure sexual and cultural politican conquest”. In Barbados the above makes no sense, there are not “enough” Indians certainly in Barbados, with political clout to dispense such favours on a large scale.

    I am not aware of many black Barbadians – African – who seek to gain any cultural advantage by a sexual relationship with Indians. The article as I understand the heading is about Barbados.

    The cultural norms of the Indians are fine for Indians and should be respected for what they are, but to suggest that black Barbadians – Africans – have a desire to be part of it; I believe is wide of the mark.

    The sexual component is meaningless if it asserts that some insidious campaign is afoot by the black Barbadians – Africans.

    May I also quote: ” Furthermore, Reddock (2001) argues that the Indian notion of Indian culture and identity is based on a sense of traditional purity while the African notion of African culture is one that is open, malleable and mixed”.

    The traditional Indian “purity” mentioned here is one that has spawned the “caste” system in Indian society; perhaps many black Barbadians – Africans – have no desire for its adoption here.

    It is writings such as the above which have given ammunition to fuel the discord in Trinidad and Guyana, Barbados could do without such nonsense. If as was recently alluded to there was “ethnic cleansing” afoot in Barbados.


  3. Wait, a Indian write dat fuh truf?

    I could help she fill in some of the blanks (she quoted Beckles at the end) but later on today. The wife complaining …


  4. The author had access to a segment of the population that a Bajan of African descent may not have had entry to and if he or she did the respondents may have couched their answers in language which is inoffensive to the researcher..

    I did a “speed read” of the contents and I found it to be illuminating particularly Chapter 4.

    I discovered that Blacks in Barbados are lacking in certain “cultural traits” which leads to their lack of business success, indeed some of the sentiments expressed would not be out of place in societies where stereotyping of Blacks is endemic. No matter where we live the same thinking applies and the respondents say we are lazy, spendthrift and lacking in sexual morality.


  5. Sargeant | August 23, 2011 at 8:27 AM |

    I discovered that Blacks in Barbados are lacking in certain “cultural traits” which leads to their lack of business success, indeed some of the sentiments expressed would not be out of place in societies where stereotyping of Blacks is endemic. No matter where we live the same thinking applies and the respondents say we are lazy, spendthrift and lacking in sexual morality.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I have always said that the ability to build a successful family translates to the ability to build a successful business.

    Look at the successful businesses, they are all traceable to a successful family, regardless of colour, class or creed. BS&T can be traced right back to families in the 1830’s. Goddards is of more recent vintage.

    Think of the successful black businesses in Barbados and see if you don’t find a successful family at the core.

    Historians for years admit the obvious link of famiy to business when it comes to the death of so many black/coloured Roebuck Street merchants. You can call it stereotying if you wish.

    They invariably relate the failures to the willingness of the family to make the next generation become doctors and lawyers … in other words the family did not see their own business as worthy of supplying their children with work.

    Building a family is about sacrificing for the future and building up of strength, two vital qualities for success regardless of race colour or creed.

    Don’t get me wrong.

    Family can be used to achieve evil ends …. check the mafia!!

    Nothing in life is perfect.

    … but if family fails, no matter how successful the business at the time, it will fail in due course …. to be replaced by others.

    If I were COW, I would be worried, unless the next generation has a strong family culture.


  6. @Sargeant
    ….. and in spite of the example that one does portray , and that counters those three stereotypes. You are then dismissed as an “over-achiever.” I care not what certain kinds of people say about me; good or bad. They are always ready to compete as if they need constant validation that they are worth something.

    On vacation tomorrow will finish the document then and add my two cents.


  7. @John

    It has to be more than family. Indians and other ethnic groups seem to have entrepreneurism in their DNA. This knowledge/learning is then transferred and accepted by the generation in tow.


  8. Look, you people are speaking of business as if it is a good thing; something to define a people by. Please let me remind you all that business, particularly in the Barbados sense, is an activity that EXPLOITS the NEEDS of people.There is no sense for the development of human capital, there is no money spent on design and research so as to improve the human condition, just simply the exploitation of consumers and labour … full stop. I am the product of a family business and I know this only too well.


  9. if the indian has business in his genes then he must have coruption in his genes as well. Look at what happened to Panday in Trinidad and what is happening in Guyana and what is happening in India.


  10. I believe that human kind has a flaw , The flaw comes from the fall of mankind in the garden of eden, Come what may you will find that it is only a meeting with Jesus that will change the heart of mankind.
    I can also speak about the worng doing of race to each other and how the black race believes that when they marry another race they will have children with good hair and nice complexion. In Guyana when I was there I heard a programme being televised by one Sharma which declared that every black man desireous of having an indian woman. So there are things in this to investigate. e.g the black man would not be able to open business in an indian area and make it . Yet the indian could open business in any black neighbourhood and still make a living out of it.


  11. Interesting findings of this study. If the perception is that Black people are not thrifty people and that they spend, spend, spend on the goods the ethnic minorities businesses sell, isn’t that why these businesses are very successful ? Black people are the majority in Barbados, we will be the largest spenders and will be the largest population in our prison. Of course the minority will see the black majority’s problems because they will be more obvious in their eyes.

    The were many black owned businesses in Roebuck Street at the turn of the century. Maybe the reasons for their demise is because of free education where many of their offspring opted for other careers. The same will happen to the minorities over time when their children will opt for other careers because they are going on to higher education. We are in a transition stage where Black businesses are increasing and some minority ones will close because of competition and of course some black businesses will fail along the way.

    Coming from an era where Black people were not allowed to own anything, acquiring wealth will take some time. And being systematically made to believe that we are not good enough and that one race was superior than the other will take a long time to erase. We are also burdened with criticism and sabotage from other blacks when we aspire to achieve wealth. Many black and white people have a set standard for Black people and one for White people. If Black people see another Black person speaking well, dressing well, owning their home and moving on up they are told that they want to be White. When a White person sees Black people moving up socially and acquiring wealth they feel threatened.

    We have come a long way and we have a long way to go in achieving financial dominance. What we need to do is to take a few pages out of the White and Indian man’s books and learn from them. Why try and invent the wheel when we have it in front of us. And by the way we have to keep on spending and supporting our Black businesses to make our Black brothers and sisters wealthy.


  12. @IG246
    “We are also burdened with criticism and sabotage from other blacks when we aspire to achieve wealth. Many black and white people have a set standard for Black people and one for White people. If Black people see another Black person speaking well, dressing well, owning their home and moving on up they are told that they want to be White. When a White person sees Black people moving up socially and acquiring wealth they feel threatened.”

    The most cogent words you have ever written on this blog.


  13. anon2k12……thank you and you haven’t really read me seriously. You see how a person’s perception of another can be wrong?


  14. David | August 23, 2011 at 9:12 AM |
    @John

    It has to be more than family. Indians and other ethnic groups seem to have entrepreneurism in their DNA. This knowledge/learning is then transferred and accepted by the generation in tow.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    But the transfer only happens if the generation in tow is included in the business.

    I am talking about businesses built for the long term, not fly by night business incorporations made to take advantage of some loophole or the other and make a few dollars for a few individuals for a short time.

    I am talking about businesses built to employ people, family first (!!) and contribute over the long term to the country.

    I would suggest that if long term economic stability is a desire of a country it had better create a situation where long term family stability cultivated.

    DNA has nothing to do with it.

    It is a matter of just passing on what works to the following generation … and what does not.

    It is plain common sense.

    Check the Old Testament.

    Rules for cleanliness are stipulated.

    The Jews followed these rules and passed them on to their children, the Gentiles did not.

    Both populations may have been badly affected but one population survived an epidemic better than the other because of their customs relating to cleanliness.


  15. islandgal246 | August 23, 2011 at 10:34 AM |
    Interesting findings of this study. If the perception is that Black people are not thrifty people and that they spend, spend, spend on the goods the ethnic minorities businesses sell, isn’t that why these businesses are very successful ?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Who bought the $500.00 VIP Rihanna tickets?

    Surely only the elite could have afforded this.

    What are the long term prospects for Riahanna incorporated?

    Will the elite be buying her VIP tickets in 10 years ….. or 20 years time?


  16. John

    Rhianna would have moved on into other areas of business or be retired in the next 10-20 years. Nothing lasts forever and we shouldn’t continue to flog a dead horse when it can’t go anymore.

    I am at sea with your post? What exactly are you trying to say?


  17. “The Jews followed these rules and passed them on to their children, the Gentiles did not. ”

    What the hell does this have to do with success? And whose rule did the Indians follow?


  18. If you are alive it stands to reason that you have a better chance of success than if you are dead.

    If you check the Indian comminity you will see the culture of family is at the centre.


  19. And who were the Gentiles? Black people?

    “If you are alive it stands to reason that you have a better chance of success than if you are dead.”

    WOW, how enlightening!


  20. @ David
    Thanks for the link, when I responded to the article – August 23, 2011 @ 3:29 am – I had no idea at the time there was mention of Trinidad and Guyana in the original piece quoted. My deducation led me there, hence the conclusion in my final paragraph.

    Unfortunately the author sought to draw conclusions from the situation in Trinidad and Guyana and transpose them to Barbados, which has a different demographic.

    This is clearly demonstrated by the following quote from the link kindly provided: ” This paper addresses the ambivalent existence of multiracial identities for Caribbean people in the regions of Trinidad and Guyana, two areas with particularly diverse populations including significant numbers of people who are of “East) Indian background, as well as in (Guyana) an indigenous Amerindian population.”

    I therefore rest my case; but before so doing I concur with what has been written by islandgal246. August 23, 2011 @ 10:43am.


  21. I remember when Trinidad was predominately black, today there is more Indians and mixed race than pure blacks like back in the 60’s. I’m beginning to see the same thing evolving here in Barbados, there is an increased number of mixed race(indo-black) in our primary schools. The black bajan has got to wake up and take control of this country before it is taken over by Indians and to a lesser extent chinese.


  22. Scout keep showing your racists bias. You can’t see beyond that at all. The Caribbean and that includes Barbados, will continue to change and we have no control over that. If Black people interact with non blacks there will be interracial unions and offspring. But they will be BAJANS all the same. People like you prefer the interracial mix with the white man because you value the high brown skin. Time to stop that nonsense!


  23. @The Scout: “The black bajan has got to wake up and take control of this country before it is taken over by Indians and to a lesser extent chinese.

    What about the little “whitee”, to whom you still pledge allegiance. (Read: The Queen of England.)

    Or have you forgiven that anger?


  24. I introduced the Bible to be povocative and thank you islandgal246 for being so eloquently provoked.

    Here’s my point.

    Most people instinctively know there are rules to follow to achieve most goals in life and here is some evidence to show where they will look to find those rules.

    Go to amazon.com and look for a book with the term “rules of success” you will find 8,149 titles!!!

    Maybe if you try tomorrow there might be more!!

    The point is there is a market for books giving rules for success.

    As you fill in the search you will find there are titles with rules dealing with many things in life.

    Imagine if there were really a few basic rules for success in business and imagine if someone knew them, regardless of colur or creed.

    Wouldn’t that person seek to pass on the knowledge?

    Who would that person seek to teach?

    Obviously his or her own child or children first.

    … and if the child or children took the teaching to heart from early and applied the basic rules day in day out, year in year out in life, and became proficient in the execution of those rules, then success would follow … or atleast should but life can be cruel.

    It isn’t as simple as just reading a book and adopting rules after years of wandering off on tangents.

    Going to university or reading a book is no guarantee of success just as being in a majority segment of a population is no guarantee of success.

    Watching the rules work firsthand and learning them the hard way is far more likely to create success.

    Real successes in business are in a minority in life …. not a minority as in a minority segment of a population but in a minority as not being in a majority of the population.

    Most people prefer to get a job and look to the security that provides although jobs are not so secure nowadays.

    If it is as I say about following rules, real successes will be associated with population segments which are in the habit of applying those rules but it does not mean that someone from another population segment can’t be observant and cultivate long term business success in his/her own family by adopting those rules.

    It also doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong in not being a long term success in business. Longterm business successes are in a minority …. as in not a majority.

    Longterm business success is all a part of life and the choices we make, paths we follow and philosopies we embrace.

    Everybody will not follow the same paths, embrace the same philosophies or make the same choices.

    That’s what makes life so interesting, ….. besides being cruel.


  25. @The Scout

    The issue is not so much those from the different groups who comingle but those who remain with their ethnic groups. In this thesis the author supports the view that in harsh economic times the respective ethnic groups will make decisions on that basis at the expense of national. Will have to search for the author’s words which support the above.


  26. @John: “Everybody will not follow the same paths, embrace the same philosophies or make the same choices.

    @John: “That’s what makes life so interesting, ….. besides being cruel.

    Beautifully said.


  27. When you get money and didn’t have money before you spend
    Black (White and Brown) poor people become ‘ghetto rich’
    Buy nice TV’s, designer clothes for them (and their children)
    they look rich like they perceive they should and spend all their money doing so


  28. David it has been a long time since i have made a comment on this web site ,what has anoyed me intensely is that black bbarbadians have refused to take seriously the affect that the white population has had on Barbados over the centuries ,The middle class blacks has refused to deal with the notion that white is right and as long as they are getting their egos stroked by self interested white people they seem not to care about their brothers and sisters who today still live in the tenantrys.the apartheid system still reign supreme in private schools in Barbados where the wites pay to have their children.I hasten to add with a sprinkling of blacks which is cosmetic dressind,untill the politicans address this situation things will remain the same way what is needed is a heavy tax on old money and no businesses can be set up without the opportunity of black bajans being included in there set up Barbadians have to address the blight of mental slavery and it has to start with our political leaders,it would appear that theyhave to sleep since 1966 and the new tenantrys which are the terraces and heights are seen as success black bajans create the wealth and we allow the wite race to hold the capital this is stupidty,if any person call me raciest they are stupid and need to wake to wake up and smell the coffee what other country in the world can you see have 97%(black)of the population giving 3%(white)population control of their destiny ,the trouble with afro bajans is that some of us like to talk and use words in the same context as Euorpeans not realising that we have not achieve the same status as the whites when it comes to collective wealth,the 3% of whites have 60% of the wealth of barbados and i hear this nonesense we say we tax $ dollars what rubbish


    • @michael

      Good to read your comments, we will not always agree.

      The problem Barbados finds itself given the control of wealth and therefore economic power by a few is that when the predominantly Black majority jostle for a better distribution it becomes fraught with all kinds of tension.


  29. The East Indian population experience in Barbados differs greatly from those in the other Caribbean islands. As the author stated they came here as business people. They were never indentured as those in Trinidad , Guyana and some of the other islands.

    It was interesting to read how these indentured servants were treated by the former African slave and the white plantocracy. They were at the bottom of the ladder both socially and economically. The were omitted from holding government jobs and many were at a disadvantage because of their illiteracy. http://indiandiaspora.nic.in/diasporapdf/chapter15.pdf


  30. @islandgal246: “The East Indian population experience in Barbados differs greatly from those in the other Caribbean islands.

    No shit.

    Would you now like to talk about how people found themselves in the Caribbean?


  31. @islandgal246: “People like YOU?

    Yeah. People like me. And people like you.

    It is funny, isn’t it?

    We find ourselves side by side.

    We’re supposed to hate each other the moment we encounter each other…

    But, instead, what we find is that we might actually find each other interesting and useful.

    Hmmmm…


  32. @islandgal246: “Halsall… I don’t know what your beef is tonight. You are not very lucid.

    Sorry islandgal246… I thought we were playing a game.

    Please let me surrender all liberties against you.


  33. Call me racist if you like but I know for a fact that many a black man/woman went to lending istitutions with beautiful business plans. What they got was cold shoulder , but within a year the same plan would be implemented by a white man, the institution would have given the plan to one of them.Therefore, if this black race is to survive in their our country, they have to get up and kick backsides, unite and stop supporting these other races and nationality. If that is being racist, I plea GUILTY>


  34. David | August 23, 2011 at 8:35 PM |
    @michael

    Good to read your comments, we will not always agree.

    The problem Barbados finds itself given the control of wealth and therefore economic power by a few is that when the predominantly Black majority jostle for a better distribution it becomes fraught with all kinds of tension.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I would posit that the control of wealth is in the hands of Trinidadians.

    Yardbroom said “Unfortunately the author sought to draw conclusions from the situation in Trinidad and Guyana and transpose them to Barbados, which has a different demographic.”

    This is true only as far as the demographic is concerned.

    However, since much of Barbadian assets are controlled out of Trinidad, what happens in Trinidad sure affects us here.

    When I or any Bajan says “we” import most of what we eat …… who do we mean by “we”?

    Are they the same or are they different?

    Who controls the food importation and distribution here and where do the profits from this business go?


  35. islandgal246
    Yes, I’m racist because I like BLACK more than any other, that is because I’m BLACK. We had big black businesses in Barbados before, but where are they now? My own people ran them out of business, they preferred to take stuff from the “colie” man, and finish up paying ten times more than they would have paid their black brother. Black people are blacks biggest enemies, if a black man build a nice house, he either pushing drugs, being a homo, or tiefing, however, any other colour person can build and the same black would admire that person’s house. If I got to stand up for BLACKS and try to show them that we BLACK BAJANS got to unite, start more businesses and buy from each other, marry their own colour, failing to do this we would become like Trinidad; it is hard to find a pure black girl in that country now, black fellows who have are holding on tight.


  36. Quoting John “Who bought the $500.00 VIP Rihanna tickets?”

    My daughter the 28 year old doctor bought the $500 dollar Rihanna tickets for me.

    Wha’ happen you jealous, that my little Suzie has worked hard and can afford to buy $500 tickets?


  37. Quoting John of August 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM “If you are alive it stands to reason that you have a better chance of success than if you are dead.”

    If you check the statistics you will see that the life expectancy of black Bajans is significantly higher that that of Indian Barbadians.

    Hust saying.


  38. Quoting Scout August 23 at 3:30 “The black bajan has got to wake up and take control of this country”

    First the black Bajan man needs to take control of his doggie,


  39. Quoting David at August 23 at 9:12 a.m. ” Indians and other ethnic groups seem to have entrepreneurism in their DNA.”

    If “entrepreneurism is in the DNA of Indians” please explain why on average Barbadians are so, so so much better off than Indians. For example nobody in my family has been illiterate for at least the past 5 generations. Illiteracy is still commonplace in India.

    HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX

    India ranks at 119 among 169 countries on the 2010 Human Development Index. Barbados ranks at 42.

    For comparison Norway ranks at number 1 and Zimbabwe at number 169.

    But hey money and ain’t everything, looka what just happen in Norway.


  40. Random Thoughts | August 23, 2011 at 9:29 PM |
    Quoting John “Who bought the $500.00 VIP Rihanna tickets?”

    My daughter the 28 year old doctor bought the $500 dollar Rihanna tickets for me.

    Wha’ happen you jealous, that my little Suzie has worked hard and can afford to buy $500 tickets?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Not at all. Good for her.


  41. Random Thoughts | August 23, 2011 at 9:55 PM |
    Quoting David at August 23 at 9:12 a.m. ” Indians and other ethnic groups seem to have entrepreneurism in their DNA.”

    If “entrepreneurism is in the DNA of Indians” please explain why on average Barbadians are so, so so much better off than Indians. For example nobody in my family has been illiterate for at least the past 5 generations. Illiteracy is still commonplace in India.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Maybe entrepreneurism isn’t what it is claimed to be …… or maybe it actually hasn’t got anything to do with DNA at all!!


    • @John

      It has to be more than family.

      How a person is socialized extends beyond the family even though it is an important part.

      The cultural mores or attributes of a race and ethnic group must surely be influenced by what they do at school, their history, religious customs etc.

      Several supporting forces combine to create/feed the minds of those located in the respective groups.


  42. Wait Random Thoughts you is a woman too… Well shoot me in the head.

    David you got to find a way to have these women identify themselves so that idiots like John would know when it is appropriate to stay his tongue


  43. Maybe the Indians in Barbados are behaving like typical immigrants. It is well know that typically first generation and sometimes the second generation are willing to work harder and longer that native born groups, and this is regardless of race, religion, gender, education level etc. People migrate principally because they are looking for “better” and so immigrants are often willing to work longer, and harder, and better. Sometimes the second and third generation (who by then are native born) become a little complacent, or if not complacent, then they tend to migrate to the “respectable” professions, and are often encouraged by their parents to do so. I get the distanct impression from a close reading of Degia’s essay, that the “Indian” children are beginning to migrate to the respectable professions, medicine, law etc. Take note that Degia herself is not a trader, vendor, or shopkeeper, or businesswoman but that she is an academic, a very, very “respectable” profession.

    Not mind you that there is anything wrong with being a member of a respectable profession, just as there is nothing wrong with being a vendor, trader or shopkeeper.

    I also get the impression that some of our black small vendors, traders etc. are also encouraging their children to go into the respectable professions. As an example one of the ZR drivers on my route proudly lets his passengers know that his stepson is studying law at Cave Hill.

    And not that Barbados is perfect but most sensible people, and MOST BAJANS OF ALL COLOURS ARE SENSIBLE PEOPLE; most sensible people make the most of economic opportunities as they present themselves. And any government’s policy should be to remove barriers which prevent Bajans of all colours from achieving economic success and here again I quote Degia’s conclusion ”it is important that in the Barbadian context, social policies to address the economic grievances of the black majority population be addressed”

    Degia is one of our well educated Bajan daughters (and no I am not “Indian”) and we should be proud of the academic work that she has done and that I hope she will continue to do. And I hope that policy makers will be guided by her excellent work and that the policy makers will create “social policies to address the economic grievances of the black majority population”,

    Take note that a lot of her work in not what she believes but the erroneous beliefs held by other people.


  44. Much of the commentary so far has been about the low hanging issue of race. Degia exposes the stratification which exist in the Indian group and the challenges which it brings.


  45. Hi
    Its my thesis that you guys are discussing. Glad to see that it has provoked so much discussion!
    Please note: first of all, I am asking readers not to quote my work…..you know the copyright laws.

    secondly, I sought, through my research, to understand the perceptions that different ethnic groups in Barbados have about economic success. The key word here is ‘Perception.’ Perception is not reality, and is really just the way people construct and make sense of their experiences. I recorded peoples perceptions about particular issues. Undertaking research in an academic arena involves being able to put opinions into context, and writing as objectively as possible. My writing does not reflect my personal feelings, but is an indication of the perceptions of people I interviewed.
    My research interests include development but I am also very intrigued by the ethnicity debate and many societies’ descent into ethnic conflict. I began this thesis with an underlying interest in the mechanisms through which societies accommodate a plurality of groups. As I proceeded with the project, I had to narrow down my research topics and I ended up narrowing it down to an investigation into the perceptions that various groups have about each other. My thesis is a sociological investigation, and I wish that those of you who are not familiar with the academic arena try to see my endeavour as such.

    To ‘Random Thoughts,’ I am of Indian descent. I do no deny that. I am the daughter of a coolie man who never realised the typical Immigrant dream, which is akin maybe to the American Dream? I am also a sociologist and an academic but getting here was not easy. Its a ‘respectable’ profession you say, but I will never be totally ‘respected’ because of the same ‘perceptions’ and stereotypes that I recorded in my work.

    To the administrator of this group, you state: “The author was raised in Barbados as a member of the two distinct ethnic minority East Indian groups; the Sindhis and Gujratis.”
    I am in fact a member of the Gujarati ethnic group. I was born and raised in Barbados. I consider myself a Barbadian of Indian descent. That identification has in fact been constantly contested by black bajans who contest whether I am ‘bajan’ or not. and on the other side,
    I am sure that I am currently incurring the wrath of many in my community who think that I have betrayed them. how do i get them to understand that it was just an academic endeavour?
    at the end of the day, I see a phenomena unfolding; increasing heterogeneity; and I sought to explore this phenomena.
    Peace to all of you.


    • @HDegia

      BU corrected the reference to your ethnicity.

      Thanks for your intervention and we hope that you feel free to react to commenters.

      Be warned that the debate in BU can become robust at times.


  46. “Please note: first of all, I am asking readers not to quote my work…..you know the copyright laws”

    Another example of the thin skinned protectionist elitism that is replacing the honest (and taxpayer funded) search for truth.

    What in fact is a thesis?, if not the author’s thoughts and observations published for scrutiny and honest criticism to advance knowledge within the the scholar’s chosen field.

    If we cannot legally challenge the thesis , what is the point of it?

    As she’s young, and proud of her work,I’ll refrain from going further, but hope she’ll reflect upon her unscientific first reaction.


  47. All Miss Degia has to do is to state that her work cannot be copied or distributed without her permission. I hope that BU got her permission. Anyone can quote from any author once they give them credit for that quote. If Miss Degia’s thesis is public she can ask she is given credit when it is used and quoted.


    • This dissertation is freely available on the Internet.

      In this blog BU clearly referenced the work as belonging to Degia.

      What is the problem?

      Also note BU is a free site.


  48. I had a read of the these (if I’m honest a speed read) and while it was interesting reading, I can’t say I’m surprised. The one thing this does show is something we all already know, there is little mixing between races (even between the dominant ethnic minorities) and a whole lot of stereotyping. Sad, but not surprising.
    More interesting is a theme I’ve noticed in this piece and generally lately. The notion the being an ‘entrepreneur’ is the greatest thing in the world. Choosing a profession (like being a doctor or lawyer) is not noble, it is positively scoffed at these days. Being an ‘entrepreneur’ in Barbados means owning a shop (preferably in town), apparently legal or medical practices or consulting or even a being dj/promoter is not ‘running a business’ and therefore hardly any black people run ‘businesses’ successfully.
    Black people are materialistic and hate each other is one I hear this all the time it is any wonder one can make it through the day without being mowed down by other hateful, jealous black people who are hung up on slavery. Black people are apparently lazy, stupid and don’t save their money but despite this banks (white ones at that) keep lending them money (which comes from where I wonder?) to buy houses and co-ops were lamenting the removal of the allowance on savings.
    Not to knock the study, it is about perception after all and it was an interesting and insightful.
    As for any of this perception impacting our (black people) future development, it probably does because sadly the perception is in the black population too. I think the black majority drives development in Barbados more so than any of the other two groups, we dominate government and the public sector and therefore dominate spending. I would even venture to say the much of the development in infrastructure and construction has fueled the fortunes of a number of these is ‘entrprenuers’ and without government spending constantly going their way it would be another story.
    Sadly our politicians cannot think beyond ‘building a building’ when it comes to development so they continue to funnel most of our resources into a big construction projects of which a few benefit in a large way, and the rest of us pay for it in high taxation. They are now even in the business of financing private developments and all.
    We will just have to wait till some more imaginative people come along.


    • @newish

      If as the author stated she posited how others perceive their circumstance then it becomes real.


  49. My problem with Barbadians of Indian decent is they chose to look different, you know walking around with their pajamas on, women covering their faces in public. Look I like looking at women, with all the pushup bras and tights, mini skirts, but these Indian women add NOTHING to the landscape.


  50. If all groups were to mix they would be very surprised at what they will discover. Barriers must be taken down to see each other as human beings first. Some have started already, I know of a Bajan Black couple going to India with an Indian friend to attend a wedding. Their experience was interesting and hilarious. They lived amongst Indians had their wedding clothing made by Indians and joined in searching for the groom after the wedding. He was discovered in a local brothel enjoying the local fare.


  51. I think you all misinterpreted what she said about copyright or maybe she was not that clear. I don’t think she was referring to BU but was asking that if anyone wishes to quote her study that they should be minded to do so in line with copyright regulations. Her work is online at her University’s website so I don’t think she would be so stupid as to not want anyone using it at all. I am also sure that her University website provides guidelines to users who wish to reference any thesis on it’s website. I assume BU would have read those regulations.

    BAFBFP, your comments (august 25 at 8:20 am) are pathetic and only serve to expose you for the shallow bigot you are.


  52. In my response to the author’s thesis – August 23, 2011 @ 3:29am – some here might have thought I was a bit harsh. However, I was a little annoyed that Black/African culture could be compared to Indian so called “purity” in such a disparaging way.

    Even if it is argued that the arguments made are perceptions relayed to the author. The author of free will sought to use them, surely there must have been done with some reasoning behind their use.

    If I have a point to make – and I think I do. I must show how that so called Indian “purity” manifest itself in the presence of Black/African people.

    I therefore give you the experiences of a Black American Ph D Student of Economics in India.

    Quote: ” Racism is never a personal experience. Racism in India is systematic and independent of the presence of foreigners of any hue. This climate permits and promotes this lawlessness and disdain for a dark skin. Most Indian pop icons have light–damn-near white skin. Several stars even promote skin-bleaching creams that promise to improve one’s popularity and career success. Matrimonial ads boast of fair,v fair and v. fair skin alongside foreign visas and advanced university degrees.

    Moreover, each time I visit Delhi’s clubhouses, I notice that I am the darkest person not wearing a work uniform. Its unfair and ugly.
    Discrimination in Delhi surpasses the denial of courtesy. I have been denied visas, apartments, entrance to discos, attentiveness, kindness and the benefit of doubt. Further, the lack of neighbourliness exceeds what locals describe as normal for a capital already known for its coldness.

    “An African has come” a guard announced over the intercome as I showed up. Whites are afforded the luxury of their own names, but this careful attention to my presence was not new. ATM guards stand and salute my white friend, while one guard actually asked me why I had come to the bank machine as if I might have said that I was taking over his shift.”

    We blacks can learn a lot – and we should – but we should never allow ourselves to be bamboozled to some higher calling by others; when those others even at source use that calling to disrespect us.


  53. @Yardbroom… I resonate with your immediate above.

    So then can you explain to me (and us) why Barack Obama is so hated as a President of the United States of America?

    Is it because he’s Black?

    Or because he’s a Democrat?

    Or because he’s smart?


  54. Hi Chris
    Any student of American history would be aware of factors in America which could cause dislike of Barack Obama; note I used the word “dislike” – and not hate. In coming to any conclusion about Barack Obama’s popularity we must also note it was Americans who elected him in the first place.

    Therefore, it could also be some of his policies since taking office are unpopular with the electorate.


  55. @Yardbroom: “Any student of American history would be aware of factors in America which could cause dislike of Barack Obama.

    Meanwhile, during George Walker Bush’s presidency of the “great” United States of America the country was successfully attacked, and GWB’s reaction was such that almost all of the world ended up distrusting the western world.

    Well done GWB. Snort another line of cocaine, smoke another dubee, and send the world into war…


  56. @ David
    Many politicians and Barack Obama included, have found that despite the best of intentions, policies advocated during the election campaign are almost impossible to implement because of a change in circumstances.

    Thus alienating those who often have sacrificed much for a cause they believed in.

    It is just as important to understand the factors which have influenced this change and could they have been foreseen.


  57. @Yardbroom

    … and such is the nature of politics.

    On the subject of perceptions it is noteworthy when the Black dominant group speaks publicly to race it is accused of being xenophobic and racist. All others can speak to race and it is generally accepted as positive.


  58. The three questions posed have not yet been answred.Is any one prepaired to answer question No 2, only the europeans and the indians can answer this question for they are the minority,and again like wise with queston 3, if I may be so bold i would like to sugest to HDegia to look at the book by professor Hilary Beckles Great House Rules landless emancipation workers protest in barbados and black rebelion in barbados this speaks to mentality of most people i would think


  59. Reason and Hood

    Man if spoke ’bout dress of Indian men, then that would make me a Big Up Bigot. But Spoke about the women so that only makes a usual Bajan sexist… where is the crime?

    As for you idiots that believe that “circumstances changed” since Obadma became president, you are the reason why the world us as messed up as it is. Obadma was “incapable” of changing things, as they have been since time immemorial. Did he know this before he chose to run …? Well there is the $64,000 question


  60. Apart from ethnic classification, people are also classified according to their skin colour. Right here in good old Barbados the; if you white, you’re alright, if you’re brown, stick around and if you’re black, stand back, colour approval scale is as evident today as it was yesteryear.

    Go into any store on Broad Street and observe who the guards selects for closer scrutiny and how the sales assistants have been trained to decide who needs assistance.

    Go to the supermarkets or gas station and notice who do not have to solicit a smile from the disgruntled cashiers and attendants.

    Turn on CBC TV8 and note the ratio of “browns” to “blacks” in the advertisements.
    While watching, pay attention to the types of advertisements that feature a higher ratio of “blacks”


  61. Germain

    In fact ask CBC to have cameras at a function and the camera men will without exception chose a angle that includes the largest number of fair skinned people in the shot (even if it is only one).

    My first wife was fair and we went to the singing Christmas Tree at Holmes Williams church a number of years ago. The security at the door pushed through the crowd at the back entrance and escorted her with the instruction that there was room at the front of the church for her. Of course motioned for me to follow and the security ass hesitated before he allowed me to pass. Of course I should have said “F#ck dat” and left, but the look of awe that I got from my fellow Blacks only encouraged me to rub it in. I know, I know, I feel bad to this day, but they were only Black Christians, and I love stickin’ it to them when ever I get the chance.

    My present chick is White and you can bet that at every function, bar none, I does get my picture tek by these media photographers (I know dey ain’ really aiming the camera at me, but wah)


  62. BAFBFP wrote, “My first wife was fair” ” My present chick is White.”
    mmmmm.
    Yuh not tekkin lessons from Bizzy?


  63. @Hants

    Wuh happen wid you? Bizzy went the other way but if you read these pages regularly you should be able to put 2 & 2 together about BAFBFP.

    BAFBFP always complaining about how he gets the cold shoulder at certain clubs and how some of the white women ignore him when he tries to make his moves.

    A blind man could see what direction BAFBFP was heading , all dat talk wid AC and Bonny Pepper was just talk and yuh know how cheap dat is.


  64. BAFBFP….yuh cover blown wait till Bonny hear bout yuh. She gine roat yuh backside! AC gine drown yuh rass!


  65. In fact ask CBC to have cameras at a function and the camera men will without exception chose a angle that includes the largest number of fair skinned people in the shot (even if it is only one).

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    More often than not the camera men are dark-skinned so I would hope that this is a subconscious act and not a specification from the production editor.

    Black Christians” at Holmes’ church
    A microcosm of race relations in Barbados if ever there was one.


  66. A quote from Elombe Mottley: Elombe Mottley, Identities (Vol. 1), Jamaica: Fatpork Ten-Ten Productions, 2003, pp. 29-30

    “But whites in Barbados have failed time and time again to understand and/or acknowledge the psychological impact of the demonization of blackness and the destruction of memory and achievement of African peoples by European ideas, ideals and philosophy and religion. Nor have the white understood the nature of the power emanating from Eurocentric biases against black people simply because, in spite of their own incarceration, they saw themselves and still see themselves as extensions of that power of whiteness. Thus black political poweris seen as meaningless and buyable through “social acceptance” or crass economic support…Until something is done about this siege mentality there will always be a distrust of the intentions of many of the leaders in the business community who use colour as a means of perpetuating control.”


  67. Oh Shite man, you see the kind of enemies that did lurking ’bout here all these years …all just waiting for a chance to strike .? I tell wunna my present chick is White, I did not tell you wah colour the immediate past or the one before that is. In fact wunna shoulda see my Crop Ova chick .. da is the one dat you does take to the Crop Ova events. Man if at night she chose not to smile you does can’ find she … but she too sweet! I neva said that I did not like fair skin women, they never do me nutting … It is the men that I’s got problems wid … including Ralph Taylor ..!


  68. David

    My biggest problem with Mr Beckles’ opinion on race is that he always refers to “distrust”. But dey ain’ no distrust ’bout hey, what we got is sheer CONTEMPT!


  69. I still recovering from watching the world 110 m hurdles World Champion not even qualify for the semis of the event. Dah same Dr Beckles gone an spen’ tax payers money to name a football pitch after he …You done feel he could have wait lil’ bit ..


  70. BAFBFP wrote, “da is the one dat you does take to the Crop Ova events. Man if at night she chose not to smile you does can’ find she”

    BAFBFP you are making this worse. Why you couldn’t take de white chick to cropover. Yuh din want nuh black people rubbin up pon she?

    Anyhow before yuh get yuhself in mo trouble, jus rememba dat all saltfish sweet.


  71. @BAFBFP

    Man if at night she chose not to smile you does can’ find she
    *********************

    Give a man enough rope………


  72. Hants

    All salt fish sweet … fah real! Part of this race thing as is so clearly being demonstrated here is the obvious sense of inferiority that shapes peoples responses to situations. My White chick can’ wuk up and six thirty like my Crop Ova chick, “That is all, that is all, that is all”

    Sargeant

    I too enjoy trying to hang you when you is try to climb too high. Now why you feel that I gun go and spoil that by hanging myself …? Don’ hol’ yah bref!


  73. International tragedy…Usain Bolt just false-started in the 100 meters final at the World Championships!


  74. Hants

    This is not what I talkin’ ’bout … Sparrow marry a Bajan an’ like she ain’ teach he much. You got to come back hey at Crop Ova an’ see what wuk up really is. Sparrow just plain wutless … There is a difference 🙂


  75. Do you have any idea of the kind of money that was won by the few people who bet against Bolt winning the race? Man if I were Bolt or a member of his family I would have been one of those people. I would be able to retire with enough in the kitty to create a dynasty. Sports in BIG business. Do not always trust what you see. Nuf said


  76. Hants

    What if the Jamaican Government secretly arranged a bet against Usain winning so that it could lay its hands on hundreds of millions of dollars to help with its balance of payments, would you not see Usain as a hero for losing the race?

    David

    Seem to me that Dr. Regina M. Benjamin therefore also has no plan of messing with her hairstyle as well … no? If the hat (in this case the whole wardrobe) fits …


  77. David forgive me if i go back to the orignal subject,what we need is for England to apologise for the crulety they carried out against the African people in the caribbean,some one may say what is the point of an apology,what an apology will do is bring to every one attenshon that some thing wrong was done here,and they are taking responsibility for it, this would then force the descendants of the planters and merchants to recognize that they too have a responsibility in this matter,untill we can get the white people in Barbados to take responsibility for the wrongs their great grand fathers and mothers did nothing will change, as you may observed they never talk about it, this is what i call selfdenying it would also bring to the notice of other small ethnic groups that we are a people to be respected,I would also like to have nelson statue removed to the museum where it belongs to a bygone era . Your post on hair is another subject and that goes back to mental slavery


  78. Listen to the musical arrangement in that calypso.
    Awesome baseline,horns and drum licks.

    Mek muh want to tek up de fender.

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