The George Brathwaite Column – Discrimination or Prejudice?

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” – (Charles Dickens – – ‘Great Expectations’).

Recent events in Barbados have challenged social and political commentators to keep a balanced keel. There are perilous appearances, uncertain circumstances, and grotesque infiltrations penetrating Barbados’ social spaces. The famous writer Agatha Christie long determined that “the impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” It therefore takes sobriety to unmask ‘appearances’ and explain aspects of the phenomena happening in Barbados. By implication, Barbadians must be mindful of exposing discrimination and prejudice wherever these are prevalent while correcting Barbados’ social order of things.

The terms discrimination and prejudice convey negative connotations that usually lead to some form of injustice. Discrimination may be defined as ‘a selectively unjustified negative behaviour toward members of the target group that involves denying individuals or groups of people equality of treatment’ (Henkel et al., 2006: 101). The same authors define prejudice to be ‘an unfair negative attitude toward a social group or a person perceived to be a member of that group’ (Ibid.). Either way, both discrimination and prejudice are damning on a society. Inevitably, the state and its agencies should also come under the microscope. How does the state relate to conflict emerging from different social groups and class interests? One contention is through proper, impartial use of its institutions. Surely, institutions are developed over time and are the ‘products of interaction and adaptation’.

In our social world, institutions are contextualised through formal rules, procedures or norms, symbol systems, cognitive scripts, and moral templates that provide the ‘frames of meaning’ guiding human action. Everyone ought to be equal under the law; but incidents have happened in Barbados that render this supposition false. Quite recently, Barbados’ LGBT community marched to celebrate ‘gay pride’ and to garner support for those on the receiving end of ‘bigotry and venom’ which is displayed by ultra-conservative factions in the local society. Mischievous church leaders, known to scream homophobic contempt against the LGBT community, became an evangelising brigade claiming that international “agencies are attaching aid and economic support and technical assistance to the LGBT agenda” as an attempt to re-colonise Barbados.

Wielding their religious swords against the LGBT community, the evangelising brigade in accusatory tones contended that the LGBT community was actively trying to impose ‘sexual preference’ and ‘homosexuality lifestyles’ on most of Barbados’ population. The evangelising brigade additionally suggested that the local LGBT agenda is desirous of finding ways ‘to deconstruct marriage and to reconstruct it to legitimise same sex partnerships’ in Barbados. The suggestion is a hypocritical absurdity; no appeal has been made nor has such a proposal ever been declared a policy position by any Barbados government. Barbadians appear more concerned with lifting the economy and attracting investments that will promote economic growth and provide jobs.

In a blurring of lines between the protective state and the moralising church, it is fair to ask: why should individuals and groups with differing identity characteristics be denied the right of non-discriminatory treatment by another group claiming to enjoy that very right? Non-discrimination is a human right protected under Barbados’ constitution and under the United Nations charter of which Barbados is a signatory. Individuals who remain silent eventually give tacit approval without realising that silence may well be rooted in cowardice or even dishonesty. Despite the moral perfectionists and religious zealots, numerous Barbadians are discussing issues pertinent to their well-being.

Meanwhile, issues of race and ethnicity, and morality and tolerance have resurfaced. After reports of a drug find by the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) on a vessel owned by a major local firm and to which, at least two prominent directors of the company were onboard, the serious implications of race and ethnicity waded across Barbados with caustic energy and speculation. Insinuations and mostly uninformed assumptions were augmented by the clamour of ‘whiteness’ in contrast to the ‘poor black man’. This relic of colonialism and trigger for social conflict floated overtly and covertly, thereby exposing the double complex of dominance and inferiority in the nation’s psyche. Barbadians emitted perceptions of discrimination, prejudice, and injustice while complaining of patterns of practice happening from the lofty positions of officialdom and authority.

Barbados is to be reminded that some social groups are more likely to be prejudicially affected and discriminated against than others. For instance, on the treatment of vendors and the disparity that exists within the public transportation system, persons argued that the terms of engagement are ultimately unfavourable to the ‘small black man’ trying to earn a living. It is argued that class prejudices are discriminatingly reinforced by state-actions. Whether by racial slurs, ethnic separation, or inflections taken against the monied class, several views fuel claims that there are at least two societies in Barbados comprising the Medes and the Persians – the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Indeed, sociologists argue that ethnicity “results from inter-ethnic relations, whenever two different groups or societies come into contact and establish various modes of spatial, political, economic, cultural and social relations”. The occasional outbursts from affected Barbadians serve to highlight forms of institutional discrimination.

Surely, institutional discrimination is often perpetuated and maintained through the consolidation of practices rooted in culture, myth, and/or tradition. The occurrences of last week coughed up several dismayed Barbadians, although few may have been caught by surprise. Deep-seated fears that have never been adequately settled were once again revealed. Many felt that considering the scope of power relations, preferential treatment would be extended to a couple of ‘big-ups’. The sheer visibility of ethnic/racial differentiation and dominance also revealed the inferiority complex of many. Even those by-passing skin-tone, focussed on titular appearances; they further insinuated that status and wealth favoured the entrapped couple above the poor black man. Sadly, an eager majority appeared ready for public prosecution and conviction.

Soberly, a few balanced opinions were less judgmental. These minority voices sought to open the space for understanding. They demanded appropriate action rather than commit to final positions. These Barbadians were clearly hopeful that the legal system with its processes and arrangements would result in justice rather than conspiracy. Of course, a rush to judgment would in no way help to untangle the historical webs of inequality, nor would it allay the concerns of those steeped in prolonged hypocrisy. Even the usually low or sometimes hushed voices, called for the clear hollowing out of a space for novel forms of equal treatment under the law. There was caution summoning the ‘Quick Draw McGraws’ not to dismiss the professionalism of the RBPF or Barbados’ judicial system. However, the lamentation implying that Peter must pay for Paul still rings loud in the public sphere.

Clearly, the people’s hope for justice is a good call; but the quest for justice ought not to disregard facts and fairness. Noted political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau advised: “Do not judge and you will never be mistaken.” Accused persons, regardless of the hue of their skins or the colouration of their money, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. There are set criteria for the granting of bail; what may fit and apply for one individual may differ for another, particularly if the ‘other’ has antecedents and is known to the police and the courts. Although “you can’t get rid of injustice by being quiet about it,” Barbadians must be civic-minded and remain guided by the rule of law. There is only ‘one’ Barbados.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant. Email:

16 thoughts on “The George Brathwaite Column – Discrimination or Prejudice?

  1. I have to agree with you.

    I was unable to read many of his past contributions, but wit the the last two contributions it appears that GB is becoming a smooth read.

    Now I have to figure out… was it GB or was it me. (I am the one Bajan who admits he can be wrong)

  2. This indoctrinated philosphy cemented into the minds of some blacks by our white slave masters that contains a rallying cry of setting the bar of a particular standard should people of colour speak against injustices that have been done to them as so called racisim or hate speech should be of concern ..a concern that goes to the heart and teaching of white supermacist idealogy in order to keep the mouths of black shut from speaking against injustices done by whites unto blacks
    This drug case which involves two whites certainly has opened the flood gates of speculation and perceptions and opinions
    However one does not have to look far and wide to see connections and reasons for blacks openness and concerns for indeed all are drawn and founded on blacks past history and modern day experiences now when spoken by blacks some have found offensive and blacks being branded as racist

  3. You know Dr. Brathwaite as I read your verbiage one thing became very clear is that your God is a Political God (the god of the state) as you were Crystal Clear is your Discrimination against Christians by your defamatory descriptive words.

    I hear a distinct ring tone between you and Dean Cumberbatch…Speaking with the same voice to accomplish your Political Agenda.

    I once asked the Dean… FC July 9, 2018 7:58 PM @ Dean Cumberbatch

    (1) Are the Laws that are Passed in Parliament written by those in Cave Hill?….

    @ FC, the laws are drafted by the trained staff Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel in the Cambers of the Attorney General and, unlike you, I am not aware of the political leanings of the professors at Cave Hill

    FC… “Dean You mean to say Not Even the Political Leanings of Hilary Beckles and George Bell maybe now retired. That’s a hard one to swallow, good thing you are not Under Oath…

    That is a Very Worry thing because as I see it Cave Hill is Plagued with Communist Professors, it is a Den of Communist/ Marxist.

    Freedom Crier July 29, 2018 7:27 PM @ Dean Cumberbatch
    The Other thing I am not buying is that from your Column…The Human Right to Sexual Preference…My Intuition tells me you were on a fishing expedition to see the public’s response so you could make suggestions that you say are “the laws are drafted by the trained staff Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel in the Cambers of the Attorney General”…

    Dean Jeff Cumberbatch… “The other thing I might add is I do believe you fall very comfortably among the Marxist Professors @ Cave Hill… “You know the old saying Birds of a Feather”.

    (Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant.) Dr. Brathwaite…

    What you have confirmed to me is that you are yet another one of those Birds on a Fishing expedition for your political ends!

    See Meme…Political Birds Flocking together Scoping out the Scene so they can report their Findings!

  4. @FC
    The contortionists competition is over there right next to the strawman competition.
    It was fun to see you setting up, twisting into various shape and then knocking the strawmen over.
    Two gold medals are in your future.

  5. TheOGazerts July 31, 2018 8:53 AM…”but wit the the last two contributions it appears that GB is becoming a smooth read.”

    Agreed but the Contents are VERY DECEPTIVE!!

    For Example…Dr. Brathwaite quoted that the political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau advised: “Do not judge and you will never be mistaken.” That is another twisted way of saying that we should not use Judgement!

    Ever Read John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

    We have to be careful in the ways we use our judgement but is never meant that we were never to Judge.

    2 Tim 3:1-7 List’s all kinds of sins existing in the “last days.” Among the list are: men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. And the given counsel is: from such turn away.

    We Have To Judge In Order To Determine From Whom We Turn Away.

    When we use Righteous judgement it means we do so with the Guidance of the one who influences our Conscience. Within that light we can make Proper Judgements… He will never lead us in the wrong direction. If we vary from that Light way we feel it within and our Bosoms Cringes and we know Right from Wrong as Clear as Night is from Day!

    What we should Not Do is to CONDEMN others…Christ was our Saviour not out Condemner…however that does not mean we should not speak out strongly about the Adversary’s Ideology and LIES!

    In America people have given the Lesbians & Gays the Right to be who they think they are and then they included the Bisexuals and Trans gender’s and then they included the whole Alphabet a-z and now they are promoting Pedophilia and Bestiality under the Guise of Free Sexual Orientation. They have moved even further by saying not only are we free to do it but that everyone should do it to justify their behaviour. Every Prevision is being Celebrated and Fostered on the backs of ordinary people. This is not Sodom & Gomorrah where these people are headed this will make Sodom & Gomorrah look like the Church Choir. Is this what we want for our Nation? Now you begin to see what the UN does to the Sovereignty of a country by having us enact Laws and Policies to suit their Agenda.

    It started off very simply just Lesbians and & Gays and now you have the situation described above…

    George Brathwaite and Dean Cumberbatch are taking you down a road by floating this prevision as Human Rights? Saying you are being judgemental, a Bigot and a Homophobic if you do not go along with their objective!

    In the Eyes of Human Rights everything is permissible. In the eyes of Judge Not least ye be judged we will all be Fools. God did not create wisdom that we may act as jackasses, he created Free Agency that we can act as jackasses and then learn wisdom. So don’t take us from wisdom to acting like jackasses it is better to move from jackasses to wisdom!

    The Arguments by the revisionist “I don’t think that homosexuals choose these things either.”

    God does not make mistakes men make their own CHOICES… We are all here to overcome our weaknesses and if that is your weakness overcome it not indulge it!

  6. GCB

    Definitely one of your better pieces.
    I do not agree with all the positions taken. But I agree that when issues surface we must deal with them clinically. Life is a process. From time to time issues of class and colour will arise, surprising us who thought they were settled two generations ago. So we must deal with them dispassionately.

  7. @ George C Brathwaite

    May will rise here to comment your article which has stolen from two or three threads which exist here already on the BU space but which you nor Adrian Loveridge bless wunna condescending souls WILL NEVER DEIGN TO PARTICIPATE AND PUT YOUR THOUGHTS TO

    But this is the nature of the sorts of men that you both are ALOFT FROM THE COMMMON MAN AND WOMAN and disposed to pontificate on what we have to do as opposed to mixing it up with the common man and woman.

    Like I said to Crusoe and have said to Loveridge UNTIL WUNNA STOPS PRETENDING TO BE PARTAKERS IN THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELL BEING OF MY COUNTRY i will call wunna parasites and true brimlers in this BU Rumshop

    Men who are to be shunned because your works are known

  8. Not to diminish or decry or devalue the amount of intellectual effort it takes certain people to achieve their “academic accolades” at “particular institutions” is a job well done.

    However, when they leave those academic “Ivory Towers” and start to spout “Intellectualism” in “Grandiloquent” words; hoping to delude into acquiescence their readers and listeners but have FAILED to elucidate the MINDS of their victims.

    They are practicing a form or “oratory” that has been outdated since the “Romans and the Greeks” lost their empires to the same perverse endeavours.

    Nevertheless, the “good doctor” attempts towards the end of his “treatise” to lower the tone of this thesis somewhat to the level of the every day citizen (who is unable to read or does not read frequently at that level).

    Never mind the test for literacy in this country is to write your own name and read it. So according to those tests we have 99% literacy in Barbados.

    However writers and orators such as yourself, attempt to “Bamboozle” the public into accepting that your reasoning is flawless because your language is so erudite but all that you are really doing is FRUSTRATING THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY, fostering CONFUSION, creating an “Intelligentsia”: FAVOURED CLASS – Which Mao Zedong and Marx and Lenin and FIdel had to eradicate in order to proceed with their SOCIAL REVOLUTION.

    You could have stated the issues, the arguments against and for in language that is more in keeping with the current culture of Barbados or your audience and stop assuaging your EGO.

    IT would actually have taken you much less time and effort and helped a lot of Barbadians to understand what the issues are.

    Perhaps you may even have presented the TRUE perspective on those issues.


    Do not let your words go wasted. Write articles and share your views on a regular basis. I am sure such would be welcomed and fools will have no choice but to go off the stage. Get what I mean?

  10. This intellectual snubbery presents another layer of intolerance and discrimination.
    Can we keep focussed on the real issues.
    Great article George!
    As a black middle aged Bajan man attempting to assimilate in Cambridge, Ontario for the past two years, has presented an eye opening experience.
    Immigrant status is one thing, but being a black man in a historic white small Canadian town is a different thing altogether even in ” progressive ” 2018 Canada under a liberal regime.
    That the issue of racial equality has taken the back seat to other human rights issues is interesting to watch.
    The intelletualising of these matters is one thing.
    To walk in the shoes of the opressed is another proposition altogether.
    “Is gay the new black”?
    Just asking?

  11. Everybody wants to Claim Victim Status, Blacks, Asians, Muslims, Gays, and Transgenders, choose your own gender, underprivileged, White people (accusations of white privilege, accusations of micro Aggression accusations of Rich Class etc.)

    Now that we have covered everyone in Canada is there anyone else that is not a Victim?

    Can we go unto of other forms of Victim-hood?

    If Black is against white is Black the Victim or is White the Victim?

    If Poor is against the rich is the poor the Victim or is the Rich the Victim?

    If you switch your gender how am I going to know what to call you? And if I call the wrong Pronoun and get locked up are you the Victim or am I the Victim?

    If I go into other than my gender bathroom and the people inside the bathroom suddenly look scared, am I the Victim or are the scared people the Victim?

    Had enough examples yet?

    What is the Moral of the Story… Get off your Emotional Roller-coaster, grow up, get a life, and stop being a Canadian snow flake because bout hey ya would melt!

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