This letter was adapted from the "Take Em Down" coalition in New Orleans address to their city. The African Heritage Foundation has reached out to this organization and will be inviting other groupings to support us in our drive to influence our government to decolonize our public spaces and schools.
From the African Heritage Foundation.
The Barbadian family is defined by the diverse and inclusive nature of its culture in spaces both public and private. For the most part Barbadian culture is an amalgamation of European and African traditions blended in with some of what can be termed survival culture of the enslaved. Public spaces are for all and should not be used to promote the abhorrent views of the minority white ruling class to uphold symbols of Black oppression. In light of our impending celebration of 50 years of independence and the call by our present Prime Minister to move Barbados to a republic, we need to examine the basis on which we continue to support the littering of our public squares, educational institutes and buildings with monuments and names of white supremacists. Public spaces and institutions such as our hospital, public schools, public parks and squares need to be reflective of our future aspirations as a people and not a reminder of our subjugation. These memorials only serve as constant reminders of the past and present domination of black people by the rich white ruling class. They are insulting to anyone with a sense of history and who supports progress and democracy. These symbols also represent present day reality where most decisions and government policy are determined by those who accept white supremacist notions that Black people and all non-white people are less and deserve less than white people.
Some people believe that the struggle to remove white supremacist symbols is a deflection from the more meaningful struggle to end present day discrimination. They couldn’t be further from the truth. They do not understand that it is the white supremacist ideas, represented by these symbols, which permeate Barbadian society and result in actual discrimination. That is why Black policemen with white supremacist conceptions of young Black people can victimize them so easily while young White people have totally different interactions with the law. This is why we have a situation of labour segregation where what would be considered menial labour is mostly reserved for Black people. The main industry in Barbados is Tourism, but who owns over 95% of the hotels and who makes up 98% of the service staff? Do we have white sanitation workers, police or firemen? Let us not talk about the prejudice faced by Black business people from the lending institutions to our very own puppeted Black looking government. Our educational system supports White supremacy and prepares us to be employed or to employ ourselves utilizing the products of others. We aspire to be lawyers and doctors, but whose medicines are we recommending and selling to our people, whose law are we practicing against our own?
If our Barbadian family is to have a chance at real racial reconciliation, we must remove all obvious symbols of white supremacy to show our collective will to address entrenched systemic oppression, which his reeking havoc in the minds, homes, and neighborhoods of our families island wide. Now as we approach 50years of independence and the United Nations moves into its second year of a decade dedicated to the development, recognition and justice for people of African descent, we have an opportunity to be proactive. All over the world progressive Black people and their allies are leading struggles to rid themselves of the symbols of treason and racist national oppression. United States governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed the Rebel Flag. The Memphis city council has voted to remove the statue and the body of confederate General and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Georgia NAACP has called for the removal of the Stone Mountain memorial to the confederacy. Students in South Africa have forced the taking down of the Rhodes Statue at its university while students in Oxford seek to do the same thing with a statue of Rhodes there. What will you do Barbados?
Down with all symbols of white supremacy!
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