Racial distaste To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 23, 2002

I write in response to Mr Sukraj’s letter published in both Kaieteur News of January 16 and Stabroek News of January 19, 2002.

In a society which is simmering with racial tension and animosity, I do not think it wise to repeat or endorse the racial slurs and prejudices contained in Mr Haslyn Parris’ “Tom Puss’ story, published in the Christmas Annual of 2001.

Mr Sukraj’s letter rightly draws attention to its offensive content and terminology, but compounds the problem with his retaliatory use of another derogatory racial term.

I do agree, however, that Parris’ story has no literary merit - like most of the prose and poetry in the Christmas Annual - no moral and is certainly not “hilarious” to those people who are regularly beaten and brutalised after every election by supporters of the political party of which he is a prominent member.

Master Ruel Johnson does not understand the profound disrespect and racism at the core of Paris’s story. His impassioned defence of an old “expert” like Ian McDonald who endorses this story as “outstanding” is acutely embarrassing.

Nonetheless, I do not think it is fair to accuse McDonald of “racial distaste” for Indians and Negroes just because the protagonist in his book “the Humming Bird tree” confesses to this distaste.

In any case, this novel, of little intellectual substance and written in florid, flowery, sentimental language is surely the work of a callow, young man who has now outgrown his racial perversions?