Are we ready to challenge the myths and stereotypes created by a few?
May 29, 2002
Letters on race
The report in Sunday's SN (26.5.02) on the conference on the Indian diaspora at the Tain Campus was informative. Thanks for publishing it, because I am sure many of your readers would have been surprised to know such a significant event was taking place with limited reporting in Georgetown. One hopes that the conference proceedings and papers would be compiled and be available soon in the National Library.
At the end of May, the 164th anniversary of the first arrivals from India, the cultural events organised by the different civil society groups highlighted our achievements and gave us a chance to celebrate them. The video shown by Dr Dabydeen however also showed that there was a thirst for public discussion on the history of Indian indentureship in Guyana and on the Indian experience. It was sad that the Ministry of Culture could not contribute anything to the celebration and that it was left to the civil society groups alone to ensure that the traditions of tassa drumming, etc, were highlighted. It would have been good to see an exhibition of artists of Indian origin, or have some more public discussions and lectures, maybe even an exhibition in the public museum of relics of Indentureship like Gary Serrao has in his museum at Kastev. This May, the achievements were celebrated yet again. Could we now move on to look at the present Guyana, and work at going beyond politicians to discuss how we could make Guyana the wonderful country it could be?
Are we ready to challenge the myths and stereotypes created by a few and to acknowledge and remove racial and other prejudices? What has to happen to deal with the memories of the PNC years, the riots in the sixties, the Wismar killings, the terror raised by violent protestors in Georgetown over the last few years and recently on the East Coast? How do we view the people from Buxton - do we condemn all black people because of stereotypes created by a deviant few? What do we do to challenge the stereotypes the 'others' have of 'us'? And what about all the other prejudices which people have - across religion, class, gender, whatever group we identify with?