Criticism of Ms Gibson’s book has nothing to do with her race

Stabroek News

October 25, 2003

Related Links: Letters on 'Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana' death
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Dear Editor,

I refer to Mr. Keith Williams’ letter captioned “The debate on the ethnic situation is lopsided” [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] (16/10/2003).

Mr. Williams, like so many of those who identify themselves by an ethnic tag, work themselves into a frenzy on the bases of falsehoods and unrealities. Some of these falsehoods, they themselves create.

Three examples of such unrealities in Mr. Williams’ letter: (i) A few days ago, he claimed that he had not read Ms Gibson’s booklet “Cycle of racial oppression.” Now, he attacks Kissoon’s critique of it without knowing what he is attacking, and then merely sliding into racist abuse. (ii) Williams bitterly berates the Ethnic Relations Commission for having no black racial representation. In point of fact, there are equally no Indian, Amerindian or any other racial representation since the Commission consists of representatives from the Christians, Hindus and Muslims and the Labour movement and Womens’ and Youth organisations. (iii) Williams mentions that Ms Gibson said she heard some Indian person calling Afro-Guyanese “black dogs”. I myself, as I am sure has Williams who has lived most of his life in Guyana, have heard black people calling Indians “coolie dogs” and jeering at Indian names. (Prof Raymond Smith, in his studies of the 1960s mentions this.) And right in Mr. Williams’ southern state of Georgia, he may hear White and Black people calling each other pejorative names. There is certainly anti-Black and anti-Indian predjudice here and Williams lack of cognisance of this double-barrelled prejudice would never lead him to the truth.

Ms Gibson’s booklet, “Cycle of racial oppression in Guyana” has been criticised on the following grounds: (a) The author does not attempt to use authenticated fact on which to base her conclusions. Basing one’s position on fiction must lead to fictional conclusions. (b) She claims that her booklet is based on research. Her alleged research methods and methodology are poor and cannot withstand scrutiny. (c) She makes numbers of subjective statements which she claims are the result of objective research - a complete contradiction in terms. Her booklet was critiqued by more than one competent reviewer and found to be unacceptably poor.

Mr Williams claims that Ms Gibson is being crucified as a black woman for her poor scholarship. He seems to think that because she is black, this exempts her from any proper critiques. Today, black and white academics are judged by the same standards.

Yours faithfully,

W. Griffith