Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Social Decadence in TnT: An Overview
Posted: May 25, 2001
Dr Kwame Nantambu

Since the 1970s, there have been a rapid decline in the social fabric in TnT — a decline that did not exist in the 1960s.

In the 1960s, we were poor and polite; our family structure was on solid grounds. The Indian-Afrikan extended family way of life and being were the common glue that kept us together as one social unit. We have LOST them.

Today, however, alien values and way of life serve as the accepted common invisible toxic partitions to tear us apart as a community, nation and family unit.

Today, jealousy and overt antagonism permeate husband (male) and wife (female) domestic life. Of course, this is just one of the imported, alien Euro-American values and family life that has been copy-catted by Trinis.

Instead of living an inter-dependent marital life, Trinis are now living an independent marital life, by design and not by accident.

An this important variable is the primary cause for the breakdown in the Trini family today–both Afrikan and Indian.

As a result of this imported Euro-American family interaction, the Trini husband's ego has swelled up his chest and he now acts as the dominant, macho, albeit beast, species in the home. He is the lion at home.

And to compound this Euro-centric assinine mind-set and behavior, this wishy-washy, ego-tripping husband becomes very jealous of his wife, supposedly his avowed female partner, if she brings home more money than he does.

This familial income inequality now sews bitter seeds of contention and dis-unity instead of sprouting fruits of unity, stability and togetherness.

As a result of this "Divide and Rule/Conquer" family existence and/or survival, the MACHO, insecure husband now resorts to domestic violence towards his wife as a valid remedy.

This is insane behaviour and reasoning at its zenith. This is utter stupidity on the part of matured adults.

The income or salary of the wife should augment the same of the husband in a normal marriage situtation.Maybe TnT is not a normal marriage environmental situtaion.

The fact of the matter is that in any SANE familial situation there is NO correlation or relationship between the wife's income/salary and her husband's EGO; at least, there should not be any correlation.

Or just maybe, an exception has to be made for the insane, so-called, Trini way.

And to make the Trini marital life more decadent and becoming more decadent every day, is the unique TnT phenomenon of Horning and its very detrimental impact on family life and children.

As the reigning National Calypso Monarch Dennyse Plummer comments in her 2001 rendition: "Man cyar take horn ah tall."

And to act out this reality, Trini macho, ego-tripping husbands not only resort to domestic violence towards their wife but also show absolutely NO respect for her.

And to put more salt in the broken family's wound, these manicou, sorry excuses for real men, quarrel and argue with their wives about who is hanging whom in front of their children.

These children see up close and personal the violence, hatred and venom their father shows to their mummy.

They internalize this male behaviour towards a female, a woman. They sub-consciously assume that that's the way a man and woman should live.

This is NOT domestic violence, it is incestuous violence. In other words, these violent acts or scenes remain imbedded in the sub-conscious minds of these children; however, when they become adults years afterwards, these same violent scenes move from their young sub-conscious minds to their adult conscious minds.

These violent acts now become ALIVE and these adults act them out. As such, a male who is thus infected would beat, horn, disrespect and belittle his woman, girl friend or wife without any remorse.

And the young female child who is thus infected would date or marry a violent, girl friend-wife beating, disrespectful and trifling man like her father – he becomes her role model of a male companion.

But this domestic violence syndrome does not stop with similar incestuous behaviour later down the road.

The fact of the matter is that there is a DIRECT connection between domestic violence and violence in TnT schools today.

TnT society CANNOT expect a violent, disrespectful insecure family environment to produce non-violent, peaceful, loving, secure and respectful children. Life DOES NOT work that way in the real world. This public expectation just DOES NOT COMPUTE.

In reality, if the raw material input is violent and disrespectful then the matured manufactured output MUST be violent and disrespectful.

These matured and manufactured violent and disrespectful familial outputs are now spreading and committing violence in TnT schools.

Their violence and total lack of respect for adults and authority ONLY reflect the identical baggage these young people are bringing from home to school. It is just that simple.

TnT rapidly spreading spate of school violence is NOT rocket science; instead it is a DIRECT result or outcome of the total breakdown of the TnT family structure.

The young students who commit these crimes are just the VICTIMS of incestuous domestic violence.

As the Afrikan- American comedian, Richard Pryor, once remarked: "If you see an ugly child in the street, go home and look at the parents."

In case of TnT social decadence today, the translation is: "If you see a violent and disrespectful child in school, go home and check out the family environment." It is just that simple.

These young children are now bringing all the violent, hateful and self-destructive - disrespectful baggage with them from home directly to school.

In 2000, there was a popular calypso titled "Who let de dogs out?" In the terms of the current social and family life in TnT, the title needs to be adjusted to read: " Who let de parents and adults out?"

Violent, self-destructive, disrespectful, hateful family life IS the CAUSE of violence in TnT schools TODAY. These young children are just acting out what they see at HOME.

Adult Trinis who are supposed to be in charge and in control of homes are indeed the real perpetrators of school violence committed by their children.

These children are ONLY driving the get-away car! This is the most detrimental impact of self-destructive horning and domestic violence on the TnT family unit and the children it produces.

In order to solve or minimize this national problem, this writer is suggesting that prayers be brought back and that discipline be the order of the day in TnT schools.

Discipline MUST be the spinal cord of the education process. If the children are NOT corrected and disciplined at HOME then the school Must be the back-up plan or "Plan B".

An unruly, violent and disrespectful educated child is nothing but an educated NON HUMAN.

Physical discipline breeds and sews seeds of civic, moral, spiritual, academic, adult, community, personal and human discipline, way of life and value system.

This is what is needed in TnT schools today.

TnT schools should and must NOT be Euro-Americanized. As fellow Trinis over 50 years, I attended St. Margaret's Boys School, Belmont Intermediate and Fatima College; there was discipline( whipping) by teachers; there were NO school shooting or disrespect for the adult authority of the teacher.

In those days, TnT had discipline of children at home and in the schools. We need to go back to those ole discipline days. Bring back the whip.

On the other hand, horning causes ego-tripping, macho Trini males to commit suicide or homicide. And the sad tragedy in this insane scenario is that these insipid men take the lives of the woman (girl friend or wife) and the children along with them when they commit homicide. This is ultimate familial insanity.

If yuh cyar take horn, then, kill yourself you insecure, stupid, dumb FOOL!

Love is for the STRONG; horn is for the WEAK.

Only the loving, faithful STRONG shall survive as a family unit; the WEAK, womanizer, woman- chaser, woman-hustler, woman-beater shall self-destruct into social NOTHINGNESS.

Indeed, the social decadence in TnT is manifested in the popular and accepted notion that HORN works both ways; in that men can horn women so too women can horn men. It is now a social free- for-all in TnT.

Horn is IN; faithfulness is OUT and will stay OUT, ad infinitum.

Way to go, fellow adult Trinis. But just remember the long range impact of this laissez-faire way of life on the children. Just remember the true, tested saying: "Monkey see, monkey do".

Horning is the name; but social, family self-destruction and rampant school shootings and violence are the GAME. Way to go responsible adult Trinis.

Indeed, there was a time before this writer left Trini in August 1969 that we were all our Brother's keeper.

There was a time when young children NEVER saw their father hit their mother in front of them.

There was a time when young children NEVER saw their father accusing their mother of cheating (ole time word) on him in front of them and calling her very dirty, disrespectful and derogatory names.

These was a time when young children saw their father EVERYDAY at home.

There was a time when neighbours could correct other people's children if they see them doing wrong.

There was a time when WE meant "all ah WE"; this way of life existed among ALL Trinis- Afrikan and Indian.

There was a time when charity, love, respect and togetherness began at home; now, hatred, violence, self-destructive behaviour and self disrespect begin instead.

There was a time when children would go to school to learn how to read and write; now, they go to school to learn how to fight.

In 2000, calypso commentator Stinger hit the bull's eye when he wrote: "Is murder again," at home and in TnT schools.

The ONLY prescription to salvage the rapid social decadence in TnT today is for Trinis to go back and retrieve, re-live, re-locate, re-orient, re attach and re- adhere with the components of the Afrikan- Indian extended family way of life, mind-set and value system.

Fellow Trinis, We lived it once; We can and must live it again.

Trinis must understand that holistic education involves not only civic discipline, integrity, but also the acquisition of information and knowledge.

The mere passing of an exam DOES NOT a fully rounded Trini student make; education in TnT must include the aspect of HUMANITY and Human Perfectibility.

If education is the key in TnT today, then DISCIPLINE must be the LOCK!

The bottom-line is that TnT social fabric in general and family life in particular, have been totally Euro-Americanized; hence, the negative, detrimental net multiplier effects of domestic violence, suicide, and homicide by mature adults/parents and school violence including shooting and stabbling by students/young children.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University, U.S.A.

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