Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Black Power Revisited in TnT

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
April 02, 2006

The recent launching of the Black Caucus political group completes TnT's recolonialisation cycle a la Pax Americana.

The fact of the matter is that it seems that TnT is in a mad rush to surpass Puerto Rico at the tapes to become the 51st State of the United States of America.

TnT's Black Caucus, slavishly and subconsciously patterned after the Afrikan-American Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is on a direct collision course with original, creative political thinking and conceptualization.

At the outset, it must be stated quite unequivocally and categorically that the concept of "Black Power" is anathema to TnT's body politic. It is a complete misnomer that must be rejected as this country strives to achieve real national unity, togetherness and oneness as a former enslaved and colonized people.

The fact of the matter is that Afrikans in TnT were not originally uprooted involuntarily from a place called "Black" or "Afro". They were brought to the Caribbean from Afrika. Hence, they are Afrikan-Trinbagonians; they are not Afro-Trinbagonians. Black represents their skin colour; it does not represent their Mother Land/Country.

In the same vein, Indians in TnT were not originally brought , mostly voluntarily, from a place called "Indo." They came to TnT from India. Hence, they are Indian-Trinbagonians; they are not Indo-Trinbagonians.

As such, TnT's majority population is of Afrikan and Indian descent. They therefore seek power as Afrikan-Trinbagonians and Indian-Trinbagonians. Ergo, historically, the notion of Black Power does not compute in the specific case of TnT.

The stark reality is that Black Power is not needed in TnT; what is needed in TnT is the equal distribution of power.

The demand for Black Power by Afrikan-Americans is a valid proposition because of institutionalized racism and their minority status in that country.

However, this minority status neither applies nor computes when it comes to Afrikan-Trinbagonians.

Indeed, the President of the United States is White(European) and so too are the majority members of Congress. The members of the CBC are a US congressional minority.

Afrikan-Americans (12 % of the national population) are therefore a politically and economically powerless people. As such, they were forced to wage/mount a prolonged Civil Rights Movement to demand rights, equality and power from the U.S. government.

Such is not the scenario in TnT.

The Prime Minister of TnT is Black (Afrikan descent) and the majority members of Parliament are non-White, non-European and people of colour.

Furthermore, institutionalized racism does not exist in TnT; only institutionalized ethnic discrimination/victimization does.

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) reveals that in 2000, Afrikan -Trinbagonians comprise 37.5 % of the population, Indian-Trinbagonians consisted of 40%, White-Euro-Trinbagonians 0.6%.

These population dynamics suggest that any resolution of the plight of Afrikan-Trinbagonians should not follow the modus operandi of the Afrikan-American model; instead, it must look inward and zero in on the policies of the government. Afrikan-Trinbagonians already possess power in numbers; government's policies make them powerless.

The Afrikan-American driven demand for Black Power only serves to further exacerbate the racial hatred/divide in TnT. TnT does not need any demand for Blackness nor Whiteness. TnT needs a demand for the proper, equal distribution of power in all its multi-faceted dimensions and manifeststions.

Skin colour is a given; power-distribution and sharing are not. Skin colour cannot change; power distribution and sharing can and must. Therefore, any political entity in TnT must emphasize/stress/focus on power not colour; ethnicity not race.

In other words, then, maybe in keeping with TnT's latest societal labeling, the public should expect "red men" to launch their own Red Caucus and others to form their Dougla Caucus. Let's be serious, fellow Trinbagonians.

In this regard, the question that immediately comes to the fore is: Why isn't the 0.6% White-Trinbagonian population demanding White Power?

This real national minority does not have to form its own White Caucus because government's policies already empower them.

On the other hand, the policies of the current Anti-People's National Movement (APNM) continue to posit Afrikan-Trinbagonians at the bottom of the power totem pole.

Hence, the raison d'etre why this particular afflicted group of Trinbagonians must demand a radical change in government's policies in order to realign the distribution of power in TnT. However, they must use indigenous, inward-looking, not borrowed/alien, tactics to achieve this goal.

Trinbagonians must realize that what is good for the colonizer is not necessary good for the colonized. And as deceased international Pan Afrikan Nationalist, Kwame Ture once warned: "If you don't know who you are, you would not know what your interests are."

The fact of the matter is that Black Caucus Trinbagonians are not Afrikan-Americans - and they never will be.

Trinbagonians must understand the difference between minority versus majority status in any society. Minority status denotes powerlessness while majority status connotes power. However, this theoretical construct does not always hold true. In TnT, for example, a real minority possesses power through the democratic process. A similar minority once possessed power under Apartheid South Africa.

In addition, Afrikan-American minority status is not the same as Afrikan-Trinbagonian majority status. They are neither comparable nor substitutable. As such, tactics to deal with these two different population situations must, by definition, be different. This is just plain common sense.

However, because of psychological/mental/subliminal recolonization a la Pax Americana, Trinbagonians sheepishly cling on to the Afrikan-American Black Caucus model.

It seems as though as long as anything has the "Made in America" stamp on it, then it is good (cool) for use in TnT. This mind-set is worse than mixing mangoes and breadfruit and/or "roti and egg" according to Sprangalang.

Indeed, Trinbagonians get a perfect score when it comes to copycatting. The TnT Black Caucus group is a prime example. It represents the American recolonization of TnT's political thinking.

However, American recolonization of TnT's daily life 24-7-365 does not stop there.

One just has to take a casual stroll through any major city in TnT and observe American culinary recolonization as per the ubiquitous nature of American fast-food outlets such as KFC, Mario's Pizzaria, Royal Castle, Church's Chicken, Blimpie, Mc Donald's, Subway and Burger King, just to name a few.

And this is notwithstanding the fact that these are unhealthy, tasteless, poisonous, life-threatening foods. But they have the "Made in America" stamp. That's all Trinbagonians want to see.

Trinbagonians also celebrate American "trick or treat" Halloween holiday,while stores hold "Fall/Winter Collection" and "Summer Scorcher" sales.

The last time this writer checked TnT's meteorological clock, this twin-island Republic still had two seasons, namely, rainy and dry. Maybe, TnT's meteorological clock has since changed and our twin-island Republic now has four seasons a la America. This would suggest that TnT is no longer located in the tropical climatic zone.

American recolonization does not stop there.

On the cultural side, Trinbagonians love to 'wine' and wave their hands "in ah de air" during "Soca for Summer" all-inclusives, while both male and females adults wear Spring and even Winter coats on their jobs in the public or private sector. Some can also be seen walking in the streets wearing these same American coats while insanely sweltering under TnT's burning, hot sun.

In the sports arena, TnT has basketball teams with American names such as Detour Shak Attack", "Trailblazers," "CIL Cavaliers," "Cosmos Raptors," "NP Caledonia Clippers," "Longdenville Warriors," "Valencia Kings," and "Chaguanas Wizzards."

And not to be outdone, football teams have American names like "Falcon Crest", "BMS Spurs," "Roxborough Lakers," and "Mayaro Spurs."

In the era of putative independence, why can't these teams come up with original, authentic, indigenous names or is it the scenario where they are convinced /programmed per BET TV that they need an American connection to make them legit?.

In essence, then, the adoption of the name Black Caucus as a "political third force" is only in keeping in tune with the complete American recolonization of all aspects of life in TnT.

This latest American salvo paints the history of TnT as follows:
  1. Euro-Spanish colonialism beginning in 1493 and ending with Euro-British colonialism in 1962.
  2. Afrikan Slavery and plantation system 1516 to 1834/38.
  3. Indian Indentureship, 1845-1917
  4. Neo-colonialism 1962 to the present.
  5. American recolonization from 1980s to the present.
Historiography proves that TnT is not a Black country; it is not a White country. TnT is a polyglot, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society where "every creed and race find an equal place."

And in the midst of today's violent madness, murders and mayhem, now is the crucial, survival time to expunge any and all references to race and/or colour from TnT's political landscape.

TnT does not need Black Power.
TnT does not need White Power.
TnT needs people power to the max.

In the final analysis, the formation of the Black Caucus and the advocacy of Black Power only lend fulcrum to the shameful reality that Trinbagonians have been voluntarily robbed again of any scintilla of "independent thought and freedom."

If independence is to be meaningful, Trinbagonians need to "check the foundation" of their life choices - the Red, White and Black or the Red, White and Blue?

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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