Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Ethnicity versus race in T&T: Addendum

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
May 18, 2011

Indeed, now is not the time to use the American paradigm to deal with and/or analyze T&T's ethnic problem.

The stark political reality is that African-Americans are a national minority (circa 12 per cent) of the population in the United States, while white Americans comprise the majority population. Ergo, one may speak about a racial imbalance/problem in the United States.

However, T&T has a totally different population mix/dynamic in terms of its minority-majority status /make-up. As was mentioned in last week's article, the official 2000 census figures categorically prove that the majority population of T&T (80 per cent) is non-white, non-European, Black-African, people of colour-Indian, while Europeans (whites) only account for 0.1 per cent.

Ergo, one must speak of an ethnic imbalance/problem in T&T, not a racial one a la the United States.

The fact of the matter is that "foreign" is neither the solution nor frame of reference in which to analyze the myriad of imbalances that confront the majority population in T&T; in fact, its use is the problem.

Furthermore, now is also not the time to imply or even insinuate that Indians are kidnapped in T&T simply because they are Indians. Such "a rush to judgement" by some Trinbagonians, including respected politicians, is totally ridiculous, downright insane and "off-the-wall."

The stark truism is that Indians are kidnapped (by fellow Indians) in T&T simply and only because Indian-Trinbagonians have money, period.

Truth Be Told: When an Indian-Trinbagonian is kidnapped, the kidnappers do not demand 50,000 doubles as ransom ; they do not demand 50,000 roti skins as ransom; they do not demand 50,000 buss-up-shuts as ransom. The kidnappers demand 50,000 dollars as ransom from these rich Indian-Trinbagonians. The kidnappers want money from these rich Indians, period. Let's be very clear about this ethnic reality in T&T. The demand for money is the name and the only game played by these kidnappers.

Truth Be Told: When the Chinese business woman, Xue Hua Shan was kidnapped, the kidnappers did not demand 4 million quarts of Chinese shrimp fried rice as ransom; they did not demand 4 million bowls of Chinese wanton soup as ransom; they did not demand 4 million quarts of Chinese chow mein as ransom. No, the kidnappers demanded four million dollars from this rich Chinese business woman. The kidnappers wanted money, period.

And it would be the zenith of stupidity to even suggest that she was kidnapped solely because she was Chinese as in the case of the Indians.

"Money, money, money" is the only battle cry of the kidnappers. That's it. The kidnappers couldn't care less about the ethnicity of their victims . They couldn't care less as to whether their victims have "good hair."

In the final analysis, now is the time for all Trinbagonians to relegate the so-called race factor to the country's cultural ash heap and to work for the betterment and empowerment of all the people of T&T.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

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

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