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Race and History Forum

Re: Dr. K, Natambu's Article

I just recently read the article, "Afrikan Apprenticeship & East Indian Indenture" by the above named author. I must say that I am somewhat dismayed and perplexed that an intellectual with such a renonwed University would write such inflamatory rhetoric. Although, many parts of her article were factually correct, I nevertheless believe that her preception of the truth has been thwarted to answer some narror trival self serving need, the least of which is to inform and inspire.

For the author to imply that the Europeans had some type of secret agenda with the Asians to suppress the blacks in T&T is pure and simple nonsense and a futile attempt at redemption. She neglected to mention the fact that the East Indians who came to T&T also had their religion and culture taken from them. In the 17th and 18th centuries, assimilation of the races for the British Imperialist was the doctrine of the day. No matter where they went, their policy was to convert the conquered. In many instances the East Indians had little choice but to adopt the Christian view of the world if they were to become upwardly mobile. The British did not put much of a premium on Indian culture nor did they care.

Also, the author overlooked the fact that many East Indians who were indentured workers toiled long and hard in the sugarcane fields as well. Today many still do. They too also dug ditches, paved the roads, planted cane, built power lines, worked the docks, planted rice, work the farms, and many other labourous duties.

Furthermore, as the East Indians became accustomed to their new land, they went through a metamorhosis of sorts. They began to look forward, they educated themselves, adopted new skills, attitudes, new ways of thinking, and became larger than their former selves. They adapted to their environment and used their god given abilities to become economically, politically, and socially mobile. They refused to see themselves as indentured servants. Their rise from who they were to what they have become is a testament to their sense of determination and their perseverence. They did not allow their spirit to wither in the face of adversity. They believed they could be better and went out to prove it. Not only is this true in the Caribbean, but they have they achieved great seccess throughout the world.

Obviously, it's easy for educators such as this author to find fault and to become a Monday morning quarterback. To simply blame an entire race of people for the economic and political plight of another is at the very least inflamatory, racist, and represents a form of scapegoating. Does not the author believe that the Africans then and now, have some element of accountability and responsibility for their own actions with respect to their own situation, just like the indentured East Indians?

Certainly, this author's views may appeal to a number disenfranchised blacks who still feel marganilized by the system. To those I say, "get ovet it" and move on. We all know slavery was wrong. we cannot rewrite the wrongs of the past. We can only learn from it and ensure it doesn't happen again.

The author's biased self serving views may help her to sell a few books. She may get rich from it or the University may offer her full tenure some day, I don't know, but to inform and inspire, I don't believe it has.

Lastly, I find it unfathomable to think that in this day and age, one would perpetuate such demogogery. To quote one of my past Political Science professors, "in the marketplace of ideas, do not rely on so called gurus, pundits, and experts, for they only have a piece of the truth." I say this authors version requires scrutiny.

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