Reproduced with permission from Sara Bharrat’s blog at http://sarabharrat.wordpress.com/
My identity is my own. I do not appreciate being branded politically because of my skin colour. Last time around, I stood at a rally screaming in favour of the AFC. Who knows where I’ll be next time around. Maybe no place close to any of the madness that happens here in Canecutopia. Because quite frankly, I’m tired of racist politics and I’m tired of believing in the shallow brand of change some people market.
It seems that the only way to get things done here in Canecutopia is to get up and make change happen yourself. While there are a few among us who soldier on against the odds, sadly, the majority of my brethren are spineless souls. Sad story. But true story. Very true story.
How is a young East Indian woman like myself seasoned politically? Well, (and I can only speak from my own experience) it seems that tradition dictates politics here in beautiful Guyana. You see, within my own cultural community I vividly remember adults trying to instill in me a deep respect for the PPP. Basically, what they teach us (and I’m sure other young East Indians, if they have the courage, can attest to this) is that PPP power means East Indian power and East Indian power is the only way we can survive.
What did all of this do to me psychologically? It created a deep rooted fear in my heart, in my being, in the deepest, most intimate part of my mind. You see, as I grew older, became acquainted with history and facts and learnt to question everything in the world around me, I saw politics for what it was in this place. It was inevitable that I would see the truth. And during the last elections, even though I had voted for my bit of change, I have to admit to feeling a stab of fear when the rumour of a PPP loss started circulating.
Yes, this is what my country, my people, my culture has done to me. It tries to make cowards of us all. Clearly, I have dealt with that fear. Had I not dealt with it, then I would not be writing this. And this brings us to the real reason behind my sudden urge to tackle this subject: am I calling the people and community and loved ones who were responsible for my socialization, am I Sara Bharrat, calling them racist?
Is my nani, who loves her best friend auntie Jocelyn more than she loves her sisters, racist? Is my mother, who cries every time a young black man is gunned down, is she racist? Is my uncle, who brings fruits and provisions from the farm for our next door neighbours, is he racist? Or are they all just victims of the race based machine of traditional grassroots politics that preys upon our psyche here in Canecutopia?
I know many East Indians who openly say that they are not racist. However, when they see the young man I love, their faces change, their voices lower and they ask me “he has black in him?” These same East Indians claim to want change. They claim they have escaped the trap of race based voting. And yet, here they are, clearly being racist beneath a carefully crafted facade.
So where does it end? How does it end? I can’t answer that for anyone just yet. But I can tell you this, racism ends with me and the death of this race based machine of traditional grassroots politics and voting begins with me. I have shed my mask, I have exposed myself to the elements that be and I am ready to fight for truth and real change. But not just to fight but to work too, to come up with solutions to problems, to help with implementing said solutions.
And finally, I hate when people address me as an Indo-Guyanese. I am simply a Guyanese. I do not need an ethnic tag before my nationality. It encourages the deep rooted and intricately disguised segregation that lives on here in Canecutopia. And please remember, being East Indian does not make me a child of the PPP or a government hater.
Like some of you already do, I will aid government initiatives once they are free of corruption and genuinely aim to help the people. But my decision to help does not mean I am government branded. I am just me, just Sara, a Guyanese, that’s all.