Race Relations In The Bahamas (And Why We Need To Be Better At It)
Let’s keep it 100, we’re racist. At best we’re prejudice. It’s not even a secret. We don’t hide it, we don’t shun it and we don’t even try to sugar coat it. We just straight up say the most racist things imaginable and never ask forgiveness. I was involved in 2 fights in high school. The first was concerning a hot pattie that was knocked out of my hand rendering it uneatable by a young man that was unaware that my childhood obesity was more savage than his “medical emergency”. The second fight involved another young man saying my mother was a Haitian. For the record, she’s not, and I was fully aware she wasn’t. Understand that if you grew up in my generation that was one of the top 3 insults.
What made the “insult” complex was not only were they talking about my mother but they compounded the insult by calling her a Haitian. To make matters worse the young mans choice of pronunciation was “hightian” which all Bahamians know is like a white person calling a black person the N word.
I was wrong for fighting just as much as I was wrong for being insulted by the notion that the woman who gave me life (and hot patties) could perchance be from another region. Ladies and Gents it’s time to face facts: We are super prejudice/racist and we need to talk about this.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: group of people are at bamboo shack. There’s 12 black Bahamians and 1 white man. They call a number to pick up the order and no one responds. Suddenly someone screams out (usually a male with cornrows and no job) “White boy, thine you aye?”. To which the white male either says yes or no depending on his receipt number. Do you people realize that we openly call white people “white” before we even attempt to call them sir or madam? Now to be fair we are a descriptive people. I heard a sentence the other day that blew my mind.
“No not Keisha, I know Keisha. I mean that strong bitch who got in that fight that night in the sea blue pants and black shirt that threw that table at them niggas that one time at that party in the lounge”
A lot of you are hilariously wondering what’s wrong with saying “white girl” or “white boy”, and considering our culture that’s fair. But stop and think for a sec what would happen if a white person in America said “That black boy”.
For some reason we think it’s a-ok to just call people by their race openly and insultingly then be confused when they get offended. People, we gotta stop doing that shit. It’s not cute locally or on a global scale. However, don’t let these Conchy Joes (white Bahamians) fool you into thinking they don’t totally win off that shit when they travel because they 100% do.
I once ran into a Conchy Joe in Canada while I was in school. I had no idea that he was Bahamian because he ….well….he dressed like an all Canadian white male….until he started to talk. This niggas accent was 10 times thicker than mine. The irony of this state of affairs was I constantly had to dumb down my accent while in Canada because if I didn’t no one would understand me. Plus with all the Nigerians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, etc. no one really gave a shit about hearing an accent. They just needed to understand what the hell you were saying.
We greeted each other as Bahamians do: Overused the N word, said “bey” every other sentence and ironically enough discussed how weird actual white people are. (Imma come back to that “actual white people” sentence in a bit) We went our separate ways then I started noticing this dude around campus: Bruh…..he was knocking down every chick with a pulse. He wasn’t spectacularly good looking and he wasn’t the most fashionable or rich dude on the campus in the slightest. That’s when I realized: This nigga was getting lady parts off just being Bahamian. Which confused me because I was being Bahamian from I landed in Halifax. That’s the thing, he was winning because he was white and that blew my mind.
Those dudes are winning and I salute them. But Bahamians are compartmentalized with their racism and if you’re not careful it can be quite confusing.
The first white female I ever dated I brought back home from Canada for the Xmas. I was bombarded with the stereotypical insults: “Why couldn’t you find a nice black girl?”, “They always take the good ones” etc. It felt weird having to defend my choice. Fast forward to a few years later and I date a white Bahamian for 5 years and….not a peep. I once asked a female friend what the difference was and her answer was “..She white but she Bahamian though so…”
That’s when I started to question other guys about their experiences and they all said the same thing. When it comes to interracial relationships Bahamians aren’t racist towards white people…..they are racist towards actual white people. ‘Member I said I’d come back to this point? “Actual white” to Bahamians means American/Canadian/European. The second they hear a Bahamian accent you get a pass.
What boggles my mind is the coon mentality that Bahamians have when it comes to white foreigners/conchy Joes.
A (black) friend of mine was a “boss” at a local hotel. He was new to the job and, as I said, he was a boss so he came dressed for the part and drove into the boss section of the parking lot. The second he tried to park the security attendant was quick to tell him to move because “that was for Executive staff only”. He argued that he WAS a part of the executive staff at which point the security made 20 minutes worth of calls until he had to park elsewhere until finally he was let into the establishment where he again had to prove who he was. A few months later I get into the cafeteria of said work place and there’s rumors flying around about new bosses on property. I inquired as to where the new bosses were, no one had an answer. I asked if they introduced themselves as the boss. No one knew. Then “the boss” came into the cafeteria. Long story short “the boss” was a well-dressed white high school student with a briefcase who came for work study that everybody assumed was a top ranking executive based entirely on his race.
By the way both those stories are 100% true. Please explain to me how we are an island of predominantly black people and we still have this coon ass mentality that anyone darker than El Debarge is line staff and anyone brighter than Chris Brown probably owns shit? We self-hate so much I honestly think we could resort back to slavery any day now if 15-20 of appropriately dressed white men ask us to go back in the cane fields.
Let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to walk in to work and start yelling at your foreign white boss….chill. This is not the time to spark some false revolution. What I am saying though is to chill with the pretense that everything white is right and everything black is niggardly. Also, we need to get over this Haitian thing.
Yes, I know about all the ills that are reported concerning Haitians and to a lesser effect Jamaicans. But wait, we’re a Christian nation right? So if we’re a “Christian nation” then how are they not our brothers and sisters? No one is denying the facts about immigration, hospital expenses, squatting etc. But I’m pretty sure 93% of us have taken advantage of the system this week let alone in our lifetimes. Is that an excuse for illegal immigrants to come to our island illegally and stay? Absolutely not.
Quick question: If we were to stop paying them to do the jobs we don’t want to do for prices we didn’t want to pay Bahamians then how enthusiastic do you think they would be about risking their lives to come here?
By all means lets fight for tougher immigration and stricter border patrols but until then can we just acknowledge that we are super racist towards human beings trying to find a better way of life that WE let into the country? People they are here and they have assimilated into our culture, mideswell get over it. Also, have you ever had your hair cut by a Haitian? Cause…
Look at our athletes, scholars, teachers and friends….a lot of them are either Haitian or of Haitian decent. Its 2016 and its no way “Ya ma is Haitian” should still sting. Let’s celebrate our differences and move forward.
Oh we’re not backwards?
K…..everybody with a biracial member of their family….tell me they aren’t your parents/grandparents favorite.
I know my grandmother loves ALL of her grandkids…I just know she REALLY loves the half white ones is all. I know black women right now that over pursue conchy joes just to get that mixed baby. And why not, they’re gorgeous. BUT SO ARE YOUR OTHER GRANDKIDS. And don’t let the child have “good hair”. Bahamians talk about good hair the way vegans talking about vegan’ing.
Listen I’m not saying that peasy hair or dry hair is attractive…it isn’t. But there’s a huge difference between unkempt peas and ironic nappyness.
Or you can be ironically nappy and….
We are all beautiful, people!
Lol…Just kidding we’re not. A lot of us are super ugly and will never find love or happiness but that’s not the point.
My point is we’re all human, ugly or not. We all bleed and we all sin. As a people we really need to cut out the overt prejudice that we stare in the face every day then pass off as “jokes”. That shit hurts. It’s not fun being a minority. Yes, people, anyone else that isn’t black is a minority on this island. Imagine being the only black guy at a hick town BBQ.
Now imagine how any non-black Bahamian feels in imperial at 3am when we’re loud and repeatedly calling them by whatever ethnicity we THINK they are. How would you feel if you went to America and everywhere you went they were badmouthing Bahamians? How loud we were and how we pronounce things wrong all the time?
So how do you think Haitians feel when we go in on them right in front of their faces?
Find your chill, Bahamas.
Nassau has changed. There used to be a time where Nassau was quietly segregated. We didn’t talk about it much but it was a whisper in households all over the island. You didn’t go to Spanish Wells for fear of being lynched. Interracial relationships were few and far between. Shit was tense. Now look at us. We’re a melting pot of races, cultures and creeds. But we can still do better. We can still be better. Until then, baby steps. We can do small things like not send all the biracial kids to Queens College (I lie?) , stop thinking everyone who’s light skin is cute or stop looking at “good hair” as a reason to put someone on a pedestal.