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#462482 - 04/16/13 11:49 AM Race relations issues should be dealt with now
Marty Online   happy
By Wellington C. Ramos

There are some Belizeans who believe that our country does not have a race problem and we do not need to address this issue, but they are living in a fantasy world. When the British landed in Belize, the indigenous people of Belize were the Maya Indians. They fought against the British to try and keep their land but without success. Some of these Maya Indians fled to neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala where they continue to move back and forth within these three countries.

The Mayas were living throughout the whole of Central America but the Spanish were able to take over all their territory with the use of brute military force. The British brought slaves to Belize from Africa to cut logwood and mahogany for them from the 1600s to the middle 1800s -- almost two hundred years of slavery. During slavery in Belize, some of these slaves had children for their slave masters and were given their slave master's name, hence the reason why most Creole Belizeans have British names.

Just as the British enslaved the Africans in Belize, the Spanish enslaved the native Maya Indians in Mexico, Guatemala and throughout the Caribbean and Americas giving them their names as well. The Garifuna people were given French names in Saint Vincent through colonialism and Spanish names after they were forcefully removed from Saint Vincent to Roatan and then Trujillo, Honduras. Some Garifuna people have British names because some of their names were changed in Roatan, Honduras, and Nicaragua before they came to Belize during slavery.

There are some people in Belize who think that they are Creoles but they are Garifuna people that came from Roatan, Honduras, and Nicaragua at the time the British had these territories in the region. The Spanish crown later ended Indian slavery and replaced it by African slavery and gave many blacks Spanish names. Colonialism and slavery came with the dehumanizing of individuals and brainwashing to make their subjects different people they are not. The victims of these systems normally end up with confused identities until they search for their true identities and regain their ethnicity. For a person to boast of being British, French, Spanish, Dutch and other European cultures doesn't make any sense whatsoever because these were the same people that committed atrocities against our ancestors.

I’ve had people call me "Kerob", "Kerobee", "Negro", "Negrito" and other derogatory names on many occasions in Belize. I have also heard people in Belize calling Spanish people "Yellow Belly Panya”, Maya Indians "Engine", East Indians "Coolie", etc. I experienced this while I was in police uniform and playing football throughout the country of Belize in the six districts. I am more than convinced that I am not the only Belizean who had this experience in our country. This is a part of the divide and conquer program established by the Europeans that is still alive today. Creoles, Garifuna and East Indians are all black-skinned people and the other ethnic groups will see us as black Belizeans and nothing else. From a distance, they do not know or might not even care who is Creole, Garifuna or East Indian.

I know of some Garifuna people who do not like Creole people and I also know of some Creole people who do not like Garifuna people. I also know of some Mestizo and Maya people who do not like Creoles, Garifuna and East Indian people. All these people are racists and I do not like racist people because racism is not a good thing in the eyes of God. I have children whose mothers are Creole and I should have the right to fall in love with any woman I choose, despite her race, colour, creed or religion. To hate a person because of his or her race or ethnicity is a sin in the eyes of God. It is now time for the Minister of Culture in Belize to convene a national summit on race relations in Belize so that we can deal with this issue.

Many Belizeans are only whispering and shushing about race issues, when deep down in their minds they want to avoid it. The more we avoid this issue, the longer it will take for Belizeans to become nationalistic and learn how to love and appreciate their fellow Belizean brothers and sisters. The Chinese population is growing in Belize and they tend to keep to themselves in their own segregated communities. If we do not start the debate now, Belizeans will turn their frustrations and anger against these people and our communities will become explosive with racial tensions.

Our country is multi-ethnic and we will have to find a way to live together in peace and harmony as Belizeans.

Caribbean News Now

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#462495 - 04/16/13 01:05 PM Re: Race relations issues should be dealt with now [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
We have race issues bubbling under the surface, but Ramos has added steriods to his take on the situation, current and future
_________________________
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#462506 - 04/16/13 06:57 PM Re: Race relations issues should be dealt with now [Re: Marty]
neiljoba Offline
I was most fortunate. My mother brought me up knowing that I was no better than anyone else and no one else was any better than me. I made friends with everyone (Blacks, Asians, Indians both American Indians and Indian Indians). I never though anything about racism.

I ended up traveling on business in Mexico, Guatemala, and Repubica Dominicana. Once again, I made friends with everyone and thought nothing about race or color. I probably got to see more of Mexico than most Mexicans, but never was in the border area with the US.

Thirteen years ago, I moved from the cold north to the Texas border near Brownsville. Actually South Padre Island. I had been here about three months when I realized that I was part of a racist minority. I was actually shocked when I first someone say "Oh, your'e White!" My reply was 'you're whiter than me'. The response was, "I'm not White, I'm Mexican."

It took a while to sink in that unless you were from Mexico or of Mexican descent and could speak Spanish, chances of getting a good job or getting into politics were somewhere between a fat chance and a slim chance.

Being retired, and not needing a job, and at that point in my life where I didn't give a damn of what people thought of me, I just kept acting the way I always had. Now, most of my friends are Mexican. I have adopted (and been adopted) by two Mexican families. The only ones that are not undocumented are the little kids. I am one of the lucky ones that have more money in retirement than I need. I share my good fortune with my families and in return, some of the kids call me 'grandpa'. I actually cried when I spotted a photo of me on their wall.

It would be a wonderful world if we could all realize that we are all part of the same group called 'MANKIND'. It doesn't matter what color skin we have, where we were born, or what language we speak. Inside, we are all the same.

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#462507 - 04/16/13 07:23 PM Re: Race relations issues should be dealt with now [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
Thanks Neil
I was raised by two racists parents. My mother hated Jewish people and my dad hated blacks. I hated my parents! Not really - but I didn't buy the vile that came out of their mouths. I'm the oldest of six and the third born is one of my brothers. The two of us made decisions for ourselves; not judging people by how they look but how they act. YES, I did say judging. That is what I use to determine whether to trust someone or not.
One day my daughter came home from 2nd or 3rd grade and said "I don't have to like so-and-so just because he is _____. Yep - street runs both ways. I'm so happy to live on Ambergris Caye!
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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