Sat | Mar 23, 2019

Garth Rattray | Negro, please!

Published:Monday | February 18, 2019 | 2:00 AM

Unfortunately, I must use the word ‘Negro’ until the influential people on this planet admit that ‘Negroid’ has no place in racial nomenclature.

Other major races – Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Australoid – are named after their regions of origin. There is no region called ‘Negro’.

Unlike other races, people of African origin are named after a colour, a skin pigmentation caused by melanin. But Negro means black and (technically), black is not a colour. Incidentally, white is not a colour either.

Given the magnitude of the existing colour and racial prejudice, I probably won’t live long enough to see the name Negro being removed because of its unfairness and inaccuracy. Hopefully, one day, a word like ‘Africoid’ or some such thing will replace Negro.

Negro relegates the entire race and anyone possessing the genes of that race to a mere, depersonalised colour (even though black isn’t really a colour). If a Caucasian (usually referred to as ‘white’, which also is not a colour), has less than one per cent Negro (black) genes, he or she is called Negro (black). Go figure.

I have seen many very dark-skinned people, but I have never seen a black man or woman, – I’m talking shoe polish black here. They don’t exist.

AN UNFORGIVABLE SIN

It never ceases to astonish me when westernised people, of our own race, debase themselves when using the dark tone of the skin to denigrate the object of their rage, as in, “…black like johncrow”.

It’s as if being Negro (black) is an unforgivable sin. Bad enough that most people of other races believe that we are somehow inferior to them, but I can’t understand why we sometimes love to depreciate ourselves.

Not only do some of us look down on others that look like us, we actually look down on ourselves ... literally. In other words, some Negro/black/‘Africoid’ people tend to see themselves as inferior, handicapped by their pigment, and they sometimes come to expect less of themselves. They restrict their own progress and behave in such a manner that others are also able to restrict them.

Our lack of racial pride is epitomised by skin bleaching. Those who claim that it’s fashionable are not even fooling themselves. They darn well know that they just don’t want to look dark-skinned.

Negro, please!!!

Other signs of lack of racial pride are evident in how we conduct ourselves. The aggression towards others; the violence; the murders; the horrendous, dangerous and disrespectful driving on the roads are indications of self-loathing.

If we truly had any pride in ourselves, we would never behave so despicably.

Slavery was officially abolished in 1834; we must not continue enslaving ourselves with our colour. With that in mind, I penned this poem recently:

I’ve decided that we’re not black anymore.

Call us shades of brown if you please.

We are light, medium or dark brown...

Because being black, risks bringing us to our knees.

And I’ve decided that you’re not white anymore.

You’re pink, green or blue like shades of cheese.

Because when you’re white, you try with all your might, our human rights to seize.

I’ve decided that we’re not black anymore, because it’s not even a colour.

Being black can be so horrible that it makes some of us cower.

I’ve decided that you’re not white anymore, because it gives you too much power.

Being white makes you feel so tall, that over everyone else you tower.

I’ve decided that we’re not black anymore, because it’s full time that we are free,

Being black enslaved us for centuries and makes you feel better than me.

I’ve decided that you’re not white anymore, because there’s nothing pure about you,

We’re all God’s children on the Earth, and we’re just as equal too.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.