The Crisis Of The Invisible Black Man

Noelle Khalila Nicolls Insight 0 Comments

BECAUSE we have passed through periods of emancipation, decolonization, desegregation and independence, there are many who assume that race – once the primary basis of prejudice against black people – is no longer a relevant topic for discussion.

Our silence is a subtle poison, particularly because the primary racial battleground is now an internal minefield. In other words, racial experience is internalized at the level of the individual; it shapes how we see the world; it influences the decisions we make in our lives; it constructs our identity and sense of belonging; it even determines how we see or fail to see possibility.

Much in our life is determined by how we internalize racial experience, which is not to be confused with racism. (Racism is one type of racial experience, as is cultural difference, for example). Through our silence, most individuals, particularly children, are left to internalize their racial experience without the benefit of wise counsel, without the benefit of context or history. Even in a mature adult, this could breed misplaced feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.

In the Bahamas, it is important for us to examine our racial experience at the individual level and study the impacts on our lives. When I examined my own life, I was able to detect a pattern of experience that has been instructive to explore. In the broader context of Bahamian national life, I also realized that as a small-island nation with an economy designed around tourism, our racial experience has itself evolved around certain patterns.

As a child, every time I was accused of “talking white”, it would prick at my insecurities. Although, perhaps, not intended as an insult, I always took it in that way, because it questioned my authenticity as an individual. I had to reconcile this loaded notion and figure out, what does it mean for a black person to be accused of talking white?  Read more…

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