White privilege is alive and well in the Bahamas

Noelle Khalila Nicolls Love Letters 0 Comments

Why is it that all my life Bahamians have toted the line that you cannot have dual citizenship as a Bahamian, and now all of a sudden, Mr Ryan Pinder is running for a seat in the House of Assembly, and the fact that he has dual citizenship with the Bahamas and the United States is all of a sudden a “non-issue”. What a slap in the face? People in this country that have dual citizenship with Jamaica, or worse Haiti, go through hell to bolster their Bahamian credentials, usually by having to downplay their other heritage.

As far as I know, up until the Elizabeth by-election, Bahamians with American passports only traveled with one passport, because they knew the laws of the Bahamas did not permit dual citizenship. So why is it now that the law, or at least the interpretation of the law, has miraculously changed to accommodate an American citizen, with Bahamian heritage. White privilege is alive and well in the Bahamas.

Supposedly, the conveniently discovered exception to the rule is when you inherit your other citizenship, opposed to choosing it by your own volition. By that definition, my Jamaican citizenship should fall under the same exception.

An associate of mine, freshly enlightened to the fact that she could one day have to choose between her Bahamian and United States citizenship, said as a matter of fact: “You know which one I would be giving up though?” She said so in a matter of fact way, with the assumption that I would not only know, but also agree. The sad thing is, as a white Bahamian of ‘status’ she is better off in the Bahamas than she would be in the United States. Although white privilege is also alive and well in the United States, over there she would be more of a nobody. In the Bahamas she is more of a great white hope. The fact is, she knows this already, or else she would already be living in the United States.

This one is really bugging me. How could it be a non-issue that he publicly declared he is a citizen of the United States – albeit in the context of his decision to renounce that citizenship – but it is the biggest issue in the world in the eyes of those same Bahamians that I want the right to my entitlements as a Bahamian and Jamaican citizen. So if Ryan Pinder was not running for the House of Assembly, would his citizenship status still be a non-issue. If so then Bahamians need to pull the stick from out their assess and the logs from their eyes and get off the backs of every other Bahamian with dual citizenship, particularly those from other African majority nations.

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