Tag Archives: Race

Guyana Politics: The Familiar Ring of the Elections Season – By Ralph Ramkarran

The Familiar Ring of the Elections Season 

By Ralph Ramkarran – 6th October 2018

Local government elections are to be held on November 12. With it, the never-ending stream of suspicions emerged as the Government established new local government units and merged others. The Opposition argued that these were done to give an advantage to the Government and the Opposition, through one of its representatives, promptly launched legal proceedings. This event provided the explanation for the ‘disappearance’ of the Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, on one of the most critical days of the elections process, namely, the day after the submission of lists, when corrections have to be made and defects rectified.       Continue reading

Cheddi Jagan’s Contribution to Guyana’s Independence – By Ralph Ramkarran

CHEDDI JAGAN’S CONTRIBUTION TO GUYANA’S INDEPENDENCE

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Inspired by events that were occurring in the wider world and influenced by progressive views while he was a student in the United States, Dr. Cheddi Jagan returned to Guyana in 1943, then British Guiana, intent on becoming politically involved on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. He chose the trade union movement as an entrance point. Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard, both trade unionists, were sought out to join with him and Janet Jagan to form the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on November 6, 1946, as a study and discussion group.

Branches emerged in various places including Kitty, Buxton and Enmore. My father, Boysie Ramkarran, joined the Kitty Group in 1947. Ashton Chase, at the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the PAC said that my father was the Secretary of that group. Eusi Kwayana was active in the Buxton group.   Continue reading

ON ETHNICITY – by Ralph Ramkarran

ON ETHNICITY

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on April 11, 2015  – by

I must confess that I have had an ambivalent attitude to ethnicity for most of my life. My mother was a Hindu and so were all my relatives on both sides of my family. I grew up in the midst of celebrations of Hindu religious festivals, tempered by the dominant influence of the Lutheran Church in my mixed community, as in much of Guyana.  Even though I was socialized as a Hindu and, therefore, considered myself, whatever the reality, as Indian by race, my approach to my own ethnicity was determined by factors that had little to do with high principle.

In my mid to late teenage years after I discovered girls, I unconsciously developed a certain approach on the issue of ethnicity, dictated by my dark complexion and curly hair which caused me to be viewed in a particular way.   Continue reading

The Census and its Political Implications – By Ralph Ramkarran

THE CENSUS AND ITS POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on July 12, 2014 by Ralph Ramkarran

 The census figures substantially confirm the analysis I made in an article “The Future of the PPP” published in November, 2012. I had argued at that time that declining Indian population had an impact on the election results of 2011, having regard to ethnic voting patterns. I had also indicated that the effect of a slowly decreasing Indian population could be seen in voting patterns and results since 1992. The census results show that in Region 6, a stronghold of the PPP, the population declined by 15,000 at the end of 2012. Adding Regions 5 and 3, also strongholds of the PPP, there was a total decline of 20,000 persons.

There was no publication of figures indicating the sizes of the various ethnic groups in Guyana. I had predicted at that time that the Indian population is likely to have gone below 40 percent. The census of 2002 showed the Indian population to be 42 percent and I had based my prediction on the prior rate of decline. I do not know the reason for the non-publication of these figures but it is quite possible that it is because the Indian population is now below 40 percent. Continue reading

In South Africa, upstart candidate treads a path radically different from Mandela’s (+video)

In South Africa, upstart candidate treads a path radically different from Mandela’s (+video)

Julius Malema, booted from the ruling ANC and running in tomorrow’s election, is promoting radical changes and charging that the ANC has preserved apartheid’s economic inequalities. And he’s gaining an audience.

By Staff writer / May 6, 2014 – Christian Science Monitor

Julius Malema waved to his Economic Freedom Fighters party supporters in Tembisa township, east of Johannesburg, Feb. 22. South Africa goes to the polls May 7.

Mike Hutchings/Reuters – Marikana, South Africa

Twenty years ago, South Africa transitioned to a full, nonracial democracy and elected Nelson Mandela president. Now, on Wednesday, its citizens will go to the polls for the first vote of the post-Mandela era – a time that will test questions of race, justice, and resources.   Continue reading

Race, ethnic politics and police violence in Guyana – By David Hinds

Commentary: Race, ethnic politics and police violence in Guyana
Published on March 25, 2014 – By Dr David Hinds
There is major concern over police brutality against African Guyanese since the current executive government came to power. African Guyanese activists have pointed to over 400 African Guyanese, mostly young men, who have died at the hands of the police since 1992. There are strong claims that there was direct state involvement in some of these killings during the period 2002-2006. The recent Colwyn Harding incident has raised these concerns anew. Many have joined the debate. There have been some very useful contributions. The police force has correctly come under severe criticisms. But, sadly, what is missing from the debate is how police brutality is a reflection of our larger ethno-racial problem. Of all the public commentators, only Henry Jeffery and Freddy Kissoon have dared to go there.

davidhinds.jpg
Dr David Hinds is a political activist and commentator. He is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. 

And yes, we have had and will continue to have an ethno-racial problem. I use the term ethno-racial to mean ethnic groups that relate to each other through the lens of race. To get a proper sense of what we are talking about, a brief history and explanation of race is needed. We often talk about race in Guyana as if it is figment of people’s imagination — false consciousness. But it is not; it is real. Race as biology has been proven to be unreal. But race as social, political, economic and cultural practice is real.

The concept of race was first developed in the USA in the late 1600s as a justification for the rise of plantation slavery. It gave social meaning to skin colour. Blackness came to mean less than human, while whiteness came to mean fully human. The German philosopher, Hegel, said to be human is to be white. Thomas Jefferson would later remark that blacks were inferior in body and mind and do not feel life’s pains as other groups. Other white thinkers concluded that black people could not exist in a state of freedom. Hence it would be dangerous to free them from slavery.Blackness became synonymous with, among other things, backwardness, indolence, shallowness, unreason and laziness. This characterization of blackness as inferior — the white racial frame — found its way into laws and socio-economic and political policies. Over time such laws and polices inevitably begun to shape people’s consciousness about blackness and, by extension, whiteness.

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