On Being Bahamian

Just recently, during the lead-up to the FNM convention, the question was raised about whether race was still an issue for the Bahamian electorate. Of course it is. Race is the only marker of identity that is consistently invoked by Bahamians when we imagine ourselves.

Note: I say consistently. When describing oneself as a Bahamian, one either flashes one’s skin colour as a badge of identity, or else one defends oneself for not having that badge; for in the popular imagination, to be Bahamian is to be black. People who are not obviously black tend to spend a lot of time explaining why they are Bahamian even though their skin isn’t. One’s race is usually the very first thing that is considered when assessing whether one is a “true true” Bahamian or not.

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2 thoughts on “On Being Bahamian”

  1. Speaking as one who is in between, amen.

    I think it’s important though that we regard both (all?) races/groups as complicit in the situation. It’s not a white–>black thing; it goes every which way.

  2. ‘he can’t come through here’. It is true, many Bahamians are not welcome because of the colour of his or her skin. I think there is a very high level of mistrust between the races, and in many areas, there is more segregation than ever – in the work place, at school and church, blacks and whites do not mix (to any high degree). And if you are in between, God help you!

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