Stereotypes are dangerous

Dear Editor,

Mr Frederick Kissoon is of Indian origin although he does not take Indian positions except in cases of injustice. I know that he is seen as a controversial writer and thinker. He has suffered and not only recently for his opinions and his readiness to express them.

Many will say that he is only one of the voices condemning injustice. True, but there is a kind of injustice that he has stood alone in condemning. There are two or three writers who feel that they can write whatever they like about Africans.  I am told that Mr Jonathan Adams recently responded  to one of these gentlemen.

Well before that, Freddie Kissoon took them on and defended publicly his African fellow Guyanese from disrespectful and undignified comment. Was he being anti-Indian in order to be fair? No, not at all. He was simply being fair and being human.

In fact, although it will not be readily seen, he was doing a service to the whole idea of being Indian, and was serving what is best in the Indian personality. In the same way when an African dares to speak out against the excesses or injustice of another race it is my conviction that that African, he or she, is representing the best in the African personality.  Who can forget the timely statement by Andaiye “Not in my name!”  It may have saved us much pain.

This is the real reason they do not want Mr Kissoon in any capacity at the University of Guyana.

I myself have kept silent on these demeaning attempts, regarded as fair by media, to give the worst possible picture of Africans. I believe that those writers are using the media to get their plan going by inviting retaliation so as to unite their ethnic base for some purpose.  All I have said is that there are also Indian stereotypes and that I will not repeat them.

But that does not stop the mischief. It goes on and on, for the reason I have stated.  These well educated people are deceiving themselves if they pretend not to know the dangers of stereotyping.

In closing at the break of the new year let me say, in fact let me warn, that if the more sincere advocates of racial dignity who fail to make public as necessary their sense of fairness to the Other, then we are working for a state of affairs that will be less frightening only than a natural disaster.

 

Yours faithfully,
Eusi Kwayana

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