3 Healing Reminders For Young Black Creatives

High anxiety is one of my biggest individual struggles as an entrepreneur and a writer. I can explain most of these feelings away and remind myself that anxiety is something created in my own mind. I remind myself that what I'm creating is worthwhile. I remind myself of the hard work that I've put into my business as a 22-year-old self-sufficient entrepreneur. But no matter how much I remind myself of what I know to be true, anxiety can still creep in. It's the fear that you'll never be "successful". It's the fear that you'll never be "recognized". It's the fear that whatever you're building will crumble to the ground if you look away even for a moment. Anxiety is a common motif amongst young black creatives -- especially young black women. I see brilliant women every day questioning their worth constantly.Anxiety is a common motif amongst young black creatives -- especially young black women. I see brilliant women every day questioning their worth constantly. I'm not immune to this. This week, I wanted to write about reassurance and how to remind yourself that you don't need the world to validate you, especially when it's slated to invalidate you at every turn and diminish your accomplishments.

  1. Remind yourself that anxiety does not always represent reality. You might feel like you are not doing "enough". But this negative self-talk doesn't help you accomplish what you really need to in the long term. When we punish ourselves for not being "enough" by some arbitrary standard, we impede our ability to reach our true potential. This isn't just B.S., it's real. I need to remind myself often that anxiety doesn't help me. It is an obstacle created by my own mind and doesn't represent who I am. In general, when we are bogged down by where we "should be", we prevent ourselves from getting where we need to go.

  2. There is no timeline we need to adhere to when it comes to "success". I tend to find success is a word that we can only define for ourselves. Still, we tend to constantly look outwards for a definition of success to live up to. This plays a role in clouding our self-image and leads to a lot of judgment of ourselves.

    To me, success means accomplishing the goals I have set for myself within the timeframe that I have chosen for myself. It doesn't have to mean the same thing for everyone. Success doesn’t define my happiness — although it does make up a part of it.

    We tend to look around us and see people who are far younger than us or sometimes far older than us who have already arrived where we want to go. (Or where we think we want to go.) We view them as "successful" in juxtaposition to ourselves when we may not even have the same goals as the person we are comparing ourselves to. The comparison doesn’t make logical sense, yet we fully identify with it.

    We may feel envy, we may feel inadequate and all of these feelings stymie our growth. The place we want to go seems further away when we look towards other people as our benchmark for how well we are doing. When we look at how we are managing our own lives, and how we are adhering to goals that we set for ourselves, we often find that our views of ourselves become far gentler. I advocate a more gentle view of ourselves in relation to "success". I advocate for success taking on a different definition than the one we see around us and the world.

    3. Rest and recovery are more important than any “benefit” that may come with working ourselves to death. Sometimes when you become invested in your goals, your ideas, and the things that you want to accomplish, you can forget to take care of yourself. This happens to a lot of creative people and also happens to a lot of entrepreneurs. Instead of continuing to run in circles and exhausting ourselves to the point where we become physically or mentally sick, I want to advocate for rest and recovery.

    We need to take our health seriously and begin to prioritize our health above external goals that we may be chasing. (*Note: in some cases, many people do not have a choice and I do not intend this to come off as judgmental.) Self-care has become almost clichéd in online circles but this is because typically in our society, we glorify people who do not take care of themselves, people who put work and the lack of sleep and accomplishments over self-care.

    It is not necessary to delete ourselves from existence in order to be successful or to feel happy with where we are in life. Young black creatives need to remember that taking care of our health will actually enable us to accomplish more over time. It is easy to get sucked into different messages we may hear that tell us otherwise, but I strongly advocate for paying attention to our internal clock and our internal needs.

    Do not look to the outside world to determine what you need, instead, determine it for yourself. Take care of yourself. Invest your energy into becoming aligned with your internal needs and work towards fulfilling these internal needs. It is not up to other people to determine what you need for yourself. It is up to you.

    All of these snippets of reassurance seem elementary but it is shockingly easy to forget them when we get sucked into the daily grind. Anxiety creeps up and self-care can seem dangerous. We tell ourselves that putting ourselves first is letting down our family, our community or ourselves. However, it is important to ground ourselves in reality rather than listening to the anxious voices that are racing through our minds telling us that we are not good enough.

    Good enough for what? Good enough for who? Our allegiance needs to be to ourselves and to our health first.

    I want to write as a final note to the young black creative folks out there to keep doing what you do best. Make art. Take photographs. Write. Share genuine love with each other. In trying times, all we have is each other and our support systems. We need to build these support systems and make them strong. But we must take care of ourselves in order to do so.

 

5 Ways Caribbean Journalism Disrespects ALL Caribbean Citizens

On the rare occasion when I actually want a migraine, I'll open up my web browser or my email and see what's new in Caribbean regional news. Sometimes on Facebook, against my will, I'll also be exposed to various local news sources. Often, what I encounter stimulates deep feelings of embarrassment and disappointment. I've finally put my finger on why that is.

Journalism should abide by a code of ethics. In fact, in other parts of the world, journalists codes of ethics tend to be agreed upon. Here's a summary that was taken from the preamble of U.S. Journalistic Standards And Ethics (written by the Society of Professional Journalists):"...public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility." 

Fairness is one of the primary values of journalists. This means that reporting should not embody a bigoted perspective or seek to further a bigoted agenda. Truth and honesty mean portraying situations with their full historical context. Journalistic integrity means that publications should seek to publish accurate information and take into account all the facts that comprise of a particular situation or news story. This journalistic integrity is totally lacking in regional news sources and some of the prime offenders are local, St. Lucian news sources themselves. Here are five ways that Caribbean journalism is unethical, with examples to illustrate my point.

1 Bigoted bias against marginalized communities like women and the LGBT community

In Barbados, the Nation newspaper came under fire for this headline, "‘Gentleman’ gets taste of male medicine" written to cover a story about a lesbian who was raped by a straight man. The fact that this headline was published (even in a gossip column), shows how easily casual homophobia, as well as misogyny, slips past editors. Even in the report of the "scandal", the authors include the fact that the rape victim was under the influence of alcohol -- a detail that is not relevant to the story and serves to further scapegoat the victim.

Another story published in the St. Lucia Times entitled, "Antigua: Gay men urged to get tested", reassures readers that gay men are urged to come forward about their sexuality "not to put their lifestyle on display". Small statements like this cement bigoted biases against the LGBT community in the Caribbean. LGBT identity is not a "lifestyle" and the language used here suggests that not only is LGBT identity something to be ashamed of, but it's something that the Caribbean community should be policing by ensuring that it isn't put on display.Another St. Lucia Times story reports, "Barbados: Gays Reported Happy This Crop Over". Using the phrase "Gays" instead of "gay people" or the "LGBT community" is another example of this seemingly small-scale denial of personhood that contributes to the Caribbean's overall bigoted and violent treatment of such a marginalized community. I can't go on ad nauseum with my news sources, butI can't go on ad nauseum with my news sources, but these three display a lack of journalistic ethics when it comes to serving the public -- especially the marginalized public, which is in need of fair media more than the majority.

2 Classist Bias In Reporting Crimes Against Foreigners vs. Crimes Against Locals 

Most local newspapers also send the message that crimes against foreigners are a greater travesty than crimes against locals. While news reports of sexual assault, brutal violence and the like against Caribbean nationals is written in quickly, foreigners receive lengthy diatribes describing all of their contributions to society.We can all (hopefully) agree that all murder is wrong. But the death of foreigners is not more significant than the death of locals. Compare this article on the murder of Colin Peter or the hotel electrocution of a 20-year-old tourist to these articles reporting local murders [x] [x]. While the deaths of foreigners beg many questions, the worthless lives of St. Lucian citizens are diminished. Here's your gossip bulletin. There is no cause for concern, no call to end bigotry. There is no call for public consideration about the worthiness of the lives lost. There is no mandate for public action.The death of tourists calls for philosophy, but the death of black locals calls for a footnote alone. There is outrage for white deaths, but shoulder shrugging for black deaths. This is a blatantly unethical bias in reporting, and it would be disingenuous for anyone to claim that local lives are valued as much as foreign lives here. This belief in our own lack of significance permeates the St. Lucian (and Caribbean) psyche so heavily that it is almost invisible. However, it is present and it's furthered by media that refuses to give black, local lives the same value as foreign lives

.3 Publishing Pseudoscience to Back A Personal Agenda

One of the main examples of this occurs regularly in a popular, regional media source, Caribbean News 360. One of the articles they publish -- they publish many about the evils of marijuana -- says that "Long Term Marijuana Use Can Make Your Teeth Drop Out". They make these claims, only loosely referencing the "scientific study" that they refer to. But I did my research and got right to the source, a single study published in JAMA Psychiatry by an Arizona State University professor.The truth is that the news published by Caribbean 360 is totally false. Not only does the study not make this claim, but the researcher's most surprising findings (in her own words) were, "In the second surprising instance, we found no association between cannabis use and cardiovascular risks, (e.g., high blood pressure and worse cholesterol levels)". There were signs of a slightly increased risk of gum disease, but this is hardly the biased fear-mongering statement that marijuana use "makes your teeth drop out". Publishing such a claim is highly unethical. Not only is choosing a SINGLE study to make a global claim not scientifically sound, the claim that Caribbean News 360 published was not the claim of the researcher and they neglected to include other information contained in her article about chronic marijuana usage that portrayed marijuana usage in a different light.This is an example of many such claims published by Caribbean News 360 as well as other media sources throughout the Caribbean. By not linking or citing the precise study where their clickbait headlines are drawn from, they deny readers the right to make informed decisions for themselves and publish false propaganda to further what I can only assume is a personal agenda.

4 Uncritical Support Of Tourist Industry Expansion 

Media with integrity owes it to the public to report critically of unmitigated expansion of the tourist industry. No, we don't need to hear more about resorts "saving our economy" (we already have so many and we haven't been saved yet). We need to hear the truth about the economic impact of resorts. What about real investigation and research? (We don't have this. Op-Eds here are uninformed opinions, not well-researched pieces.)When you read reports on the tourism industry, you would think it's all sunshine and roses. There is no critique of the large-scale environmental destruction that occurs when a resort is built. There is no word on the true economic benefit of resorts for locals. The truth is, most of the highest paying jobs as well as the profits go towards exploitative (and often foreign) landowners. The scraps of the hotel industry are left for locals.Failing to report the truth of the tourist industry, failing to highlight the largescale environmental destruction as well as interpersonal exploitation that goes into these neo-plantations, does not serve the needs of the public and represents this continuing lack of integrity.

5. Inflammatory Headlines And Tabloid Newspaper Structure

All you have to do is look at the links included in this blog post to see what I am referring to by "inflammatory headlines" and "tabloid structure". The news is not for disseminating information or informing the public, but for attention. It is entertainment in its purest form and all it takes to be a journalist is to have an opinion, whether or not that opinion is ill-informed or utterly ahistorical.This need to have news be "entertaining" as opposed to "informative" lies at the center of the unethical nature of Caribbean journalism. Entertainment doesn't require integrity. Entertainment doesn't require critical thinking. All entertainment is supposed to do is stimulate your emotional hot buttons and get you to respond. This is a part of the reason why we see bigotry published so uncritically.

This is a part of the reason reports on the tourist industry are unchecked by factual information. The media sees its role as entertainment.As Caribbean citizens, our first order of business should be declining to engage with media that does not respect our history, our intelligence and our fellow citizen's right to be informed about the condition and events of our country. We need to publicly demand better reporting and lambaste the blowhards who think they have successfully constructed a media that is above reprieve. Finally, we need to work on supporting media that does communicate with integrity and respects the rights of all Caribbean citizens for fair and accurate reporting.

Guest Post: LGBTQiA & Mental Health in the West Indies

Guest Post Authored By: Kira Ann Buchanan

Co-authors: Jennelle Ramdeen and C.R.W

Being a bisexual counselor-in-training, I feel like I need to utilize my education and privilege to advocate for the LGBTQiA community.  Mental health has become a passion of mine that has provided me with an exciting career path.  Though I do not live in the West Indies, I’ve spent a lot of time between Trinidad and Jamaica.  I have been discriminated against and I’ve also witnessed anti-gay scenarios mostly while in Trinidad.  Being a bisexual women, I’ve felt more accepted than many because I have straight passing privilege. I grew up with a heavy West Indian culture, which was also a bit homophobic. I will always identify as West Indian before American.  Mental health and lack of resources for the LGBTQiA community within the West Indies is an issue I plan to combat.

I didn’t want to speak for individuals actually living in the West Indies so I did an interview with a friend of mine that lives in Trinidad.  She identifies as lesbian and has a wide variety of queer friends.  She participates in several advocacy campaigns as well as safe space groups at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.  Queer women in Trinidad seem to be the most prominent group that advocate for the community.  My friend noticed gay men are not too active in advocacy.  She said, “they seem to be too preoccupied partying and liming,” which added some humor to this serious topic.  She believes men should use their privilege to help make a change and I couldn’t agree more.  It seems like the queer women that do advocate in Trinidad have had the privilege to go abroad and study. They are lucky enough to go back home and live within the upper class of the society. I was encouraged to “take activism in Trinidad with a grain of salt.”  There is a generational and gender divide within the community. There is no solidarity.

I am simply here to shed light on some of the issues LGBTQiA people experience and suggest changes that people in the community have identified and what I myself have experienced as resources.

So what are some things that can be done?

There needs to be several safe spaces for the LGBTQiA community.  Counseling, rehabilitation and resources need to be made available. My friend explained there is a lack of mental health resources all together.  She explains she knows a lot of her peers suffer from alcoholism, drug abuse and self-harm practices.  Also, many are kicked out of their homes due to disapproval. Shameful.

Studies done in the United States and Europe has shown higher rates of anxiety, depression and other stress related mental illnesses amongst the LGBTQiA community.

A psychologist at U.W.I noticed many of the students coming to her were within the community.  Several have developed issues, probably triggered by the discrimination they’ve received.  She and another student saw it necessary to create a safe space initiative for these students.  High stress and difficult living arrangements have caused many students to discontinue their education or not pursue a Master's or Ph.D.

Much of this is college student specific, but we can all take away what some issues may arise for others.  Things like homelessness when telling your parents or family, the talking behind your back, street harassment and even violence.  One step we can all take is if someone tells you about their preferences, do not tell others as you may not know what danger that may put them in.  Also treat people with the kindness and respect.  We all want to be treated with respect no matter how we identify ourselves.

As Trinidadian people we must see these individuals as people. Trinidad cannot develop and continue to compete in a global world when we can’t get over ideologies that for some are reinforced by religious views.  Although one's spiritual health and development is personal and important, it should not impede on human rights and it does not justify hate and discrimination.

As every country looks to the future in their journeys for a more tolerant society, we see many objectives to fulfill.  The LGTBQiA advocacy in these early stages tend to focus on lesbian and gay folks but with resources and education we can better address issues faced by those who identify as genderqueer and the full range of sexual and romantic preferences.  There are many online resources to understand other identities within the community and as allies and comrades we should be making that effort.

It may seem as though an American has no place in this discussion or I shouldn't even care, but these issues are real and invasive.  If I had a same-sex partner how would I peacefully visit my family? What about the LGBTQiA members in my family that live in Trinidad or Jamaica? I care enough to speak up on issues even though I am not advocating side-by-side with my West Indian peers.  There are other issues that may come into play such as why do women, especially women of color, always have to try and “save the day”? That’s a conversation for another day, but I hope to start these conversations and amplify the voices that we don’t usually hear.

There are some resources my friend gave me that I would like to mention.  Those in Trinidad that do not have access to tertiary education are usually referred to the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO).  They are said to offer counseling and STD testing, but again, not sure what they are up to these days.  The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, all-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), is another resource located in Jamaica.  It’s the first human rights organization in Jamaica to cater to the LGBTQiA community. BlahTherapy.com is a website that offers anonymous “therapy”.  I like to promote this site because I’ve gotten a lot from it.  I’ve played the role of “venter” and “listener” and I’ve grown from my interactions.  You’re generally talking to other individuals that want to help.  If you have monetary privilege, you can chat with a licensed counselor.

To facilitate conversations with religious communities you may find this guide helpful www.hrc.org/resources/a-christian-conversation-guide.   A great start to being more inclusive is learning the vocabualry used in the community.  Check out the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans for some vocabulary: lgbtccneworleans.org/useful-vocabulary/.

I hope we can start working towards a more harmonious community and those who identify as LGBTQiA get the support they need to live without retribution.

I just want to say a special thanks to the West Indian Critic for giving me this cool opportunity! Also, I want to thank C.R.W & my best friend and fellow social-justice warrior Jennelle Ramdeen for helping me write, I love you all!

~~

Editor's Note: I really appreciate Kira, C.R.W & Jennelle for their contribution to my blog on such an important subject. -Eriche

Intersectional Feminism: Alcohol Addiction, Our Silent Public Health Emergency

 West Indians seem to think that binge drinking and massive amounts of alcohol consumption are a hilarious joke and signify the "free spirited" nature of the region. Just look at songs like Kabawé by DYP or Rum & Redbull by Beenie Man. Although both songs are good songs, they do glorify a culture of irresponsible behavior with one of the most dangerous drugs anyone with a twenty dollar bill can buy over the counter with absolutely no interference. Today, I'm not going to go into the root causes of alcohol addiction, but hopefully I will highlight why this public health emergency presents a far graver danger than marijuana, our governments' current scapegoat for every social ill under the sun.I've written briefly about alcohol before, comparing it to marijuana but today I'm mostly going to shy away from comparisons and delve into the social/physical implications of alcohol addiction. I say that alcohol addiction presents a far more serious problem for a couple primary reasons:

  1. Alcohol is ridiculously easy to buy in the Caribbean. At least in Saint Lucia, you can't drive 100 ft without passing a bar. You can buy alcohol in the grocery stores and there is no enforced drinking age. (You can act like a drinking age is enforced but I have hard evidence that suggests otherwise...)

  2. Alcohol is linked to social issues that disproportionately impact women such as intimate partner violence and sexual assault. (To any cretins reading... No, I don't mean women's alcohol consumption causes sexual assault. Rather, men seem to commit sexual assault when binge drinking.)

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But what impact does alcohol have? Why can't it just be fun and games?Here is how easy it is to get hooked on alcohol according to two different scales averaged together:   On this chart, you can see that some aspects of alcohol addiction are more potent than nicotine and cocaine. Alcohol is certainly more addictive than caffeine or marijuana. Additionally, the biggest "advantage" alcohol has over all these drugs is that it's incredibly easy for anyone to purchase at any time, for any reason, in any quantity. Addictions are most easily formed in younger people, so this accessibility of alcohol means the public health burden of alcohol will certainly be greater as more people are permitted (and encouraged through media/family influence) to start drinking early.Drinking too much over time (whether you can be diagnosed with alcoholism or not) has negative impacts on many parts of your body for example:Sources: [x][x]

  • Heart problems: stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy

  • Liver: alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis, fatty liver (which is unhealthy)

  • Pancreatic issues

  • Increase your risk of developing certain cancers: mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

  • Weakening your immune system so you're more likely to develop illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis than non-drinkers or moderate drinkers

  • alcohol poisoning

  • nerve damage and/or permanent brain damage

  • sexual problems

  • ulcers / gastritis

  • increased risk of unintentional injuries (such as car accidents, falls, misuse of dangerous weapons)

Don't forget that alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. In a region with far fewer restrictions on alcohol, and higher rates of alcoholism, you can safely speculate that the numbers are at least equal, if not worse.Alcohol abuse additionally has big social implications for example:Source: [x]

  • Pregnant women who drink are at risk of having their children develop fetal alcohol syndrome

  • Drinking impairs anyone's ability to contribute to the household function (this may include earning capacity, or capacity to engage in general maintenance of the household)

  • If one party spends a lot of money to feed their addiction, this can negatively impact a poor family, draining them of most of their resources. Taking these resources away can lead to poor health outcomes for everyone, not just the alcoholic as money is diverted from other health care or child care needs

  • Drinking can lead to home accidents and domestic violence

  • Alcoholism can lead to loss of family income due to inability to work OR due to premature death of a provider

  • There are substantial mental health problems that accompany alcoholism (some examples include depression & anxiety)

The effects of mens' heavy drinking in the household have strong negative impacts on the women in the household in these regards: 

  • Increased instances of domestic violence

  • Increased risk of HIV infection

  • increased economic burden on their partners

This is just examining the social effects of alcohol in one specific lens. Of course, there are other aspects of social functioning to consider like the ability to function in the workplace. If these social problems don't resonate with you, visit this reddit thread of "adult children" of alcoholics filled with heart wrenching personal stories that just begin to highlight the negative impact alcoholism has on families.Overall, this isn't to shame alcoholics or to suggest that there is something inherently wrong with them. In this culture, getting caught in a dangerous cycle is beyond easy. Breaking a habit of heavy drinking and/or alcoholism however is -- in contrast -- far more difficult. Here, we don't have Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon. We don't have the facilities for medical detoxification when necessary. Our society encourages one thing, but when it gets out of hand, drinkers are blamed and vilified rather than helped to heal. And of course, this post will never be able to cure someone's alcoholism or heavy drinking. Education and knowing the facts isn't enough to stop addiction; this is a moralistic (and incorrect) myth about addiction that leads to placing the blame on addicts. We need a public health intervention that includes education but doesn't stop there.And no matter what needs to be done on an institutional level, we also need to change our culture surrounding alcohol. Binge drinking isn't fun or funny. Our "carefree" culture isn't actually carefree at all. It's flat out irresponsible and dangerous. Alcoholism and calling rum "therapy" isn't a joke. When you take alcoholism lightly, you diminish one of the most serious health issues our nations face.This is a serious public health issue that has damaged our countries and will continue to damage them until something changes.If you suspect that you or someone close to you may be heading down a dangerous path with alcohol, please view some of these resources linked here:Am I an alcoholic self test[x]I drink, but how can I tell if I'm an alcoholic?[x]Am I alcoholic dependent?[x

Intersectional Feminism: The Spectre of White Supremacy in the Caribbean

 "The Caribbean is a melting pot where race doesn't matter!" Every time I hear that, I grit my teeth and wonder when omitting the history of the Caribbean became a trend to hop on. It's natural to want to defend the Caribbean against the harsh criticisms first world people heap upon us, but saying that race doesn't matter in the Caribbean is an ahistorical lie that denies the lived experience of millions of people in the region.Black people came to the Caribbean on slave ships and from that moment, everything in the Caribbean has been about race. Of course, race and class then became intimately intertwined. Today, having the name of a former slave master (the slave masters were all white) is a point of pride. White people make up the wealthiest populations in our islands. Many of my Caribbean friends from various islands have said, "I don't know anyone poor and white here." That coupled with whiteness is known to help in school, with employment and with other situations one may experience throughout your life.

Our countries all have a massive hatred of black features... White hair is seen as clean, tidy, neat and professional whereas black hair is automatically wild/unruly or something that needs to be "fixed". For those who think it's about "curls" and not whiteness... White people with curly hair are NOT subjected to the same treatment as black people. Throughout the Caribbean, black hairstyles are often seen as "untidy" and "unprofessional". Another belief about blackness being inherently bad is the idea that if you go into the sun you will get "too black" -- the same belief doesn't apply to getting "too white" however. People are applauded for their physical proximity to whiteness and punished for being black. Darker skinned people experience worse treatment and excessive teasing for their skin color. These damaging beliefs about their physical appearance and identity have long-lasting effects in people's lives, causing them to perpetuate race-based abuse on others as well as themselves. Any woman who has transitioned from relaxed to natural hair in the Caribbean can tell you that they faced significant pushback, indicating that the issue is widespread.

Some of the more subtle cultural preferences towards white people is the tendency for black people to refer to any white man as "boss". I've seen this with my father as well as my boyfriend (who is biracial but that often gets coded as white down here) where people who have no reason to, refer to them as "boss". It's a subtle, yet powerful way of indicating status and frankly, black people often believe themselves to be lower status than white people. There is no reason for black people to speak to white people differently from how they speak to black people, yet in the Caribbean, this is all too common.Another common experience of black people in the Caribbean is poor treatment by customer service staff. White people (thought to be tourists especially) are treated with politeness, respect and the gamut of perfect customer service. Black locals, on the other hand, are often treated poorly by those serving them for no reason other than their skin color. This poor treatment could be slowness, blatant rudeness or asking black people to leave certain areas for "being loud" even if they were not in fact being loud. (Yes! All of these experiences are real and have happened to various WI people I have spoken to on these issues.)

We pretend that whiteness is non-existent here, yet it is clear that being white in the Caribbean leads to better treatment overall. The occasional instance of bullying or someone charging you a higher price is NOT indicative of the larger experience of racism which occurs at an institutional level. Receiving less respect just because you're black can have a big impact. This can impact your job search for example or can have even more dire results when you're dealing with medical professionals who judge you simply based on your appearance. (Example: Do you look poor? Do you look rich? Guess which people look rich and which look poor. If you can guess, congrats, you just identified white supremacy in action.)

Wealth being concentrated in the same white population that owned our ancestors is also a clear-cut case of institutionalized white supremacy. We make the mistake of thinking you need a white cloak to be a white supremacist, but really white supremacy is a system that ensures white people have total dominance over every aspect of our society from economics to social interactions. It is something that clearly exists and affects the Caribbean today and something that we cannot ignore if we ever want equality of any kind whether it is for women, for the poor or any other marginalized group. If white people always have it better, we will never have liberation from oppression.