Letter to the Editor: Knowing anger from home

It is now some 33 years since Steve
McField and I returned on the same flight to our native islands. Steve returned
with his two Great Danes, his Canadian wife and a son; I with the knowledge
that my German girlfriend would be visiting me soon. I guess we were not aware
then or did not care that our return and our choice of partners would so
unsettle the feelings of so many Caymanians, white, brown and black.

In my opinion the mistrust,
resentment and anger toward Steve and me began from the earliest days of our
return home. There were those that were convinced that because of our
educational achievements we should be some place other than Cayman. On the
contrary; we felt that our educational achievements entitled us to respect but
that we had an important historical mission and that was to educate and elevate
our people’s understanding of their contemporary national and individual rights
and responsibilities.

I am much older today and Steve
just one little bit older but I am sure that not much has change in respect to
people’s confusion about our political ideals and how we have gone about making
sense of our Caymanian heritage.  Steve
is a lawyer but an impressionable Caribbean story teller and intellectual, and
no human being is stronger physically and mentally than he has been and still
is.

Of course we have had our
disagreements but people still think we are brothers because in many instances
our ideals are very similar and the public long ago became use to lumping us
together; and there has been very little we could do to separate our individual
fates.

I guess that we are now both too
old to find another community we could love and sacrifice for and so I guess
Steve and I will spend the rest of our lives having our honourable intentions
misunderstood by a society that despises indigenous intellectualism. However if
ever this country needed intellectuals with an extensive understanding of
international political and economic structures and strategies it is now.

I recently received a letter from a
very angered member of our grassroots community who has become enraged by the
language I use to express myself in this editorial section. He feels that if I
want to speak with the common man then I should use language they can understand.
This is not the first time that I have been accused of entertaining the idea
that I am better than the community I am a part of. And historically I have
been so sensitive to this kind of resentful criticism that I have many times
acted in ways that denied my intellectual training and dignitary.

I was invited a few months ago to
teach a few courses at UCCI and I accepted and I am now teaching some young
Caymanians. And it is a damn good feeling to be back in a classroom and to have
young individuals seeking knowledge judge me. I am doing something on a small
scale I should have done in 1977 in some other country but refused to do
because I needed so much the approval of Caymanian.

I have known hurt, rejection,
confusion, humiliation and victimization for so long that it is OK if I must
depart this life without the knowledge that I was understood and accepted by
Caymanians. It was me that chose Cayman; Cayman did not choose me so I must
accept responsibility for where I am and who I am. But as the old people use to
say, new broom sweep clean but it is the old broom that knows where the dirt
is. 

If the people of these islands have
not gotten Steve’s and my message; that education is more than learning to do a
job to earn money, then what they so willingly call a miracle will become a
nightmare because of their lack of vision. 

 

Frank McField

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3 COMMENTS

  1. You both fought the good fights, but the fight still needs to be fought. The "educated idiot" is not heard as much these days but still comes up from time to time. Thank God you’re in a classroom teaching now, there is so much more you both have to offer this country, and yet, we sit back and refuse to take advantage of you both as resources. I guess the majority expects you to continue to offer yourselves, your knowledge and experience for free while imported consultants continue to be handsomely paid. Sadly, "expert" and Caymanian accent remains unacceptable within our society by the majority of the indigenous.

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  2. Dr. McField, you are correct.

    But make no mistake, you and Steve have not been the only intellectual or educated Caymanians that have been criticized and judged wrongly. If you pay close attention to these forums, you will see our own grassroots people jumping on other grassroots people for doing the same thing you and Steve did.
    They have this idea that if the message comes from a black educated individual be it male or female it is not true and they should be rejected. Its pure ignorance and it is a real pity that they have been blind sided by being devided and conquored by those who seek to continue to enslave them. Bob Marley told his people "Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery" Caymanians even the most educated are still living in mental Slavery and it is a pity. the X-pats are having a field day watching these crabs destroy eachother.

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  3. Although I always believe in the old saying, that self praise is no praise at all. I can understand Mr Frank McField feeling of being resented or despised. If you have read (The making of a slave) you should understand why many people feel that way, and why many people find it hard not to feel that way about their own. As a teacher you have the responsibility
    to our children to attempt to break the cycle.

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