I recently read an article in your newspaper that attributed the following quote to Cayman’s professional boxer, Charles ‘the Killa’ Whittaker:
“When I first got started the only people who told me that I couldn’t make it were Caymanian born. We are a nation with a slave mentality. They will complain about expatriates but they will open the door for them before they open the door for me and that is a sad fact.
“These people are busy, busy complaining. They say ‘I’m not going to support Charles; I’m not paying $50 to watch Charles fight’, but they will go down to the Ritz-Carlton and buy two drinks and pay $50.
“We are a prejudiced society. We are class prejudiced, ‘we are who your family is’ prejudiced.”
Unfortunately, this observation is as true as it is profound and indeed, is at the very root of many of the problems that we are facing as a society. The subject of mental slavery is not a common topic in Cayman’s conversation, perhaps because the majority remains in denial. Most of us Caymanians eagerly speak of our “Irish and Scottish” blood-line and make no mention of the origin of our melanin- rich pigmentation.
There is a dearth of discussion and a deafening silence on this topic, as central and dysfunctional as it is to our lives. Perhaps this is so, because those who should lead the charge are themselves victims, which of course makes the silence more understandable. From another perspective however, what is called mental cruelty, a traumatic exposure of much less magnitude, is given greater countenance, punishable by law and grounds enough for a divorce. Yet as devastating as mental slavery is, it continues to be scoffed at.
A careful analysis of Mental Slavery shows that it is like any other mental malady where the victims are adamant and vociferous in the denial of their circumstances and illness. In the absence of a scientific instrument, one foolproof method used to identify a mental slave is, by his unwillingness and blind inability to credit, honour or celebrate those of his own kind. He is also blind in seeing the beauty of his neighbours, his friends, associates or colleagues especially if they are of his own colour. He rarely celebrates himself or his achievements, actually, he is more dissatisfied with self and with the way he looks. He is never sure of precisely who he is. Although he adores power and authority and will do anything to achieve it, once he does, he often fails because of his authoritarian and demigod approach; or the opposite where he is totally pathetic in the position.
He does not think for himself, is always jealous of others, harbours intense grudge and shows a pathological hatred especially for people of his own hue and usually this kind of antipathy is not based on any known or logical reasons. He hates himself. The mental slave is negative to the bone. He is destructively critical, even of things designed for his own growth and development. He is fundamentally religious, yet very superstitious and somewhat nihilistic. He is cruel, abusive and full of venom.
He is also violent to the point of being blood thirsty and is usually internecine in his lifestyle and community. These are extreme cases but are apparent in varying degrees in the life of every mental slave.
The erstwhile master of the mental slave represents all things bright and beautiful, so one of the major challenges the mental slave has is to ape, physically mimic to look like his master even at the expense of denigrating and prostituting his very soul.
We should remind ourselves daily of the 1937 speech delivered by the Honourable Marcus Garvey, in Menelik Hall in Nova Scotia, Canada, when he declared that, “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, because whilst others might free our bodies, none but ourselves can free the mind”. I am suggesting that since emancipation in 1838 we have become greater victims of another tier of enslavement, one that is self maintained, just as deleterious, equally cruel, and debilitating, which is gradually leading to a form of sui-genocide. We must recognise our predicament and take the necessary steps to implement our own treatment and therapy.
Education is the remedy.
Lorna E. Bush