• 06 Oct, 2022

The legitimacy of speaking on Indo-Caribbean topics in public spaces

The legitimacy of speaking on Indo-Caribbean topics in public spaces

The legitimacy of speaking on Indo-Caribbean topics in public spaces

What would be the response if an organisation like the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) organises a lecture entitled “The Future of Indo-Caribbean Community Organisations   in 21st Century Britain”? It would be met with indifference and frown, and mostly negativity. Most People of Indian Descent (PIOs) would say this is a racial topic and initiative which should be discouraged and avoided because such “divisive” discussions have no place in a modern, mixing, cosmopolitan, civilised society.

 

Such is the extent of the socialisation of PIOs that they are afraid to identify with, and speak about race, racism, ethnicity and cultural identity, even when they themselves are made invisible, marginal or suffer discrimination. They have been bullied to think and act this way, and suffer from a victim mentally for generations. Most Indians feel that these topics should be discussed behind closed doors in private in an informal, anecdotal and unstructured method. It is not the norm to speak about these topics in public. Most Indians feel uncomfortable, even when the topic is addressed academically and rationally as the ICC has been doing every week during its weekly Sunday ZOOM programs, now in its 121th edition. Indians have no problem at all in attending and organising seminars, or promoting, patronising and presenting topics and events that relate to Blacks and Africans. 

 

Indians would feel comfortable, and have no problem at all, with the Caribbean Studies Seminar Series (CSSS) being organised by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) in collaboration with the Race, Roots and Resistance project based at the University of Manchester. They would not even question why the CSSS and CLACS have practically erased Indians from their discourses although Indians constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the English-speaking Caribbean The CLACS Caribbean Studies Seminar Series actively promote mainly Afro-centric intellectual engagement and knowledge exchange by providing mainly Afro-centric scholars - including postgraduate students and early career researchers - with the opportunity to present their interdisciplinary, comparative and integrated research on the Caribbean.

 

Their next program will include Shey Fyffe of Birmingham City University speaking on the topic “The Future of Black Community Organisations in 21st Century Britain: An Engaged Ethnography”. Part of their release states: “In the context of collective community responses to racially unjust societal conditions and treatment predominantly by the Afro-Caribbean community, and upon reflection of the surge of international attention and engagement with Black radical political thought and social action since the 2010s, this research explores the challenges facing Black community organisations with Black radical objectives in the political, economic and socio-cultural conditions of contemporary Britain.