Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Letter of the Day | I'm no slave to history

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I am not inspired by slavery. Nor am I empowered by it. Slavery happened - I am well past it.

I may be ignorant in thinking that slavery is of nugatory value, but how would you prefer that I feel? That we have been wronged and that we continue to live behind the eight-ball because of it? Maybe that is one of the main reasons we are where we are today.

But no matter, I accept that I am an ignorant fool. All I ask is that you accept that I try to see beyond rhetoric, beyond groupthink, and beyond the circumstances of my birth.

Shape my mind; help me to focus on something that empowers me.

For me, reparations are for those who feel wronged or want more. I am satisfied with what I have and that I am equipped to be what can I be. This does not mean that we would not have been better off were we not enslaved; nor does it not mean that I am against the quest for support that builds infrastructure and capacity. Rather, it means that I believe that we can achieve far more by focusing on what we can do with all that we have - not what we can implore others to do for us.

To the rich in spirit, a glass is half empty. To the poor, it is often half full. My metric is 'possibilities' - that has no label, and it cuts both ways. I believe leaders should be actively challenged, that culture can impoverish a people, and that no single person, especially one who is unable to shape culture, should determine my future.

I can smell roses. And I know the true scent of thorns.




I am a person, not a colour. I am proud of being black, but would I not have been just as proud were I born purple? It is this understanding that helps me see and accept people for who they are. And who they are not. I accept both, and I am grateful for others who accept the many imperfections in me.

I exist. But not to get by. You won't get my mind to live 'in the back'. I am a little student of history, and I know one thing: History is lessons learnt, not lives condemned.

I am the equal of any man. I can speak crap with the best of them, and I have been known to shoot breeze with the worst - in what passes for 'acceptable' English, or what I am certain is good Patois.

How I will end up is entirely up to me and the ability of those whom I actively follow. Which means that I should try to influence them in my own crazy way. Or get them out of the kitchen before they spoil the entire meal!

Don't waste time trying to tear my mind down. You cannot. I am not a victim - I am mentally free.