(NOTE: Seeking your kind indulgence, I will use my column today to reproduce two essays originally published in FEELINGS in 1975. These are “Honesty is usually the worst policy,” and “Colourism: the deeper problem.”)
Honesty Is Usually the Worst Policy
Or Confessions of a Political Failure
The Bible really didn’t tell us the whole truth. It said blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth, when it should have said blessed are the rich, for they actually OWN the earth. Blessed are the meek, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Well, maybe. But blessed are the bold, for theirs is the kingdom of RICHES. Dishonesty began with the Bible.
If there is one thing you will learn in politics, it is that honesty is usually the worst policy. Honest politicians are politicians who are out of office, and out of office politicians are failures. If things are bad, don’t tell them how bad, or they will panic. If things are good, don’t say how good, or they will become complacent or, worse, greedy. Never tell dumb, boring, or ugly people that they are dumb, boring, or ugly.
The people who promulgated the thesis that honesty is always the best policy were being deliberately dishonest. They wanted younger people to be honest so they could punish them, and they wanted older people to be honest so they could exploit them.
Vietnam War experts figure that if the statistics of enemy casualties released by the United States Army were correct, the entire population of North AND South Vietnam would have been wiped off the face of the earth five years before the war actually came to an end. Soldiers and officers and generals were looking for fame and decorations which would lead to promotions and more money. So when one Viet Cong was killed, they wrote down 16 Viet Cong killed and 5 imprisoned. Conversely, when the Viet Cong killed 10 Americans, the U.S. Army said the Viet Cong took one and a half prisoners. That is defined as propaganda. More accurately, it is the official telling of lies.
In Belize, politicians hire mad men to shoot bullets into people. This is described as peaceful, constructive, Belizean revolution. More honestly, call it instilling terror into the hearts of the opposition. Price controls are trumpeted as for the good of the poor consumers. But actually controls are a lever to pressure merchants who are opponents. The laws are not enforced against merchants who “donate” sufficiently to the ruling party.
Politicians have battered the face of truth so much it is almost unrecognizable. Some of them who can tell pretty lies on the domestic scene believe they hear the truth internationally when they are drinking their own medicine. A foreign diplomat tells one expert in lies that his countryman who is really in a filthy cell is now lodging at the home of the chief of police. Not only does the expert in lies swallow this fat lie, later on he regurgitates it for the benefit of his countrymen and some of them, trained as they are to swallow bull s—, accept it as Bible, oops, the truth. When a local declares this is not so, they suddenly pounce and just as suddenly, recoil in shame and confusion. Aw, silly men.
Figure it out. If you spend your childhood telling the truth, you will certainly be punished almost every day of your life, and if you practice honesty in adulthood you will just as certainly lose friends and gain enemies.
So, my friends, learn to recognize the truth when you see her. And you may court her, kiss her, even sleep with her, but do not love her or live with her. For she is a dangerous woman and might well set you afire after first making you prisoner. And when you who have recognized her are gone, she will writhe and dance and she will seduce some poor fool away from his sensible ambitions in life.
Brethren, become acquainted with dishonesty to the point of friendship and you will live long and materially rewarding lives. You will be feasted and regaled by respectable society, and your children will have what you did not have. Your wife will keep up with the Joneses, and you will be a social pillar. Perhaps your soul will pine away and die, but what does it matter? Where food, drink, and clothes are concerned, dishonesty, that is certainly the reigning policy.
COLOURISM: The Deeper Problem
June 29, 1973
When this nation was being settled and worked, white men did not have any white women here to cohabit with, so they cohabited with black women. In some cases, the white men cared for the black women, and owned and raised the children. In other cases, the white men treated the black women like whores and left them and their children to struggle by and for themselves.
The offsprings of these matings were clearly half-breeds, sometimes referred to as mulattoes or coloureds. In this racist society, as in others all over the world, the role of the half-breed was the most uncertain. He was a victim of racism because he could not identify his race.
He was trapped in between the white master and the black slave in a sort of racial limbo. Half-breeds sometimes arrived looking very white and sometimes very black. Perhaps the Divine Creator was trying to show men in this way how absurd and contradictory racism was.
Man, however, continued deadly serious in his tragi-comic ritual of racism. In the majority of cases, half-breeds strove to identify with the white masters: They attempted to deny or negate all black characteristics. Africa became a horrible word – anathema, a concept from which the half-breed shrunk in revulsion and hatred. God forbid the very idea of Africa in his veins.
Even when the white man indicated clearly with what prejudice he regarded the coloured, the coloureds hung on desperately to the white settlers. Consider that the first form of government in the settlement of Belize was a unique thing called the “public meeting,” and that “membership” of the public meeting was usually around fifty or sixty, and consisted of white settlers qualifications of 500 pounds, or coloured settlers having property qualifications of 1,000 pounds. In other words, if one were coloured he had to own twice as much as a white man in order to get “equal rights.”
As time went, on variations on the original theme of course occurred. Matings on top of matings resulted in children being born with different fractional percentages of white and black blood. So that eventually the prejudice in Belize became a matter more of colour than of race, because race in this hodge-podge was so difficult to identify. A system of colour rating evolved in which, on a ten point rating, you would get 10 points if you were white, 9 for high brown, 8 for tan, 7 for medium tan, 6 for coffee with milk, 5 for cocoa, 4 for coffee, 3 for chocolate, 2 for black, and 1 for nigger black.
Now the systems of colonialism and institutional colourism were interwoven. Although colonialism per se was not colourism, the two diseases were simultaneous, only that colourism was a deeper problem. If one got rid of colonial status, eradicated colonialism, one was not necessarily going to eliminate colourism at the same time.
It was colourism which provided the background historical reasons for the struggle against colonialism in this country. This was the late 40s and early 50s. The leaders did not refer to their struggle as a struggle against colourism, because they would not have gotten any support. They had to disguise their motives with the plea that they were fighting colonialism.
As you know by now, the original financier of the People’s United Party was Robert Sydney Turton. He was the son of a black woman by an English soldier who very quickly deserted his mother. Turton grew up hating Englishmen, and this hatred in him drove him to accumulate millions of dollars! Some of this money was used to found the People’s United Party, which preached hatred of Englishmen.
The man who eventually emerged as Leader of the People’s United Party was a more complex study. It is said that George Price has African blood, but he has assiduously tried to cover this up. He has never made reference to it, so he must be suffering from a half-breed hangup where his Africanness is concerned.
Price rebelled because of his mother: his mother was a Mayan Indian. Price identified his father with Englishmen, although his father is supposed to have been coloured, and he too grew up despising Englishmen. He has ended up preaching the virtues and extolling the greatness of the Maya nation. So you no doubt can see pattern here.
The thing is that Price is now behind the times, because the worldwide phenomenon of black cultural and historical consciousness in the 1960’s involved black, tan, coffee, chocolate, and everybody in a rejection of white-imposed cultural and social values. Africa became a unifying concept for blacks and half-breeds, and black power walked hand in hand with the legitimate aspirations of Third World peoples all over the world for freedom, dignity, justice, and human rights.
The damaging indictment against Price is that when he was confronted with black power, when he came face to face with his own liberation, he scurried to the Great White Father for protection. How utterly contradictory and retrogressive this was.
Any Third World leader who preaches against colonialism yet will not tackle the deeper problem of colourism, is evading the real issue.
There is no white colony in the world. All colonialized peoples have a common denominator: colouring.
The conclusions are there to be drawn.
All power to the people.