Eron Hill
Eron Hill

Racism. Does the dreadful word still have a place in our society? 

Equality. Is it merely a word or something that is felt by everyone? 

As a young man promulgating the voice of the youth I felt it important to get the youth perspective on a matter that many choose to remain silent on. I took the matter to my peers. 

Here’s what some had to say:

Aquilah Fleming, age 23: “To me race relations in Bermuda are similar to my dark armpits. I never had a problem with it until someone pointed it out. The real question is not whether there are bad race relations on this island but rather why are we having this conversation? It is something that only deepens the more it is discussed. 

“I honestly believe this generation is almost completely blind to any race relation issues because none have affected us on a wide scale. The topic of conversation should be how to close the divide of white and black Bermudian culture but even that needs to be addressed strategically.

Male, age 29: “Mr. Hill, I do view racism being alive and fully functioning here in Bermuda. As a young black male I cannot say or really understand the level of racist treatment that the older generations faced, but the current day treatment is hidden and very much on auto pilot.”

“As a young black Bermudian, I can assure you that racism is real in Bermuda. However, I try not to let it affect me or shape who I hang around with. 

Colourblind

“My mom taught me to be colour-blind (see people without colour) and in my opinion this has helped me become an open person to diversity.” 

Female, age 23: “I feel that race is a very sensitive issue that we have perhaps bypassed for decades; however, now it’s become this major issue. 

“However, it’s always been an issue; we have never addressed it and because it’s never been addressed, we now involve it in everything. 

“Everything is a black-white issue, not a people issue. Everything comes down to whether you’re black or you’re white. 

“Personally, it’s a bit tedious when that’s all we discuss. We can’t move forward with the business of the country. 

“I also feel that people throw race in the mix when they wish to distract the people from the main issue. Although a very real issue, it’s used as a mechanism to shift the focus because the persons know it’s a very real and sensitive issue.”

Sabur Bey, age 22: “I feel racism will never completely die in any region of the world but I don’t feel that it is a major issue on the island at this time. 

“I feel it is prominently seen in the older generations; and actually from my own experience primarily from the elders of our race. Not necessarily in a malicious fashion but just embedded in the way they view things as black and white because that’s what they knew in the times they were coming up in.” 

I am grateful for the plethora of detailed and passionate responses that I received on the topic because I understand that race is a subject that many shy away from, for reasons I understand. 

This article is the first of three on the subject. Stay tuned, and remember that what young people think is important.