A Sense of Identity & Sense of Belonging

January 28, 2011
1collegepromoFostering a stronger sense of black cultural identity and belonging in Bermuda could help to mitigate the anti-social behaviour of young men currently being drawn into the gang lifestyle, says a Bermuda College psychology lecturer.

Mr. Quinton Sherlock — at a presentation livestreamed on Bernews last night [Jan.27] – said an inititiative based on  encouraging a common shared identity might reduce the current spate of criminality and violence Bermuda is experiencing and prevent future generations from going the same route.

“An individual may be born a Jew but they become Jewish through their thinking and their behaviors as defined by a spectrum of Jewish thought and actions,” he said. “Likewise an individual may be born a female but then she becomes become a feminist through her thinking  and actions as defined by a spectrum of feminist thought and behaviours.

“A person may be born black with the phsyical characterstic of a blck peson but they have to work to in order to develop one of the many black or African-centred identities and worldviews.

Mr. Sherlock said while there is no single way of being black, blacks have long been expected to relinquish their sense of self.

He said cultural suppression associated with slavery influenced black identity long after Emancipation.

And steps eventually taken to redress racial inequalities largely involved black cultural assimilation into a white-dominated society – resulting in blacks downplaying their own sense of self and assuming the culture of their former oppressors.

Mr. Sherlock said Bermuda should make more use of African-centred programmes which encourage young black males to be ” alert, awake  and aware” – igniting a passion to develop a more focussed sense of self.

He cited the Ashay Rites of Passage pilot programme once taught at the Dellwood Middle School, which he said improved self-worth by exposing black males to another perspective of history, the world and themselves.

“Ashay emphasises reading and encourages research,” he said. ” The black male is exposed to African history and African cultures with African principles … truth, justice, righteousness, harmony, balance, order and reciprocity.

“In addition it introduces the young male to the Seven Principles of Blackness, which are unity, self-determination, collective work, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.”

Mr. Sherlock said while the programme was decried for “teaching racism” and eventually dropped, he argued the curriculum’s core principles could be applied to anyone regardless of racial background.

And he said Bermuda needed an island-wide programme which would break the negative stereotypes of black males presented by mainstream society and the mainstream media, one which could help resocialise young men into a community many feel alienated from.

Mr. Sherlock’s presentation at the Bermuda College drew a large audience to the Paget campus’ North Hall lecture theatre. Among those in attendance were former Education Minister Randolph Horton, Opposition Parliamentarian John Barritt and Cabinet consultant Rolfe Commissiong.

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Comments (15)

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  1. Reality says:

    Sense of self does not come from African centered programmes!!! It comes from good families with plans to see their children succeed. Tiger Woods, Serena and Venus Williams are not by accident. These people were groomed by their parents to BE SUCCESSFUL!
    I never went through one of these programs but I do know where I came from, why things are the way they are, how to change them without being a problem to any other race and how to respect people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Oh, in case your wondering, I am black, male, and grew up without a silver spoon in my mouth. I know there are struggles but I will not make excuses for why our young people are going astray.

    • Hbee says:

      In the absence of “good families” (just take a look around), it is the community (i.e. the larger family unit – mankind) that should feel obliged to fill the gap. And yes I believe some of our youth need such programs to crush the negative stereotypes that they believe to be their reality.
      No “silver spoon”, well that’s irrelevant…

    • Hbee says:

      Is it really an “excuse” to give an explanation??
      I guess not having a “good family” is not an excuse. Make up your mind.

      • reality says:

        What are you trying to say Hbee? clearly you have no clue either….I’ve said my piece and do my part to help the youth of today. I dont sit in meetings and forums just talking, I take action. Ever heard of ‘Each one teach one’?

    • NUNYA says:

      I agree but even without a great foundation anyone can achieve! Tiger and the Williams sisters are great example of what can be achieved with parents that push and care. And I agree that is a massive advantage…. but what about people like Oprah? She was the victim of rape and much more and has overcome everything to become the most influential and powerful person in the WORLD! I bet she never sat on a wall! Stop treating the punk (black or white) that sits on the wall as a victim or circumstance! Talk to those in Bermuda , in the USA, in the UK , in Canada that are successfull (and by successful I dont neccessarily mean rich) and you might be surprised at how many people didnt grow up “skipping through the meadows amongst the daisies”. Can you imagine if 30 years ago a young man by the name of Omama, or a young woman by the name of Cox believed what they saw and heard! Im glad that if nothing else.. they belived in themselves!

  2. Another View says:

    ETHNICITY does not dictate behavior. It comes down to the individual to make the “right” decision. His/her decision may or may not be the “right” decision that the LAW views as “right”.

    To make the right decision, we need Guidance and Experience. The right decision or choice can be achieved after been wrong, for which Guidance and Experience will prevail!!!

  3. Uncle Ruckus says:

    Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Another failed attempt. This isn’t the problem.

  4. Call as it is says:

    Fostering a stronger sense of black cultural identity and belonging in Bermuda could help to mitigate the anti-social behaviour of young men currently being drawn into the gang lifestyle, says a Bermuda College psychology lecturer


  5. but but says:

    before we run down things like the ashey program, let’s look at the other influencial images of black males fed to our kids by the visual media and thru music. shouldn’t there be something to counteract all that?

  6. Choir Boy says:

    Face it: White people are to blame for everything. If White people were gone there’d be no crime at all! We’d all get along like Bruthass!!!!!!!

  7. itwasn'tme says:

    I applaud Mr Shelock for sharing his view on our problem. Its unfortunate that he chose to take a philosophical mombo jombo approach to a probem that is elementary at the core. Why in 2011 do are we reflecting on 400 years of historical misdeeds to analyize our current situation. It makes no sense. The truth is that we’ve always lost kids because of the lost adults that raise the lost kids. The big problem is that the situation is now at a epidemic stage, its more prominant, and affecting all of the right thinking people on our island. Has nothing to do with slavery, race riots, etc. If that was/is the case, why are there so many more black professionals, and hard working bermudians than there are thugs and irresponsible shiftless people

  8. Rent Boy Burchill says:

    I have never read an article of such nonsense. Fostering this and fostering that. What a crock of S%*%. Ive got an idea.. Stop wearing the white t shirts, gold medallions, ditch the little G attitude, put a suit on, concentrate at school, stop selling the weed and you will have a chance. Stop blaming the white man as well and take responsibility.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    The disfunctional family, or lack of, is just another part of the chickens coming home to roost in the general collapse of Bermuda today. Somebody remind us, a leader of which political group advocated to the followers to “Go into the bushes & fornicate” to produce future voters?

    We reap what we sow.

    Perhaps instead of worrying about being part of the black race those who today never miss a chance to keep racism alive by constantly reliving the past, need to spend much more time being part of the human race.

    Before the race baiters jump in, that is not to say forget the past. Ones history is good to know. There is not a single group that has not experienced persecution at one point or another. Other than in the name of religion there is not much today.

  10. colwyn burchall, jr. says:

    i make it a point to stand by any comment that i make. and i`ll say in person, face-to-face, anything that i write. i find that the use of pseudonyms on this site allows racist cowards and the intellectually disadvantaged – who wouldn`t otherwise have much to say – to hijack the discussion and use the forum as a bully pulpit for their particular brand of xenophobic/ homophobic/ non-specifically irrational doggerel.

    *and, as if to prove my point, watch the vitriol (spewed from the pseudonym crew) that follows my comment*

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Charles…CHARLES… Is that you Charles? Did you finally find that CAPS LOCK key & turn it off? Now you need to find the SHIFT key & use that in the appropriate places so that people have a better chance of understanding you.

      After you find the shift key you might also want to use the services of wikkipedia to find the meaning of multisylable words before trying to use them in a post.

      The topic has nothing to do with foreigners, gays or verse.

      Nobody has posted a word to do with xenophobia, homophobia or doggerel.

      Look them up!