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White Vincentian Apologises To All Vincentians of Colour

White Vincentian Apologises To All Vincentians of Colour


EDITOR: My entire life has been devoted to writing, yet I am unable to put into words the outrage that has struck at the very core of my being following the horrific events of the last two weeks in America.

As a white person of privilege – and let there be no doubt about it, being white is a privilege, not only in America, but even here in St. Vincent – I want to extend my heartfelt apologies to all Vincentians of colour against whom my past actions — or inactions — have contributed in any way to the trials and tribulations of being born black or brown or red or yellow, or any colour in between.

I left a comfortable life in the United States more than 25 years ago because I felt even then that life in America was becoming unsustainable. I ended up on St. Vincent because St. Vincent had three things that spoke to me: friendly and hospitable people, a seemingly endless supply of fresh drinkable water, and because it was one of only 15 countries in the world with no armed forces. For all the years since, I have never regretted that decision. Vincentians accepted me into their “home” in ways that I cannot imagine if the situation was reversed and I was a person of colour moving into a white community in America.

During all my years in St. Vincent, I have rarely confronted racism directed toward me because I am white. More likely, my own sense of privilege allows me — on occasion — to mouth off against others who see me for the jerk that I am and react accordingly and without any regard to my colour. I hope to change my behaviour in the future.

I stand with all Vincentians who are outraged by the scenes appearing on their video screens and look forward to governments responding by taking whatever action is necessary to end the scourge of racism that prevents people of colour from achieving “privileged” status.

Marc Erdrich