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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Racism in the Virgin Islands

Dear Source:
You are correct, there is a lot of racism in the USVI, however it's mostly directed at whites by blacks. Add to your list of racist remarks overheard lately: " What kind of white shit is that?" This is what I was treated to last January when I passed a stopped car in a parking lot in Redhook. Apparently the black woman who said this to me felt I was a racist for not wanting to wait behind her while she chatted to her black friends. Passing her did her no harm yet she felt she had to make a racist comment. I've never in my life said anything of that nature to a black person.
A white police chief I know was visiting St. Thomas and some black men threw rocks at him and his friend while yelling "whitey go home".
When I visited the farmer's fair last winter on the east end of the island I got stuck off the side of the road. A nice black man helped me out and shook my hand when we got the car out of the ditch it was in. Later on, inside the fair, I saw him and smiled and said hello. He was in the midst of some Rastafarians and apparently didn't want them to think he was friendly with a white racist so not only did he not acknowledge me, he scowled at me.
I could go on and on with many more examples being treated negatively by blacks in the USVI, which I have found to be the most racist place I have visited over the last 30 years in the Caribbean. At least I can say that for the most part the overt black racists seem to be a vocal minority and have found many people who are not afflicted. Unfortunately this minority is so loud that what is remembered gets significantly influenced by the bad incidents.
Even in your article you couldn't resist stating that throughout history "the white race" has exploited the world's people for its advantage. Is that supposed to promote racial harmony? What about the horrendous exploitation of blacks by blacks occurring today in Africa? What about the blacks in Africa who captured blacks of competing tribes and sold them to anyone who cared to purchase them — Europeans, Americans, South Americans, Arabs. What about black on black drive-by shootings in every major American city? No race on this planet is innocent.
The many social problems you have in the VI today are not the fault of white people. Get over it and put your own house in order.
Quit resenting the white people who pour tourist dollars into your economy. Quit acting like victims of something that happened over a hundred years ago. Just about everyone alive today has ancestors who were subject to some form of slavery whether by Greeks, Romans, Chinese or Muslims.
On the mainland I deal professionally with black people, have black friends and none of them are whining about reparations and I certainly do not feel hatred from them like I do walking the streets of Charlotte Amalie. You live in paradise. Clean it up, quit hating white people and then you will not see the negative behavior or hear the comments that you refer to.
Jerry Yates
Santa Cruz, CA
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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