Marc Daniels
Marc Daniels

I am a proud Bermudian. Both European and African blood runs through my veins.

Notwithstanding my ‘mixed-racial’ lineage, I will not profess to share the purported expertise that former OBA Senator, Toni Daniels, has recently expressed. To suggest that being ‘mixed-race’ would offer me greater insight into our “racial situation” is wholly disrespectful.

The OBA would present themselves as a party that is not predicated on race, and suggest that the PLP is consumed by it. Miss Daniels’ opinion piece was intended to further advance this myth.  The OBA would say that the PLP engage in the politics of race while failing to acknowledge their own part in the narrative.

It is not necessary for me to offer a line-by-line rebuttal to my cousin. It is not necessary for me to explain the reason as to why the PLP was born and how the UBP was created in response. It is not even necessary for me to acknowledge that both the OBA and PLP are comprised of blue-collar workers, as well as white-collar workers. We both have tradesmen and entrepreneurs, civil servants and IB executives within our ranks and support base. We both can express sentiments of critical thought and we both can show massive shortcomings.

But what does appear necessary is to clear up the rhetoric and the script being written about the PLP. Where some parties have sought to advance the elite’s interests only, the PLP has always sought to champion the rights of all people, to promote our interests, irrespective of race, notwithstanding our shameful legacy of having been separated by it.

Real Bermudians are those that want Bermuda and her people to succeed.

We want to be able to provide for our families and to feel a sense of pride and belonging within our island home. We want to know that we have a seat at the political, economic and social table. We celebrate the achievements of our public and private school students. We support our athletes who participate in the Carifta Games and the Island Games; Cup Match and the Rugby Classic. We do not seek to limit ourselves into boxes of white or black, male or female, gay or straight, religious or secular, or PLP versus OBA, within which to constitute our identity.

Real Bermudians understand our economy and the role that our foreign partners, including tourists, play in our society. We welcome economic opportunity but we shall defend a society that ensures our people are able to receive more than the water that drips off of our roofs, but that which flows into our tanks.

Real Bermudians can lay claim to family roots that expand for centuries as well as those that may only span a couple of decades.

Real Bermudians are not just born here but can be made here, such as many spouses who hail from far, but call Bermuda their home.

Real Bermudians are those who believe in our own talent, potential, and greatness; and who would seek to promote us in all aspects of society, both economically and culturally. Real Bermudians acknowledge our history as it pertains to race instead of sweeping it under the rug when it serves our purpose. We recognize the struggles that have divided us while remaining true to leveling a playing field that resembles nothing of our shameful past.

Those who profess to love this country but seek to maintain the divide that holds us back are ‘pretend’ Bermudians. They are not worthy of our respect regardless if they can trace their ancestry far back in time. They are not ‘white contradictions’ as Miss Daniels posited, but those who would seek to promote one class above another, or one race, or foreign interests above our own and they should hold no honor within our society.

Should real Bermudians be entitled to judge who is and who is not entitled to call Bermuda home, especially when we factor in our size and available land for future generations’ benefit? Of course we should! After all, this is our home. Do other nations not exemplify these beliefs?

Real Bermudians do not need to listen to talk shows to know how the people feel because we are the people. We will vent and express our frustration when our leaders disappoint us, regardless of which party we primarily support.

So in response to my cousin, the only tragedy for us ‘mixed people’ is when we continue to promulgate the myth that we have any more insight than our kin. We should stop trying to seek acceptance from ‘one side of us’ while maligning the other and recognize that it’s time for all of us to be ‘real’.

When we say that the OBA’s polices are not looking out for the real Bermudians, we are saying that their policies seemingly put foreign interests first; while selling the notion that trickle down economics is in our interests while failing to provide avenues to further empower ourselves. So ask yourself, are you real or do you pretend?

Marc Daniels is a PLP senator.