(This is an article under the title "Pepperpot" I wrote for The Nation newspaper 'way back in 1974 - on Sunday, February 3, which caused quite a storm then; wonder whether the issues still obtain?)
"It is past time for communities like
We stick our heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge publicly that there are problems which seem insurmountable to those individuals who must daily face unpleasant encounters. I am speaking of the hotel and guest house managers.
Now, whether it is the myth of the Black male sexual superiority (I've capitalized 'Black' - back then, the Bajan editors wouldn't-heh heh) or whether it is the good work of the tourist board, the fact remains tha hundreds of female visitors are flocking to our shores here; some in search of sun sand and sea; some in search of the fourth 's' - sex.
And it will do no good to deny the fourth 's' or try to believe that it does not exist.
So, we must try to make sure that confrontations which occur more and more frequently are resolved with the least amount of friction.
The confrontations to which I refer are those where the hotel managers believe that it is in the best interests of their guests to act like Caribbean Godfathers and to try to dictate to tourists just whom they may admit to their respective hotel rooms and who may not enter as guests.
There is legislation which states that hotel owners and managers may, in their discretion, stop certain people from visiting tourists (hotel guests), especially if they believe that the guests may be entering for purposes of sexual intercourse.
What confuses me is how on earth are these people (sorry) to determine who should enter their portals and who shouldn't?
How many is too many (especially if its good) and where does one stop the counting and start denying entry? In other words, if a Canadian female has two male visitors in one afternoon, or two male visitors a week, just how do these Godfathers decide which person to admit and which person to deny?
I know for a fact that in many cases it its not the number but the color of the prospective guests which is the determining factor. The blanket test (pardon the pun) seems to be, if the would-be guest is under thirty, Black, perhaps dressed only in casual shirt and slacks, brother, you've got a beach boy prospect, and almost automatically, that means the Godfathers can start giving a Valkyerie call and "we don't allow that kind of thing in our establishment!" and "you can't go up to her room (or apartment), she'll have to come down to you!"
I know of several of my friends, all Black, doctors, lawyers, bank clerks, construction men, teachers, ministers - on and on, who look extremely young (handsome too) and who, if they decided to call upon female friends from the cold North, would, and have been, stopped at the desk and told that they could not visit their friends in their accommodations.
The incidents are too numerous to recount here, but suffice it to say, they do and have been recurring with frightening regularity.
I will not comment upon the psychology involved of the managers and assistant managers having obvious hangups about 'mixed' relationships and who feel that they must protect "our fair visitors" from the predatory Black male locals.
What I will say, however, is that I beieve the local legislation which anachronistically deals with matters sexual, should be revised with a view to allowing consenting adults the freedom of choice which is an inalienabe right, especially when it comes to something as private as interpersonal relationships.
Surely, managers must try to see that these guests are not "bothered" and that they spend their time just the way they would like, without contravening local laws.
But, there is definitely a boundary, and it should be redefined now, in view of the modern day living to which visitors are accustomed and to which we Caribbean people must become accustomed if we intend to live in today's world.
On the other hand, our leaders and especially our church people, who persist in denouncing overseas women for their "inappropriate attire" must stop giving our local men an excuse to attack "provocative" women, no matter who they may be.
It is only asking for trouble from those men who feel that "she deserved" an attack, when our church leaders say that the responsibility for an attack is squarely on the shoulders of women who, in their estimation, are not "covered" adequately.
I maintain tht even if a woman (of course she would have to be mentally unbalanced) walked up Broad Street in nothing that no man has any right to attack her, provocation or not.
Men here must realise that the law is the law and to break it means punishment, and their responsibility to this society is to obey the law, whether they feel like it or not! And it is not good enough for other men, church leaders, lawyers, judges, whoever, to make old fashioned cracks about "she deserved" to be raped, attacked or whatever.
I see that there are more and more rapes in this island; I predict tht there will be a continuing increase if we do not teach our own men to control themselves. Of course, this means a total revision of the male-female thinking and education patterns.
The Adam-was-tempted-by-Eve bit will have to go. Men have been copping out of responsibility for so long, that it has become ingrained in every sphere of our lives, to the extent that, as far as one of our leading industries - tourism, is concerned, it looms as a distinct threat to our social progress.
We could start by having seminars for public discussion of the sexual aspects of tourism, with participants from the ministries and the business and privte sectors of the comunity.
I would expect the Pride and Industry group to consider this a top priority if we are to try to save our tourism."
Addendum: One of the most influential Barbadian citizens, a goodlooking attorney, was summarily confronted at one of the island's many hotels; he later successfully sued the establishment! Big scandal...part of the island's telling social history.
It's NOT "speak verbally!" Yes, I did hear it! It's either "speak" or "verbally express"...or whatever! AWK!
According to Howard Zinn: "The war on terrorism" -thanks elbushito - is a contradiction in terms! War IS terrorism!
It's NOT "free gift!" - It's either "free" OR a "gift!" - NOT BOTH, Doofus! A gift IS free! TRIPLE AWK!