Perusing the defunct The People
newspaper during a visit to the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago, I came across several interesting articles dealing with (mainly black) perspectives on topical issues of the early to mid-twentieth century. The People
, coming into existence in 1933, was purportedly a ‘race conscious’ paper. Edited by L. F. Walcott, a black Trinidadian, it highlighted issues that would have appealed to the growing black intelligentsia. The paper discoursed on issues such as the Labour Riots, the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia and popular personalities of the period such as Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler, Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie.
I came across the following article dated Saturday, April 14, 1934, and found it . . . interesting. I wonder how readers of the paper during the time received ‘A White Man’s’ thoughts. What are your views?http://www.africaspeaks.com/bp/thepeople1934.jpgThe Glory of Being ConsciousBy A White Man
The trouble with the Negro is that he is not yet fully conscious of himself. When man becomes conscious of the divine power within, he exercises an influence over himself and his surroundings that admits of no distraction, in that whatsoever he does emanates from the fullest realization of a personal responsibility. This is how the white man acts and re-acts upon the things of the world. He centres in himself the conscious belief of an absolute physical and spiritual power, appreciating the fact that he is a self-reliant being and free agent and spiritually a part of Divine force and power. Having this belief he goes forth in the midst of universal nature and exercises an influence and sovereignty that make him master of the situation. The Average white man may not entirely reflect this probably there is little need for it in that he depends upon the superior and exceptional white man to protect him by the demonstration of this self-reliant expression of power.
The poor Negro, neither in the mass nor as an individual hasn’t arrived at this consciousness of self-power and so he flounders through life, not only the servant of others but the slave of circumstances. Although I am a white man, I am a human being, and I believe in the final exaltation of the creature of God, irrespective of race or colour, and so it comes to me as a pleasure to give the Negro a lease on life, so as to enable him to rise out of his peculiar environments.
The things I believe, and as a fact, the things that are made practical in the ascendeancy of the white man, are as much in the reach of the Negro as anybody else, but he must first study himself, which up to now he seems not to have the patience to do. When the average man studies himself, he finds ultimately that he is a different character from what others thought, and from what even he believes about himself. Self-study or self-analysis is really paramount in the life of every individual. Just as one would submit a passage of the English language to proper analysis to understand it, so the individual must analyse himself to find out who he is, and I bet anything upon it, that when the average man submits himself to such a process he will discover that his is a far superior creature to what he originally thought of himself.
I advise my Negro friends, therefore, to adopt the course or practice of self analysis. Reason with yourself, talk with yourself, question yourself and find out all that is possible about yourself, and then if you are thorough in the analysis you may rise one day to find out that you have in you the spark of genius, and that all that is necessary is to kindle the fire so as to be able to burn that brilliancy that is individual of yourself. God has stamped every man with individuality, otherwise he could not be a part of God. The Divine Creator stands out as the complete source of all existence. From chaos He brought visible and invisible things and beings into fullest play. This is evidenced on every hand. In the process of the creation He shared Himself up into myriads of individuals, making every man a part of Himself.
It is evident and logical, therefore, that man being a part of God must have the power of God within him. It is this power that gives you intelligence. It is this power that makes you capable of deciding on a question for or against. If this is so, why not develop this Divine power in you, for the expression of that which is highest and noblest? That is what the white man does and this is why he is king, lord and master. This is what the Negre fails to do, and so he is servant and slave.
The difference between men is caused through just a little secret the secret that one discovers and that which the other fails to find, which really is in himself. I have no patience with the man who fails. When I give charity to a beggar, it is not with pleasure but disgust, simply because I know this: that if the beggar were only conscious of himself, he would be like myself and not a beggar.
The Negro cries, he pleads, he supplicates, only because he doesn’t know his own power, the power of man. Man is the most powerful creature; naturally in the animal kingdom he is next to an angel, who is next to God, and yet man falls down and supplicates when he should stand up and create. Negroes, go out and create, go out and build, go out and serve yourselves, humanity and your God and let the idea of inferiority pass into the shows of oblivion! You are inferior only because you think it. You are superior when you become conscious of yourselves. This is a friendly advice. I hope it will help you. Yes, I hope it will start you off in a new line of thought, which will result in your evolution to a stage of manly progress and not be hanging around thinking that others are taking advantage of you, because of any special privilege they have in nature.