Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Tuesday, August 05, 2003  

The editorial cartoon in Monday's Guardian really has me baffled. Meant as a comment on the closure of one of the country's sugar refineries and the laying off of its thousands of workers, the cartoon shows a gentleman of Indian descent, holding the money from the separation package in his hand, with two contending thoughts on his mind: one, to deposit the money in the bank; the other, to go spend the money on rum.

Now, there's no question that the majority of workers in the sugar industry are of Indian descent; no problem there. But the message the cartoon sends is, simply, racist, based on the stereotype of Indo-Trinidadian men - and rural Indo-Trinidadian men in particular - as alcoholics. (No doubt the recent popularity of the song "Rum Till I Die" informed the cartoon as well.)

As I say, I'm more baffled than offended, though the cartoon is distasteful in the extreme. I just cannot understand how the Guardian cartoonist could have found such a thing even remotely funny, and more puzzlingly, how the editor could have agreed with him. I haven't seen or heard any reaction on this so far, but I hope I do, and not just from the usual ethnocentric quarters.

posted by Jonathan | 9:51 PM 0 comments


save boissiere house
Bina Shah
Nicholas Laughlin
Caribbean Free Radio
Global Voices
Jessie Girl
Club Soda and Salt
Caribbean Cricket
Jai Arjun Singh
email me