Richard Shaull in the Foreward of ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, by Paulo Freire, states: “His early sharing of the life of the poor also led him to the discovery of what he describes at the ‘culture of silence’ of the dispossessed.
“He came to realize that their ignorance and lethargy were the direct product of the whole situation of economic, social and political domination – and of the paternalism – of which they were victims.
“Rather than bening encouraged and equipped to know and respond to the concrete realities of their world, there were kept ‘submerged’ in a situation where such critical awareness and response were practically impossible.
“And it became clear to him that the whole educational systems was one of the major instruments for the maintenance of the culture of silence.”
How do we look at the removal of Commissioner Freddie Evans, in light of Richard Shaull’s statement of a culture of silence?
Are we, the Bermudian people, glaring examples of the “culture of silence of the dispossessed?” Have we, the Bermudian people, been kept “submerged in a situation where the critical awareness and responses to the concrete realities of our world” were practically impossible? YES!
Is our educational system one of the major instruments of the maintenance of the culture of silence? YES!
Are religious bodies also one of the major instruments for the maintenance of the culture of silence? YES!
Why couldn’t the removal of Commissioner Evans been less ugly, more beautiful, less discriminatory and more humane? Did the Permanent Secretary take on the role of the oppressor and oppress Dr Evans?
Didn’t Dr Hodgson warn us about Black decision makers and the way they treat other Blacks?
Doesn’t the Permanent Secretary’s behaviour represent the manner in which others in the Black community are making decisions? How is their behaviour any different from the Whites practicing racism? Shouldn’t they take responsibility for their own abuse of power and the corruption that is engendered that goes beyond racism?
We, the people of Bermuda, cannot stand idly by and let this happen. Unzip your lips! Speak out against this evil! Put yourself in Dr Evans’ shoes! Would you want this to happen to you!
Where is the outcry from the Bermuda Union of Teachers?
Where is the anger and vexation from the Bermuda Public Services Union?
Where are the churches? Isn’t God a God of Freedom, a God of Justice and a God of Equality!
Where are all the Black clubs and organiztions around here? Marshall the army! Make your voice heard!
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!
There is power in the masses. Join forces and call for the firing of the PS.
Doesn’t the PS claim to be a Christian? How does she justify her actions in accordance with the good book that says: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
Bermuda we cannot stay silent any longer. Join forces and cry out against this evil that has been shown in our country. Was it a mistake? A six-figure salaried civil servant is not supposed to make those kind of mistakes. Civil servants at the level should know the policies, practices and procedures of their department!
If Mrs James is not held accountable for her actions, the civil service will be flooded with many wrongful dismissal suits.
IT IS DEFAMING! IT IS DEMORALIZING! IT IS BELITTLING! IT IS DEMEANING! IT IS CRUEL! IT IS RUTHLESS!
NEVER HELD ACCOUNTABLE! Read Chapter 4 in my book, ‘Let Justice Flow – A Black Woman’s Struggle for Equality in Bermuda 1999.
It is too painful to recall those horrible acts of discrimination against me by Mr Mansfield Brock, the Permanent Secretary of Education and Mr Sinclair Richards, the Chief Education Officer. My family and I have suffered insults, injustices and indignities. The mental stress and strain has been horrendous. We have been crippled economically. Is it too much to ask for justice?
Dr Evans’ experience brought up vexing, vivid, horrible memories of the harsh, unfair and unjust treatment that I received almost 40 years ago.
I returned to my country as Bermuda’s first international curriculum. I have never had a job commensurate with my competencies, skills, qualifications and abilities. I have applied for numerous jobs and been overlooked for lesser qualified whites, blacks and foreigners.
I attended the Central School,The Berkeley Institute, Ottawa Teachers’ College, Toronto Teachers’ College and all three of my degrees, the BSc (Education) MEd, and the PhD, Educational Administration with a major area of emphasis in Curriculum and Supervision. Minor areas were Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education.
Dr Kenneth Robinson, the Chief Education Officer was instrumental in seeing that I was seconded to go to the USA. This was unheard of because most teachers were sent to the UK to get the Diploma in Education. If he were alive I would not have been suspected to such low-level, harsh, demeaning treatment.
Dr Kenneth Robinson had the master plan for quality education for the Bermuda public schools.
Remember he said he would put his children in any school in Bermuda. He had worked tirelessly to ensure the quality of schools in the country. I would encourage everyone to read the article in the Bermuda Sun on January 17th, 1976. John Barritt was interviewing him just before he retired. The article is called, ‘The ABC’s of the Education Department’.
Were the people who followed Dr Robinson capable of maintaining the high standard of excellence which Dr Robinson demanded? He had a PhD. They had Masters’ degrees.
When they made the decision to deny me a job opportunity, they reversed what Dr Robinson regarded as a prospective bright and upcoming leader for the system.
We have dropped the ball in terms of continuing with the rich legacy of quality education for the public schools that Dr Robinson handed us. The public school system will never get back to the crowning glory they experienced when Dr Robinson was at the helm until you require Mr Brock and Mr Richards to rectify the wrongs that they meted out to me.
How would my life have been different? Shouldn’t there be more integrity and justice among the Black decision makers?
BERMUDA BREAK THE CULTURE OF SILENCE! HOLD THESE MEN AND WOMEN ACCOUNTABLE! JUSTICE MUST BE OFFERED TO DR EVANS, DR HODGSON AND ME! COMPENSATION MUST BE GIVEN FOR THE INSULTS, INJUSTICES AND INDIGNITIES METED OUT TO US!
Born to Win,
Born to Teach
Muriel Wade-Smith, PhD