Dear Editor:

  A conscientious people work to define, design and determine their own future.

  Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being careful, or diligent. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly.

  Are we in the Dutch Caribbean conscientious people? It is my belief we are not and this is due to the fact that for too many years we have allowed others, particularly the Netherlands, to determine what happens in our everyday lives. As a result, we have no need to be conscientious because we have not taken any responsibility. The result of allowing this to happen has led to us not really live but merely exist. After all, we have no conscience.

  We must look at history to see where this process began. Since being enslaved in the Americas, our ancestors’ lives were dictated by an oppressor/master. There is some evidence suggesting that we – the descendants – have inherited this historical trauma. Thus, we already may be harboring trauma which can impact our physical and mental health.

  What happens when we continue to experience trauma currently? If our lives are dictated by someone other than yourself, then you continue to experience trauma. Unfortunately, most of us prefer to live in denial and ignore and neglect the historical past and how it manifests itself in us presently.

  However, to progress, and be masters of our own destiny we must face this historical truth. The chattel owners of the past did not want us to forget the conditioning and brainwashing that they initiated and perpetrated. If this conditioning and brainwashing continues to be dictated through our own actions and thought patterns, then the slave mentality persists.

  Because we are blinded by a slave mentality we automatically support and approve the actions of any oppressor. Contrary to this, we seem to never acknowledge the efforts of our own people of color. Only when this slave mentality is reckoned with will we be able to discern that enslaved thinking and actions are not in our best interest. Continuing to embrace a slave mentality will only lead to the theft of our lands, our resources and the fruits of our labor under the guise of development.

  How do we unshackle our minds and conscientiously determine our own future? While it will not be easy we must refuse to let any oppressors corral us. We must house, feed and clothe ourselves and stop relying solely on subsidies that make us dependent. We must start our own recovery programs and build our own institutions. This will enable us to repair our broken thoughts and actions. We need to support entrepreneurship and build on our community’s talents, creativity and abilities to generate wealth. We must connect to and learn about our mother country, Africa, as many of the answers to our challenges lie in African cultures, traditions and ethos. We must begin to appreciate our own identity.

  It is imperative for us to know our own identity and it must not be dictated by any oppressive force. When your mind is controlled through oppression, you are made to believe that you are inferior.

  Unfortunately, there are those who prefer being defined and controlled by others. During the 1800s, Harriet Tubman led many enslaved individuals in the United States from the slave-based economy in the South to freedom in the North.

  It is reported that at some point in her life Tubman believed that, while she freed many, she could have saved more if they only knew they were slaves. We in the Dutch Caribbean are faced with a similar dilemma today.


The EUX Writers Club

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