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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Well, How about That?

There's no real significance to this story. It's simply one of those "How About That" stories.

The social history of Bermuda is in many ways just as awful as that of The United States of America, our giant neighbour to the West. Their treatment of black people has been as shameful as our own. It seems that our white tribe felt that they should show solidarity with American practises. Therefore, black people were considered as part of the barnyard group. Our country practised apartheid as much as South Africa did. Foreigners would come to my country and be told that here blacks know their place.

As a young black man growing up under this nasty umbrella of white privilege, discrimination and prejudice I was definitely not amused. I was very limited in what I could do and say. I could work in hotels and fine restaurants, but I was not allowed to take my own leisure in those places. In particular, there were two golf clubs which were for whites only. I could work there in some support position, such as a caddie. This I did and I earned good money. By taking careful note of the clubs that golfers used for each hole I grew to be able to advise my clients, and I got a good feel for my own game, except that I couldn't play on that course.

The problem with apartheid in a small living space was that the two racial groups would be brought into confrontation on a daily basis in all sorts of situations. Young black men took on a growing resentment against white supremacy, and once we started to fight, even only  with words, we had to fight every day. As a white person who insisted that you were superior you were a superior fool for trusting what you put in your mouth.

The RBG&CC was the principal golf course that I caddied at. It enjoyed  a long waiting list for new members and they charged extortionate fees to be one of the select. They were not embarrassed to lord it over us lowly blacks, especially when they held their gala dinners and other grand events with blacks in attendance as servants. That just served to fire us up and to drive us on to the day of revolt.

Well, that day came and was handled peacefully enough. We were fed up and we were simply not going to take it anymore.

On the surface, everything changed. Apartheid died and all of society was opened up leading me to be able to finally play the RBG&CC course.  I played that course about a dozen times until one day I came to the conclusion that golf is a stupid game where you hit a little ball and then go find it, and you hit it again.

Between then and now the old membership have died off, foreign workers left the island in droves due to the economic crisis and consequently were no longer club members, and young people just don't want to know. That beautiful property that once stood as a bastion of privilege has now gone into bankruptcy. We have come full circle.

It would make a fabulous site for a first class hotel. This is a good bet for a hotel chain, as the golf course is renown and up and functioning.  The property itself is a gold mine. I have no doubt that it will continue, but I do have mixed feelings for the place as it was the venue that served for so much of my pain.

I just have to remember that as a property it has no responsibility for what I was put through.

Copyright (c) 2016
Eugene Carmichael

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