. Unless we have some level of compromise and cooperation, we aren't going anywhere.
That's a message for the folks in Guyana. In NYC we go our separate ways and don't see cooperation is being relevant to out lives. Nor do we see anything to compromise about, given that we are both at the lower middle level in NYC, subject to decisions made by people from other ethnic groups.
Only a few seem interested in mobilization between the two ethnic groups within NYC as a way to heighten our visibility as Guyanese. There are more Guyanese in NYC than Haitians though few will believe this, we being the 5th largest immigrant group. The fact that we don't live together and rarely do we associate with each other, beyond the odd friendship or two, means that this is a pipe dream.
We didn't bond in Guyana. We merely tolerated each other. Freed from this need to communicate with each other in NYC we don't miss each other.
I know of Afro dominated groups in NYC where there is conversation about making their membership more representative of what being "Guyanese" is all about. I am not aware of similar conversations among Indo dominated groups. Maybe it does exist but I some how doubt it, aside from maybe having a black token or two, but ensuring that the group remains Indo dominated.
I do know for a fact that the two groups have different notions about what being "Guyanese" is all about.
At Guyanese cultural events the Afros will bring out the Kwekwe drum and the masquerade, all cultural activities developed within Guyana. The Indians more often than not bring out Bollywood or classic dance rooted in India. There are Indo Guyanese folks songs, but few Guyanese know them because they aren't performed at national events, but poorly executed Indian classical dance is.
Indians see themselves as being an ethnic group WITHIN Guyana. Africans tend to see themselves as Guyanese who happen to be black. Look at the exhortations by some right here on GNI that Afro Guyanese must pick up some "African" culture, the implication being that Indo Guyanese still live as if they never left India. Prashad dismissing the creole culture which developed over the past 400 years in the Caribbean as mere 17th century vulgar pirate culture, with no redeeming values, and he isn't the only one to express that opinion.
At an event 2 decades ago after one of our manifestations of ethnic angst an Afro Guyanese, half jokingly said that maybe the solution was "douglarization". Noted was the horror from the Indians and in fact one of the Indian panelists howled that this was tantamount to ethnic genocide of Indians, and implied that she was a bigot at the level of Adolf Hitler. Not one African had anything negative to say about this.
So why the different reactions to "douglarization"? THAT has lots to do with figuring out where our ethnic angst lies. Look at poor Prashad screaming for his Indian Bantustan. Even during the worst of the Jagdeo era the cries from blacks was INCLUSION, not separation. Now I am not saying that his view is typically Indian, but its interesting that Ravi Dev and ROAR were going in the same direction, whereas the ACDA isn't. Ravi Dev had quite a following.