Question: You’re jogging through an area that is unfamiliar to you and notice a very animated show of anger and despair by people you do not know.
- A) Mind your blasted business and keep jogging;
- B) Politely ask what is going on;
- C) Very respectfully enquire if there is any way you can assist;
- D) Tell everyone that they need to shut up and listen to your explanation about why they are doing it all wrong and probably responsible for their own problems.
If your answer is (D), chances are you have only avoided natural selection thus far due to either dumb luck or the financial success of your parents. But now you done gone and called too much attention to your dumb arse. Oops.
Luckily, Mr Live Wire is here to help, with what should hopefully conclude the trilogy on this topic.
(‘Trilogy’—in case your lack of formal education means you are not qualified to work as a cashier in the company you started with daddy’s money—means ‘a group of three related things’.)
For starters, if you see frustrated, grieving people screaming ‘black lives matter’; and your first thought is to respond: ‘all lives matter’. Well, you’re a selfish arsehole.
You see, you are so self-consumed, or full of contempt that you could not spare one second to consider the pain being experienced by others. If you had, you would surely have thought: well, that’s true; black lives should matter—certainly to the group of people with guns and badges who seem to be snuffing them out far too regularly to be coincidence.
But instead, you just had to make it about you.
So listen closely: Gerald Aboud (Starlite Pharmacy), Dianne Hunt (Dianne Tea Shop), Peter Sheppard (T&T Art Society president), Michelle Sohan (Bakery Treatz owner), Shabania Carter (ME marketing essentials owner and the girlfriend of current UK High Commissioner Tim Stew), Sean Nieves (former Fatima hockey player) and the rest of the ‘all lives matter’ brigade.
Consider if I were to attend your mother’s funeral, take the microphone and say: ‘All mothers matter… so quit moaning! Yuh mom ent a saint either yuh know; ask the gardener…’
Well, all mothers do matter. But my mother is safe and sound at home, watching a DVD of Sound of Music for the 1,078th time. So what gives me the right to reduce or illegitimise your perfectly understandable grief?
If that was still too complicated for you, think back to Kanye West snatching the mic from Taylor Swift to make a point about Beyoncé. Dick move, right? Live Wire rests his case.
Second, do you know the only people who automatically think they are smarter than everyone else? Dumb people. Intelligent people know their limitations.
If you are not ‘black’ but think you are just the person to explain to black people how they can safely be black. Then, even if you are not selfish, you’re probably as dumb as a brick.
Please do not, Mr Live Wire cannot stress this enough, attempt to comment on complicated topics like race relations, geopolitics and the offside trap. Also we do not want to hear whether you think Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is better, because you have nothing worth adding to the debate. Trust me.
And speaking about being intelligence-challenged, here is why we don’t think your apology is worth the paper it was not written on.
Gerald Aboud: “[…] No man is perfect, in my haste to defend a friend my comments were seen as aggravating and racist and for that I am sorry.”
Are you sorry that we saw your comments as ‘aggravating and racist’? (Ignoring the attempt to add nobility to your tirade.) Or are you sorry because your comments were aggravating and racist?
UK High Commissioner Tim Stew (on his darling, Shabania Carter): “I’m quite clear that she wasn’t intending to provoke anybody at all.”
So hush we arse then?
Michael Patrick Aboud: “[…] For those whom were hurt, or upset by my miscommunication, I am truly sorry…”
You thought we were angry because your language skills are at Standard Four level? And not because your views screamed ‘racist’?
Michelle Sohan: “[…] My message was interpreted so terribly… I am really, really upset that my message did get interpreted [that way]… My godfather is a black man. When we were growing up, there was never any colour in people… This is ridiculous to drag people in…”
When you suggested that you did not notice the ‘colour’ in people during your childhood, did you mean your parents had a black and white television? Or that you were born a few centuries before the slave trade? Sounds like you think we owe you an apology.
Dianne Hunt: “I would like to apologise for my unawareness that ‘all lives matter’ was contradictory to black lives matter… My waitress wrote it. It was a black girl who wrote it.”
Ask your ‘black’ waitress to explain why we are still unhappy, Dianne. But, first, be sure to give her one year’s wages in advance—and put the paramedics on standby.
Anansi story, declined.
So here we are, with Club Coconuts 2.0 filling up so fast that the Fire Service might have to shut the place down.
If there is barely concealed disdain between a significant portion of Trinidad and Tobago’s labour force and its employers, or suppliers and consumers, or political financiers (manipulators) and the electorate; then how do we move on from this as if nothing happened?
Trinidad and Tobago is in desperate need for a truth and reconciliation committee. Naturally, the powers-that-be are hoping we settle instead for fake apologies, empty speeches and the superficial, temporary unifier that is our Carnival—if you can beg or borrow your way into an exclusive fete, of course.
Mr Live Wire has done his small part though.
For the people who do not identify as ‘blacks’ (although almost none of you could have sat in the front of the bus during the Civil Rights era!), a little empathy will go a long, long way. Please remember this next time, when you see us in anguish.
And for those who have no forks to give for black people. Well, there is always option (A).
Mind your blasted business.