Peter Bailey
The New Life Poet

Once again, Black History Month is fast approaching. So how does one instill in a people the importance of their history, and the ramifications of their history in relationship to their survival?
Firstly, let’s examine how Black slaves were taken from Africa. Simply put, through the threat of death Black Africans captured other Black Africans — men, women and children and sold them to Europeans. The ‘sellers’ were thugs, pimps, killers and thieves. Anyone who could make a “beast of burden out of another human being is the worst kind of thief.
The Blacks who sold us were the original Black gangsters, with the same mentality as the Black gangsters we have in our midst today. Now the question becomes: “What are the Black descendants of slavery supposed to think of the [Black] people who sold them?
The only thing I can see is to evolve into a better people than those who sold us and those who bought us.
Having said that, let’s use an example. In spite of their horrific history, Jewish people have used that dubious period of their existence to strengthen themselves, thereby ensuring their [peoples] survival.
However, it appears that given our own history of slavery and repression, Black people care little about ours, and would rather forget it, in spite of its horrific nature and its long-term historical impact.
Black people in Montreal do not seem to like each other; they do not cooperate with each other, they do not respect each other, in some cases including their own families, and the elderly. They do not support each other, even their artists.
But it was not always that way.
Until the mid-1980s it was almost unheard of that a Black person killed anyone, let alone another Black person. During this time period, a series of things occurred that would forever change the way Black people interacted with each other. New Black immigrants arrived fro very violent countries and brought their violence and lack of respect for human life with them. All of this helped contaminate the Black youth who were here.
Unemployment was rampant; thugs, drugs and guns took over.
After 300 years of hellish slavery at the hands of white people, why is it that we learned little or nothing in regard to how we treat each other?
As descendants of slaves we are still regarded as some sort (a species) of inferior creatures, not just by Europeans, but also by each other and every other race of people on Earth. It is as if we are deserving of nothing but misery.
Moreover, one of the main reasons the world looks at us this way is because of how we treat each other.
No matter how well educated we are, no matter how much our contributions to society, no matter how good we are as human beings, even if we become the president of the United States they will always think of us the same way. Perhaps we can do nothing about that.
However, we can do something about the way we treat each other.
Nothing good will come to us until we learn to treat each other better.

Peter Bailey is a local poet and commentator from Nova Scotia.