The whip lives on . . .

speaking out


It doesn’t take too much rigour to discover the roots of our fascination with the whip, the virtues of which are extolled constantly by some teachers, priests, newspaper columnists, talk radio hosts, descendants of the plantocracy, parents and an army of other “grateful” Barbadians.

The latest exhibition of this misguided form of correction came out of Trinidad recently when a mother severely beat her 12-year-old daughter and broadcast it on the Internet. Her intent: to prevent the daughter from becoming pregnant. Time will tell whether she will have succeeded.

Andrea Stuart, in her riveting book Sugar In The Blood –– I wish all literate Barbadians could read this book –– quotes the French abolitionist back in the 19th century:

“The whip is the soul of the colonies. It is the clock of the plantation; it announced the moment of waking up and of going to bed; it marked the hour of work; it also marked the hour of rest. The day of his death is the only one in which the Negro is allowed to forget the wake-up call of the whip.”

The whip lives on. Some say the plantation too. It’s deeply imbedded in our marrow.

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