Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Iowa elementary school teacher, Jane Elliot, wanted to explain discrimination to her third-grade class. She decided to divide her class into two groups: browned-eyed students and blue-eyed students. She announced to the class that brown-eyed students were superior and smarter than blue-eyed students. She forced the blue-eyed students to sit at the back of the classroom and they had to wear special collars, so that everyone would know they were blue-eyed from a distance. They weren’t even allowed to mix during recess time, and the brown-eyed students even got longer recess.
Elliot reported that it took little time for the classroom to transform. The kids turned nasty to each other, the brown-eyed kids boasted about being superior and smarter every chance they got. The following day Elliot announced to the class that she was wrong, that blue-eyed kids are superior and smarter than brown-eyed kids. Of course, this change was fully embraced by the blue-eyed kids and they quickly returned the favor to the brown-eyed kids. The brown-eyed kids, whom were the first to be told they were superior and smarter than the blue-eyed kids, and now that Elliot told them that she was wrong and it was the blue-eyed kids that are actually superior and smarter, the brown-eyed kids described their feelings of being sad, bad, stupid and mean. One little boy said “when we were down, it felt that everything bad was happening to us, and when we were on top we felt happy, good and smart.” Elliot noticed that it even affected the kids academic performances, kids who were up did better, kids who were down did worse.
When we were British subjects, we were conditioned to believe we were inferior, that our British overlords were superior and smarter than us. The learned-Belizean politicians knew this, and this was one of the reason why they pushed so hard for Belize’s independence. They wanted, desperately, to be superior and smarter than an entire nation of people. They wanted to feel how the British overlords felt. They wanted to be Godlike.
This is why the hand-out system was invented and is still going today. It programmed Belizeans that we are not good enough to take care of ourselves, that we need to be taken care of, that we are not good enough to succeed on our own. When a politician comes to our homes and gives us a blue note, when they give us a fill of gravel for our yards, when they promise us a piece of land, all in exchange for our vote, they are telling us that we are inferior to them, they are smarter than us, and we need them to take care of us.
Belizeans have been the blue-eyed kids for far too long. It is long overdue to let the brown-eyed kids know that we, the people, are superior and smarter. We are the ones who work hard to build this country, we are the ones who work hard to pay taxes that pays back all these loans that have been borrowed in our names and enriched a few, their friends and family, we are the ones who work the farms and the Caribbean Sea to feed this nation, we are the backbone and lifeblood of Belize.
It is time to embrace the fact that we, the majority of Belizeans, are an exceptional people living in an exceptional country, governed by small group of mediocre people. It is time that the majority of Belizeans, who are exceptional people, living in an exceptional country, have exceptional leaders. Evo Morales, President of Bolivia once said “I am new to politics; I had hated it and had been afraid of becoming a career politician. But I realized that politics had once been the science of serving the people, and that getting involved in politics is important if you want to help your people. By getting involved, I mean living for politics, rather than living off of politics.”
It is time to support the third parties such as the VIP and PNP whom have not compromised who they are and what they stand for, even though it cost them winning elections. It is time to support the VIP and PNP because once they get into the power, they will not compromise Belize and Belizeans for anyone or anything that may be harmful, however will embrace ideas, programs and policies that will create fairness in the sharing of resources of Belize and develop Belize and Belizeans to take care of themselves with dignity, from north to south, east to west.
P.S. We don’t want to give you ham and turkey, we want that we can create a system that will allow you to invite us into your homes, sit and eat the ham and turkey that you provided for yourself and your family.
Charles Leslie Jr. is the Chairman of the Belize Unity Alliance and the former independent Chairman of Placencia Village (2010 – 2013). He holds an Associates degree in business, accounting and economics and has over 20 years business experience.
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