I've never posted this question before, but with the recent recent posts discussing racism and such, I was reminded of it. I must preface this by saying I do not want to be provacative or offensive, I just want to know if the following is true, or just a bunch of smoke blown up my skirt.
On my first PMV, I went to all 3 islands. While on STX for a day, I met with various business people I had contacted or were referred to prior to my visit. In recommending where to live, One of the white businessmen I met, who has been on STX for many years, said only live on the east side as it was the safest place for whites. In confidence he told me there was a well armed and supplied secret white militia that was formed after the massacre at the golf course years ealier. Also, that there was an informal boundary (I don't know where) that separated the east side from the west, and if the blacks rose up and attacked the whites again, any blacks that crossed from west to east would be fired upon. He said he was part of this group even today.
Of course this made me sick to think about, but I have never asked anyone if this story was in any way true. Is it?
Has anyone else heard such a thing? I hope it is not true.
Nauseating. The so-called Michigan Militia was one of the first such organizations going on a full-blown media blitz that really brought the disturbing issue of these well-armed, think themselves above the law, militarized lynch mobs into the public discussion. As a native Michigander, I was mortified and ashamed that my beloved state become most well-known for a collection of rogue "survivalist" racists/classists for quite some time.
Praying to god and any other power that will listen that this is just an "urban guerrilla myth" about my equally loved new home.
--A deeply saddened HC
And who exactly are they threatened by, those of us who live west of Tipperary? Four black thugs kill 4 white tourists 30 years ago and we're still talking about it. Unbelievable!!!!
It is racist and stupid to think that "all of them" are out to get "all of us".
Anyone with such views should not be living as a minority on a small island.
Rant over, I'm going to work.
Thank you Linda for your post. The more I read this board, the more disturbed I become about moving to the VI. People write like only white people read and participate on this board. I am a black american, own property on St. Croix and do intend to move there at some point. However, this us vs. them mentality reminds me of my home state of Mississippi. I am becoming quite skeptical. And no, I have no relatives from the VI, and am not a native cruzan, questions I get from white folks everytime they see me.
One has to remember that there are idiots everywhere. I too chose to live Center Island, although the wonders of the East End were frequently touted (being in Real estate, I guess I heard enough of that to choke a horse). We were not armed and every single one of our neighbors was a "local". We didn't even lock our doors. I think the best way to deal with the idiots is to scoff at them openly.
I wouldn't respond in outrage or even notice them unless they discussed the "problem" in front of me, hen I would truly just laugh at them.
A few months back, Islander said it best, and I am paraphrasing, " the islands are like any big town, in that there is everything; nice sections, bad sections, etc. With a big city you can get around easily without seeing the bad sections. On an island, it's small so that you will see the bad sections more often."
I'm sure that the same relates to people. The island will have all types. Some smart, some dumb, some morons. Where in the big city you might have a large group of the so called militia, a couple of moronic neighbors could consider themselves militia. That doesn't make them a majority.
I'm sure that there are people on island that believe; in a flat world, UFOs, Atlantis, Clinton didn't do anything wrong, etc. That doesn't mean that all people there are like that.
There are people who are: hard workers, slackers, jobless, retired, homeless, giving, young, middle aged, older, law abiding, criminals, voters, non-voters, etc.
Just like in your city, there are the same type of people. Does it worry you there? Is that the reason you want to leave? If so, the islands are probably not the place for you. Of course No Place will be right for you.
So far in the 9 weeks I have spent in STX over 4 trips, the people I have encountered; locals, transplants, immigrants from down island,etc, have been very nice, and friendly. That is one of the appealing things that want to make us retire there in threeeee loooong years.
I have real problems with these so called "militias". Most of the ones I have seen are a bunch of guys who like to run around in camos and shoot guns. They like to consider themselves military, but they are not. After having spent 25 years in the military, one of the things I learned there is discipline. These clowns don't have any. If you give someone enough armament to kill everybody and every thing around, you better have the discipline to know when to pull the trigger and when not to. The milita folks scare the hell out of me.
Before I get flamed for my comments, let me say that I am a firm believer in self defense. If someone attacks me, you better believe I will defend my self with every means I can. I really don't think self defense is why they do what they do.
No, perhaps I muddled my reply. I do not believe that there is an organized militia. There is however a significant number of long time resident white people living in the East End especially, who are extremely racist and have weapons in their household. Some carry permitted concealed weapons and some just have the shotgun type arsenal so beloved of the NRA. They are "prepared" in their minds to defend their loved ones and property from threat. They hearken back not only to The Fountain Valley palaver, but also to the conditions after Hugo and the threat they felt. Note that I said "they felt."
There is an unofficial line - my guess is between Tipperary and Union and MT Washington - although Divi Casino is a bit of an anomaly there , so too is Cramer Park on the North Shore.
That is not a defense line, rather a line used to describe social conditions, desirable housing etc., racial divisions etc. Those of us who live (d) center and west are routinely dismissed as bleeding heart liberals -ROFLMAO
These people are fairly openly racist and one just needs to mix with the business community and keep ones eyes and ears open to identify the majority of these fools.
My guess is ...blowhards...much talk - no action.
I could well be wrong but would guess they're akin to rednecks all over. Big beer guts, older greying, full of spit and venum when together as they spit and oil their armaments in preparation for their stance on "Armagedon" when the black natives will rush out from the bush in a mass attack and they perceive themselves as future heroes...
I feel about them the same way that I feel about the kids here with their souped-up loud and nasty cars with the mega sound systems and their non-existent mufflers who SCREAM through the 'hood. Little appendages, how sad! The ignorant assumption that "bigger is better" is just that - ignorant.
OK weedwhacking finally done, four hours into the yard work. "Round-Up" spraying done. Now time to chop down the white-fly infested bougainvillea and do a major malathion spray. The wonderful smell of cut grass/weeds surrounds me and I am at peace with my life here for the moment!
Talk like that is so silly.
Also, wasn't the first person to die in Fountain Valley a Black person?
Another question, how are these "extremely racist" white people on the island openly racist? Just curious, because I thought that any white person on the island who was racist would keep that a deep secret on an island where they are the minority
I can't say whether there is an STX militia, but there is a growing attitude of, "Defend yourselves, because the police won't." The police are slow and ineffective, the jails are full, so the criminals are not deterred, and they often work in groups and carry guns. When the police do show up at a crime scene, they advise you to get a gun. So, citizens working in groups, with guns, seems to be a fair response to the situation.
May have been, I do not know that for sure, but I think that if you look into the names of those individuals who were killed; they were cousins, first and second, in laws and relatives of Sam Gianconna of the mafia mob family who lived in the west end area near LaGrange/Little LaGrange in Frederiksted. In my 16 years on island I have had more than one person tell me of the mobs early vacations on the island and that was all finished after the Fountain Valley incident. I was informed by several persons that some of the street names in the LaGrange and Little LaGrange estates are names of those individuals who died. All were inter-related, either by family, blood, or marriage!
All the many years I have heard about the incident, and from others who have told me their direct knowledge of phone conversations and previous luncheon reservations for those who were killed, it sound more like a mob hit than a racial incident....after all what better way to "off" the "family", and blame it on somebody else!
It was just the early version of the HBO show the Sopranos.
It is hard to see how a minority population, like whites on STX, can be construed as racist. Racism involves systematic oppression and whites on STX do not control any systems that can be used to oppress non-whites. Whites on STX can, as much as possible and solely because of race, only socialize with members of their own race, only patronize businesses owned by members of their own race, only vote for candidates of their own race, only hire employees of their own race etc. but not one of these activities oppresses the non-white majority, which holds all the power. Without oppression there isn't any racism.
Accurate or not, the word "racism" has become synonomous with "bigotry." Some I have talked with feel that racist should be used to describe systems -- public like government, or private like organizations while bigoted is the terminology used to describe individuals who have total intolerance to/hatred of any group of people who are of a different race, religion, ethic or culturalheritage, class, disability status, sexual identity and such.
To Dl and dntw8tup,
The root of both racism and bigotry is prejudice. Becuase racism has in some cases involved systematic oppression, does not mean that racism is absent without oppression. All over the world histories of oppression and injustice keep prejudices alive (i.e., Slave traders tried to justify their disgraceful trafficking of human beings by claiming that Africans were inferior. This unfounded prejudice, which was later extended to include other colonized peoples, still lingers).
If you belong to a minority group (like whites on STX), you might find that people avoid you, give you hostile glances, or make disparaging remarks about your culture. Your children might feel isolated and rejected by classmates at school. This forum has disclosed a fair amount of these, and other like experiences.
Worse still, prejudice can incite people to violence or even to murder. Indeed, the pages of history are filled with harrowing examples of the violence that prejudice can spawn—including massacres, genocides, and so-called ethnic cleansings. The VI has not been immune to such escalation.
“Some live with it in silence. Others return prejudice with more prejudice,” says the book 'Face to Face Against Prejudice'. How is prejudice returned? Dntw8tup answered it. "Whites on STX can, as much as possible and solely because of race, only socialize with members of their own race, only patronize businesses owned by members of their own race, only vote for candidates of their own race, only hire employees of their own race etc".
Virtually all of us have preconceived ideas, but these do not have to lead to prejudice. “Prejudgments become prejudices only if they are not reversible when exposed to new knowledge,” says the book 'The Nature of Prejudice'. Often, prejudice can be overcome when people get to know one another. However, the book continues, “only the type of contact that leads people to DO things together is likely to result in changed attitudes.”
The book also outlines five types of behavior spawned by prejudice. A person who is prejudiced usually displays one or more of these.
1. Negative remarks. A person speaks disparagingly about the group that he dislikes.
2. Avoidance. He shuns anyone who belongs to that group.
3. Discrimination. He excludes members of the maligned group from certain types of employment, places of residence, or social privileges.
4. Physical attack. He becomes a party to violence, which is designed to intimidate the people he has come to hate.
5. Extermination. He participates in lynchings, massacres, or extermination programs.
While it has not escalated to 5 (and not often 4), it appears to me behaviors 1 through 3 are being perpetuated by both blacks and whites on STX. Don't you agree?
Your first three examples occur everywhere, STX, Louisville, everywhere. Remarks about those we see as different from us are rather common in our society, be they based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. STX is no different than than any place else.
Avoidance -- Any church, any Sunday morning is one of our biggest examples of segregation. People tend to play and pray with people they relate to, who usually, but not always, look like them. I don't see this as part of some conspiracy. And "shun" is an odd word to use. Think about your plans for this weekend. What people will you see, will your place of worship be all one color? If you grill out in your back yard, to whom will you be serving your brats? Avoidance, nah, just habit, circumstance and proximity.
Discrimination is a legal matter and is considered a large enough problem COUNTRY WIDE that we have a huge body of law to try and control such behaviour. In that respect the Virgin Islands are no different than Boise, Idaho.
The bottom line. As far as social interaction goes, on a daily basis, STX is no different than any other multicultural, multilingual, multi ethnic location in the states.
Your last two examples are hate crimes and also exist everywhere. Hence the above-mentioned laws.
I appreciate your input.
The 5 behaviors, and their description, were identified in the book 'The Nature of Prejudice', and were not of my origin.
It is interesting that you used religion as an example of 'Avoidance'. That same book states that “on the average, Church members seem to be more prejudiced than nonmembers.” This is not surprising, for religion has often been the cause of prejudice rather than its remedy. For example, clerics incited anti-Semitism for centuries. According tothe book 'A History of Christianity', Hitler once remarked: “As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic church had adopted for 1500 years.”
During the atrocities in the Balkans, Orthodox and Catholic teachings seemed incapable of producing tolerance and respect toward neighbors who professed another religion.
In Rwanda, church members slaughtered fellow believers. 'The National Catholic Reporter' pointed out that the fighting there involved “a real and true genocide for which, unfortunately, even Catholics are responsible.”
Do you see religion as a devisive force on the islands?