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While I love the contributions of Peter St. Paul regarding our last names, I cannot help feeling that sometimes he seems to be implying that we should be proud of those European names. Really??
That's why I want to thank Agbom for reminding us that >>There are the white Louisons and the Black Louisons. They are related through slavery and not by blood.<<
If I may be permitted to re-emphasize THAT POINT again, let me do it using big bold letters: THEY ARE RELATED THROUGH SLAVERY AND NOT BY BLOOD.
Of course that's not to say that there are absolutely no cases where they might be related by blood as well. But by far we adopted the names of the massas on whose estates we were enslaved.
We should never forget that most of those "by blood" names came about when the slave-masters could no longer resist the jungle-fever that overcame them. Very rarely if any, did those fathers recognize and accept those off-springs as their very own biological children. The stories of American slavery are filled with examples of those fathers who actually sold their own half-white children!! I'll daresay that our Caribbean experiences were not that much different if at all.
We cannot casually dismiss the devastating effects of those times. So insidious was it that only recently a so-called young "Grenadian white" banker refused to have his poor Indian mother enter the front door of the bank where he worked to visit him. She was relegated to the back door. Yet when his White half-siblings came to visit him they were ushered in through the front door so that they could be introduced to his banking colleagues.
Believe me when I say that's not a hearsay story. We were old ex-GBSS school-mates.
Verne, as you correctly stated, let dem white Louisons stay wey dey dey. You and your siblings certainly did not need them to help you live the life you all are now living.
Before the Germans bombed the crap out of them during WWII, the English used to boast that they lived in "splendid isolation" from Europe. That's a very appropriate term for us Caribbean peoples, the descendants of slaves, to use today.
That's the key point to keep in mind in any appraisal of our European ancestral names, whether by adoption or by blood.
It is good to know how we got to be who we are. To understand the struggles of our forebearers. And it is good to investigate real materials that reveals real truths. It is an emotional experience to read the real words and names of those who made us the people we are today – good and bad. We are old enough to exercise our own curiosity. Discover. Debate. Challenge old uncertainties. If we don’t do that, we become Facebook Zombies. Herded into a system created to feed us information from sources we no longer question. We just react emotionally with cheap Social Media buzz words created for us to rally around until its creator gets bored with it, and moves on to the next Social Media thing. We don’t want to read anymore. We just want to be fed information without having to think.
If we do not know the names of our forbearers how can we intelligently discuss their trials and tribulations?
“……..I cannot help feeling that sometimes he seems to be implying that we should be proud of those European names. Really??...”
That’s unfair. I discuss our history. Names go along with it – Really. We were enslaved by Europeans. Their Christian and Surnames are part of our history. It should not be upsetting that we make references to them and bear them. We have been doing that for over 400 years. I am not even going to try and understand how the word “proud” got in that sentence. We should be proud of our heritage. It is the only one we got. None of us had a decision in who we should be. This type of accusation is the reason why the global left-wing movement is now in total retreat. They have become just like Right wing zealots. If you don’t see things their way, then they attack you and make you the bad person.
I have never met a white Louison – Grenadian or Foreign. As a matter of fact I did not even know that the surname was so common outside of the parish of Gouyave until this discussion. The surname only got my attention because of the poster here and the two brothers that were in the PRG. So I was curious. Nothing to do with proud European names. The same with DeCotoue(x). Never thought much about that name until I started reading them in the archives and realized what a big part some of those who carried that surname played in the struggle against British Capitalism and rule in La Grenade. And as a Grenadian I am proud of their struggle and sacrifices. So to try and tell their untold stories we can only identify them by the names they bore. I just don’t understand why that has to become an issue of being accused of wanting us to make us proud of European names.
“THEY ARE RELATED THROUGH SLAVERY AND NOT BY BLOOD.”
That is a general statement that does not help us to understand anything about our unique history. Lack of knowledge brings forth such generalization. Who are “THEY”? While it is true that we all have a common links to slavery, each families have unique experiences. Your family’s experiences with slavery is certainly not the same as the La Grenada’s for example. And it’s good for us as a people to understand why. After the failed attempt to rid Grenada of British rule, life for Grenadians with French Surnames were NOT the same as Grenadians with British surnames. It did not matter if you were full white, half white, or full African. Having a French surname meant your loyalty to the crown was always suspect for more than a generation. These distinctions must be taken into consideration when we study and discuss our history.
“So insidious was it that only recently a so-called young "Grenadian white" banker refused to have his poor Indian mother enter the front door of the bank where he worked to visit him. She was relegated to the back door. Yet when his White half-siblings came to visit him they were ushered in through the front door so that they could be introduced to his banking colleagues.”
That has nothing to do with racism as we know it today. It is economics. The fool most likely wants to climb the economic ladder in the bank. Darker skin in Grenada meant poor with no formal education. Economics dictated your place in a society with those social rules. Even in the days of slavery a black or colored men could have been more respected and given his freedom if he was in possession of property and material wealth and education. Fedon gained respectability from white French slave owners due mostly to his possession of land and his intelligence. The same with Louis La Grenade. Both owned land and slaves and who in spite of having African blood in them, managed to gain a certain amount of respectability in both the French and British time of rule. And that was the way it was since after that until very recently.
GBSS and that other Anglican school was known in my time for a place that replicated elitism in little Grenada. Our history was never taught. But their graduates knew every book that Shakespeare is claimed to have written. They were the receptions of British Scholarships and elected to be awarded the coveted medals of the British Empire. If you want to rain on a parade this is a perfect place to start.
Wow wee, Peter St. Paul! I thought we could have freely expressed our opinions based on the materials you've been providing us. But it seems that those expressions are being taken as personal attacks.
>>I cannot help feeling that sometimes he seems to be implying that we should be proud of those European names. Really??...”
What in that statement translates as a personal attack? Am I missing something here or am I too blind to recognize this as a personal attack on you? Hey, correct me, 70+ years old as I am, I'm not unwilling to continue learning. And btw, why would I continuously praise you for the work you've been posting, but yet go on to personally attack you? Does it make any sense? I am at a complete loss here.
Peter, that statement is nothing more than my understanding of what you've written, not about who you are!! To quote you >>We just want to be fed information without having to think.<< I thought I was injecting THOUGHT into the discussion. Heck, I don't even know you, and I can't recall you ever hurting or insulting me, so what earthly reason could I have for personally attacking you?
My friend, I was simply responding to how I interpret your posts; certainly not to the person who wrote it. So please don't assume one has anything to do with the other.
I wonder if Malcolm Little's intent was to blaspheme the name of his parents when he dropped Little and simply refer to himself as Malcolm X?
Peter, like Malcolm X, I'm just not as wrapped up in those European names as many folks are. I wish I had the means and wherewithal to go on a relentless pursuit to eventually proclaim as loudly as I can "Yes, Kinta Kunte" as Alex Haley did when he finally found his African lineage.
Haley's prime purpose was to find out the link to his original African last name. The world is obviously grateful for his contribution as indicated by the phenomenal success of ROOTS.
Tell me, was that wrong of him to do so? And is that wrong for me to share similar sentiments by wondering if somewhere back there, my ancestors were probably Osakwee, or Nkrumah, or Zirimenya or even Amin? That's one of my fondest wishes.
Hey Peter, when I found out many years later that a close GBSS friend was actually my first cousin, I regretted that he was executed during the Revo before we even had a chance to talk about that close relationship. I was thrilled when I finally met his sister Dr. Paula Bullen-Aymer in Boston. She was able to fill me in on the very little I knew about my maternal grandfather, Mr. J E Lucas, who was a former head-master in Gouyave.
Yes, I'm very proud of my grand-parents like Miss Ceaty, Mr. Lucas; my parents, John & Idora DeCoteau plus the long trail of which I have no idea. But I see no reason not to wish that I knew their true African origins.
And then you wrote >>This type of accusation is the reason why the global left-wing movement is now in total retreat. They have become just like Right wing zealots. If you don’t see things their way, then they attack you and make you the bad person .....
<< GBSS and that other Anglican school was known in my time for a place that replicated elitism in little Grenada. Our history was never taught. But their graduates knew every book that Shakespeare is claimed to have written. They were the receptions of British Scholarships and elected to be awarded the coveted medals of the British Empire. If you want to rain on a parade this is a perfect place to start.<<
Despite that tirade on the GBSS, nothing but nothing could ever cause me to forsake my alma mater. I am a proud GBSS man!!!
I sincerely hope though going forward, we'll be able to disagree, even agree, or whatever on the opinions expressed in your posts without taking it as animosity. Believe me that was not my intent.
Take care and keep on writing.
I don’t do personal attacks. It is a waste of time and especially when I don’t know you. We are both adults. There might be a generational issue, but that can be resolved by shared knowledge.
If I don’t refer to Grenadians of the past by their recorded names, how do you want me to refer to them? They never carried African or Indigenous names. To tell their stories you have to use the names they were known by. I just don’t understand the issue here with European names. I felt for some reason you believe I am trying to promote European superiority – or something, by referring to these individuals by the names in our archives that survived. That’s not true and unfair to me. I am very proud of my African roots. I don’t need to go overboard and create names and stories to prove that. If people want to rid themselves of their European names I am okay with that too. As long as they don’t go on a mission to bully everyone else to do as they did – just because. That was my reference to the global Left-Wing movement going astray because today you are either with them or against them if you have a different opinion of things. I think of myself sometimes as a bit on the left but not that kind of nutty left where if someone don’t see things my way I feel it is my duty to lecture them on how wrong they are and how always right I am.
The same people who Malcolm Little changed his name to be a part of Killed him because he had a different opinion of the leader who they claimed was infallible – Elijah Muhammad. So forgive me if I am not impressed with his name changing business. It got him an early ticket to his grave. We need economic development more that name changes. It is a cheap gimmick that appeals to the lowest degree of emotional dissatisfaction. In the end we still live in a world where we have no control over our economic situation.
“..Tell me, was that wrong of him to do so? And is that wrong for me to share similar sentiments by wondering if somewhere back there, my ancestors were probably Osakwee, or Nkrumah, or Zirimenya or even Amin? That's one of my fondest wishes…”
Come on. That will not work for the simple reason that records were not kept of the slaves African names. You don’t get to choose anything when you are a slave. That is what makes the institution so horrible. But then again that is the nature of slavery. I am not going to go look for something we all know does not exist. To me, that comes across as pretentious. I personally don’t like pretentiousness. But if someone wants to indulge themselves in it, I say whatever floats your ship – do it! God know I have been to many occasions with people of African descent in America where they dress in African clothing for a weekend event and the following week go to Harvard and Yale to honor their graduates. Make no sense to me. But then again no one made me upholder of African Values.
A lot of our African links are in our archives that survived. It is just a ton LOAD OF WORK to put the pieces together. Very few of us have the time and resources to commit ourselves to that kind of research. There are not African names, but there are links and hints as to who our slaves were. Not even the Africans who came to Grenada after the end of slavery got to keep their African names. Nearly all were baptized in the Anglican Church and given the surname of the plantation owner or manager they were indentured to.