Dashikis and Dotish Talk

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According to Wikipedia, politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments. Yet sometimes you have to wonder what politics really means to the so-called politicians in this country. For some of them it is definitely not ‘civil’.

In my naiveté, I always thought that to be a politician meant looking out for the best interests of the people you serve. It seems as though my belief in what politics should be was totally wrong. Shame on the people who taught me! This election race is turning out to be one of the nastiest ones I could remember in the history of our beloved Trinidad and Tobago. What really disgusts me is the lack of respect that some politicians show towards other politicians, and towards our people in general.

As long as I have known of Mr. Makandal Daaga, I have known him wearing a dashiki. It is his belief and his right to wear what he wants. Isn’t this a democratic society? Why should our Honorable Prime Minister make this an issue on the election platform? His comments show a total lack of respect for Mr. Daaga, our Afro-Trinbagonian community, and all the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in general.

Mr. Manning said that he could not remember the last time he saw a dashiki in this country. Maybe he should get out of his ivory tower in St. Ann’s, and really try to mix with the common man and not put on a show. I am much younger than our PM, and I have seen hundreds of dashikis in Trinidad… or maybe my eyes deceived me. But then maybe he thought the dashiki he sometimes wears for Emancipation celebrations was a tunic. As the Emancipation Committee rightly says, “political picong is an ingrained trait of all parties contesting elections, but people’s cultural expressions have to be respected”.

After showing such lack of respect to his own ethnic race, who else will he attack? The Indians? The Chinese? The Irish? The Syrians? In a multicultural society like ours Mr. Manning is crossing a very delicate line by his disrespectful comments. ‘Honourable’ Prime Minister, are you telling me that instead of focusing on strategies and politics that will advance the country’s state of affairs, the only weapon in your arsenal to discredit opposing forces is to make fun of their dress? Okay, so you hire designers to plan your wear and stick to the conventional manner of dress. No one pokes fun at you for that! Okay, so yes you provide greater fodder for comment, but we still don’t poke fun at you for your ‘style and fashion’.

Dissing dashikis and such shows a level of disrespect for cultural traditions, which whether you believe it or not, are still alive. Last time I checked, a dashiki is worn with pride in one’s African heritage. You’re probably saying her last name is Gosine, what does she know? I know enough that I don’t disrespect my fellow countrymen’s cultural wear or traditions. I don’t judge people based on what they wear, and if I were a politician seeking reelection, I’d know better than to openly offend people, and moreso to speak on issues and make arguments that will persuade people to choose me as the preferred candidate for leadership. I just have one question for the Honorable PM. Are you deliberately trying to lose this election?


Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister


Karel Mc Intosh

Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.

1 Comment

  1. bandi

    May 3, 2010 at 5:01 am

    one of the reasons for the SNAP election could very well be the intention of LOSS…

    PM has always bypassed the First Peoples of T&T… he never acknowledges them so it is no surprise that he would be ‘foolish’ enough to make a blanket statement on his own cultural background…

    that being said… who cares what someone else wears? why is it that only at these Cultural holidays that the majority seek to express their affiliation or simply dress up in garb…

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