The fact that we need to have a Black Awareness Month in Barbados could signify that we have not yet fully arrived at the level of consciousness and awareness as to what it means to be Black.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, expressed this view earlier today, at the launch of Black History Month in Pelican Village, which is hosting a number of cultural exhibitions to mark the occasion.

He said: ???We should disabuse our mind of a belief that it means Africa and Africa alone. I think too often when we have a conversation in Barbados about Black awareness, somehow it always comes down to Africa and it comes down to something negative.???

Referring to the recent Ebola outbreak, the Minister opined that most of the news about the African continent was extremely negative.

???A continent with 53 countries and a disease that affected just maybe two or three of the countries, but there is this perception that all of Africa once again is riddled with disease. Of course no one in the media in Barbados is talking about the measles outbreak in the United States. So, we have to continue to project positive images that relate to Black people,??? he contended.

Mr. Inniss said that we must also ask ourselves if we as a society are teaching our young children enough about what it means to be Black and from whence we came.

??????When I was at school I don???t recollect ever once learning anything significant about Black History or about Africa per se???So, if we are really serious about raising the level of consciousness, we have to also reflect on what is happening in our educational system???,??? he asserted.

He further added that light should be shed on what were the current challenges being faced by this particular race in society.??

???I ask the question pointedly when I go to Cabinet; everyone in Cabinet is of the same pigmentation. When I go to Parliament, everyone in there is the same colour???we are all descendants of the African slaves who traversed the waters and came over here???

???So, therefore, if in Barbados today the major arms of government and private and public sector are pretty much under the control and influence of black people, the question is: why is there a feeling in some quarters that there isn???t that level of consciousness as to the power of the black person and the influence of black people in our society???? the Minister queried.

However, he stressed the conversation should not be Black versus Whites, but should instead focus on how we as a people can help to uplift those who ?? ??might feel downtrodden or feel that they are second rate citizens in this country.

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