Reporting by cricket equality correspondent Michael Carberry
“I look at the test team, regional cricket the selectors and the board of directors and all I see are black faces,” says Warren White, a 17-year-old person of non-colour (PONC) from Guyana who has hopes of representing the Windies at cricket in the future.
“Whites make up over 1% of the total population of the Windies’ qualifying nations and when the last of my brothers to represent the Windies played in 1973 you know there is a sickness in the systemic structures that is systematically discriminating against white people.”
Out of a population of approximately 5,990,000 people in the 15 island nations that collectively make up the West Indian cricket team, there are 64,702 PONCs.
Geoff Greenidge was the last white man to represent them and his career was ended when he took part in a tour to Rhodesia — the predecessor of Zimbabwe — which was then still largely governed by ancestors of colonial whites.
Ironic, then, sort of, that nearly 50 years later one incredibly talented youngster who could be the next white person to play for the Windies is also having his career hindered by racism.
It was thought that Brendan Nash — a test and ODI player between 2008 and 2011 — was the next white man to play for them but, despite his eminent whiteness, it was later revealed he was actually mixed race, much to the dismay of those supporting White and Minority Ethnics (WME) in the Caribbean.
Perhaps even more disturbingly, there has NEVER been a white woman play for any of the womens sides.
“It is utterly despicable that in this day and age a young, eloquent person of non-colour in the Caribbean has his opportunities limited based purely on the colour of his skin,” says Shauna Kingy, a white representative of racism charity Stonewall in the region who was outraged.
“Yes as an opener batting who bowls a bit averaging 19 with the bat and 47 with the ball isn’t great but those numbers are evidently down to the fact whites just don’t have the same opportunities as blacks in the Caribbean.
“If he feels as though he’s being discriminated against and can’t be successful in the current system then that’s good enough for me to believe that the system is racist.”
White released his criticisms of Cricket West Indies on Twitter and one commenter questioned why he would even want to be picked for the national side.
“If you want to maintain your self-esteem as a white man then that is one after-match shower and changing room situation that you want to avoid like the plague,” said @micro_penis11.(medium.com)
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It is estimated that over one million Guyanese, when counting their dependents, live outside of Guyana. This exceeds the population of Guyana, which is now about 750,000. Many left early in the 50’s and 60’s while others went with the next wave in the 70’s and 80’s. The latest wave left over the last 20 years. This outflow of Guyanese, therefore, covers some three generations. This outflow still continues today, where over 80 % of U.G. graduates now leave after graduating. We hope this changes, and soon.
Guyanese, like most others, try to keep their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren. The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did it was only fleetingly. This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country. Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated.
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