One Asquith Rose writing in a Guyanese newspaper paid tribute to Black Americans for their struggle for recognition and equality in America (Mar 6). This response was sent to the newspapers in Guyana.African achievements and their overall history in America have not been given much recognition.
I commend Rose for his missive focusing on this noble struggle of his Black American kindred for recognition of their role (achievements) in USA in history books and saluting the scholar responsible for conceiving and promoting Black History Month. East Indians, other Asians, and other groups have experienced racism from Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. They also joined the struggle for equality and recognition in America. After a long struggle, they have been given relative recognition.
The role and contributions of Blacks, as Rose rightly stated, were marginalized and belittled in the literature on American history. The contributions of other ethnic groups like the native Indians, Asians, and East Indians (South Asians) historically have also been marginalized in America and are slowly being addressed as these groups become politically assertive, demanding equality and using power of the purse as well as other forms of lobbying to gain civic rights.
Similar to the problems that African Americans encountered, Indians and Amerindians in the Caribbean are marginalized in the literature in West Indian history. The topic of Indentureship, as an example, has been a mere footnote in Caribbean history. Indians are marginalized. CXC Textbooks don’t attach much importance or mention of Indians not dissimilar to the underrepresentation of Blacks in history and literature books used in American schools.
After repeated complaints and lobbying of legislators and educators by Black scholars and politicians, the grievance has been corrected in USA where African Americans are now accorded relative equality and equity in studies in history and literature.
In the Caribbean, Indian scholars have repeatedly complained about and protested the meager treatment of Indians and Amerindians in books in the studies of West Indian history and Literature. Indian writers are hardly studied in literature . The administrators of CXC and UWI have ignored repeated complaints to address the problem and accord justice to the aggrieved groups. West Indian educators should follow the lead of the White establishment in America in addressing African American complaints and do same at UWI and CXC treating all groups equitably and fairly and end racial discrimination against Indians and Amerindians and all groups. The study of Indian and Amerindian history as a discipline and the roles that Indians and Amerindians play in English literature should be promoted similar to that of African Caribbean people and African Americans.