I do not know who Mr. Jay Craft is. To be honest it does not matter. His opposition of the "left" reveals that he is likely a rightist or to the right of the political spectrum. I am very familiar with people who are neoconservative, conservative, libertarian, or whatever. Nowadays, they are everywhere and in power in the United States. I am pleased when I know which side of the fence someone is. As our elders say, you rather the demon you know than the demon you don't know. I like to know where everyone stands; I am honest enough to tell everyone where I stand on every political issue.
In US democracy, Mr. Craft has a right to his opinion but not his facts. For him to dismiss Mr. Mario Moorhead and Mr. Percival Edwards as unworthy of their constitutional right to testify on a bill that creates a VI History Textbook Commission speaks volumes about Mr. Craft's mindset. Does he know who Mr. Moorhead and Mr. Edwards are? Has he ever heard of UCA-M20 and Mr. Moorhead's role in the expansion of the political spectrum within the contemporary Virgin Islands society? Does Mr. Craft know anything about VICO and the Estate Bethlehem sugar plantation and Mr. Edwards's role in stimulating heritage tourism? A disrespectful tone is one thing, but lies are another.
I started by saying I do not know Mr. Craft, but clearly he does not know me. I do not have to justify my right to speak as a scholar, activist, and/or political scientist. Obviously Mr. Craft did not hear the testimony of the four testifiers, or if he did, he has selective amnesia. At no time did anyone in the Hearing offered to write the text. Mr. Moorhead did not offer to write one, instead he emphasized several times that any history text must take the perspective of the inhabitants and not their rulers/conquerors. He mentioned that a RFP needed to be sent out. As we all know, Pan-Africanists and others, Mr. Moorhead can write a Virgin Islands textbook. He has written at least three books already. Mr. Edwards emphasized that no course in Virgin Islands history was offered when he attended public schools in St. Croix in the 1970s. Clearly, I did not offer to write one, even though I am more than qualified to write on Virgin Islands society, culture, history, and politics. Since Mr. Craft did not discuss Dr. Lauren Larsen, a testifier on behalf of the Department of Education, I will not put him into this public discourse, but certainly Dr. Larsen can write a textbook on the Virgin Islands also.
I am not sure if Mr. Craft is familiar with the Virgin Islands, its people, and traditions. I am even more amused by his implicit perspective in his article that a Pan- Africanist cannot write an academically sound textbook in a Territory that is 80% African-Caribbean. Has he ever heard of Edward Wilmoth Blyden, Hubert Harrison, C.L.R James, Arturo Schomburg, George Padmore, Marcus Garvey, Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, Clive Thomas, Hilbourne Watson, Hilary Beckles, and Trevor Munroe? Obviously not, the Caribbean intellectual tradition would not have existed without the left. For his information, seminal works on Caribbean society, history, politics, and culture have been written by the left for over a century.
Even more, his posture that my open admiration for leftist leaders, particularly Fidel Castro, makes me somehow suspect intellectually and academically is something to think about for moment. At the first reaction, I welcome his review of my academic ability and intellect. I am confident that I have nothing to worry about regardless of his innuendo, and for the record; my scholarly records are open for all to see. I have no sealed records. However, that "indoctrination" jab which he stuck into the article might partially be true. I do indoctrinate all students to believe in global humanity, fight for justice, have pride in themselves, and acquire the best intellectual skills and training, and uplift suffering humanity. Whatever else Mr. Craft is referring to when he writes about me concerning indoctrination is not worthy of a response. He should have taken my History of the Virgin Islands class when I taught it and then form his opinion of me. To write such nonsense without ever taking my classes and taking issue with me over my ideology is troubling.
Finally, for those who do not know the differences among the left, don't call everyone a "Stalinist" who supports leftist-nationalist regimes–that shows utter ignorance. Try, Garveyite, Nkrumahist, or Pan-Africanist. Just like every monotheist is not a Christian, every socialist is not Stalinist. I am now compelled to write yet another article about my brethren Fidel. Mr. Craft, there are Virgin Islanders in Cuba who did not hijack planes to get there, but they immigrated when the US did not consider us citizens, and the Danes worse.
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