Prince Harry and his gorgeous bride Megham Markle on their Wedding Day

 

We just received the article below from our old friend and colleague, Ray Sousa, in Australia.  When we first started the ExPo website Ray wrote extensively about his proud memories of serving in the Bermuda Police Force and the difficulties he faced as a Bermudian of Portuguese descent and living on "42nd Street" which anyone who knows this area of Pembroke, would agree that it was one of the toughest neighbourhoods on the Island, especially for a Portuguese family in the 1950's and 60's.  Ray still has a phenominal memory of his days as a young constable on the beat and then in CID (Narcotics) which you can read in his "Then and Now" article at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/tan/40-rsousa

Ray wrote an email along with this latest article to say,  "I appreciate the issue of Police racial issues has always  been a touchy subject in Bermuda, so I thought you might be interested in a different view point of the Royal Wedding.  Attached are my views on the matter.  If you think other people might be interested feel free to use the article or part of it.

On a different note have a Happy Victoria Birthday/ Empire/ Commonwealth / Bermuda Day 24th May.  Although not celebrated in Australia I still keep a tradition alive in reverse.  I pack away the shorts and bring out the long pants.
 
Ray and Pat Sousa with two of their grandchildren, Jasmine and Joshua,
along with their completely spoiled dog, Jesse-Belle! This photo was taken
last Christmas at a time when Ray was under a lot of stress after his son, Chris,
had been stricken with a heart attack from which he is now recovering.   Ray writes
to say that he almost feels guitly about being in very good health for his age.  
Please note that despite it being Christmas in Australia,  Ray is wearing
his Bermuda shorts as it is also the middle of summer Down Under.

 

Here is Ray's article on the Royal Wedding

 

Now that those who know my Australian Republican views have picked themselves off the floor, let me explain why.  Let’s go beyond the lovey dovey stuff and look at the significance in history.

 

Let’s admit the truth, in history there has always been prejudice based on tribe, race, religion etc.  This also occurred as the British developed its empire.  This did not stop the British, particularly the men, from having affairs, even falling in love and secretly marrying people of different races and classes.  This, of course, was frowned upon by upper society.  As a child I was brain-washed to believe that in the order of the universe there was God, the Angels, and the English.  I could not understand why, that due to the fact I had Portuguese heritage, I had to be at the bottom of the barrel. Then there was the shock of learning Bethlehem, Jerusalem were not near London.  The biggest shock of all was Jesus was not English.

 

The first years of my life were spent living with what I believed were white people, Americans, people of a similar heritage and St. David Islanders. My first culture shock was when I was about 6 ½ moving to Glebe Rd [42ndStreet]. Not a white face in sight until you went to the lowlands beyond Blackwatch Pass and Blood -sorry Bernard Park. No I am wrong, the Governor was my nearest white neighbor but I was not allowed on his property. I had to learn how to fight, and defend myself, yet be respectful to all.  Using the words “Black Bastard” meant a beating with an oleander stick and not being able to sit down or walk properly for a month. 

 

If I had to struggle growing up with racial issues, how hard was it for our friends arriving from the ‘Holy Land’ - England?  Judging from facial expressions, I am sure some had never seen a black person before. I readily admit I had never seen people that white before.  I am sure that any prejudice the new Police Officers had was amplified when they had to deal with black criminals.

 

Whilst the English had challenges dealing with Bermuda’s crime, its’ race discrimination policies etc, local Officers had to learn how to adjust, work and live with them.  We often had the additional problem of being called traitors, selling our souls to the Man, even in some cases by our own families.  We also had to quickly learn we were not dealing with one country. There were English from all parts of their country.  There were Irish, who often openly hated the English, and of course the Scottish who believed the Empire only existed because of their help to create it.  Some new arrivals quickly became part of Bermuda’s white society.  For the most part they were still excellent Officers.  Others had the special ability to gain the respect and work with the whole community.  I cannot give enough praise to Officers such as Roger Sherratt and Davie Kerr for their work with youth groups. The Pedal Cycle Gymkhana showed a united caring Police Force to all Bermudians.

 

At work I was often annoyed when a white upper class Bermudian person spoke to the English Officer I was with, yet did not acknowledge me. I also appreciate there could have been cases when other locals treated the English the opposite if a local was present.  There were places that “Black and Portuguese” Officers were not welcome at the front door. Yet these same misguided people wanted us to defend them from Black Militants some of whom considered themselves freedom fighters.  To some degree they were.  They helped speed up changes in Government.

 

Whilst fighting crime, protecting the community, dealing with the political issues Officers had their personal lives.  In some cases I saw extremely prejudiced English Officers completely change and fall in love with local Portuguese and black girls. Despite in some cases being rejected by white society even their own families these Officers proudly showed their love in public.  Others hid their feelings. An extreme case comes to mind.  I was on the beat on Front St. Hamilton with and English cop.  A black girl walked past said hello, which I acknowledged, the Englishman ignored her. It happened a second time - same thing. Without warning the lady ran over grabbed the Police Officer shouting his name gave him a big kiss on the mouth, then shouted,  “ He sleeps with me at night, but is ashamed to speak to me in the day “.  The now red face Officer almost had a nervous breakdown. We walked to a quiet area and he begged me not to tell anyone about what happened.  He did not want to lose friends because of his relationship with a black woman!!

 

There were cases that I am aware of where there was fall-out for English Officers just associating with locals.

 

I am proud to have served with the Bermuda Police Force during those challenging times.  In our own very small way we helped change society.  I am glad that I have lived long enough to see a black person being elected President of the United States. We now have a person Meghan Markle with black heritage joining the Royal Family. This shows how much British Society has matured?  Welcome England into the 21st Century.

 

So with a shot of Black Seal Rum in my coffee I salute Harry and Meghan. I sincerely hope they have a long happy life together.

RAY SOUSA 241

Footnote-  It is a shame we did not have DNA in the 1960s /70s.  It would have shown how many people actually have mixed black and white blood.  It might have reduced the racial issues we had.  For the record I recently did a DNA test which showed I am 40 % Iberian Peninsula, nearly 25 % UK/ Celtic. I am also European Jewish, Viking, Russian, have mid eastern and North African Blood. Yes, I probably am related to all of you!!.

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