When academia and the CBC team up, you know you're in for a fantastic tale of self-pity. And this article doesn't fail to deliver.
Behold Jillian Sunderland - a PhD student at the University of Toronto where she researches - surprise surprise - race, class and gender! Jillian wants you to know that her dad, a black Barbadian man, robbed her of a culturally rich Bajan childhood by being a quiet hardworking Canadian professional with a British lilt to his accent. She wanted a daddy with a creole accent that could fulfil the romantic fantasy she's built in her head of being a happy, carefree citizen of Barbados. Instead, dad chained her and her siblings to a bland and boring life in Canada, where all she got whilst growing up was a secure middle class existence, a father who was able to send his daughter to 3 universities to get a bullshit PhD, and a shamefully white skinned mother who doesn't even merit mention in her article.
If only she grew up in Barbados, where the GDP per capita is 29% that of the culturally bereft hellhole of a country her father and mother chose as her place of birth. Surely she would be happier and still be easily able to have daddy pay for a triad of degrees that bestow upon her the magical ability to complain in the national media about how she was discriminated against by literally everybody in childhood because of her obvious blackness.
And yet more indignities befell her wretched existence in this devil's lair of a country, as she recounts in her article; "Rather than regaling us with stories of his youth or sharing with us the rich cultural heritage of Barbados, he seemed intent on instilling in us the values of steely competitiveness, conformity, and laudation of authority." Yes, this absolute beast of a man wanted his children to succeed in life and so set about trying to instil in them values that he laughingly thought might help them as they grew to adulthood. If only he instead regaled them of a youth that she imagines to be filled with adventure and wonder. Why, it's almost like maybe he didn't have such a youth, and retelling memories of his childhood in Barbados might have brought back painful memories. It's almost like he left the country of his birth because he thought he might forge a better life somewhere else..?
But that's obvious poppycock! Jillian herself has figured out the real reason behind it all, as she tells us 1/3 of the way down the article - her silly black father, who it turns out just doesn't know any better, is actually a victim of British colonialism!
You see, after the British abolished slavery in 1834, Britain tried to atone for its sins and did black Barbadian children the dirty disservice of dressing them "in crisp school uniforms" and teaching them "deportment, English customs, and - gasp! - allegiance to the Royal Family. In this British colony. Oh, the horror! She goes on to write, "Through his formal education, my father inculcated British values and customs and became deeply committed to the Crown. These were the values he imparted to my brother and me."
She continues, "In 2021, Barbados severed ties with Britain. It removed the Queen as its head of state and became a republic. My father, being a man of tradition, decried this move. He seemingly holds no ill feelings towards the Crown. After all, he believes his English-based education enabled him to advance and build a successful life as an Afro-Caribbean immigrant in Canada."
Can you fathom this guy?? He believes that his education allowed him to become successful! It's a good thing he's got his university overeducated white daughter around to set his obviously ignorant mind straight and enlighten him to the evils of the British empire, with its low opinion of black people and its determination that their privileged perspective of superior education will be able to set these obviously ignorant black folks straight.
Because of reasons, she lets us know, in the parochial tone of an English schoolmarm (maybe that's her mom's profession?), that this black man is just not intellectually up to the task of understanding the obvious truths that she alone can know. How can she be sure of this? Don't worry; her professors have told her enough times that she's infallible. Just keep the tuition bucks rolling in, honey.
And at the end of the day, the article - guised in the veneer of being about racism and colonialism - is really just an open complaint by a little girl who wanted to be a Bajan princess, but ended up being just another privileged Canadian reduced to closing her eyes and kissing the frog of doctorates - a PhD in Sociology. No wonder she bitterly mentions her dad hoping that she would apply his life lessons and become a "real" doctor.
As for her dad - he's the real Prince in this story. Let's hope his son grows up in his footsteps so he at least has one kid to be proud of.
So here's to you Jillian Sunderland - PhD student. Published photographer (I too have an Instagram account). Published writer who employs sociological knowledge to explain complex social issues related to race, sexuality, and gender. Especially where it comes to telling old black men where their place ought to be! For your special (but in no way unique) blend of unacknowledged privilege, hermetic shelter from actual society, self hatred, and daddy issues, I salute you today as Saidit's Retard of the Week!