Most of us see the angry ones as the people who adorn the walls, or who hang on the street. To many people they’re identifiable because of the way they dress. A few of us identify with them because they’re members of our family. Some close. Some distant. But still family. To most of us, they’re young, black, and male.
They’re not the only ones though. I believe that there are two more angry groups. One group is smaller. The other group is probably – possibly – as large as or maybe even larger than the oft-mentioned group of ‘young black males’. This third group consists of both blacks and whites. Males and females.
The smaller of the two groups is the ‘young white male’. He can be, and he often is, as shut out as the ‘young black male’. Though he may have been privately schooled for all of his Bermuda education, he might have just squeaked through this better and more efficient private education system. He might have failed to graduate from either system. Educational failure isn’t discriminatory!
He doesn’t always come from a new money or old money family. Often he comes from just an ordinary hard-working family – that just happens to be white; and, in all other aspects is not different from an ordinary hard-working family – that just happens to be black.
He is not markedly different from his black male counterpart. Like his black male counterpart, he is not so numerate and literate that he can easily fit himself into Bermuda’s economy with its insistence on high-end intellectual skills and its huge demand for exotic but narrow skill-sets. So, like his black counterpart, he too, finds it hard to compete successfully in Bermuda’s globalized job market.
But he’s not that visible is he? I guess it’s his colour. With all that black around, he’s not so easy to see. But he’s there…he’s there. Like a white ghost, he’s there. And he’s Bermudian and he matters.
Though I see him and I’m worried about him, I’m even more concerned about this other group – this other race and gender integrated group. Like ‘hizbollah’ rockets, this lot are well-hidden. They’re buried deep.
They’re the ones – black and white, male and female – who did go off to college or other school; who worked and paid for years of education or specialist training so that they could get a degree or a technical skill. Then they came back home to Bermuda to work and live. They did get jobs. They actually do turn up every day. They actually do a lot of good work. They get paid. They get paid good money.
Then they get caught. They get caught in the Bermuda Triangle of ‘Not’s’. Not enough total income to buy a Bermuda house. Not enough disposable income to live the way they’d like to live because of high Bermuda prices. Not enough promotion or advancement prospects because of the relatively small and ‘flat’ corporations or entities that they work in.
The worst ‘not’ is the house ‘not’. A couple of college-educated professionals, each working in a ‘good’ job, each bringing home $75,000 a year is caught in the ‘not’ triangle. Have kids? Not enough income for their children’s private sector education and a mortgage. No kids now? Probably can afford a mortgage but must not have any children. Want to enjoy the fruits of their labours? Forget the house.
But isn’t that why they spent four years and $60,000 [and often much more] on getting that college degree? Didn’t they do all that so that they could have a better range of choices? Didn’t they forego ‘now pleasures’ for ‘tomorrow satisfactions’? And doesn’t it now look as if something has taken tomorrow and ripped it apart and trashed it? Made tomorrow disappear?
Over time, I’ve received many emails expressing this kind of sentiment. I’ve seen the feeling set out in other people’s blogs. I’ve had telephone callers spill out their frustration. I’ve had professionals and semi-professionals tell me directly how angry they are. How cheated they feel.
I wonder. Am I just hearing gripes from a few sour-grapers, a minority of inveterate grumblers? Or, am I hearing the cries of a sizeable, but not so easily visible group, that is very, very, angry?
What am I hearing? What am I seeing? Can someone tell me?