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The culture of inequality

Published: 
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Raymond Ramcharitar

(Conclusion)

From last week, any examination of inequality in T&T ends in a knot, because there is no consensus on what the term means among the various competing/warring social groups. But a little more can be said about it.

The notion of the equality of man, and woman, comes from the Enlightenment (the 18th century in Europe) when the application of reason and rationality to everyday life was ascendant. Science became popular, religion declined, knowledge generally became fashionable. In England, the phenomenon of the coffee houses emerged where topics of the day, and newspapers, were read, discussed, and evaluated across all classes. Social organisations came into being (like the Freemasons) which carried the creed across the globe.

The Enlightenment was also the birthplace of the ideas of emancipation and abolition. Indeed, the first plea from a Trinidadian to the colonial government for fairness of treatment, specifically referred to the culture of the Enlightenment. This was Jean Baptiste Philippe’s tract to the Earl of Bathurst, Free Mulatto.