Shirley Osborne"s Defence of Shelley Harris is The Equivalent of Excusing White People Using the "N" Word


Harvey Edgecombe

Release Date

Monday, November 19, 2018


Ms Osborne’s defence submission for Shelley Harris lays claim to an assertion that ‘everything she said in her submission is also said by Montserratians’. That’s the equivalent of excusing white people using the ‘N’ word because ‘black people use it all the time’.

In fact I feel some sympathy because some of my closest ‘homies’ happen to be white; we grew up together, share the same culture and love each other unconditionally as brothers. My white brothers almost get a free pass using the n-word. But if my boss called me a n*gger, we have a very big problem.

By extension, we must not excuse Shelley Harris, essentially calling us n*ggers in need of a benevolent parent, because ‘everybody’ says it. And this is obviously not true because if everybody was actually saying it, there would not be so much vocal opposition to what was said by Mrs Harris and in the crude manner is which she presented her statement.

I think Ms Osborne is suffering cognitive dissonance, meaning her thinking is not based on her reality, in this specific instance. We could say she is in denial in her reasoning that most Montserratians feel the same way as Shelley Harris because they obviously don’t, and that’s why there’s such a backlash against her comments.

And to condemn Jeevan Robinson for not writing a submission to the Foreign Affairs Commitee (FAC) to ‘counter’ Mrs Harris is more evidence of cognitive dissonance. She seems to confirm that it’s Jeevan's responsibility for Mrs Harris statements and that he’s not Montserratian enough for not doing so.

Finally arguing in favour of FlyMontserrat (FM) is actually irrelevant because FM issued a statement after Mrs Harris’ comments were published, stating that her submission to the FAC had nothing to do with them as a company. We must legally accept this because it’s on public record.

But Ms Osborne now suggests that opposition to Mrs Harris is equivalent to opposition to FM and it’s simply not correct. Sure, there are obvious issues with their company; there’s lots of things FM get wrong and could do better. Perhaps flying planes on schedule, that would be good. And of course treating customers with respect would also be a nice thing.

But Montserrat doesn’t ‘need’ to own an airline. And if the owners feel things aren’t working out, they should pack it in and leave; or if they want a ferry subsidy, buy a ferry and provide customers a good experience.

Ms Osborne, defending FM for what purpose and what relevance. Is she actually defending Mrs Harris, but using FM as a smokescreen? Why is she needing to do this, is the obvious question that needs to be answered.

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