Amerindians push back against the term ‘buck people’, profiling of females for prostitution


A new report on hate crimes in Guyana – the first situational analysis of its kind – was launched on Friday by the Guyana Equality Forum and addresses among other things, hate crimes motivated by race.

The report found that there are such crimes committed on the premise of race, although no data was available from the state or civil society organisations to quantify it.

And on page 17 of the report, it highlighted racism against Guyana’s indigenous population at the interpersonal and structural levels.

Chief of the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, Colin Klautky

“For instance, the term buck people is still commonly used among all other racial groups in Guyana,” the report noted.

Supporting this assertion on Friday was the Chief of the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, Colin Klautky.

“The term ‘buck people’ we find extremely obnoxious.

“And people will say that’s not a serious thing, that indigenous Guyanese don’t really suffer racism…but I can give concrete examples,” a passionate Klautky said during the launch of the report at the Herdmanston Lodge in Georgetown.

He said the continued racism meted out to the indigenous people is beginning to have an effect on their collective self-esteem.

“Our people are scared to complain. We are not sure who we should complain to and many times we sent complains…they are hardly acknowledged and if acknowledged, they will say thank you and that’s the end of it,” Klautky added.

He said complaints were sent to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) from his organisation but Klautky highlighted that the ERC does not have enforcement powers.

“We are up against a wall and some brief examples of racist profiling: our indigenous females tend to be targeted for prostitution and trafficking in people is unacceptably high in Region Seven in particular,” the Chief noted.

He fears that the situation can worsen and urged that systems be put in place to mitigate and combat this reality. The report itself makes specific recommendations for educating the population, putting protective laws in place and civil society organisations working collectively and not in silos.

“Just go by some minibus parks you will hear ‘buck boy, buck girl way you going?’ It seems like something entrenched. How do we change this and educate against this racist approach?” he quizzed.

The word ‘buck’ originates from the discriminatory lexicon of Dutch colonisers and its present use is contemptuous, consistent with history as a derogatory term.

1 Comment
  1. Stan Gonsalves says

    Having been born in Georgetown of Portuguese parents. I spent many years with close Aboriginal friends in the Rupununi and North West areas. Hearing them being referred to as bucks I always found repulsive. I left Guyana 53 years ago and I am surprised to learn racist referrals still exist…all races. We are brothers and sisters. Colin I wish you success in your efforts in bringing change to this situation. Educating the population is a big task ahead. May God bless your work for change in this. The President seems to be people oriented in his leadership. It has to start from his level. It will I am sure.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.