I go on ThoughtCatalogue.com a lot. The website’s never ending articles are always attention-grabbing and life-affirming. One day I was reading an article called 10 Things You’ve Said to Black People (And What We Heard When You Said Them). I scrolled through the list, nodding my head at every point being made because even though I live in Jamaica, some of these things have been said to me. But when I reached point 8, I had to do a double take.
“If you’re Jamaican, you’re not really black.”
Excuse me, WHAT??
Where are people getting their information? It can’t be Google because Google shows black Jamaicans. I checked. Also, Google has separate categories for white/light skinned Jamaicans and Chinese and Indian Jamaicans…Google be showing every race in Jamaica. Google is a true, politically correct team player. Thanks, Google.
Bob Marley was black. Usain Bolt is black. Every player on the Bobsled team and on the Olympics team is black. Gosh. You see two of our latest light-skinned beauty queens and you automatically think we’re…what? What exactly? Couldn’t be white. Because last I checked, my dark melanin sucks up the sun’s rays, I never want a tan and if the place is pitch black, I don’t even flicker.
So why are there people in the world who don’t believe black Jamaicans exist? What did we do to make you unbelievers? I bet its because we don’t say ‘nigga’ to each other every minute or have an ingrained Southern accent or went through Ferguson-like racial profiling or had ancestors who walked side by side with Martin Luthor King Jr. You know where I’m going with this: to be black is to be a Black American.
The point in the article continues:
The theory is that if you don’t have direct African routes, you aren’t black. Which would mean that people who descend from West Indian and South American countries don’t qualify as a black Americans. In debating this, I’ve heard people say things such as “Well, your countries didn’t battle slavery in the past so you just don’t have the same struggles as we do.” Which is incorrect. Jamaicans battled slavery as did other South American countries.
Remember the article I posted about Jamaica’s Morant Bay Rebellion similar to Selma? Just because it wasn’t televised, wasn’t a world-wide sensation and our hero wasn’t Martin Luthor King Jr. does not mean it didn’t matter. How dare you? How dare you assume that your ancestors suffered more than us? Blacks in Jamaica were still struggling for basic amenities 25 years after slavery. The blacks (also called Afro-Jamaicans…do the math) were at the bottom of the social ladder, the elites were descendants of the Europeans and they treated the blacks like crap.
Didn’t have the same struggles as black Americans. What a sick ego trip.
I’m supposed to migrate to America soon. If anyone–worse a black American–brings up the fact that Jamaicans “didn’t suffer like he/she did”, I would feel my ancestors’ anger flow though me and be unleashed on the poor asshole.
The point in the article ends with:
And on top of that, as people with brown skin, we’re still fighting the same racial prejudices that people directly descending from Africa are facing.
Amen, sister. It doesn’t matter if you have only a drop of black in a sea of white, racial profiling will happen. In Jamaica, bleaching one’s skin is becoming extremely pervasive. Nowadays, it is not unusual to bleach your skin. Many black Jamaicans have mastered it to the point where it almost looks presentable. I mean, the skill!
And why do black Jamaicans do it? You would think in a country where blacks are commonplace, racial prejudices hardly exist. Wrong. So very wrong. Lighter-skinned women are preferred by a lot of dark-skinned men. It is said that lighter-skinned women achieve better jobs in higher positions. They move higher on the social ladder. A ladder which should have been abolished with slavery.
Black Jamaican women want light-skinned husbands/ son-in-laws for pretty light skinned children/grandchildren. It is believed that because of racial prejudice, black Jamaican women want only relaxed or Indian/Chinese/Brazilian straight ‘weave’ hair/wigs instead of a ‘picky-picky head’ (American translation: nappy hair).
I personally believe my weave or relaxed hair does not constitute of race dissatisfaction but that’s another post.
Black/White American boys and girls, what have we learnt today? Don’t embarrass yourself in public. Know your facts. Black Jamaicans do exist and we suffer most of the issues black Americans face. No black person is a special brand of black. And if you continue on this level of ignorance, you’re no better than those who judge you.