Poetry: Forever Black by Denise N. Fyffe

FOREVER BLACK by Poetess Denise Fyffe 1981, Born BLACK 60 SECONDS, Crying BLACK 1 HOUR, Still BLACK 24/7, Struggling BLACK 12 MONTHS, Surviving BLACK 365 DAYS, Thriving BLACK 40 YEARS, Melanin BLACK I am, FOREVER BLACK. My mother, BLACK My father, BLACK My sister, BLACK My brother, BLACK My husband, BLACK My children, BLACK My … Continue reading Poetry: Forever Black by Denise N. Fyffe

Miss Jamaica World Stirs Racial Debate - Laurie-Ann Chin

Miss Jamaica World Stirs Racial Debate

Miss Jamaica World Stirs Racial Debate - Laurie-Ann Chin

Miss Jamaica World Stirs Racial Debate – Laurie-Ann Chin

Reblolgged from Dimitri Lyon

On Saturday, July 12, 2014 Laurie-Ann Chin was crowned the 2014 Miss Jamaica World, and almost immediately there were some Jamaicans who voiced their dissatisfaction with the winner of the pageant. Although I did not view the pageant, I gathered from the vitriol posted online that the dissatisfaction stemmed not from how Laurie-Ann Chin conducted herself in the pageant, but rather her perceived ethnicity. A few seem dissatisfied that a contestant with a darker complexion was not chosen.
Some argued that there was an underlying prejudice within Jamaica towards darker skinned individuals. While others indicated that on many occasions a person of 100% black decent is the least likely to win the aforementioned competition.

While I do not disagree that some amount of racial prejudice exist in Jamaica, it is difficult for me to not see the irony of those expressing dissatisfaction at the winner solely based on her complexion and ethnicity. Laurie-Ann is a true representation of our motto, Out of Many, One People. For us to not embrace her as one of our own, is denying the credence of the motto we seem to hold in high regard. It is indeed ironic that many Jamaicans, if not all, seemed to have supported Tessanne Chin throughout her journey on NBC’s musical competition, The Voice. No one exclaimed (at least to my knowledge) that Tessanne Chin was less deserving of exposure because of her complexion or ethnic heritage. Why then are some Jamaicans so critical when a fellow Jamaican excels in a competition such as Miss Jamaica World? Is it possible that in some way those ridiculing Laurie-Ann Chin may feel inferior and seek to counter that sense of inferiority with an alleged notion of discrimination? Could it be that Jamaicans of color sense that they are mistreated by a system that allegedly marginalizes the most afro-centric of our society? If so, we must be fair in our assessment. As Jamaicans we must be careful to not counter discrimination by perpetuating discrimination against others. For some to allege that they feel Laurie-Ann Chin does not represent Jamaica, is to deny Laurie-Ann her rightful designation as a member of our diverse populace.

Perhaps we need to focus on self-hate within the black community. Why do a number of people within our diverse society choose to bleach the color of their skin? Why do we refer to people as having “good hair,” and “bad hair.” Why is it that we accept as common practice to call every person of Asian descent “Mr. and Mrs. Chin?” Why do we call those of indian descent “Mr. and Mrs. Singh?” Why do we use terms such as “Blaka,” to refer to an individual, almost derogatorily? When we stereotypically label a person we negate their individuality. We instead cast them into a group and label them as others; doing so is dangerous practice. Hate only begets more hate. We need to examine the fabric of our culture that allows us to continuously tear down each other, instead of uplifting our fellow country men and women….

 

Reblogged from http://dimitrilyon.com/2014/07/15/miss-jamaica-world-stirs-racial-debate/

Dimitri Lyon

On Saturday, July 12, 2014 Laurie-Ann Chin was crowned the 2014 Miss Jamaica World, and almost immediately there were some Jamaicans who voiced their dissatisfaction with the winner of the pageant. Although I did not view the pageant, I gathered from the vitriol posted online that the dissatisfaction stemmed not from how Laurie-Ann Chin conducted herself in the pageant, but rather her perceived ethnicity. A few seem dissatisfied that a contestant with a darker complexion was not chosen.

View original post 809 more words

Prince Edward greets a Jamaican reception committee

Out of many, one people? Know your place!

Discrimination is still prevalent in our society and while many may ignore this, here is a commentary by someone who has done quite the opposite.

Re-blogged from Jamaica: Political Economy:  Views on what’s happening in and around the Yard

The Caribbean is full of class differences. We can argue about their origins, but undoubtedly they exist. Their proximate bases may be income, schooling, speech, skin colour and tone, gender, geography, or more. How they play out in everyday life is very varied. I’m not going to try to capture much of that, but reflect on a few recent incidents that show, worryingly in my mind, that people in Jamaica are still tied up in class knots.

Yesterday, I was on the verge of meeting one of the pinnacles of a class system–a member of a country’s royal family. Let’s not argue here about whether the British Monarchy is merely symbolic; we have them, still.

Prince Edward greets a Jamaican reception committee

We did not know what to expect, but I suspect most people were ready to be on their best behaviour.

Cut away, now, to the event to which the British prince was coming. I was out playing golf, and having a good time interacting with my playing partners and the two caddies they were sharing. It was a hot day, and we had all been doing the smart thing of taking in fluids, thanks to one of the sponsors, Wisynco, who had provided ample supplies of Wata (plain and flavoured). Being on a golf course for four hours or so, drains energy, and most players will bring food with them. I have protein bar, trail mix, and often take a carb filler, like bulla. This time, we were treated to the offer of a beef patty about midway through the play. One player asked if there were patties for the caddies. “No! No food for the caddies!” we were told in a very hostile manner.

Now, perhaps I have become too sensitive because of my years living in Europe and the USA, but there are ways of denying something to one group of people that is being offered to another group, especially when both groups are present. The caddies seemed to understand how things operated and got back to handling clubs, wiping balls, finding balls, helping read greens and generally keeping the players on an even keel. The players in my group had a discussion about this incident. We were agreed that it was both distasteful and unnecessary. Sorry, if there are 80 players and they each get a patty, then the caddies numbering no more than half that figure could be offered that basic and relatively cheap food (about US$1.10 each; call that US$90). If someone felt that the caddies needed to be ‘kept in their place’, they could even have each been offered half a patty (call that between US$20-45).

Golf has had a long history of making it very clear that caddies and players are not equals.tiger caddy In the US, that had the overlay of racism, with black caddies having a different and worse form of discrimination to deal with. One of the sweet ironies of all that is, two of the greatest ever golf players, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, were products of caddy shacks. One of the other sweet ironies is that the best player in the modern area is a black player–one of very few golf professionals who are not white.

Caddies in Jamaica have their work on the course as their main source of income. Don’t work, don’t get paid. Do something extra, you may make a little extra. Treat your players right and the world will be a better place. Many players have regular caddies, whom they trust and work with closely. Despite that close relationship, both sides know that most club houses are off-limits for caddies; settlement of fees has to take place before the player ‘goes into the club house’. It gets interesting when you have a caddy playing in a tournament, but of course the new and old roles are not confused.

Some people love to have the opportunity to make sure that they put people in the category that they need them to hold. “Know your place!”

While the prince was presented to the players and organizers of the event, from what I had heard, he was never presented to the caddies.

There is a deeper set of issues at play, so to speak, as far as Jamaica is concerned.

Jamaica: Political Economy

The Caribbean is full of class differences . We can argue about their origins, but undoubtedly they exist. Their proximate bases may be income, schooling, speech, skin colour and tone, gender, geography, or more. How they play out in everyday life is very varied. I’m not going to try to capture much of that, but reflect on a few recent incidents that show, worryingly in my mind, that people in Jamaica are still tied up in class knots.

Yesterday, I was on the verge of meeting one of the pinnacles of a class system–a member of a country’s royal family. Let’s not argue here about whether the British Monarchy is merely symbolic; we have them, still.

Prince Edward greets a Jamaican reception committee Prince Edward greets a Jamaican reception committee

We did not know what to expect, but I suspect most people were ready to be on their best behaviour.

Cut away, now, to the event to…

View original post 565 more words