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  1. But some of my best friends are Brown

It is always hard for Caribbean people to talk about that most unspeakable topic: race. But then, perhaps it is hard to talk about it anywhere. We live, each one of us, in bodies that we cannot change, neither can we change the histories that those bodies inherit. Discussions on race can feel divisive and it can feel as if we are called into some silly kind of historical re-enactment. In Jamaica, therefore, whenever the discussions veer dangerously into that most unspeakable topic, and when the discomfort sets in which is usually very soon, you can count on someone to invoke the national motto. ‘Out of many, one people!’ We shout it as a kind of censorship. We insist on it. ‘We are out of many, but we are one people!’

outofmany

I have this friend – like me, he is relatively young and from Jamaica and lecturing here in London –  and whenever we talk about race in Jamaica he loves to say: ‘Kei, I have no problems with brown people. Some of my best friends are brown.’ He means, of course, to echo that most facile rebuttal often made by white people who have been accused of racism. ‘I’m not racist! Some of my best friends are black!’  or worse, the more telling version we imagine as said by a white southerner, ‘I’m not racist! Some of mah best friends is niggers.’

In his own comic way, my friend both acknowledges and pokes fun at the idea of a brown/white Jamaican experiencing discrimination. On the one hand, it is sometimes hard to take seriously the complaints of people who have been historically privileged – who have been granted not only land and money and political power, but the strange privilege of being seen almost always as beautiful, also the privilege of an accent that lends a sense of authority and intelligence to whatever words are imbedded into it, however unintelligent those words might actually be. And there are other privileges as well…such as the right to take offence. We will get to that. Still, on the other hand, the ways in which non-black Jamaicans, and in particular the brown/white Jamaican, is often accused unfairly of all manner of things, is not a thing of fantasy. It is a fact worth considering. And we will get to that as well.

This week, I managed to cause offence. I offended a particular brown/white Jamaican. In truth, all over facebook people were posting this video of a former Miss Jamaica contestant who, in my opinion, was acting quite the fool for the world to see. And all over facebook people commented on this display – the young woman’s arrogance and her flippancy. Other people were smarter though. Perhaps instinctively they knew that though they were engaged in one of the most normal facebook activities – posting a youtube video and commenting on it – that this particular video featured someone who had the special right to take offence. Another Jamaican writer commented on his own timeline that in this video the young woman proved herself 100% moron. And there were worse things said. But those threads were private; mine was public, and so a much larger conversation ensued, one that eventually landed on that most unspeakable topic, and one which, towards the end, included the very woman from the video who rushed in angrily to her own defence.

And suddenly it didn’t matter what my long standing politics on racial constructs in Jamaica have been; it didn’t matter that many of my published essays are at pains to acknowledge the unfair accusations that non-black Jamaicans often face, the multiple apologies they are cornered into making and shouldn’t have to;  it didn’t matter that even here, on this blog, my recent ‘Defence of Carolyn Gomes’ once again makes my position clear that I do not agree with the ways non-black Jamaicans are dismissed so easily, how sometimes their very Jamaican-ness is called into question. None of it mattered. Instead I was accused of making a racial judgment, sometimes even a gendered judgment. And I wanted to say as my friend likes to say, ‘But I have no problems with brown people. Some of my best friends are brown.’

outogmany2

2. ‘But I’m not white!’ said the White Jamaican.

     ‘And I’m not brown!’ said the Brown Jamaican.

 

This idea of the brown/white Jamaican might seem curious to those not from Jamaica. What do I mean by that? And is it really possible for ‘brown’ (mixed-race) to elide more easily into ‘white’ rather than into ‘black’? Though, Obama is technically just as much the 44th white president of America as he is the 1st black president, the former will never be said. But race in Jamaica operates in a slightly different way than it does elsewhere.

Image: U.S. President Obama walks to speak about the Affordable Care Act at the White House in Washington

I usually shy away from academic language, but in this instance, the verb ‘to racialize’ is a much more accurate and helpful way to talk and think about race. Despite what we might think, race is not a fact of biology; rather it is a social construction. We do not biologically belong to any race other than the human race; instead we are racialized by the society around us. We are given an assignment. So some of us are racialized as white, and some as black, and some as mixed, and so on. And confusingly, some people’s genealogies are so complex that they are racialized differently depending on the society they find themselves in.

My friend Raymond grew up in London to a black Jamaican father and a white mother; he has always identified as Black British, seen himself as part of Black British culture, and it is Black British aesthetics which largely inform his art. But when he went to Jamaica to connect to his father’s family, they saw before them a man with light skin and ‘good hair’; they heard from his lips a British accent, and so they called him ‘white boy’. It was a shock. ‘But I’m not white!’ he wanted to insist. But such protest would have been useless. In Jamaica, he was white. It was what had been assigned to him in this new context. Still, his protest, however useless, is a complex thing that we must stop to consider. For it wasn’t just the way he was being racialized that concerned him, but all that surrounded it; it was the politics that came with that assignment, the unfair assumptions that were being made. In being called ‘white boy’ he probably heard with it an accusation – that of being privileged, of being the oppressor, of benefiting from a history he had never thought of himself as benefiting from. For a young man who had lived his whole life on a particular periphery of British culture and who understood what oppression felt like – such assumptions were profoundly hurtful.

My father has a similar story. Recently, driving out of St. Andrew’s Parish Church, a man cycled straight into the side of his jeep. He stopped the car and came out. The crowd in Half-Way-Tree who had heard the impact of metal against metal also gathered around. The crowd became boisterous at once. They cried about injustice; they called for the police; they called for CVM TV; they said ‘But look pon dis brown man (my father) who lick dung de poor man off him bicycle; no sah, it nuh fair at all! We want Justice!’ And in the midst of this cacophony, all my father wanted to say was, ‘But I’m not brown!’

bicyclecar

My father’s mother is, in almost equal measure, Norwegian, Indian and Black. My father’s father was black, but lighter-skinned. So my father came out that curious complexion where one isn’t always sure if he is ‘proper’ brown (like his mother) or just a lighter-skinned black man (like his father). My father, however, has never been confused about his race. He has always identified as black, and so the baying crowd concerned him – not only because of how he was being racialized, but more importantly, the assumptions behind it – that he must necessarily be the kind of man who lived up in the hills, who looked down on poor black people, and who probably hit them off of their bicycles as a matter of sport.

So when I posted this video of the young woman being silly and offensive, the first person who came to her defence accused me of picking on her because she was white. She ignored the several other posters who registered their own offence and that included other black Jamaicans, brown Jamaicans, white Jamaicans, white British, white Canadians, and others. It seemed easier to focus on me. It was easy to assume that since I was a black Jamaican then I must necessarily have blinkered black-nationalist politics and that it couldn’t have possibly been that there were offensive things in the video. It was assumed that what I was actually taking offence to was her ‘brown-ness’ or her ‘white-ness’.

 

  1. The Right to Cause and Take Offence

 

 

So what then was so offensive about the video? Many people asked rhetorically – but was there anything untrue in what she said?

No…I wouldn’t say ‘truth’ or lack thereof was what caused offence.

Others asked, again rhetorically, would you have preferred some shallow Jamaica Tourist Board scripted speech? Something like — Come to Jamaica! The land of incredible beauty where everything is wonderful and everyone is happy and nothing is ever wrong!

No…I certainly wouldn’t want that, and I’ve never, ever taken offence to anyone being critical of Jamaica. In fact, I think we need much more meaningful criticism.

I do however take offence to mockery, condescension and derision. But perhaps in the moment of watching the video I was in a particularly sensitive place. Having just heard the news that my most amazing aunt (Dorothea Walker) had just died from complications brought on by the Chik-V virus, I was in no mood to listen to or to tolerate anyone laughing riotously about this disease that is causing havoc and unnecessary deaths all across the island. In a similar same way I wouldn’t expect anyone to laugh about Ebola in West Africa or AIDS across the world. But laugh and laugh she does. She twists her hair, flicks it, bends over and laughs about Chik-V that causes people to have arthritis; she twists her hair some more, flicks it again, bends over and laughs now about the crippling poverty that affects so many Jamaicans. ‘Oh my god!!! Like seriously…I sweaaar to Gawwwd. It’s like sooo funny!’

My Aunt Clare, my mother (RIP), my Aunt Grace, and my Aunt Dor (RIP)

My Aunt Clare, my mother (RIP), my Aunt Grace, and my Aunt Dor (RIP)

 

For those of us making funeral arrangements, it isn’t funny at all, and I wonder about those who seem surprised that so many of us should have registered our own offense at this video. I wonder about a kind of shallowness that demands only that things be true, but does not require a kind of sensitivity and a kind of care in how those truths are spoken.

If I was to do a further literary deconstruction of the transcript of the video I would also note the pronominal construct of it all. It is only half way through the video that the beauty queen thinks to include herself in the category of people she is talking and laughing about. That is to say, she remembers to use the pronoun ‘we’. It is all too telling than until then, the Jamaicans she talks about are ‘they’ – ‘them’ – a category somehow separate from her, and perhaps then, easier to laugh at.

In one of my favourite Miss Lou poems, the narrator finds herself in France in the middle of a language she does not understand. Asking for directions proves frustrating and so in a moment of feeling overwhelmed she tries to reclaim a place of authority and so she decides to ‘leh guh English pon dem!’ English thus becomes a tool to reaffirm one’s place of authority.

Miss Louise Bennett

Well my dears, that is exactly what the beauty queen did. Arriving on my facebook timeline, she decides to ‘leh guh Englsih pon mi!’ Intent on proving herself not the ‘airhead’ many accused of her being in the video, she seems to have imbibed a dictionary and then spews it back out, the words landing where they may. This is her first sentence: “The reactions to this video are a veritable case study in undue extrapolation, conjecturing far beyond what is empirically available to levelling insults that are, by the way, pretty laden with cornerstone misogynistic overtones.”

Though her sentence teeters on the precarious edge of malapropism, she carries on nonetheless and in that mode. She admits disappointment in me as a ‘literature student’ for missing the irony in her video. My friend, Erin, helpfully points out that she probably meant not a ‘literature student’ but ‘a student of literature’ — a small change but a vastly different meaning. Alas, the beauty queen is continually less than careful in her words and is constantly causing far more offence than she had intended.

But what is incredible in all of this is that the beauty queen has remained insensitive and unapologetic to the offence she has caused many, all the time while insisting on the offence she herself has taken. And that privilege, that right to take offence suddenly strikes me as an incredible thing – a profound right – for it is one and the same as the right to be considered as a fully complex human being, the right to never be made into a caricature. Ironies abound, for in her video, Jamaican people are constantly caricatured but she insists on more than that for herself. We are accused of ‘undue extrapolation’. The beauty queen claims her right to take offense while denying that right to the hundreds of Jamaicans and Caribbean people who first took offense, who have probably lost relatives to Chik-V or who simply don’t find their poverty funny or a thing worthy of belly-aching laughter. We have no right to take offence, the lot of us. According to one poster on twitter we are ‘shitheads’ to express any such offence, especially against one so beautiful. OONOO PLEASE TO LEAVE HER ALONE!

beautyqueen

Perhaps we – the originally offended – belong to that category of ‘they’ and ‘them’ on whose behalf she seems hesitant to speak. If there is a problem with our skin it is not necessarily on the level of complexion but on the level of thickness; we, apparently, are too thin-skinned. We need to get over ourselves. Importantly, we must remember that we do not have rights – certainly not the right to take offence or to register such offence. And thinking about it all now, maybe … maybe this really has something to do with privilege. Maybe, this really has a lot to do with race.

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36 thoughts on “The Brown/White Jamaican and the Right to take Offence

  1. Our son is “brown” (mixed race as they say in the UK) and grew up in Jamaica with that privilege. Now living in London for three years, he seems to care less about the particular shade of his skin, which we find odd. He says he doesn’t worry about the labels people choose to put on him (the worst used to be that horrible phrase “half-caste” – I hope it is now obsolete). I agree though – Jamaicans do “need to get over themselves”! Thanks for this thought-provoking column.

  2. Reblogged this on Diana Brydon and commented:
    excerpt “Perhaps we – the originally offended – belong to that category of ‘they’ and ‘them’ on whose behalf she seems hesitant to speak. If there is a problem with our skin is not necessarily on the level of complexion but on the level of thickness; we, apparently, are too thin-skinned. We need to get over ourselves. Importantly, we must remember that we do not have the right to take offence or to register such offence. And thinking about it all now, maybe … maybe this really has something to do with privilege. Maybe, this really has something to do with race.”

  3. As a brown Jamaican I have, as they say in the part of the US where I live, a dog in this fight. Race is a subject that is very uncomfortable for Jamaicans because we want to pretend that we have overcome racism and that outameni wan piipl (Wan piipl is the name of the resort I want to set up with NHT funds) is an absolute reality because we’re really all black people even the whitest of us. The truth is, alas, very different.

  4. Condolences on your loss. I haven’t seen (and based on your post will not click through to see) the video. In the past 2 months a close relative in DH’s family has offered that I am “nearly white.” “No,” I countered evenly, “I am white.” It was a searing conversation on race discrimination at large, and what I stand for was swept away by who I apparently must be thanks to race & class. You don’t grow up being labelled Whitey, Pale Face, etc. without getting that you are in the “as white as white gets” cubbyhole. At the end of the day we do need to get over ourselves, and admit our mistakes. The insensitivity, and harping on undue extrapolation? Incredible and foolish.

  5. Making fun of disabled or sick ppl is ableist. (I am Deaf and legally blind but can see where she was imitating). Also as a light skinned POC, that is a bit much trying to represent a whole country. I know my place. So yeah, race, abled and class privilege. Any chance you can embed a captioned video/transcript?

  6. Condolences on your loss. I do think that while you raised valid concerns, Jamaicans elected this beauty queen and they knew she would only represent part of Jamaican reality – and they knew what part that was. Furthermore, I think you misrepresented her to some extent. What is wrong if she twirls her hair? Would it be different if she twirled her locks? True, she did say insensitive things about Chik V – though any young person her age might have said those words, regardless of skin colour or social background. Think back to when you were 18. in terms of her remarks on poverty, you put words in her mouth. She said “we are poor” – not – those people over there are poor. I think that you are unfair, and perhaps your views reflect an impatience with brown people of that class? But hey, Jamaicans chose her to represent the country, so do not be surprised. I do in fact think she has a lot of spunk to try to stand up to you (which you interpret as “the right to take offense.” I think that as a young woman she is quite brave to take on older, literary expert who is also a man. And even if she falls over herself to impress with words (someone probably wrote that for her), Bravo to her.

  7. I will love to have permission to reblog this piece…I believe that while you addressed the issue as you see it there in Jamaica, the situation is one that is applicable to Caribbean citizens in general.

  8. Why is this about race? She separated herself from other Jamaicans based on her class and wealth but not on her race….Don’t try to make it seem like Jamaica is such a racist country. It’s classist but not racist.

  9. I don’t blog and I rarely comment on these types of things that stumble onto my facebook feed. However, you sir, are what is wrong with media today. Understand that Jamaica is a small place and life is so much bigger than what uptown vs downtown thinks in Jamaica. Sure you are allowed to share your opinion but please consider that you are reading into this WAY too much. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, I do not think you have any right to place your judgment on whatever the freedom of the press allows (and then slap a tag on it called being a student of literature… give me a fucking break). I am a white/brown Jamaican (depending what country I am in). In the US I am black, in JA I am white. If I had the time to list all the things wrong with how people judge non-black Jamaicans, I absolutely would. Alas, I do have papers to turn in and deadlines to meet. I suggest you find an article relevant to how your field can make the world a better place rather than trying to deconstruct something that was not intended to be deconstructed. This is a video for commercial use and pure lightheartedness. If I’m not mistaken, it is actually a blooper. The person on the video should not be condemned for making light of a serious situation. We know chikungunya is real and a truly terrible disease. You aren’t the only person it as affected. And no, I am not a white Jamaican trying to defend my friend, I do not know her. I just wish I didn’t waste the last 5 mins reading something that is totally useless to how Jamaica can improve. C’mon, this race tale is OLD NEWS. I am done defending it just as you should be done analysing it. Upward and onward Jamaicans, this horse is beat dead dead dead.

  10. Spot on Kei, if perhaps the Beauty had the humility to understand how her unintended frivolousness caused or could cause condescendence, rather than rail up take offence and attack you; she would simply just apologize, clean up and move to be better learned measures place in future endeavours.
    But as you cleverly point out all of us corner the market on our right to ” take offence” whether this be from a myopic or self interested place or not. Kei self interest rules the world, a just so di ting set. Thanks again for your enlightenment and sensitive analysis. Most times thought provoking even if not in agreement. Respeck!

  11. Lol. Its actually amazing how quick people are to take things out of context. Additionally, this article is ENTIRELY about racial division, prejudices, privileges etc. but you’re yet to make mention of the fact that if her skin WAS indeed darker i.e she wasn’t “brown” or “Jamaican white”, this video would have been water off your backs with grand proclamations of “ITS FUNNY CAUSE ITS TRUE.” She identifies as Jamaican, as do we all. We laugh at the issues of our country on a daily basis; why is she not allowed to? Because of what may seem to be our unnaturally ubiquitous inferiority complex? I’m a black man, and I love my complexion; wouldn’t trade it for the world. Why should she be so harshly chastised for doing what we “black people” (read:Jamaicans) spend our days mocking? It hardly seems fair.

    By the way, though she herself may not actually be poor, if you pay attention to CONTEXT, shes speaking of us as a nation, and we are, factually, poor. As a nation.

    Chill out guys. Its just a little brown girl poking some fun at her country, as is her right.

    Also, my condolences.

    • Thank you David… that’s exactly how I saw it. Being true to form as any and all Jamaicans who tek bad ting mek laugh… we have learned to laugh at ourselves… and I also agree… we really need to chill out

  12. Chik-V remains a joke to many Jamaicans – both black and white, uptown and downtown- and in the usual Jamaican fashion we ‘mek bad ting tun joke’ and have immortalized it in song. I must say that my instinct was to be upset at this video, one just has to see the words ‘beauty queen’ and it is enough to conjure up dimwits who can’t locate their own countries on a map. However, what I saw in this video was just a white Jamaican woman laughing about a disease that everyone is laughing about and talking about how her country has no money – NOT mocking anyone’s poverty as some suggest.I think what makes this case special is mostly because she was in a setting where she was expected to sell brand Jamaica and that is what we expect of a ‘beauty queen’ at the very least.

  13. This is a very interesting article, Kei. And I do not say this with any sarcasm or tongue in cheek, or anything which is dismissive. It brings to light something that perhaps we need to discuss as a people, although I think the pain may mean that we can’t. I think Patrina Pink’s response is a valuable one, one which brings insight. You will notice that my response is measured. I am trying not to get cussed for whatever I am perceived to be. If I do get cussed, then it serves me right, because I should have known not to get into this. But I felt impelled, because having endured (a mild word) colonialism as child, and I rebelled to some extent in my teens) I found that after the colonial period, I had to actually reconstruct myself, find out who I was, what the positive things about me were (apart from being a bright student – our then road to acceptance and success.)

    I have deleted the rest of my post because it became too personal and might bring pain to the innocent – victims also of the system, and why dig up all that? Suffice it to say that nobody looking like me could have got a job in a bank, joined any of the social clubs where cheerful golf and tennis is played today by any of us who have money to do so, or darkened the door of a hotel as a guest. Many of your readers will not believe this. Of course not! When next you are home, I’d love to sit in on a discussion about this because I confess that by now I thought we’d have been okay, and that we’d be moving forward brilliantly with no need to worry about the differences perceived or real. But perception is reality.

    I’m sorry about your aunt. Please accept my condolences. The chik-v – an entire new set of perceptions and realities.

  14. There is a messiness to talking about race that Jamaicans – especially the lighter-skinned ones – love to avoid. And for that reason alone, I am glad that you wrote this. Because, you see, we are long past the age when we – that is, the people of the land who did not cut our eye-teeth on privilege – can be told what to think and exactly in what order to think. And the best part is, we can actually redirect the discourse in more productive directions.

    So, yes, let’s have white Jamaicans talk openly about how they are made fun of, dismissed, and what have you. And then let’s talk about why that happens, and what perpetuates that sense of outsiderness, and how they participate in it. And let’s examine the values that we claim are Jamaican, and whether these are shared, or are class specific, etc. You know, let’s have a real conversation. I don’t have time for “you can’t say that” kind of conversations that give the usual suspects the power to control what can and cannot be said.

    And for those who are still talking about the problem in Jamaica is class not race; you really need to update your reading list.

  15. Kei as ways great insights, the fact is is great Jamaicans like Mr Rex Nettleford himself pointed out that we repeat our motto obsessively in the hope that it will one day be true ..I have had the “privilege” of being around white Jamaicans and have heard them refer to black Jamaicans as bongos …now no offence was meant I am certain..but we do exist in a social construct where lighter means better and darker does not ..now the sooner we accept that is the sooner we will get past this crap

  16. i saw the video on my newsfeed as well and on a guttural level I was upset and offended. And that feeling made me think about why this particular video stayed with me in the way that it did. It was because she was presenting herself as an authority on matters related to jamaica because of her birthright all the while using that position to ridicule and mock the people she was describing. She separates herself from the rest of us wrestling with poverty and sickness by failing to empathize. It seemed to me she was using her accent and her heritage to create a brand for herself that made her more marketable in the UAE, without ever really aligning herself with the people she claims to come from

  17. The video was just offensive to me and I am not Jamaican ( lived here for awhile though!)
    I think the most offensive part was the fact that she took delight in punctuating all statements with ‘Jamaica poor.’ Yes all her statements were true but I thought the need to make joke of it was just in poor taste.
    I do think that the video would have been as offensive whether white, black or brown. The ChikV statements were just added salt… suffering with it as I type. Sorry about your Auntie.
    Your analysis though was interesting and thought provoking.

  18. thought provoking. Sorry for your loss homie. Blessings and respect.
    This was an insensitivity issue. There was a hurt in her disjointed ness, lost in detachment on not being able to make
    Her own sense of hopelessness. In the Jamaican tradition of finding joke in serious events, her attempt really was out of time and place. This epidemic is not over. It’s not passing thru like Gilbert. For instance the media has been too objective in their reporting. Most Jamaicans home and abroad are not aware of how serious this sickness is.
    Almost everyone I communicate with in Kingston have the sickness or just got over it. Then there are a segment that are escaping to the mainland. Then there are those on the mainland that is not going down until it blows over. Every other person is affected. The death toll is going up. So, her humor
    Was sick, because she was very ambivalent about how she should really feel. This is what privilege does. Black, Brown, White or simi-shade. I truly felt her sadness more than anything. What she and the rest of Jamaicans, at home and Abroad is a Groundation and a Blessing. Let’s look out for each other and address the failure of our leaders to look out for us. One Love and mean it.

  19. It’s not a good idea to get into an argument with Kei Miller, as some have found out. The issue of the color/class/privilege dynamic in the Jamaican context, is of course, not new and is aided by mentalities that assume entitlements to both privilege for some and underachievement for others, by virtue of things as accidental as surnames and physical features. Our people lack a certain maturity of thinking when they hold on tho those stereotypes, even if they are aided and abetted by much of the society at large.

    I remember being told by a Jamaican friend, who I suppose would be called brown, (it’s a new word for me, I have always avoided describing people by their color) that he would never marry a black girl. He, at the time, had not lived in this country (USA) long enough to find out, that he was black. Too many people of privilege in the Jamaican circumstance, are willing to perpetuate the status quo even in this more equalizing society. Fact is that despite cultural intermingling that the dancehall or carnival or other cultural happenings bring about, there are more than one Jamsicas, more than One People. There are Jamaican worlds who share little except for nationality, who know little about each other, except where work, or other interdependence make them cross paths. This is the way that it is. Jamaican culture, is built on this model. All of what it produces in terms of human product, are products of that model. How do we assign a value to it? Is it good or bad? Is it right or wrong? I have my opinion, but it is what is and that is Jamaica at this point in time.

  20. Pingback: Outameni One Confusion, A Sea of Green and A Distinguished Judge: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | Petchary's Blog

  21. Firstly, my condolences.

    Secondly, a few things to note:
    – I am not a student of literature, may have a few degrees but alas no position for the second disclaimer
    -This is not meant to be an argument
    – I was really looking forward to this article when I saw the title having read some of your previous blogs
    – I am Jamaican, born and raised, previously spending a total of 8 years of 33 living outside of Jamaica during my adult life
    – I have had the Chikungunya and am suffering the after effects as I type this
    – Never seen this video before this article

    I was looking forward to this article because I am a “brownin” and to be completely honest at times I do get offended or even unfitting for white or black white company briefly at times. However, I think this article should not have been about this video. Here is why:
    – Almost every Jamaican living in Jamaica “tek serious ting mek joke” especially about the Chikungunya and poor issues and especially at this time. This is not a racial issue, this is an education issue. Almost all of Jamaica is running around singing “One Panadol” which provokes all that she did about the plague
    – She is a prime example of young Jamaicans being put into a position they are not yet ready for. For example all the other Miss Jamaicas (black, white, Indian, out of many) who forget they are now an example to be followed, or even Usain Bolt who has gotten drunk and crashed under the influence. This is not a Jamaican or race issue though, this is a fame vs youth issue. It’s about being more sensitive, beyond your immediate environment and instead to the rest of the world, especially when you are in a role model position. Something they are just not ready for (The above mentioned have since grown more responsible)
    – Living (or back and forth-ing) outside of Jamaica (and in your case also suffering from tremendous loss, again my condolences) makes it difficult to see that this is not uncommon behavior for black, white, Indian, Chinese, out of the many Jamaica. Also partially because the world still does not believe that Caribbeans are anything but black complexioned. Not you, but I am pretty sure some “outsiders” watched it and thought she was mocking Jamaicans with her accent not realizing it IS her accent
    -Thanks to our wonderful Ministry of Health many Jamaicans are unaware of the seriousness or even that more than one or two people have died as a result of having previous ailments and then contracting the Chikungunya… more education issues
    – This video is not a mockery of Jamaicans but indeed very young Jamaican as sad as it is.

    So all that said, this video does deserve an article but not about being brown or white Jamaican. It needs to address sensitivity on a whole and being a role model. “See me and live wid me a two different ting” is what needs to be addressed. The video was inappropriate based on her Miss Jamaica status. This reaction would not have come if our newest comedian Dutty Berry had done it.

    When reprimanded or criticized most youth (up to age 24 or so) have the immediate reaction to defend on the surface. That being said, her reaction might have been different had she been educated privately that though she might not have meant offense, it is offensive and more care needs to be taken, along with further explanation of why it is offensive even though it seems her entire country reacts the same way.

    The reaction of race to this video is a big part of my discomfort with race. Many a times I have to hold back “being Jamaican” because I am not black enough for it to be accepted as Jamaican (I was once told by a black complexioned Jamaican very seriously that he did not know brown people eat Bulla hence his “no” response when I asked if he had anything to eat). Or hold back my love for some things that are predominantly white accepted because I am not white enough in places like the USA (I have learned that at times it is viewed as pretense rather than just my true nature). I hold back my true self at times simply because I cannot be bothered to deal with the blatant disregard that I am as you said a part of the “human race” and should be able to like or behave how I feel like (as long as it is ethical and of good nature). Unfortunately black and white racial issues do exist and this is also a big reason for it. Things being placed in the racism category when it really does not belong there or the idea that in 2014 one cannot behave a certain way because of complexion.

    I hope you will humour my disappointment with this article and write two more; one on being a brownin and one on being a responsible young role model. I look forward to reading.

  22. Pingback: Corruption, Climate Change and Chik-V Stole Headlines in the Caribbean in 2014 · Global Voices

  23. Pingback: Corruption, Climate Change and Chik-V Stole Headlines in the Caribbean in 2014 · Global Voices - Trendingnewsz.com

  24. Oi people only the United States has the one drop Black blood makes one Black, and that does not apply to Spanish speakers or Arabs with some Black ancestry. Moreover, it is a slave master rule to gain more slaves for labor!. Blacks in America enforce the rule because it increases their number and its all politics. Now in Jamaica there has always been a difference between Black, Brown and White! We do not have the 1 drop slave master rule here! Look in your history books, go online to Jamaicanfamilysearch.com, the lds.org/familysearch. You will see Brown/Mulatto listed for Mixed people, although “Brown” is referred to mostly “Quadroons”, who are mostly or entirely European in features. In fact some Brown people in Jamaica did own slaves, and were more privileged than Blacks. They “Brown” also treated Black Jamaican badly. Read Jamaicanfamilysearch.com, look at the Mormon site with Jamaican births, deaths going back to the 1700’s in some cases. Kingston parish is a good example to look at since they kept better records. This is not BS I am writing, look for yourselves. We have our own history, we are not a colony of America , which monkey see, monkey do; we need to stop rewriting our history to suit some people sensitivities and American culture.!

    • Thank you am getting tired of these jamaicans following american culture its like jamaican culture isnt good enough i got into a agruement with some old jamaicans getting offeneded because i call myself mixed race not black my grandfather was a white man and my apperance isnt just black living in jamaica i wasnt seen as black now am suddenly black because some idiot jamaicans wanna follow the one drop rule i am not white or black am both and i am not treated as black by everyone so why is it that am black sometimes and other times am light skin bitch or coolie or white girl give me a break my black boyfriend is black.year round so how are we the same

  25. I wonder if this (so called) beauty queen would laugh if she shaw Jewish inmates at a Nazi concentration camp being gassed to death?

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