Perhaps, it comes with age, but I’ve noticed that when I feel peeved by certain things, I like to let that simmer overnight. I was peeved by what sounded like a compliment. Jamaicans were urged to do “what you do best”–party. Apart from wondering how we usurped Trinidad in the regional pecking order, I got thinking fast.
I was peeved because it’s a racial or national stereotype, like white men can’t jump, or blacks can’t play quarterback.
Jamaicans don’t do partying best. We…write…dance…take awkward international political positions…stand up for ourselves…best, amongst many other things.
How, the partying image came to swamp that I’m not sure. Louise Bennett may be rolling in her grave. So, too, maybe, Prof. Rex Nettleford. ‘Joshua’, aka Michael Manley, too, may be disturbing the earth, especially in the wake of a change in US policy towards Cuba.
How did our prowess in sprinting somehow get overshadowed by the ability to do the nalinga?
We have some great chess players, too.
But, what’s a Grand Master compared to someone who can twerk, twerk, twerk?
Gone are the days when Jamaica was know for the limbo? Perhaps, not.
We invented new modern, musical genres…ska, rock steady, reggae…
We established new religions/belief systems, in Rastafarianism.
We have the best ganja. We may not have the nous to exploit it better than others, but word is that our high grade is as high grade as it comes. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
So, my peevishness has simmered.
Did I mention the number of times Jamaican women became Miss World? Care what you may about Minister Hanna and ‘bikinigate’, it was a clear reminder of what our best includes.
I’m not going to recite the number and names of leading figures in their fields who are Jamaicans by birth, by heritage, or by nationality. Over the Christmas season play that as a parlous game. Most know the likes of Colin Powell and Louis Farrakhan, and Grace Jones, and Malcolm Gladwell, and Linford Christie, and John Barnes. Oh, I’m tiyyurrrd…
So, let me stop before I get to a full-blown Bruce Golding moment and utter that phrase. 😳 Jamaicans know the one.
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery!” It applies to us, and those who think about us.