by Kavon Fiennes
Caveat/Disclaimer: I am a Black (sometimes brown) Jamaican. I don’t use my skin colour as a determinant of how I think or act. I was raised within a lower middle class family in Kingston whose origins, from both my mother’s and father’s sides, are rural poverty. I am now in the middle-middle class of Jamaica, based on my profession and salary. Perhaps (and I hope that) my children and grandchildren will be in the upper-middle or upper classes.
My paternal grandparents, of blessed memory, were hard workers all their lives. Their first house was made of wattle and daub (wood and mud) and they had aspirations for their near dozen children. All of which were realized for all but one of them (who died in childhood), as all became professionals. I don’t think there is anything wrong with higher aspirations for one’s descendants, as in general we don’t want a life for them – of living hand to mouth or struggling to make ends meet.
I am a Black man. However, whenever I visit the United States I do not associate myself much with American Blacks who refer to themselves confusingly as “African-Americans”. Some types of African immigrants (including North Africans and White Africans) must be confused with its use as a replacement for the colour of one’s skin.
On these visits to the US I mostly travel with my wife and we often use public transportation in American cities with large urban African-American populations. When I see African-Americans on the bus or subway, most of them from their behaviour and concept of dress (as fashion?) don’t appear to going to or from any place of work, as Jamaican commuters appear to be doing when using our public transportation. I feel as though we are the odd ones out of place, and we are.
My pants are above my ass, my underwear isn’t showing, my clothes are properly fitting and my wife neither wears a mop on her head nor does she have on plastic talons, nor does she wear clothes 2 or 3 sizes too tight for her physique. Some Jamaicans dress this way as well.
In general I don’t care what people wear. That is an individual’s choice….. It would be all well and good if this outward sartorial manifestation of culture were part of a larger pattern of behaviour and conduct that was leading our race onto a path of achievement that was uplifting poor African-Americans communities and Jamaicans in the innercity from the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic class. But it is not.
We Blacks -mostly Politicians and their sycophant operatives – love to blame the wicked white man (in America and Europe) for the current ills that plague our race….How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Capitalism & Slavery, Racism, Imperialism…. and that is because of ignorance of the reasons of our current plight, which are predominantly because of poor black leadership and governance.
The urban African-American language is almost gibberish. My colleague Bogodini from the Eastern Caribbean can’t understand it when spoken in full force. He has come to realize he is not one of them. The grammar, the drawl, the use of profanity in almost every sentence smacks of a lazy and unrefined culture. It is just like the Jamaican ghetto, nasty nyagga culture. I think they wanted to teach it in Black predominant American schools as Ebonics. I hope that Patois (or Jamieken as the UWI intellectual Carolyn Cooper calls it) doesn’t succeed where the push for Ebonics failed.
English is the language of global commerce, trade and communication. My grandparents were strong advocates of education, which lifted my family from “living off the land”. I am sorry, but Jamieken and Ebonics will take our race nowhere.
In conversation with most literate and fluent English-speaking African-Americans about human freedom and individual rights I am looked at with suspicion and labelled a Republican. I laugh at the Republican label, as I am not a conservative, I am about freedom….not quite Libertarian, but almost there. Republicans by their deeds, rather than words, are statist. I am anti-Big Government, but not an anarchist.
All culture is NOT equal. Behavioural changes and cultural transformation through evolution (rather than devolution) is what will get American Blacks and Jamaicans to the promised land.
Somehow the Black-collectivist-bawling-racism-mongers think that equates to a cop out or sell out of one’s race and culture to the white man. Black immigrants from all around the world who emigrate to the US have proven that they can surpass the American Blacks and overcome “rampant” racism and discrimination because of a different approach to life.
The brainwashing of Blacks in America and Jamaica by the ‘left’ [the Democrats and the Progressive PNP (an oxymoron is there ever was one)] cannot be undone in this generation. Unfortunately, I think the future is indeed bleak for my race if there is no U-turn in this road that we are collectively traveling down (in support of a some ’cause’…..called Social Justice perhaps?).
Am I a traitor to my race? Am I a ‘house slave’? Am I an ‘Uncle Tom’? Or to paraphrase ESPN’s Rob Parker….. “Am I a cornball brother?” Perhaps I’d have to be African American to qualify.
Kavon Fiennes is creator of the RightFromYaad blog. He is a 30-something year old ‘Black’, sometimes ‘Brown’, Jamaican. He is a former socialist, nationalist and Democrat, turned Libertarian and semi-conservative since his mid 20′s. He still holds lingering left-wing views on the way society ought to treat the destitute and elderly.