Winston Donald is a Fine Art Gallery Operator, Cultural Practitioner and Newspaper Columnist.
Are we really one people? In a fractured class and race biased society as Jamaica, many people especially those in academia or those that are Afro Centric or black conscious are examining the “wisdom’ of those who construct the “Out of Many, One People.”
Noted Post –Colonial writer, Psychiatrist, International scholar , West Indian Scholar , Black Martiniquian, Pro Independence Algerian Franzt Fanon stated ,”white depends for its stability on its negation, “black.” Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest.’
Shouldn’t the authorities entrusted with our governance seeks to question the national motto.
The actions of many or some groups who think Jamaica is theirs, the education of some groups who believe it is their God given right to hegemony and to be Lords because of their colors forgetting the exploitation and rape done to our people , especially those from West Africa or the ancient Mali-Ghana kingdom , taking us away into captivity to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Arab emirates, to Mauritania, Morocco, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and even to Europe and South India.
So should the Motto now be “Out of Many Races, One Nation”
The Jamaican motto is not original, though most Jamaicans do not know that.
E pluribus unum or "Out of many, one" (alternatively translated as "One out of many" or "One from many")—is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act "In God We Trust" as the official motto.
However, since Jamaica's Independence in 1962, these words have come to mean allot to the citizens of Jamaica because it speaks to our multi-racial roots. Jamaica's population of approximately 2.7 million, is predominantly African, European, East Indian and Chinese heritage.
I am not against changing the motto to something that is uniquely ours and something that is more representative of our country but I am not certain that I see such a strong distinction between "Out of Many, One People ' vs "Out of Many Races, One Nation" - just seems like a play on words to me.
Additionally, with all the other issues facing our country today - economic instability and crime - being chief among them. I am more concerned with improving the social well being of the poorer population, narrowing the margin between rich and poor in the country, reducing the profits of big businesses such as the Banks and Insurance companies and correcting the blatant classicism that exists in the society. In essence,
I guess I am kind of undecided on this point, I need more time to process.
I invite commentary from our readers, I am interested to know other people's view on this topic.
I have no political aspirations. My family and I have never deprived any benefits from political parties. In fact, in the days when the JLP with their hegemonic coloured politicians tried to buy votes with flour and rotten cod fish , my home in St. Ann was one of the few that voted People’s National Party and shunned the rotten goods which were being used to induce voting. To cut a long story short, it is alarming that the criminal activities have taken a turn for the worst in Jamaica. Why despite the PNP having the strongest record for social programmes (Yes, it is Norman Manley who introduced education for all Jamaicans at the high school level) crime has always been higher when the PNP is in power and crime control has always alluded the PNP. In serious self reflection, I am asking myself why? I have listen to complaint of many Jamaicans and I have to ask myself why is this so? Why under the other regime, the crime rate is tolerable? Is something of the nature of destroying the nation at work? By whom and in whose interests? There is an answer to everything. It appears that there are factors impacting the high crime rate on the island under all PNP state control. The fact is only since the Dudus West Kingston fiasco has the country seen a significant reduction in crime in the last 15 years , although for a few months.
From all assessment and analysis only seven (7) plausible reasons can be given and are as follows:
1. Serious economic disequilibrium that makes the worst come out of the criminal elements and the dispossessed Jamaicans.
2.Provision of guns by persons especially those with money to sabotage the government and social programmes.
3 The PNP party has always been soft on crime. Serious crime control has never been taken seriously.
4.. The PNP has always been ambivalent .
5. In its mantra to protect human rights .
6. The PNP has made it easier for criminal elements , some or any aligned to the party to get away with terrorizing the population.
7. Crime pays and there is an investment in crime which might be political , economic or a mixture of both. In fact it could also be racial-economic driven. Who knows?
Therefore if we know the answer which is one from the above, and even the most hypocritical and cynical of us knows it, why cannot the authorities or the people of Jamaica fix the crime problem?
It is time for serious action, strong leadership and steps to be taken which may not be favourable to some , especially those who benefited from crime to clip the wing of this scourge.
There are no other reasons so from these seven it awaits us all to analyse and assess the crime situation if we have not done that yet and make our choice of the correct reason . Have you choose the correct answer/reason ? Do not be a hypocrite? Be fair? I have made my selection. What about you?
I am no supporter of the JLP or PNP parties in Jamaica, I equally detest them both. I detest them for no other reason but the fact that they have both contributed to the atrocious crime problem in Jamaica by developing and financing gangs and the spread of ammunition among the poorer class. I detest them because they look out more for their own self interest rather than the interest of the people of Jamaica.
The seven plausible reasons above seem to give a clear assessment for the increase in crime. However, of the seven, number one seems to be the least likely reason for crime. The crime in Jamaica is hardly due to poverty, The Republic of Haiti is a far more depressed country than Jamaica economically. Haiti has 80% of its people below the poverty line, while Jamaica has 16.5%, however Haiti had approx 689 homicides out of a population of 9.8 Million compared to 1,133 out of a population of 2.7 Million in Jamaica in 2011.
In Jamaica, the poor kill the poor, the rich kill the poor and the police kill the poor.
Serious action need to be taken, but who? what? when? how? The current government seem to be more interested in qualifying for grants and loans instead of taking a serious look at the crime problem in Jamaica. If reducing the crime rate was a prerequisite for an IMF loan, then the PNP would be more apt to do something about it.
I have just encountered your site via my cousin. I'm disappointed by the bias,presented in the portrial of Jamaica, not unlike that which is presented by the government of Jamaica. I am a Jamaican, who now makes Canada my home, of European and African descent, and in classification of race would be considered caucasian.
The term used in our family is that we are a United Nation family, meaning as the Jamaican motto proclaims, "OUT Of Many One People". It appears that in attempting to find an identity your site along with the present day and some past Jamaican governments has failed to be truthful . I believe the present day promotion of Jamaica and the education or lack thereof of the young people of Jamaica is so contrary to that stated by many of the proclaimed Jamaican government heros . One just has to read the referenced quote on your site by H.I.M. Haille Salassie, it is clear from his statement that many in postition of power and public voices in Jamaica that his message was not heard or understood. It is my opinion you and others have become what you feverishly denounce.
One only has to ask why is there no national hero which is of any race other than Negroid.
Jamaica as with most countries throughout the world has suffered and has been scarred by slavery, the historical development of countries(empires) from the dawn of man has, always, sadly, been the conquering of persons and the indenturing of those. It is my opinion, that most people today, worldwide, could trace their ancestry to a: slave, serf, indentured servant, or simply put an 'owed' person. In fifty years of independence Jamaica has failed to be a country of any worth, it has failed to live up to the hopes and dreams its proclaimed heros. The number of first accomplishments by Jamaica as cited on you web page is impressive.....what has Jamaica done in the past fifty years that is as impressive. Has the status of the common person improved, are the children educated ,English is the language of Jamaica (and the regonized language of the world), the majority of young people in Jamaica are unable to speak, read or write the language. My ancestral grandfather, began the first girls school in Jamaica for "coloured girls" ....he knew and understood the importance of education.Today, why are so many young in Jamaica who are uneducated? There are many in Jamaica that only know that anything British is slavery, not knowing how misguided they have been. No matter how hard individuals try the British identity in the development of Jamaica can not be removed. It is the foundation of most of that which is positive(Law, education, government,industry, etc.).Today, the desire to demonize all that was British has fractured the Development for a healthy enlightened Jamaica for all. History should be truthful. A true native Jamaican is of Taino/Arawak, the indigenous people of parts Central and South America. Non indiginous are persons from Europe, Africa and Asia. With this in mind Jamaica should begin to honour all its ancestral roots which are Taino, the indiginous people, European(Spaniards, British), African and Asian. Listed in order of migration and settlement. Given the decimation of the true Jamaican, the Arawaks by disease and treatment of the first Europeans, the question is who today can be called a Jamaican...it is not a person of the Negroid race, it is not a person of the Caucasoid race or a Mongoloid . It is as the country's motto states an individual created out of many . Many races, many cultures, many religions and beliefs. This is the reason I am so disappointed by your web site and the governments of Jamaica since independance. All have failed to learn form the past. Jamaica today is more racist,unlawful,uneducated than it has ever been in its history. No one is to blame other than the blind and deaf Jamaican governments over the last few decades. One of my cousins recently stated she was unsure as to what to place on documents where 'race' was to be indicated being of Jamaican nationality, and her ancestral line is that of all the accepted race classification: the Caucasoid, the Mongoloid, and the Negroid, she was perplexed as to what to place. In jest ,various nomenclature were suggested; mutt, mongrel,mixed,all, as you can see the possibilities are endless. She in my opinion represents a person native to Jamaica...no one race but a combination of all. This is worthy of celebration. It is time for all to acknowledge our history good and bad, remedy the resulting negatives, celebrate the good and the resulting benefits and develop a fair, just, and equal Jamaican culture. Shame on the people of Jamaica. A country that was once acknowledged worldwide as a beautiful, peaceful gentle society, a desired location now know as a crime infested uneducated violent society. This is an off the cuff gut expression, but in general, represents what many feel about Jamaica. If you wish to break free of the slavery of the mind acknowledge, accept ,apply the direction of Martin Luther King, " You know the truth, and the truth will set you free" The uneducating and dishonesty of the governance of Jamaica has created a general populance of angry,ignorant,poor, and racist people with little to strive or hope for. It is time Jamaica throw of its excuse of slavery for failure.
I am disappointed that you did not post your comments on the actual website instead of sending a personal, repetitive rather boring letter to our staff. That makes you a coward. I will however post the contents of your email to invite commentary, since you seem to crave some sort of attention.
I feel bad for you, you sound like a mixed girl trying to fit into a white persona by denouncing that portion of you that you deeply resent. You call yourself Caucasian but if you are of mixed breed (African), you are in fact "black". No matter what you look like, no matter what you choose to call yourself, sorry honey, it’s a hard pill to swallow isn't it - you are what you hate.
But since you have taken the time to write such a long letter to our staff, I will dissect it and put you on display for the world to see your obvious ignorant, racist biased view of life.
FJN and the Jamaican government consistently portray images of Jamaicans of African, European, Chinese, Indian and Caucasian races. Do you live in a hole, cut off from society? Jamaicans are a proud people. We celebrate the contribution of all Jamaicans no matter the race. Our website is filled with images of all races, most are black and mixed because (news flash!!!) our society is predominantly black and mixed. If you know of people of the Caucasian race that are worthy of praise that have been overlooked, submit the names and we will happily research and write about them. I noticed, you haven’t mentioned any in your letter.
Our national heroes are black and of mixed race. I think you should have gone one step further in your email and point to a 100% pure Caucasian that is worthy of the title of national hero (this seems to be the source of your pain, giving recognition to a race that you desperately latch on to) and then we could debate that point. I don't know of any, do you?
Yes, many races have suffered but none like the African, Jamaica is not unlike many other countries who still continue to suffer from the scars of slavery and colonialism. All throughout Africa and the Caribbean, black people continue to suffer because of the remnants of slavery and the new so called governments that though they are black still serve the needs of the old colonial masters, Europe left the shores of Jamaica but the house slaves did not leave and they are still loyal to "Massa", this is the reason many countries including Jamaica continue to suffer. Again do you live in a hole?
Many black people even in economically developed countries such and the USA, throughout Europe and Canada are at an obvious disadvantage because they live in a world that have erased all evidence of their history, reduced them to mediocre education and social services and puts them in a second class state of mind because of their skin color. Ask yourself why black history is not taught in schools and why we are reduced to one month (albeit the shortest in the year). I'm actually quite disgusted by your ignorance, I do not know your level of education but it seems you either have not gotten very far or you are simply an "educated fool". You seem to be very concerned with the % of uneducated Jamaicans, but your letter was fraught with punctuation and grammatical errors (that icon labeled spell check to the left of the toolbar could have helped you a bit).
Contrary to your statement, many of the accomplishments that are cited on this particular article are in recent years and actually since you seem to be concerned that the colonial master are not getting their just due, some of the accomplishments listed are in their honor because these were established during the time of colonialism. So there the Caucasian was honored, but you are still very "black".
I don't know why you are under the impression that everything in Jamaica that is British is demonized, this statement is completely unfounded and without merit and again you are very repetitive but with little substance or evidence to back up your statements. The core religion is Jamaica is Christianity, is that not British? Jamaica still refers to itself as part of the West Indies despite the fact that this was a great blunder of Columbus thinking he had landed in India, the British applauded credited the blunder and so have we, is that not British? Our education system is still very much European, is that not British? We still have a Governor General and First Lady that is higher in rank than our own prime minister, it that not British? Our courts still hail the queen at the start of every trial, is that not British? The history of Europe and the Caucasian race is what is taught in our schools. If your essay had more meat then "gibberish" there would be grounds for a great debate but your contention again seems to only be a great resentment of yourself and that is truly sad.
The problem that Jamaica faces is greed and corruption at its highest level, it has nothing to do with racism or hatred for the British. We live in a society ruled by a government that looks out for its own self interest, pure and simple. This is the problem in most post colonial countries in the Caribbean and Africa. The people are kept uneducated because this is the method in which they are controlled. They are kept poor so that they will be easily bribed by politicians. The country has a very real crime problem because our political parties aided by the US government and the CIA sew the seed and now are powerless against the fruit that they bear. Greed and Corruption - this is the real problem. Jamaicans do not have a racist bone in their body; we love everyone that loves us. We are one of a few countries with very high migration rate to very white countries and manage to live very well among all races. More Jamaicans live outside the country than in it that is a testament to our acceptance of all other races. We work hard and we strive for greatness.
This article and this website is intended to inspire and celebrate that part of us which is great not point to the negative. There are many other blogs and other outlets that are doing that, please subscribe to those (the Klu Klux Klan could use you, but since you are not pure breed, I don’t know how you would fair).
It also seeks to educate black people internationally about their history, my history did not start at slavery so pardon us for yearning to seek knowledge beyond that. A people without a past, surely has no future. All other races have a past, let us have our own. The schools are not doing it so we have to educate ourselves about ourselves. We highlight many other countries in the Caribbean and Africa, we do not restrict our magazine to Jamaica but since we are Jamaicans, we can only speak from that perspective.
We celebrate the black woman because she is lost and need to find her way back to that which is natural. The white woman is continually glorified - let us have our own glory.
You have obviously restricted yourself to this article but you refer to the website in your essay, again you have no basis for your argument and rest on very little merit.
Do not subscribe to our magazine, it was not meant for you. But please read more; you seem to really need .............