“KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica’s high court ruled Friday that a school was within its rights to demand that a girl cut her dreadlocks to attend classes…” — Washington Post* 7/31/2020
The above article is an interesting and sobering, eye-opening read. I am also quite embarrassed by it. If I saw this story floating around social media, I would immediately seek to verify its authenticity. But we cannot say that it is: “fake news” because this is the Jamaican supreme court speaking for itself.
Trump’s exposure and exploitation of our national ‘unwelcomeness’ via the wide-spread hostility to the Black Lives Mattering movement has an upside; African-Americans slowly realize that if our lives are to matter, then it is us who first must make that belief possible (the people who look like us, must matter to us), make a claim defensible, and affirm its righteous reality; alas, no one is coming to save us.
As African-Americans seek to justifiably rediscover their African-Centric heritage, relocate, visit, invest, and spend vacation dollars in those places where Black people are in the majority and “in-charge”; let us not be led by any illusions. Dr. Franz Fanon did a masterful job** in fully explaining the powerfully insidious nature and outcomes of centuries-long brutal racist slavery and European colonial domination. The self-esteem damage done to the collective African-Diaspora psyche has left many lasting ill effects on all of us, including those nations that have “Black faces in high places,” national anthems, flags, and seats at the UN.
I still think that we should direct our financial, skills/talents, and intellectual wealth to build and enrich these majority Black nations. But we should do so with a clear understanding that these peoples and governments are not any more politically, economically, culturally, or psychology free than those of us who live under direct racially aggressive internal-colonialism and negro-neocolonialism in the US. The emphasis on ‘colorism’ (including medically dangerous ‘skin-lightening’ techniques) as a standard for beauty; governmentally sanctioned or “winking-approval” of acts of violence committed against members of the LGBTQ community; straight-hair and ‘long’ hair wigs; the insatiable taste for ‘anything western’ food, furniture, household goods, and products, as opposed to recycling the money of the nation by purchasing those food items, products and commodities that can be produced locally; and some examples of Christian practices that make our Black-American prosperity preaching jack-leg preachers look like saints.
When will we (the African-Diaspora) learn that mimicking the West’s cultural values will not work for us? Michael Manley, a former Prime Minister of Jamaica, came to clear understanding that the ‘international (western/capitalist) economic system’ is specifically designed to exploit and keep the economies of non-western nations underdeveloped, and thus ripe for continued resources and human exploitation. International ‘aid’, lending organizations (e.g., the IMF) and banks require developing nations to commit ‘cultural suicide’ by turning their backs on their historical and possible modern evolutionary traditions: ‘One village, one people, mutual care and no exploitation.’ The small-scale replication of class-exploitative western economic systems is a no-win scenario for developing nations. It’s the establishments of sizable wealth-gap poverty societies, which is not the best path to building a humane, shared-wealth and wide-spread developing society. And for this public revelation, Manley paid a heavy price. We saw significant acts of armed violence introduced by external sources into the Jamaican electoral system and process.
Our hair, skin, walk, laughter and tears, are all part of our natural majestic beauty!
And this is why this Jamaican ‘hair’ ruling is more significant than ‘tonsorial-styling’ choices (as is the focus of the article); but instead goes to the heart of cultural aggression; and when there is no cultural resistance, what is revealed are the cowardly acts of economic, political, and ultimately cultural surrender.
Bob Marley (by the way a Jamaican who proudly wore his natural locks) charged us to: “Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!” Marcus Garvey (also a son of Jamaica) said that Africans worldwide must unite. He was and still is right. I say that we must unite to reclaim our history, dignity, and the power to define and determine our humanity. If our ‘natural locks’ are not acceptable and safe in Jamaica, then where are they or we safe from racism?
* “Jamaica’s high court rules school can ban dreadlocks”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/jamaica-dreadlocks-school-student/2020/07/31/2cf6db4c-cf4e-11ea-8c55-61e7fa5e82ab_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-low_jamaica-655pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans
**Wretched of the Earth; Black Skin, White Masks; A Dying Colonialism; Toward The African Revolution.