Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Patria-Kaye Aarons | Ignorance: yaad-man ting

Published:Tuesday | January 8, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Trash TV still floats my boat. My must-watch line-up on a Sunday night includes Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo and 90 Day FiancÈ on TLC. I've written about 90 Day FiancÈ before.

Essentially, each season, the show follows foreigners in search of happily ever after. Engaged to an American, they have 90 days to either get married or pack their bags and go.

Last March, I made reference to a Jamaican on the show named Devar and the 'hattaclapse' his position on remittance was causing in his marriage. Riveting stuff!

There's another yardie in this new batch of couples. Jay Smith is a 20-year-old tattoo artist from St Mary. His hot blood landed him in hot water with his 31-year-old wife. Three days after he got married to her, he was caught flirting with women through an online dating site, even inviting them over to the woman's house for Lord knows what.

After a long, apologetic ramble about his marital misstep, Jay was asked if he felt he could be monogamous in his relationship. His response: "I don't know." This turned his white wife red and seemingly sealed his fate. There was no getting out of the doghouse at that point.

Later in the episode, we learnt that Jay actually didn't know what the word 'monogamous' meant. At first, I was embarrassed by Jay's ignorance. I hoped the viewers didn't think he was a reflection of every Jamaican, cursing with a limited vocabulary of monosyllabic words. How could he have gone through secondary school and not encountered 'monogamous'?

However, upon reflection, to be fair, 'monogamous' hadn't been a factor of his lexicon or lifestyle in the past. Him run road, yaad-man style. His youthful promiscuity had formed a quintessential part of his storyline and the audience was only counting down to the moment when his real nature would take over. Let's just say Jay wasn't marriage material. By his own admission.




More significant to note was what Jay's response highlighted. Instead of just admitting that he didn't understand, he gave what he felt was a safe, non-committal, middle-of-the-road answer. Kinda like when you choose C in a multiple-choice exam because you're clueless about what the actual answer should be. And as the saying goes, 'When in doubt, choose C'.

In school, teacher asks a question, student doesn't understand, and yet they smile and nod or give some nebulous answer, praying it applies. Anything but say, "I don't understand. Can you explain?" And it carries over into adulthood. What's so wrong with opening a door to knowledge? Admitting you don't know something and asking for clarity?

Not five minutes after feeling embarrassed by Jay, I felt guilty. I realised that I was the reason Jay was ashamed of saying, "I don't know." My first reaction to discovering his cover-up was ridiculing him for not knowing something - a situation we have all found ourselves in continuously as a natural part of life. Everything we know, we learnt. Everything we know, there was a time we didn't' know it. And somehow, knowledge and snobbery increase proportionately.

Kids who ask questions are laughed at and made to feel stupid or like a pesky interruption, and so they stay silent, smile and nod and pray the word never comes up again.

And so the ignorance perpetuates into adulthood, because of timid learners and judgemental bystanders.

"He who knows not,

and knows not that he knows not,

is a fool; shun him.

He who knows not,

and knows that he knows not,

is a student; Teach him.

He who knows,

and knows not that he knows,

is asleep; Wake him.

He who knows,

and knows that he knows,

is wise; follow him."

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a confectioner and broadcaster. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@gmail.com.