Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Dick not standing on firm ground

Published:Thursday | February 5, 2015 | 11:51 AMDennis Stephens

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is astonishing that the February 5, 2015 edition of The Gleaner contains a piece, written by the Rev Devon Dick, on the topic 'We have a black problem', which is the subject of commentary and a documentary in the US. http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-19/are-african-immigrants-african-ame...

His article typifies the nonsense that one hears in a Jamaican church every Sunday and demonstrates why so many of us now "darken the church door" only in the case of a funeral or a wedding. The level of foolishness, ignorance, prejudice, arrogance, is awe-inspiring, especially in someone who has assumed the task of bringing the gospel, which should be synonymous with good news and truth, to this sinful world.

Dick's article explains why, even in 2015, many remain in a confusion about race, and illustrates our need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.

All educated people now realise that race is a social construct, fundamentally from all points of view.
Consider the following:

1. There are probably more cultures in Africa than in China and all of Asia and Europe combined.There are non-African black people.
2. One of the hallowed techniques of racism, universally, is to arbitrarily put all people of a certain type, background, into one category. Thus Irish American classification: a) Roman Catholic, b) hard drinker, c) boisterous, d) loves cabbage and pork, e) noisy.
All Jews are miserly and only motivated by money. Scots are mean, exacting, 'gravalicious'. Germans are sober, love beer, obedient to authority, and blond. Blacks are poor, noisy, dangerously violent. The English are superior to every other nation.
3. African American means approximately the same as European American in that it does not identify the particular area/culture from which the individual's ancestors migrated, were sent abroad as criminals, or were captured and shanghied.
4. Most non-white Americans are as mestizo as Mexicans, Cubans, Brazilians, and are happy to accept Brazilian, etc., as their classification, if that ever becomes necessary. To be Jamaican is to be a people without the need for hyphenation.
5. All this pigeon-holing and classification just increase confusion and divisiveness. If 'American' is not enough, their empire and civilisation are destined for collapse like the historically ephemeral British empire.
6. The function of the religious educator should be the dispelling of stereotyping, and to encourage us, as individuals, to get to know people of different  colours and cultures and to let us know that his God made people of different appearances but all equal in his sight, and deserving of respect and regard.

DENNIS STEPHENS

saturn1@cwjamaica.com