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Letter of the Day | The bandana represents oppression

Published:Wednesday | December 11, 2019 | 12:00 AM


The national ensemble for Miss Universe Jamaica 2019, based on the legend of Annie Palmer, has evoked outrage. Some construe this as a celebration of slavery. However, the problem is that the story is a sham.

Over a century ago, leading journalist Herbert George Delisser exposed the narrative as just folklore. The real Annie Palmer was not nefarious like her imaginary character, popularly known as the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’. Moreover, the costume has promoted the Rose Hall Great House on an international level, which will only redound to the benefit of Jamaica’s tourism sector.

Further, even if Annie Palmer was a vile slave owner, Iana Tickle Garcia’s choice of apparel would not constitute support for slavery. Miss Garcia, through her dress, would only be telling a negative aspect of our history by highlighting the brutality of slavery.

Interestingly, however, many Jamaicans praise the bandana as a national symbol when it represents oppression, since planters clothed enslaved women in this cheap fabric to cut costs. As Buckridge (2004) notes, slaves who secured income often purchased finer clothing.

The truth is that the logic of social-media users is warped by political correctness, in that they revere negative residues of slavery such as Patois, obeah, and the bandana. Yet, such individuals are unwilling to admit that colonialism did, in fact, produce some benefits for the Jamaican state. Like the usual debates in Jamaica, the contention surrounding Iana Garcia’s regalia is uncontroversial.