Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Embracing Emancipendence

Published:Thursday | August 13, 2020 | 12:19 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

EVERY YEAR around this time, we Jamaicans reflect upon our progress as a nation. For a small Caribbean island, we have a lot to be thankful for. We gather in various places to reflect. This year is a bit different, but I’m sure we still have a lot to reflect upon.

One thing that has been on my mind since the African revolution started with George Floyd is the question of us being truly liberated as a country whose population is mostly made up of people of African descent. I know we have come a long way as a country, but as Jamaicans, are we truly free if we can’t embrace completely our African ancestry? Why do we still fight over whether or not locking our natural hair is acceptable, or why do we still have colourism in our society? When I first came to the United States a few years ago, I was exposed to the grim reality of being black. For the most part, I was always surrounded by people who were of different ethnicities while living in Jamaica. To be honest, I didn’t know that there was supposedly anything wrong with me until some white people started talking down to me while attending school here in the United States.

Because of how I was raised, I never really saw the importance of embracing my African ancestry. Over the course of three years, I have gained more understanding of what it means to be African. I’ve also come to understand the deeper meaning of the Rastafarian movement. The whole idea of embracing the authenticity of being black in a society where our own skin colour and hair texture can be seen as a threat is the exact opposite of being able to love yourself completely. If we were all created in the image and likeness of God, why can’t we embrace each other’s unique make-up? We say we are ‘Out of Many, One People’. If so, let’s embrace each other’s unique beauty. Let’s emancipate ourselves from mental slavery and systematic colonialism.

RENÉ LAMBERT