THE EDITOR, Sir:
It has become customary for both our national newspapers to publish the pictures of various high-profile individuals and socialites in their social pages.
Such individuals are often depicted happily posing for the camera while in attendance at various extravagant events across Jamaica. Yachts, cocktail parties, high-end restaurants or clubs, all-inclusive parties, exotic homes, etc, seem to be the preferred venues.
While some of these featured persons have excelled professionally and have, therefore, legitimately earned the recognition which they receive, many others seem to be famous for no reason other than the fact that they belong to a particular racial or ethnic group or social class, own expensive or exotic homes or motor cars, are attractive, wealthy or have a recognisable surname.
Many of these socialites are either Jamaicans of non-African descent, expatriates or immigrants, and a disproportionate number of them are either Caucasian or Asian. This begs the question of why there is such a disproportionate emphasis in the social pages on these minority groups. Are ordinary Jamaicans not worthy of such attention?
Since the majority of Jamaicans are of African ancestry and, therefore black, what effect, if any, may this practice have on the national psyche? Is it possible that the unintended consequence of this practice is a reinforcement of a sense of inferiority among the black masses? Could it potentially also contribute to our malignant, relentless and insatiable obsession with the pursuit of fame and material possessions (greed) as we try to keep up with the Joneses?
Having regard to these issues, I would suggest that you make the social pages far more representative of our population by paying due regard to the many pillars of contemporary Jamaican society. For example, where are the pictures of the immaculately attired nurses sipping champagne at the hospital Christmas party, the teachers posing for the camera while having cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the annual banquet, the debonair policemen and women with their wives and husbands at the Police Federation dinner? Where are the pictures of the farmers, civil servants, soldiers, doctors, and entrepreneurs, etc.?
These individuals, though they are from the bowels of middle or working class, comprise the bulk of the Jamaican demographic. It is primarily upon their backs that the history of our great nation was forged and its future rests. They, too, are proud and successful Jamaican who deserve to have their lives and accomplishments featured and their stories told.
Additionally, they deserve to know that they have a privileged place in the social landscape of our country and that our nation acknowledges, respects, and values them.
Is it not time, 179 years after the abolition of slavery and 50 years post-Independence, that we see their pictures comprising the bulk of your social pages?