Wed | Oct 21, 2020

We should not have to be Rastafarians to wear dreadlocks

Published:Thursday | August 6, 2020 | 12:17 AM


The ruling of the Supreme Court of Jamaica that Kensington Primary School did not breach her constitutional rights when it refused her access is an attack on our African identity.

The Constitution of Jamaica states that none of us should be discriminated against, regardless of race, religion, culture, etc. Despite this, other schools in Jamaica are allowed to discriminate against anyone that proudly identify with the African culture. The human resource policies of our places of work is a topic for another time.

We should not be surprised by the ruling by the same judges, who have up to recently sported the European wigs depicting ‘white’ hair, and would accept our African hair as hygienic. This is spit in the face of our national heroes and other ancestors who gave their lives so that we can be free today.

On August 1, 2020 we celebrated 182 years of proclamation of full freedom – Emancipation Day. Moreover, 2020 is a year when the Black Lives Matter movement is at its highest point since its inception, highlighting systemic racism. The world has begun to correct the wrongs while Jamaica is lagging behind.

We should not have to be Rastafarians to wear our natural hair to school. Children of all other races in Jamaica are allowed to sport their natural hair to school however they like. They are praised for their ‘pretty’ hair, while black children are told that their hair is ugly, tough, and all other negative words of the English dictionary.

If you find yourself despising African hair and culture, do some introspection and ask yourself why.

Since enslavement, black people have been programmed to believe that everything about themselves and their culture is evil. In fact, some churches in Jamaica are still preaching to the congregation that blackness is as a result of the ‘Curse of Ham’.

On July 22, Prime Minister Andrew Holness launched the Education Transformation Commission 2020 to comprehensively review and assess Jamaica’s education system. Decolonising Jamaica’s education system should be their highest priority because it is indispensable for the current and future generations of Jamaican children to uplift themselves. To do this, they have to first love, accept, and believe in themselves. They must accept themselves for who they really are, not what anyone else wants them to be.