Racism: America to Jamaica

The ability to travel and experience other cultures is a privilege. The other method of gaining such an experience is by reading or watching television. Upon several journeys to North America, I have realized that the country has a main problem that may never go away. It is called racism. It is not readily evident in the large cities. However, traveling through the small communities or suburbs, it is very evident.

Distinctive racial lines are drawn in this first world country. It is reinforced through television and entertainment. It is either you belong to that group or another group. There is no mixture of race denotations either. Once a person is mixed, they are classified according to their most outstanding physical attributes. For example, Barack Obama is classified as being half black and half white. If it was anyone else, they would have been black.

Social class and sub-cultural background also plays a role in the society, in terms of how the race card is issued out. There are situations where a black person may choose not to listen to Kanye West and instead groove to Katey Perry. This black person after being judged by physical appearance is again judged by social orientation. This person is then persecuted by both the black and white communities for not being culturally consistent with their physical appearance.

Jamaica to America

Racism in Jamaica is much milder compared by the standards set by the United States. Jamaica is predominantly a black inhabited country, so there are less incidents or opportunities for racial behavior or hate crimes. The segregation on the island is enforced through social and economic divide. America does also boost a system of severe social and economic divide. This is a basic function of capitalism and the freedom to exploit those less fortunate.

One of the main reasons why other nations are migrating to Jamaica from other countries is because there is no race persecution practiced in Jamaica.

Apart from the bright allure of racially motivated stories on the TV, I have seen it first-hand being played out in numerous settings and arenas. It is a shocking experience entering a racist country from a non-racist country.

Cultural observations in Jamaica also prove that our society is being influenced to think along racist lines. It is one of the negative effects that massive first world countries wield on smaller third world countries. I was not aware of racism at that level until I was around 15 years old. This is after being taught in high school by American white teachers. My sub-culture before that was rural and tourism based. Upon visiting the U.S.A. a couple of times, I had gotten the point. I must admit I was a bit slow and may have been sheltered due to my social-cultural background.

Experience in America

The first time I went to school in America, I started to feel the pinch of racism. In terms of even filling out documents, I was being streamlined into ticking the African-American option or ticking “other”. This was very intimidating because I did not want to be streamlined statistically. I was neither from the soil of Africa or America. The system wanted to know my ethnicity and my race. Most of the documents were collecting irrelevant information for censorship purposes. Such documents in Jamaica rarely streamline such information.

In college, I was now hanging out with a predominantly white crowd. My black girlfriend had informed me that her black friends did not appreciate me hanging out with that crowd. They did not say anything directly to me. This had given me the impression the black crowd did not even want to talk to me because of my blatant betrayal of my alleged social orientation. I tried to explain to some people that I may not behave in a stereotypical manner because I AM NOT FROM AROUND HERE.

I had also experienced an incident where a white student had accused me of stealing something, because I was the only black person at the scene. If the stolen item was not recovered, I would have surely been persecuted by law enforcement. The white kid that had actually stolen the item was released by law enforcement.

I have many experiences with racism, but not many in Jamaica. Another thing I had noticed when I do take strolls in the middle class and suburban neighborhoods in America is the people of opposing racial backgrounds cross the streets or turn back whenever they see me approaching. It is only the kids (all race) that really don’t care and never change their trajectory, sometimes they may even bump into me.

Initiation Stage

There is a point that a child becomes race aware. It can happen by watching American cartoons or it can be learnt from friends or parents. Children are very innocent and cannot generate thoughts of hatred by themselves. It has to be learnt. As a matter of fact, new ideologies have to be forced into the subconscious brain of children. The American entertainment system has the ability to propagate divisions amongst people with different physical features. This form of brainwash media is also exported to other first and third world nations.

Unconscious racism

I have also noticed that most racist persons do not have a clue that they are racist. They always make the mistake of making comments or taking actions that reveals their thought and intention of division. The unconscious racist is in a hypocritical state. These are the people that are offended by other races and resort to sending out subliminal (hidden) hate messages. They naturally perpetuate the system of division while voting for equal rights and justice.

They know it’s wrong but they can’t help it. They have Been Programmed.

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Comments 30 comments

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

I am glad you have the courage to speak your mind. We are not done with our bout against racism.

My experience with Jamaicans here is twofold. There are those who are truly accepting of others. They are the happiest, loosest people I know. Then, there are those who assume racism is a barrier against them. Those people have a tendency to be bitter and "stand-offish". I am sorry that they don't like like me, but all I did was look white. No harm done to me. I don't care if you like me, or not.

The fact is, race is not as much of a factor as it was. A loser needs to find another excuse these days. Our guy Zimmerman . . . racist? No! Kook!

http://youtu.be/iRdsI0FLPDY


Charles Hilton 4 years ago

Rasta1, I relate well to this hub, because I'm a white man working in an all-white, blue-collar shop where the racism fluctuates between mere innuendo, to outspoken. Yet, all of my co-workers would deny being racist---maybe for my benefit, because they know my liberal political views.

But, as I mentioned on another hub, the younger generation gives me hope because they are less bigoted and presumptuous than their forbears.

There are many ways in which America still needs to grow up, compared to other nations, but, hopefully future generations will change that.

Excellent and timely hub!

Voted up!


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect WD, The Jamaicans in Florida may be a bit more un-trusting. If it was New York, they would have been nicer. Florida causes a lot more division than other states.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Hilton,It is a good thing to rise above the influence. The younger generation does give some hope, however they are being targeted for brainwash campaigns.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

I hear that. I didn't mean to say that they don't come by it honest. It just doesn't apply to me or mine. You know . . . have a meal, can you play that guitar?

There are many pockets of poverty that are directly across Flagler's rail road track from the Yacht Club. It is a tough climb out, and you are constantly reminded that you don't fit in. There are exclusive offers that you never see. The town was built around you, like a dismal swamp that was too much effort to drain and clear. No one sees that you have clear visqueen stapled over the window instead of glass. The insurance man never made it to your house after the hurricane. There is no insurance. It is not clear who owns it. Your grandfather never made a will. The taxes have been paid by various members of the family for decades.

If some new kid from Jamaica moves in down the street, you will make sure you show him what's up,"This is how we roll!"


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

The Florida crowd is a pretty tough crowd.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Or, they can be as sweet as orange blossom honey. We love our Jamaican cousins, that's a fact. We see you!

Also, my good, good friend, there are two sides to every story. These boys from Jacksonville tell it best. I am sure Bob will agree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibXbbLsiTYY


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

Enjoyed your take on America and you are right about my country. I've had the pleasure of visiting Jamaica almost every year for quite a while now and love your country and people.

As you may imagine, my upbringing in the deep south exposed me to racism of every shape and form, and it's still prevalent in today's rural Georgia communities.

It has changed some over my lifetime, but still has a long way to go. I've made friends with many of your countrymen over the years and always enjoy their viewpoints of my country too.

Respect from a Jamerican!

Randy SSSSS


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Randy and Rasta1 - now I feel better. Jah love!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

@WD! Bet you never surfed in Jamiaca! Not with a board, anyway! LOL!

SSSSS


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Randy Godwin, I still love Florida. Most people can't really be bothered with racial stuff nowadays.

@WD, Where do you find those music?


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho

America definitely has racial issues and it is sad for me to think of. I realize it wasn't that long ago when things were still segregated and some of those people whether they are alive or dead have passed their beliefs to their children. You are correct, children are born pure and innocent with a heart full of love. It is the adults who mess this up. Originally from Cincinnati, a city that's pretty much 50/50 in terms of black vs white, I've seen my share of racism. I'm kind to everyone I meet but some people won't give you the chance. In my early 20's I signed up to be a mentor for a student in the public school system. Once I stopped by her house to pick her up and some kids playing on the sidewalk immediately ran when I stepped out of the car and shouted "Run, it's the police". A family tradition was to go shopping downtown at Christmas time. Mom and I were walking through town and saw a large crowd. She wanted to see what was going on so we went over. On one side of the city square was the KKK dressed up in their bed sheets and the other was a large mob of black people. There were police in riot gear mounted on horseback there to keep the peace. We quickly turned and walked away but it was absolutely the city's fault. Every year they put up a Christmas tree on the square and through "freedom of speech" the KKK was allowed to put up a cross right beside it. The majority of the people who live downtown are black and naturally they kept knocking the cross over; I don't blame them. I wish our nation could get past racism. I'm hoping the future will be different. The younger generation doesn't seem to be so black and white but rather sees all of the beautiful shades of gray in-between. One Love


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Jennifer, If I had experienced the things you talk, I may have been traumatized. I am glad I was given a milder initiation.

It seems that the race issue will eventually die out and will no longer be a part of society. Organizations like nazi will not go away but still try to manipulate division among people.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Rasta1 - I get around for an old guy.

http://youtu.be/xvaEJzoaYZk


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Sorry, I left the wrong song.

http://youtu.be/AtYqvSoUOTc


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect WD, enjoyed the video.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Wow... very interesting and important Hub. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sad to read and it's so true that there is Unconsious Racism. I hope Trayvon finds Justice.

The negative is that it will never be completely be erased, the positive is that society/govt/associations are making it their duty for zero tolerance on the issue.

Personally, I advice Africans / African-Americans / Jamaicans to never see themselves as a colour because it affects their thinking / their personality / their self esteem and even their lives - they will always be on the defensive.

Much Respect, Bro. :-)


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Lady_E, Being on the defensive is very dangerous especially during harmless social interactions. Thanks for passing through.


April Reynolds profile image

April Reynolds 4 years ago from Arizona

These are good observations Rasta, Although we think we are a non-racist country, it is just not true. The children are our best hope. When I was a child, I couldn't even see color. Of course my family didn't have a tv to tell us what to think and how to act until we were older.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect April, It is an advantage to grow up without being mentally robbed by the TV. I am glad you agree, Thanks for your take on the situation.


m0rd0r profile image

m0rd0r 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

Racism and hypocrisy is all around the globe Rasta.

In Bulgaria we have gypsies which everyone hates openly.

They are victims to various stereotypes with the worse two - being uneducated thieves.

It is not valid for all of them, but when some minority group becomes infamous with petty theft and talking like they can't talk at all - the whole majority becomes suspicious.

The other thing often seen on TV is also valid here.

When a victim is 16 years old, it is "A 16 year old boy has been beaten by a cop"

When the offender is 14 year old, it is "A young man was found beating dogs on the street".

Go figure.

Voted up and interesting.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Interesting point Mordor, The news is designed to implicate certain stereotypes as a method of making the story interesting.

Rastafarian's used to be discriminated against for the same reasons in Jamaica. It still happens, but most Jamaicans have grown to love Rasta.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

Most interesting hub,Rasta1, thank you. Sorry I have come at this so late....

The News (papers, TV, etc.) are really only interested in conflict, disaster, blood and guts, blame-game. This is what sells, and they have the advertisers to worry about for ratings.

I am white. (Have been all my life, lol.... can't seem to change it, don't know why!) I try not to be aloof. Sometimes I see myself acting a bit too much, trying not to be patronising, but I do it any way, can't seem to stop it.

I love being in the company of black-skinned people. I loved being amongst people in East Africa for 2 years. I loved it back last Christmas in Haiti. You people have a way of looking at life that is much more down-to-earth. That is what I love, but sometimes I feel inferior in my own ways. We colonialists have painted the world like it belongs to us, and we are superior in all things: our religions, our habits, our cultures. and OF COURSE this is not true.

I try to look at what bugs us when we don't seem to get along together. I think it might be somehow caused by fears and anxieties. Also by ignorance; feeling that a different skin, a different culture, a different way of reacting is spelling danger to us and we need to avoid "it."

Talking with each other, sharing fun and play together. Shaking hands, sharing a real close friendly and loving hug. Discussing disagreements right through, honestly and without holding back for fear of offending.... maybe all these are the way to go.

But keep going guys. There really is room in this world for all of us. We just got to be real, that's all.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Jonny. I have a lot of hope in the upcoming generation. Eventually racism will become less viable. However, I fear that other forms of divisions will be invented. I have noticed that humans are peaceful by nature. Social programming is the only real threat. That is why it is great to travel and learn other methods of expression.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 15 months ago from New Jersey

There is a lot of racism in America, it's just well hidden. I have been to Jamaica 4 times, and love the people, they treat everyone so well. Of course, there is a line between those more poverty stricken and those who make more money. But I think the people are very spiritual compared to other countries.

I see you wrote about Travon Martin. It's disgusting that so many young black men are being killed by white cops. Most of this occurs in the Deep South, where people have not changed their awful views for generations. But I believe the issues of police brutality and racism have to be addressed. And I don't mean just talked about, people have to get educated that times are changed. Soon all the worst offenders, really old white people, won't be here anymore. Younger generations grew up with more diversity. Respect.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 14 months ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Jean, Thanks for stopping by. I sense racism has gotten worse in usa since I have written this article. I hope the younger generation will improve the situation.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 14 months ago from New Jersey

I hope so too, the young people have grown up with more diversity than my generation did. I agree that racism has been worse in the US lately, but am not sure why. I live in a small town, and it's mostly white. As you say, the people here don't even know they are racists, they are so far removed from reality. The issue of police brutality is really bothering me as well. This country is moving in a horrible direction.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 14 months ago from Tasmania

Jean Bakula and rasta1, if I may make a suggestion:

Racial prejudice usually arises from fear of something ... real or imagined.

Reduce or illiminate the fear and you reduce that prejudice.


jen 14 months ago

Be heard not herded.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 14 months ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Jen and jonnycomelately. The elimination of fear is crucial.

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