Some comments from my last post is the inspiration for my post tonight.
It seems that a couple of the people commenting took offense, to me, a Jamaican, calling out A-merry-ca on certain issues dealing with the war on drugs; and suggested that if I don't love this country I should leave it. They seemed to be saying that my own country is so fucked up that I should be concentrating my efforts there and that I should leave A-merry-ca alone.
These individuals, who I will call "Border Negroes", because of their Buchananesque love of A-merry-ca and their obvious passion for wanting to protect their borders from outward forces, basically called me out for living in A-merry-ca instead of going back to my own country.
The basic premise of this argument is so ignorant that it's really not worth addressing. I thought of commenting again to the folks making these arguments, but they caught such a verbal smack down from some of the regulars in the fields that I actually felt sorry for them. But still, these folks should understand that human beings regardless of where they are from, should be free to live anywhere they damn well please. And, they should be able to talk about it and agitate for better conditions, if the conditions that they are living under are in any way fucked up. As should the many A-merry-cans living in other countries, including Jamaica.
But there is something going on here on a deeper level which I wish to address. I have gotten into this argument with some of my African A-merry-can friends before. This false belief that they are somehow viewed as real A-merry-cans by others in the majority population just because they were born here, and that they can somehow divorce themselves from their people in the larger world community. This, of course, is bullshit! They can't. But I always get this undercurrent of contempt from some African A-merry-cans for black and brown foreigners in general, and Jamaicans in particular. Often it is based on an erroneous belief that Jamaicans that come to this country are somehow taking something away from the born A-merry-can. Something that should be theirs by birthright. As if the folks in the majority population are going to just give them shit.
To be fair, some of the resentment might be justified. Especially when it comes to older West Indians with their British colonial indoctrination (Jamaica gained independence in 1962), and their willingness to believe the majority population's lies about their A-merry-can brothers and sisters. I caught hell from my aunts when they realized Mrs. Field was A-merry-can. "Wat bway, yu couldn't fine a nice Jamacain gurl fi marry?" So they are victims of that cycle of ignorance themselves, just like the black folks who think that black and brown people who come here from other countries are their enemies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tell that shit to the hard working immigrants of color in places like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto. People who are working hard, paying taxes, and contributing to the general welfare of their neighborhoods and their communities.
It's these "Border Negroes" that get pissed off at our brown brothers from south of the border when they come here to find work. "But field they are taking the jobs that black people want, they are diluting our voting power, drying up our resources for things like proper health care etc. Of course that's all bull shit. Talking points trotted out by the closed border crowd to scare the rest of the country so that they can push their own racist political agenda. These poor hard working people are not taking jobs from anybody. Because guess what? No one else will take the jobs that they are doing. So spare me that bullshit fear mongering line. And when they work hard and get a check, these people usually send their money home to their families to help build up the economy in their own country. That's a win win for everybody.
Yes I was born in Jamaica, and I am damn proud of it. But I could just as well have been born in New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, New York, Miami, or Detroit. It doesn't matter to me. All being born in Jamaica means is that my ancestors got off the boat a little sooner than yours did.
I love every thing my A-merry-can brothers and sisters gave me. I love Coltrane and Jazz, Muddy and the blues, and Charles Alston and his art. I am glad for King, Malcolm, Baldwin, the grace of Ashe, the courage of Ali, the Harlem Renaissance, Lark Voorhies, and I could go on and on. But I hope you are glad for Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Jerk food, Red Stripe Beer, reggae music, Claude McKay, The Harder They Come, the best collie weed this side of Northern Mexico, and all the other cultural contributions that Jamaicans ( just like my A-merry-can brothers and sisters) have made to their race.
If you are not glad for those things, and if you still view yourself as the quintessential Border Negro....how do I say this? Fuck you!