We, Jamaicans, have not opened up our minds to accept ourselves we simply subject ourselves to the opinions of the world. A world that does not understand our culture, a world that does not accept….. ‘different’. We live in a world where we observe the oppression of Black people, a world where we are currently seeing protests for black rights yet living in a country that is almost all black and we are oppressing ourselves. We have a box of opportunities, the opportunity to be different the opportunity to live and embrace our culture. All we need now is to open that box, but we need to find the key. Recently we would’ve observed a interesting story that has received international attention. We barred a five-year-old girl from school because she was wearing locs. Of course, there is more to this story, but I want to pick on the basic rationale for my opposition to the court’s decision.
I want you to think about this. Jamaica has schools in 2020 that refuse to accept students with locs. The schools celebrate heritage day/week every year. The poster boy of Jamaican culture is Bob Marley a Rastafarian man with locs. This is the definition of hypocrisy.
I recall from experience, a friend of mine who is of African origin back in high school, let’s call him Alex, was often commanded to cut his hair when it grew to about 1cm or more. It was not in keeping with the school’s rules. There was another student, also male, Indian, with long flowing hair who was allowed to keep his flowing hair as he was allegedly a model. What if Alex wanted to be a model too? I love to obey rules,that’s why I sit in church and behave like a good boy. Rules are rules. But every rule must be grounded in logic. Will the child, having locs diminish his or her learning experience? Will having locs prevent another student from learning? No? Then why ban?
It is easy to say if you don’t like the rules don’t go to the school. But if that school is in any way tax payer funded (which it is) then the school must accept and accommodate tax payers. Banning locs for ‘hygiene’ reasons is disrespectful. Are you of the view that the child’s hair is never washed? I can draw a parallel between this situation and the civil-rights movement in the USA. They have been fighting for decades but still experience the same problems today. We punished Rastas in Coral Gardens even though their contribution to our culture is what promotes Jamaica. Today we still have not accepted, in the ‘formal’ environment, a key identifier for Rastas, the locs. I won’t even get started on the weed!
I would be more accepting of this story if it were to happen elsewhere, but to think that we can’t wear locs at a school in JAMAICA! is ridiculous. We bring down ourselves too much we can’t blame people from bleaching their skins to look ‘more beautiful’ when we accept an image of beauty or an image that is accepted formally, that is not ours.
We are independent on paper but not in mind. We need to open the doors of our independence and be uniquely Jamaican.