Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Little History Lesson

I am not a history buff in any way, shape or form but I had to say a little something right now. Son called me to tell me some silly 3rd grader on the school bus told him that African-Americans aren't s**t. Self-hatred is a sad, pervasive thing. It was a stupid comment and one that no child would say unless they heard it somewhere from someone they trust, respect, idolize, whatever. Now this is unfortunately not the first time I've heard some people of Jamaican descent distance themselves from the blacks in this country. Maybe that child wasn't a citizen? No idea. But it bugs me to no end to hear this type of stuff. We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon and I got the clear picture that OUR ancestors stopped there just like some came here.

So I ran over to and pulled a little history to share because really, I don't care to go into this stuff too much. Just make a quick point and move on. And FYI, I really wouldn't mind the perspective of a Jamaican on this. Explain this to me, please.

In 1494 on May 4, Christopher Columbus arrived at the island of Jamaica. This was on his second voyage to the New World, which was afterwards called America. Columbus annexed the island in the name of his master and mistress. the King and Queen of Spain. But it was not occupied until Juan de Esquivel came from Santo Domingo in 1509. and for 146 years Jamaica remained a Spanish colony.

Jamaica was then inhabited by a gentle race of people called the Arawaks or Tainos. They had probably come from the country now known as Guyana, where Arawak Indians are still to be found....But the Spaniards made slaves of them and put them to difficult tasks. The Spaniards treated the Arawaks so harshly that in about fifty years all of them were dead. They had numbered fully sixty thousand. The Spaniards got slaves from Africa to take their place....In 1664 the first House of Assembly was called together. It consisted of twenty members elected by the people. It met at Spanish Town and passed 45 laws for the government of the colony....

Sir Thomas Modyford arrived from Barbados with a thousand settlers. He was a Barbadian planter and had once governed Barbados before he was sent to Jamaica as Governor. He helped and protected the English buccaneers under Henry Morgan who had moved to Port Royal from Tortuga. The ships and the plunder they brought vastly enriched Port Royal. Modyford encouraged agriculture, especially the cultivation of cocoa and the sugar-cane. During this time a large number of slaves were brought from Africa to Jamaica. However, the slave trade with Jamaica had commenced before this date.

Guyana, a region (state, I believe) that combines South American and Caribbean ancestry. And the culture of Jamaica:
Demography. The population in 1998 was 2.75 million. Fifty-three percent of the population resides in urban areas. The population is 90 percent black, 1 percent East Indian, and 7 percent mixed, with a few whites and Chinese. The black demographic category includes the descendants of African slaves, postslavery indentured laborers, and people of mixed ancestry. The East Indians and Chinese arrived as indentured laborers.

Note the word slaves. Where did those slaves come from? Here:


The point? If you look even remotely like me, despite all the different groups that compose the black race as we are today, there is a HUGE chance that you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. And our mother? Africa. Deal with it.

Moving on.

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