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by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
Jamaica, “out of many one people”. With a motto like this, Jamaica has much more ethnic diversity than is perceived by the rest of the world and “white Jamaicans (a term seldom used here), are often forced to defend their “Jamaicaness” to those living outside the country and the Caribbean.
From Asians to Caucasians and Blacks, Jamaica is made up of many people of different races, ethnic groups and cultures. It is a common misconception that all Jamaicans are black.
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Race, citizenship, and nationality are three distinct concepts that are frequently confused. Nationality refers to the country a person was born in and is, therefore, a "national" or a legal citizen of said country.
Race refers to shared physical attributes or social qualities of a people. Jamaica is one of many nations with a dominant race.
So you see, the race of an individual does not dictate their nationality and being Jamaican is a nationality, not a race.
It is quite obvious that the more prevalent race in Jamaica is black. But many Jamaicans are of lighter skin, an obvious sign of mixed ancestry. Such individuals were frequently identified as "white" throughout the colonial era, but since Independence, they are more likely to identify as "brown" or "mulatto."
In contemporary Jamaica, the term "white" is used. For instance, four of the initial leaders of Jamaica.
Despite their overwhelming European origin and pale skin, they were not seen as "white" in Jamaica. Writing for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof noted that a "95 per cent black populace elected a white guy - Edward Seaga - as its prime minister."
This is an example of how foreign reporters identifying them as white using their own country's racial norms would occasionally do. Seaga was born to a mixed-race mother and a Lebanese father.
Being of mixed ancestral background is quite common in Jamaica and some of our National Heroes were.
Here are some well-known white Jamaicans:
So, are there white Jamaicans?
Yes, of course, there are, they may not be predominant, but they definitely do exist. Places like Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth and Seaford Town (German Town) are town European settlements here.
In Jamaica, the colour of a person's skin, race or religion does not dictate whether they are Jamaicans or not and we are truly a people of different ethnicities living together as one.
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