Is racism a problem in Jamaica?
The reason I ask is because my wife and I would love to spend our winters in Jamaica, possibly move there someday!
However, since I am white and she is black we are concerned that we would encounter problems.
ANSWER: July-17-2009 by Wellesley Gayle
Interesting and most appreciated question.
I am going to answer you from a personal position, and I will encourage other Jamaicans to post their comments below as well.
And just to be clear, I am interpreting racism as "prejudice or discrimination based upon race".
So racism, to a certain extent, I believe is real in Jamaica, but certainly not to the extent of what we see or hear about in, say the USA and the United Kingdom.
In fact, I would assume it is everywhere, whether we like to believe it or not- as long as there are different races in the same area, racism is, and probably will always be there.
And maybe, just maybe it is natural- in that, in the same way that some of us are taller or shorter, or slimmer or fatter, or richer or poorer; attitudes from and towards individual will be different based on background and personal preferences. The defining line however, is perhaps when (other whether or not) an identifiable group - geographically, demographically, politically, etc., takes and accepts a single position towards a race.
If they do, then clearly they would be racist, and I am confident that Jamaicans are not- by any measure.
On another note, I personally think that a lot of us Jamaicans does have a strange but subtle tendency to correlate anyone on the lighter side with greater beauty and brains - no surprise many of our young ladies are 'bleaching' and the dance hall artistes trumpet the beauty in the 'browings' - by the songs they sing and/or by the companion they choose.
So that said Brian, you should not have much concern in that regard.
Yes, you can expect passerbys to take a second look at you and your wife, but that is natural, there is nothing more to it. It is probably unusual to see a white man with a black woman since we are predominantly a black country.
But, by the way, we do have an increasing number of inter-racial relationships in Jamaica, many tourist, for example, find true love in locals and are thoroughly enjoying it.
I hope that helps Brian.
Stay in touch.
I welcome further comments from Jamaicans below.
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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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