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What are some TABOOS in Jamaica?


Answered by Isheba Cornwall, Associate Writer

Let's start first by finding out what the actual meaning of "Taboo" is... it is a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice / topic or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.

There are several taboo subjects in Jamaica that will never see the light of day, at least not anytime soon. It is somewhat sad that we tend to bury the conversations about these topics or fail to even start it because of what society may think of us and in all honesty all this is doing is ceasing the flow of information/knowledge that we may gain as a people.

Protecting our own image is more important than addressing the issues at hand or maybe we just aren't given the appropriate platforms to address the "meat of the matter" - whatever that may be.

WHAT ARE THOSE TABOO SUBJECTS IN JAMAICA?

They are many, but a lot of these stem from sexual content and although it may be the norm in other countries, it is a NO NO in Jamaica. Topics such as Oral Sex, Homosexuality (Gay Marriage), Transgender, Incest and Rape are just a few.

Personally I believe that as a nation we don't want to address these topics because it'll somewhat shine a "good" light on the subject and we just can't have that. Jamaica is often called a Christian country and so we follow the teaching of the bible and because of that, we tend to stay far from situations that are controversial to the word. Any scenario that places two men together is a huge NO! (with women however this is entirely different).

Government officials do speak on the topic of rape however, it is the people who don't want to continue the conversation. Why? It beats me, but not having these conversations is doing more bad than good as our citizens aren't being educated on the matter.

While rape is one of these taboo subjects, sexual abuse more specifically on males is one of the least talked about topics in Jamaica, again, no education on that matter. Talking about sex around children also is a main one.

Most recently someone posed a question in the media about prostitution, should it be legal or illegal? That is something that we don't talk about in Jamaica however important the conversation may be.

Gender roles in the family also is a controversial topic in Jamaica as there is tension when it comes to speaking about anything that fails to place the men in the position of power.

One of the most important of them though all is the lack of conversation on Mental Health. We have minimum conversations on suicidal thoughts or actions especially among the young people in the country, though there are platforms provided to voice concerns on this matter - people tend to just sit on their thoughts, period.

Another of these taboo subjects is not talking about Obeah and Ancestral worship which is practiced secretly by some persons in some parts of the island.

The good news though is that as the time goes by, the list is getting shorter as we are getting more liberal as a people. It is my believe that it is just a matter of time before we'll be having these conversations right off the bat.

What are other Jamaican taboos? This article highlights a few more.

Comments for What are some TABOOS in Jamaica?

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Feb 04, 2019
Taboos in Jamaica
by: Sonia

Good afternoon Mr Wellesley

Well done on broaching these very taboo topics indeed.
I think it's quite sad that topics such as mental health, incest, rape to names a few aren't talked about openly. Even sadder is this is due I think, to ignorance, fear of the unknown and what mass and Mrs so and so will think of you. There are so many suffering in silence and so many getting away with awful crimes and misdemeanours.

Jamaica needs to wake up and join the 21st century and stop burying our heads in the sand.

One thing I must say - I did not know it was acceptable in any form for 2 females to 'lay' together.

Feb 03, 2019
The Topic of Obeah
by: Rohan

I find your article on "Taboos in Jamaica" rather interesting. I want to comment on the topic of Obeah; I find it interesting that Obeah is still practiced secretly while so many shop/businesses are opening up and advertised on television here in jamaica by spiritual healers and fortune tellers (not sure if that's the correct name for them) from India and other parts of the world.

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