The following is Part 2 of a statement from Michael Dawson, head of Ghetto People Publishing. Read Part 1 here.
To those of us who consider Marcus Garvey a prophet, identify with Rastafarian beliefs or believe that we as Jamaicans are still mentally enslaved, the Dinner en Blanc ‘picnic’ that was held at Emancipation Park on March 7, 2015 was a pivotal moment in what we perceive as a struggle for us as a people to rid ourselves of the near Eurocentric worship that has been etched in our minds. This Eurocentric worship is one of the most damaging legacies of slavery. Ironic it is, that when the lower strata of society does an equally damaging thing, like skin bleaching and wearing weaves we chalk it up to a lack of education, self-hate and even stupidity; yet when the upper echelon of society does it, it is considered elegant, classy and in some cases, “an event that puts Jamaica on the map.” All this time, I thought Bob Marley, Sunsplash, Rebel Salute, Red Stripe, our natural herb, Blue Mountain Coffee, the last two Olympics and our beauty contest winners did that. I just learnt this week that a bunch of people in a 95% black country dressing in full white for an exclusive Eurocentric event held on the grounds that was supposed to signify our resistance to forced Eurocentrism actually put our little island on the map. I guess it’s time to thank our former slave masters again for showing us what class and elegance is. The non-reaction or lack of outrage by the populous is further evidence of how far we are from emancipation from mental slavery. If someone had kept a German Beer fest at the Holocaust Museum there would be equal outrage as for keeping a Cowboy Expo on an American Indian Reservation; but nothing is wrong, in some eyes, with keeping a Eurocentric event at the Emancipation Park with the full white garb to really show the insensitivity. What’s next? A pork festival at Bob Marley Museum or a swim suit party in the church Baptism pool? Where does it stop?
Just of note, we in the “dark” (people who often reject Eurocentric or Anglo American culture and folkways in favor of African traditions are often considered dark) know that there are a number of Pan-African events that happen all over Jamaica yearly that my black self considers very elegant and classy because they represent who we are and our triumph over European slavery. Empress Menen “Earthstrong” banquets have been held at the African themed complex of Ras Imo on Deanery Road, the UNIA annual dinner was first held at the Jamaica Pegasus now at Devon Road, and Livity Ital Restaurant has hosted several events with African celebrities and commemorated our own stalwarts like Peter Tosh – the grandson of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie was hosted with a dinner there at least once. Oh, and the dreaded Café Africa where authentic African cuisine can be had has been open for quite some time along with many other similar establishments. Of course, such Pan-African events will not get any coverage on Page 2 or any commendations because our Eurocentric minds cannot equate anything that is black, African or even Jamaican as elegant and classy.
Within days of all of this happening, smoke engulfed the corporate area and literally stifled the citizens, more reports surfaced of girls as young as eleven being raped and impregnated, another young man is killed after being held by police for having a stick of weed, the government introduced new taxes on an already burdened citizenry and the mass murders in all parts of the country continue. It is my belief that the politicians are all Mind En Blanc (blank) for failing to provide citizens with something as basic as clear air to breathe; parents and neighbors are also Mind En Blanc (blank) if they do nothing to protect their daughters because we know the government won’t; the police are Mind En Blanc for still incarcerating young men in Jamaica for weed whilst our Kingston Mayor tours ganja factories in Colorado. The politicians are Mind En Blanc if they can’t introduce weed production, casino gambling and alternative sources of industry and stop relying on increasing the tax burden on the citizens for revenues. The people who support keeping a Eurocentric event in all-white garb on a ground dedicated to the suffering of black people and their triumph over said attempted dominance of European culture are – dare I say – Mind en most Blanc-est. I actually feared for my people as I worried that they would have bit their tongues in a poor attempt at a French accent in their many videos of the event, but I guess at the end of the day some people feel mental bleaching is less of an evil than physical bleaching. Regardless the kind of bleaching you prefer – mental or physical – we saw this weekend that Jah Jah nuh partial when fire a burn, all men may not have been created equal but all men are cremated equal. Let this be a wake-up call to Jamaica (even though we really don’t need another one) that our minds cannot continue to be en Blanc forever. We need to get some matter in our brains and protect our environment, our children, our economy and our country, but most of all we must protect the memory of the suffering of those before us and resist the temptation to throw Eurocentrism in their faces on their ground with the all-white symbolism to match. We don’t care what they do in France; this is Jamaica – fi wi country.
Photos taken from the Jamaica Observer website.