Die-lemma of Black vs Jamaican: A response to Black-self hate by Christopher A.D. Charles

Screen Shot 2023 03 03 At 2.59.54 Pm
Pitchy Patchy, from the fabric series, 2019, detail. Photo courtesy of K. Khalfani Ra.

In an article published 20 March 2022, one Christopher A.D. Charles Ph.D., a Professor of Political and Social Psychology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, wrote the following, “The oppressed are impacted by racism and discrimination in terms of social, economic, political and health outcomes but not in terms of mental pathology, as the self-hate thesis asserts”. Well, wow, it would surely take a Jamaican “Black” scholar to make such an irrational and incomprehensible statement. This is not just inanity but borderline insanity! So, one’s mental state is not a part of one’s health, professor? I will not proceed to engage the details of your article, partly because, except for the markedly disingenuous, it poses no real challenge in the battle for hearts and minds and shaping of opinions, due to the weak, unscientific and contradictory arguments it contains but, more so, because the long comment contributed by someone called “Nat Turner”, has already done a very good job of effectively neutralizing your ‘argument’.

Nonetheless, I would like to address a statement made by Turner in response to your article, which, though basically correct in its criticism, is not really accurate given what is being discussed. She or he, posits, “…you cannot have pride in yourself and not your race as your race is an unavoidable characteristic of your physical appearance”. Actually, you definitely can, in the context of a pathology being expressed in a schizophrenic reality. Jamaica is particularly noted as such a space. A quick example of this is the well known fact that Jamaicans, the majority of whom are Black, regularly rank, in official international surveys (eg. Happy Planet Index, published by Britain’s New Economics Foundation 2009), very high in the world as some of the happiest people on earth but consistently has one of the highest murder rates, per capita, anywhere in the world, specifically against Black people by Black people. An “achievement” unmatched, even where Black people are in conflict zones or are involved in civil wars! Another example, which is also connected to this, is the fact that these “happy” Black people have created and use an apparent language that they are famously proud of globally, yet, in this, their “native tongue”, Black as a biological expression is the most intense form of cursedness and anti Black statements and sentiments are among its most indelible and enduring elements and remain effectively unchallenged in the culture.

The Negro (Jamaican “don’t wanna be Blacks”), exists within the mind and body snatching schizophrenic reality of White western imperial supremacist cultural ideology. In this pathological socio-cultural space, individuality is conceived and emphasized as separate and apart from any biological communal cleavage except for those belonging to the ethnic/racial minorities. So, while the Negro is almost always referred to as a “Jamaican”, local people of European/Caucasian stock, for instance, are always, first and foremost, White or “brown” or “Syrian” and so on. Alas, here we have apparently “proud” Jamaicans undoubtedly exhibiting “self hate”.

Partially the issue is one of definition. Equating and using, interchangeably, the terms self and race is problematic in this context.  For me, self is more accurately used to refer to one’s inner being as an individual, hence low or high “self-esteem” and race/ethnicity for their biological communal cleavage, hence “race hatred” or race love. The, don’t wanna be Black Jamaican, does not live a racial life, impossible as it is, they live a life intentionally unconnected to their race. At the same time practising, in overdrive, a culture painfully conscious of all manner of racial attributes, the vast majority of which are “self” negating. This is an extreme form of alienation, not only from their biological “kin”, (race), but naturally, in actual reality, from their individual self. As such, the Negro, en masse, lives in a country which can be called, as a state, an alien-nation. This state of non-being is a part of the psychological concept known as “anomie” which I translate in the local tongue as “a-no-me”. The word was a part of the title of a presentation I gave in July 2021 partly in reference to the looming local emancipation and independence celebrations. The rest of the title is apropos and reads, “The Jamaican an existential threat to Black becoming.”

K. Khalfani Ra is a professional artist.

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. Very well said. I can’t even argue with that response, you are absolutely right! Jamaica is quite an abnormal case given the die-lemma you’ve just explained. Something seriously different must have been done to the black population during enslavement leading up to the present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *