After seeing the new VW commercial I had to say I was not surprised by the response of many people. While I will not go into a grand debate, I just want to point out a few things: It is funny how quickly we use the word race that we seem to forget what it really means.
What exactly is race and what exactly is racism?
Race: Refers to groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of them.
Racism: Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief.
Now I am a little confused…
If Jamaicans are not a race of people…what exactly are we?
We are a melting pot…we take the best of every race and we spit out something…..something….GREAT, something that only by being a Jamaica you can truly appreciate and understand. That is what it means to be Jamaican. Jamaicans are defined not by the colour of the skin… not physical characteristic but something that does deeper…UNDER the skin. We are influence by where we were born and grown, the way we speak, our culture. I can bet you JA$100 that if another Jamaican sees another Jamaican anywhere in the world, WE can tell who WE are.
Over the years the same media that now tells us that the VW commercial is racist, is the same media that promote the negative stereotype about Jamaicans. Biggest Cliché: We are not all Rasta. We love our Rasta brothers and sisters, but they represent only a small part of who we are. And for many other countries, the complexity of what it means to be a Jamaican is just too much for them to understand.
Cool Runnings …
Over the years I have seen so many movies that have adopted the Jamaica accent and the same media have sat silent. The famous Cool Runnings is one of the biggest cliché about Jamaica. If we were not insulted by that, we sure should not be insulted by this. How many of us really know the real story of the first Jamaican bobsled team? I can assure you the movie “Cool Runnings” by no means did justice to the real story. Check out the following short documentary to see what I mean. After check out the movie trailer for the movie ‘Cool Runnings”.
The respectable and extraordinary men who were actually apart of the original Jamaican Bobsled team, were in no way reflected in the characters that were created to represent them in the movie “Cool Runnings”.
But when life gives you lemons you make lemon aid. As the true nature of Jamaicans, we were able to capitalize on this publicity. We now have the Jamaica Bobsled Café, rain forest adventure Tours now has a Bobsled ride and of course ….Kool Runnings Adventure Park-Waterslides.
Thanks a lot for the publicity Hollywood! (just showing you the positive attitude of being Jamaican)
P.S. Oh yeah, Brad Pitt did a really good Jamaican accent impression in the movie “Meet Joe Black”. All I could say was “whow…dat kinda hot still…” (I can guarantee you, he would not get that response if he was NOT using a Jamaican accent.)