Black Americans denied space in their nation's history by white Americans created their own game -- black history. We are not Americans. Black (adjective) people here are in history. Back then we were objects, now we are subjects of our history. When Cabinets and educators relegate our history to second place it is heresy.
I put my own history before the black inventor of the clothes dryer -- a device we don't need and can't afford. Black history is good for African-Americans. Ours is good for us and we should know the history of Ghana, all West Africa, Britain, Spain, India, Lebanon, China, of all our "out of many one people". We should know the history of Ethiopia, as it is home of the prophet of Rasta, much as the Christian messiah is a Middle Eastern brown-skinned man from Nazareth. What a life, eeeh?
We tend to borrow ideas and not think them through; are guided by bumper-sticker wisdom, not serious thinkers. Few know any history, can simulate the future or proffer helpful advice. Blackness does not make us Jamaican. The essence of a Jamaican is loyalty, commitment to country and is found in many colours. More "born ya" black people "run to foreign" than any other shade, and every year we exclude many citizens by our racial (racist?), colour-coded, foreign-mind black history month.
We rub the faces of our rainbow citizens in 30 days of this pap, yet we do not celebrate one day of Jamaican or West Indian history? Is it in GSAT? CSEC? So why?
White Americans write blacks out of their history, but is this not what we do to our other citizens? I believe next year we will see Jamaica's variegated history take top spot and we may still celebrate the genius of black Americans with their embassy for a few days.
Our espousal of black history above our own bespeaks schizophrenia. We vacillate; "black man time" then "out of many one"; whatever suits our mood. Last year white investors, would-be retirees, came here, but opted for Barbados as our convoluted colour codes were not assuring. One felt we did not respect hard work and business, our motto was a thin veneer soon abandoned under pressure.
I argued, a la Les Green, that white people were more respected and secure here than black people, to no avail. His mother died in Auschwitz; he was taking no chances. Do you see why people with money keep it offshore? The photo album of our families is like a Pantone swatch, rich in colour. When I saw the family albums of my workmates in Africa I knew why they called me "mongrel" (as did my white Yankee friend), a term I now "hug up".
I am Jamaican, a super gene pool! Some of what passes for black history is proto racist, patronising and hijacks other cultures. American thought leaders seem to wish we looked like Egyptians, not like Nigerians. Black history is sanitised; where are the black villains?
The Gleaner runs a series on Jamaican killers; they are not black, white or yellow, just Jamaican. When the London police caught the violent rapist in the longest crime spree in British history (40 + years) he was not labelled black, but Jamaican. We are a brand, not all good, but let us praise the good and great among us!
The scion of Africa in America created black history month for inclusion, self-esteem and manhood, but their society remains unconvinced they are equals, and Obama's triumphs bring out the worst. Why? American slavery was bitter and personal as masters lived "cheek by jowl" with slaves.
Our slave owner "toffs" lived in Britain, not here. They had agents, so slavery was not as personal. We had no Jim Crow, were not called nigger, the Mason Dixon line was not of us. Our slavery was business, as blacks and whites did not compete for social space as in America.
Jamaica planters went home to Mayfair to be with their wives, opera, the West End, gentlemen's clubs and to fight with abolitionists in Parliament. They left the factors of production in the isles and lived life, nary a slave in sight; black history? What's that?
Jamaica Day was celebrated in the western stadium, Trelawny, and the organisers deserve credit. The day has good future prospects. There was the winey-winey to which we have become accustomed, but this "outside broadcast" was undersold to hundreds of children and teachers in acres of enclosed space.
The "girls in hats" were a treat, as in the mass of surging children their poise was exceptional -- "Westwood of course!" Who? What a bevy of socially sure-footed, conversational girls; an oasis in a sea of "tearaway" youth. "On what do you advise the minister?" My God, English spoken here! There is hope!
We need a Westwood campus in Kingston. I would go back to teaching if I could qualify for a licence. Our churches must repent, regain their vision and extend their brand name schools.
The booths were a treat. What of next year? Imagine grounds filled with experiments, field work and learning games -- Math, English, Chemistry, Geography, etc. I recently dilated on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) learning inherent in a child's see-saw. In a see-saw the infant learns to co-operate, control his limbs, laugh and teamwork; at primary and secondary levels the see-saw teaches leverage, fulcrum, power, balance and at university G-forces; education can be fun to thousands of students and teachers next year.
The booths of regional offices replete with their work; Knockalva's hydroponics, the library service and JFLL in force, and next year they may pilot the high school diploma equivalent for out-of-school youth and adults. One 70-year-old lady in my district is waiting to prove she can pass the HSD -- bring it on, JFLL!
Next year let's have Jamaica Day in Jamaican History Week with Caricom history too. This year's was ambitious, and with professional project management, outsourcing and regard for kids' food, hydration, health and safety, next year's could be great.
The Project Management Institute should help them compile and use an Events Planning Manual. To celebrate Jamaica Day in Black History month (one day for us one month for America) is not patriotic. Wake up, Jamaica!
America is the country of black (the noun) people who have achieved by brainpower, innovation and ingenuity. Many African states are rich from mining licences sold to white people, not by mind power. Blacks in America, not Africa, create the majority of inventions. How can they create in oppression, but we cannot innovate though free in our own country?
The competitive white society is their spur. Black nations have no spur to performance. Have you worked out why nations with persistent poverty are black? Even some like Ethiopia that were never colonies? I have not. Stay conscious, my friend!
BANK of England, stop press! The bank is touting a negative base rate this week. Does this mean depositors earn no interest? Do they pay the bank to keep their money? If depositors make no interest from holding government paper, this could be a boon for small businesses.
Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark have done it; should we? What about small savers? No interest; why save? What to do? Spend! Business would boom; or lend as a Business Angel and make money from entrepreneurs. Of course, given inflation, real interest rates are already near negative anyway. This is bad for savers, good for investors and might just right-size our dollar. Economics breaks new ground. Watch this space!
Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education. firstname.lastname@example.org