KINGSTON, Jamaica — Police were on Friday reminded that as the Christmas season approaches, the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic articles become more prevalent, however, an import licence is required to bring these items into the land and those found activating, discharging or throwing them in any public p ...more »
In recent times quite a number of Rastafarian artistes have found themselves being blacklisted as promoting hatred against homosexuals, and indeed, other minorities. It is interesting how too many of our Rastafarians have seemingly forgotten how it feels to be the target of hate.
There seems to be confusion of freedom of expression and promotion of hatred. Nothing is wrong when Rastafarians preach their dislike for the gay lifestyle. That is freedom of expression. However, when they incite violence towards gays or urge the rest of us to be intolerant of them and their lifestyle, that's promoting hate.
If Rastafarians want to continue to reject the lifestyle of gay people, then that's fine. That's their right. However, why incite the rest of us to do the same?
Some Rastafarians will claim that their entire community cannot be seen as intolerant just because a few extreme members continue to incite this hate. However, the silence of the rest of their community, especially the silence of their leaders, is deafening. Silence in this case is not only consent -- it's agreement.
Only a few decades ago, the tables were turned against Rastafarians. Remember the discrimination that they used to face? They couldn't work in many places, they couldn't go to many schools, and they couldn't even walk on certain streets. Rastafarians were even being forced to shave their locks or even thrown in jail -- just because of their beliefs.
How is it that the Rastafarian community was so vocal against the discrimination that was being dished out to them, only a few decades ago, yet are so silent -- and in some cases supportive -- of the same discrimination that some of them are dishing out to other minorities? Why have the leaders of their community allowed them to switch from victim to victimisers?
With all the tribulations that Rastafarians were going through only a few decades ago, one would have thought that they, more than most, would understand that discrimination is not a nice thing.
Michael A Dingwall
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