Patois, obeah, bandana, White Witch all tell our story

Patois, obeah, bandana, White Witch all tell our story

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The national costume for Jamaica's representative to Miss Universe 2019 was based on the legend of Annie Palmer. It has evoked outrage.

Some construe this as a celebration of slavery; however, the problem is that the story is a sham.

Over a century ago, leading journalist Herbert George de Lisser exposed the narrative as just a folklore. The real Annie Palmer was not nefarious, like her imaginary character popularly known as the White Witch of Rose Hall.

Further, even if Annie Palmer was a vile slave owner, Iana Tickle Garcia's choice of apparel would not constitute support for slavery. Garcia, through her dress, would only be telling a negative aspect of our history by highlighting the brutality of slavery.

Moreover, the costume has promoted the Rose Hall Great House on an international level. This will only redound to the benefit of Jamaica's tourism sector.

Interestingly, however, many Jamaicans praise the bandana as a national symbol when it represents oppression, since planters clothed enslaved women in this cheap fabric to cut costs. As Buckridge (2004) notes, slaves who secured income often purchased finer clothing.

The truth is that the logic of social media users is warped by political correctness in that they revere negative residues of slavery, such as patois, obeah, and the bandana. Yet such individuals are unwilling to admit that colonialism did, in fact, produce some benefits for the Jamaican State.

Like the usual debates in Jamaica, the contention surrounding Iana Garcia's regalia is uncontroversial.

Lipton Matthews

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