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Bolt struck by Jungle fever?

An analysis of online reactions to Usain entering another race

By Dr Sondré Colly-Durand sondurand@hotmail.com

Monday, May 07, 2012    

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Paris — Recently, the Jamaica Observer posted an exclusive teaser entitled "Love in 9.58". The reader was treated to a picture of the world's fastest man in a lecherous lip lock with a woman identified as designer Belle Lubica.

Clovis later depicted the moment as a duel between an unfortunate local lass, losing out on the chance to nab Usain as he bolted, love struck, bearing flowers towards the waiting outstretched arms of a woman identified as Slovakian.

It triggered mass mayhem, mega media madness with everyone and his granny chiming in on Bolt's very hyped foray into the land of interracial dating.

Comments ranged from disillusionment with the runner's seeming slight of his black sisters, promoted for the occasion by many to the rung of Nubian princesses. They held up Barack Obama as the example to emulate: a Black man loving his queen. Men like Seal, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods were continuously evoked as brothers who succumbed to Delilah's temptation.

There were those who swore it wouldn't last because of the treacherous, chasm of the racial divide. Others saw the whole scenario as history repeating itself; a black man tastes fame and fortune and runs off to share it with Caucasia. However there were many who either supported Usain's choice or just simply believed that the man had the right to take what he's being offered.

Sparrow's Congo man

Let's have a closer look at these reactions and see what they can reveal to us about the state of race and love in Jamaica in 2012.

Interestingly many male posters supported Bolt's interracial haul in much the same way Mighty Sparrow had when he belted out his longing for white meat in a song released in 1964: 'I envy the Congo Man/ I wish it was me I woulda shake he hand /He eat until he stomach upset, But I? Never eat a white meat yet/ You all know how much traps I set?/ Until I sweat!/ But I never eat a white meat yet'

One male poster noted that "most black men want to be with a woman from another race" and that "we were borned this way" (sic). For him "it's not an athlete thing nor even a race thing it's a guy thing." Another referenced slavery noting that Bolt was reaping the spoils for the trials of his ancestors: "Bossie a years a slavery our fore fathers went through to make this sort of thing happen...so just toil on the fields the same way our fore fathers did bossie."

One man mentioned Yendi asking why when Asafa dated this girl who he termed "light-skinned" there wasn't any public outcry. Comments such as these project these men's longing to mate outside of their race and they celebrate with the sprinter, urging him to get his groove going.

On another level these comments represent the rampant socio-cultural Jamaican view that the lighter the skin was the more attractive the woman. These remarks bring the historical context to the fore, boldly conveying viewpoints we have lived with and internalised.

The origin of this seemingly endemic black man crave for white flesh is placed squarely at the feet of slave owners and colonisers. After all, in our history, in our reality if you are white, you are alright, right? Usain is perhaps just staking claim to this one last trophy which had eluded his ancestors.

The heart wants what the heart wants

On a lighter more romantic note, there are those posters who put the whole affair down to cupid and his poisonous dart. One man wrote: "So Bolt wasn't famous when he was dating all those black girls in the past? A man is free to love whoever he wants; black, white, yellow, pink no matter."

Another wanted to know why "couldn't it be that he just likes her for the person that she is and that he finds her attractive and wants to get to know her better to see if she could be a potential spouse." Sounds poetic right? Like Bolt was struck down by the looove bug and even his record shattering legs buckled under its effects.

Indeed, the hypocrisy of the debate came into the spotlight as one poster highlighted the fact that the green-eyed monster may be the real motivation behind the criticisms: "is just jealousy a kill all a you guys. I bet if it was a black woman and she is not pretty as Lisa Hanna u would still give a bad comment. leave the man alone..."

Others go as far as whipping out their crystal balls foreseeing a penniless, loveless Bolt, forced to crawl back to a black woman. "He will end up back with a Jamaican Ooman After the fame & money gone. They always do. This one will be gone like the rest."

One female poster made reference to his humble upbringing, attempting to discredit the authenticity of the young lady's love for Bolt: "Anytime black people get larger than life we go wit the next race, why? a wey she did dey when him a nyaam yam an banana?"

The whole notion of perceived beauty also came into play on numerous occasions in the comments. These women are questioning why the home grown beauty got bumped off the podium by imported fare: "When you have money all of a sudden Jamaican is not good enough or pretty enough anymore!"

In the end though, many of these women graciously as all losers should, conceded victory to the adversary:

"another one of our men snatched," posted one young lady. Yet another said: "Damn! Another one bites the dust!"

Well it looks like Bolt has once again raised our collective blood pressure only this time it's only because he has entered another race.

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