Time to change the narrative about Jamaican men
Every year on November 19 we recognise the male gender by celebrating International Men’s Day.
As a Jamaican male I am deeply concerned about the negative labels and stereotypical narrative about Jamaican men. If one were to view to the optics and listen to the static, one would be convinced that all Jamaican men, or at least the majority, are good for nothing trash. Yet there are so many good Jamaican men with whom I can easily identify, men of honour, integrity, and decency.
When I speak of good men, I am referring to men who are loyal friends, supportive family men, and consummate professionals/workers. I can talk about my lifelong friend and surrogate father Jeremy Palmer, who I consider one of the finest human beings I have ever known. I can make reference to my big brother and special adviser Keith Wellington, who is the most generous and selfless family man I know. I can mention my former principal and mentor, Dr Randolph Watson, who is the best example of an advocate of simplicity and gentleness.
I can speak of Rueben Gray, justice of the peace, who represents the best of what a servant leader stands for. I can talk about my consultant psychiatrist, Dr Earl Wright, who is one of the most caring and accommodating mental health practitioners I know, and I could speak of the late Wilfred Wellington and “Big G” and “Dan Dadda” Rowe who were not only decent, honest, and hard- working, but they created opportunities for people like me who once sat on the margins of society because of the cards life has dealt us.
I am sure I am not the only man who can easily identify with some good men. Therefore, let us not be afraid to celebrate all of whom are so worthy.
Jamaican men are not the demons of which so many people speak. Yes, there are some worthless and evil men among us, but I don’t think there are more men of ill will than there are of goodwill.
So let us take time to pay tribute to some good men. Let us fight back the evil forces in our society by tracking and cracking wrongful actions. Evil triumphs when good men say and do nothing. Let us take the time to say thank you and respect due to our male heroes.
We might be a marginalised group, but men are still God’s gift to the family and the entire human race.
The word is always love, because God is love!
Andre’ AO Wellington
Mental health patient and advocate