The unexpected recognition
“First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” Mahatma Gandhi.
On Monday, April 5, 2021, the Jamaica Observer reported that “Minister of Security Dr. Horace Chang claims that if more people replicate the respect that “true” Rastafarian men show to females, it will reduce recent reported heinous acts of violence against women.”
Even though recognizing Rastafarians for peace, safety, self-sufficiency, or humanism was a symbolic act. However, it has the potential to open a previously closed door to a far broader discussion about this culture that is long overdue.
Even if you’re not wearing dreadlocks and looking from the outside into this culture, it is, however, much more than just “One Love,” which has frequently eclipsed a continuing desire for absolute amalgamation.
Furthermore, the Jamaican government acknowledgment did not imply that any Rastafarians (Rasta) would take a more active communal role in a task force dedicated to violence prevention or any other safety measures that are desperately needed in many communities.
Many locals argued that the administration had run out of public safety options to deal with the rising crime rate. Others argued that it was long past time for their way of life to be recognized as a model.
Even though the fact that this acknowledgment could have a domino effect and appeared welcomed news, it falls short on many fronts in terms of what needs to happen next to open the doors for upward mobility for this culture.
What next, and who holds the key to a seat at the table.
According to reports, Antigua and Barbuda West Indies also apologized for decades of hostility and exclusion of this culture in the Americas during a 2019 speech
However, little has changed in terms of more Rastafarians playing a prominent and expanded role in the political system since then. As a result, like many others, I began to wonder, “What next?”
Is it time for a Rasta to run for the highest office in Jamaica, as well as other regions of the Caribbean, potentially CARICOM, and other difficult nations plagued with violence and economic stagnation?
Furthermore, regardless of which side of the issue you are on, they certainly can provide another road to socioeconomic growth and crime reduction for all people, particularly the disadvantaged.
Despite their predicament, it appears that it needed an increase in violent headlines to notice them and their way of existence, as well as a blueprint for change.
I believe it is critical to include the Rastafarian culture in an economic upward mobility panel since poverty and social division are frequently accompanied by areas of violence and, as a result, community breakdown.
However, I will attempt and present my case beyond the chatter.
Outside of Ras’s kitchen, it’s time to take a closer look
Poverty and inequality rage like high tides on the ocean, particularly. decades of failed economic policies, injustice, classism, social disadvantage, and corruption according to many reports had made it difficult for many looking for a safe and balanced place to land in order to survive on some of the most dominant islands.
As seen in many impoverished and developing countries, each new or rotating elected leader appears to hold the previous administration accountable for the advancement of these countries, regardless of the political party.
Unfortunately, economic uncertainties have plagued these communities for decades; including many victims of crime. It has widened the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
As many scholars have pointed out, the only consistent gains seem to be only these leaders to emerge financially wealthy, while the oppressed future remains stagnant with each passing day.
Is it time for Ras to pass through the leadership house in order to bring in a new way of governance, a new generation of leaders that aim for inclusion, peace, and economic prosperity for all?
Beyond the dreadlocks, there is a reality.
Though the public announcement is being viewed through a political lens, I see it as awareness. For example, an increase in domestic abuse awareness or public safety in general, tolerance, or equality should be applauded regardless of the messenger.
Recognizing Rastafarianism, on the other hand, is not something that can be summed up in a tweet, advertisement, or sound bite. There must be a secondary fundamental plan for inclusion.
For decades, the Rastafarian culture has persisted, and beneath the locks and systematic isolation for decades, they have been a force in the arts, medicine, and academia, making significant contributions to our society.
Despite Rastafarians’ popularity, many people who wear natural hair on these islands, and even outside of Jamaica, face discrimination.
After a century of fighting and struggle a quick trip to Ras’s house
I am not a philosopher, nor am I attempting to explain the origins of my opinion, but please take your R**s) hand out of their hairstyle and foot off the man’s neck
Rastafarians in Jamaica began promoting the authority of Selassie’s teachings over King George V in the mid-1930s, shortly after the inauguration of Ras Tafari as Ethiopia’s Negus, or “King of Kings”.
Jamaica was formerly an English colony, and the movements faced enormous resistance, according to scholars).
In the 1940s and 1950s, many branches were established, led by Leonard Howell, a former member of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association who was imprisoned for preaching its culture.
Unfortunately, reports indicated that the Jamaican government viewed Rastafarian ideology as dangerous, subversive, and a threat to social norms at the time.
Many were marginalized rather than accepted as determined, valuable citizens linked to the same slave ship.
As a result, people became even more cut off from education, employment, land, and housing.
Rastafarians were relegated to be seen as deviants who should be rounded up like slaves from another planet. Until now, cultural isolation has created an oppressive mentality that has created tension and mistrust in authority.
For over a century, their opposition to imperial power and refusal to be marginalized have kept them in the shadows as social outcasts throughout the Caribbean and other parts of the world.
According to research, Rasta made many black people’s anguish a focal point of their consciousness in order to break free from slavery and neocolonialist chains and return to Africa.
Fortunately, they did not resort to rioting or violence, as Paul Bogle, one of Jamaica’s most beloved national heroes, fought for liberty, equality, and justice in the Morant Bay Uprising on October 11, 1865, when he fought against law enforcement under a colonial government.
This is by no way one should imply that this hero was a violent man. It was good trouble as John Robert Lewis, an American statesman and former civil rights activist who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until he died in 2020, is one of my heroes.
He was such a supporter of good trouble that he dedicated his entire life to fighting segregation from the 1880s to the 1960s “Jim Crow” laws. Looking back, the Rasterfreian movements were ahead fighting for equality, such as Paul Bogle’s 1865 uprising.
Sadly reversing these quiet decades’ mentality of social distancing will not be possible overnight, and total autonomy from colonial rule necessitates more than just scholarly papers; it necessitates a paradigm shift:
The struggle for mental shift and the drumbeat of equality continues to this day.
The foot on the Rastafarian culture, as I have noted is not simply an outward image, but also a mental ideology by some as shown in a reported “British Insignia.”
Many found it offensive, not only to the Rastafarian culture but also to the population and the dignitaries who wore it as a badge of honor.
Some of these local leaders may not have even looked at what they were wearing since they were so concerned with their image, but it’s never too late to make a mental adjustment.
Unfortunately, some institutions across the region still operate in the manner of a scene from George Orwell’s best-known novel, 1984: Animal Farm: “All are equal, but some are more.”
History has given the once-colonial state of Jamaica and others in its system a pass on how they were humiliated and treated on these shores and in other places that may have been exposed to the decade of hostility.
Unfortunately, full acceptance of the architectural class system necessitates a mental shift back to the classroom.
Some argue that there is a rationale for keeping them as outcasts, not because of what they know and can contribute to society, but because of their outward appearance.
The Supreme Court of Jamaica, according to sources, ruled in July 2020 that a student could not attend school unless she clipped her dreadlocks.
This rule undermines public trust and, in my opinion, contributes to the perpetuation of the class system.
Rasta, it appears, must speak far too often to demonstrate his intelligence and is frequently seen by their dreadlocks before exploring their brains.
According to some sources, even the education minister, Karl Samuda, refrained to comment on the verdict, which occurred on the eve of Emancipation Day, a day commemorating the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, which is honored in Jamaica and elsewhere.
Taking a step back and feeling the Rasta vibes:
Unfortunately, more recognition is needed, but where do they begin if the majority of these islands can’t even agree on reparation, let alone an economic package for the next generation that addresses education, jobs, and overall upward mobility for all?
Rastafarians have been a pillar of social equality, peace, brotherhood, environmental preservation, liberty, resistance, independence, and universal love. They have been a critical voice for poor, black-oppressed Jamaicans, and others globally.
Though local cultural struggles persist, it is clear that Rastafarianism is not a clearly defined area, but many people across all races can identify with their passionate vibes that have gravitated to their values and peaceful lifestyle.
Since the 18th century, when Ethiopians emphasized an idealized Africa, Rastafarianism has come a long way. It rose to international prominence as a result of the music of devoted Rastafarian Bob Marley and others he influenced.
“Rasta is passing through,” reggae superstar (Jah Crew) said in one of his songs.
Morgan Heritage of the reggae band said in one of his songs, “you don’t hiffi dread to be Rasta.”
Though some of us have invested in razors or barbershops, we do not wear dreads because we live in a world where some rules are defined for us, which we accepted with a signature for our economic stability, but we are Rastas in our approach to life, where peace, love, and humility remain.
Any visit to one of their locations is a testament to their perseverance, tenacity, and unwavering love in situations where others would have given up.
Rasta will greet you when you arrive at his or her home. You don’t need to look around because a sense of respect, hospitality, and calm has washed over you.
There are numerous stories about how comfortable the accommodations they frequently provide for an extended or temporary stay on these shores are.
The Rastafarian rules would be useful from these data:
Although violence is common in the region, it is a public health concern.
Reports have shown for more than a decade that some Caribbean and African nations that have embraced the culture are among the top ten most violent, with an average of more than 30 deaths per 100,000 citizens.
Rastafarians possess a wide range of abilities, qualifications, dispositions, and competencies, ready to make a difference.
Furthermore, their way of life by spreading peace and love can have a larger influence on areas that are plagued by socioeconomic hardship, political dogma, and violence.
Before I conclude, I’d like to return to the utility of this culture and the positive impact it could have on some of the systemic issues that plague some of these troubled nations.
If the government invests more in this community, their skills may be used to mentor the next politician, doctor, police officer, teacher, counselor, or investment banker.
Like any other institution in the world, it does not require a crisis to recognize that wherever Rasta people live and work, there will always be some level of peace (One Love).
Another method of attribution is to compare the number of Rastafarians with criminal records or who are incarcerated to their population.
According to reports, even when some Rastas are incarcerated, their recidivism rate is lower.
Violence, on the other hand, can only be pursued if it is reported, so RAS will continue to require community support and will have to look internally if and when it has internal issues ranging from domestic violence, robbery, murder, and even to mitigate cronyism.
Often addressing crime and other social-economic issues is frequently entwined in the complexities of politics, law, culture, and economic status.
Rastafarian movement culture and context are more than just growing political dreadlocks or smoking marijuana. Today, their peace-making practices may be the most effective way to calm these turbulent seas.
Welcome Honorable Prime Minister, Ras
Should these islands hope to soon be able to say, “Welcome First Lady Queen, someone like “Ifrica” to the Nyabinghi Mansion, which serves all communities?”?
What might the Right Honorable Prime Minister (Ras administration) look like?
At the very least, I plan to distinguish Rasta’s first 100 days at work.
I don’t think The Honorable Prime Minister (Ras) will be able to rapidly resolve the remnants of colonialism, poverty, social disadvantage, and oppression, but how would you know if you don’t give them a chance?
Many of the local jobs on these coasts have been established primarily through foreign investments and imports, according to economic data, and where self-reliance and locally manufactured items have dwindled, and replaced by processed foods.
Many experts have expressed concern that some could result in long-term community health issues.
What might Prime Minister RAS’ agricultural legislation look like today?
I believe The Rasta administration will implement a bottom-up approach, encouraging local production and restoring greater self-sufficiency.
In order to eliminate bias, and corruption, and promote diversity and public safety, a diverse board that represents everyone at the table, from the farmer to the sanitation worker, academia, and those concerns a top priority
There may be debates about lighting marijuana in the House of Commons.
I doubt that a black figure of God or Haile Selassie’s divinity would replace some of what is now in local churches, but there will be increased sociopolitical awareness.
Their message of change will be consistent with their agenda, not merely what is popular in sound bites to get elected and alter direction.
Many leaders continue to look at the “Reparation” debate through a monetary lens.
The approach of Prime Minister Ras may not be about the size of a bank account, but about a mental shift away from hopelessness, crime, and women’s upward mobility for the next generation especially the youths.
The ground will be made holy again, protecting not only life but also economic growth by promoting peace and prosperity, honesty, stability, calm for all, and respect for humanity.
Yes, the movements existed and grew prior to August 20, 2012, when rapper Snoop Dog changed his name to Snoop Lion in response to his interest in Rastafarianism.
Yes, there are reports of some things happening from the modernization of roads, technology, and infrastructures being built, but are you moving forward and who benefits?
Maybe it’s time to call RAS.
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