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English Literary File_Vol 6

wicked and deceitful, every belief and notion they had could not be “wrong” or incorrect. Brother Brisco swiftly disagrees, saying “Ahh, me godbrother, yu mek de oppressors dem still foolin’ yu…when I use to go to school, teacher use to tell me de same lies dat yu repeatin’ now” (Patterson 82). He elaborates on this by exclaiming that the people of the west only retain and represent a basic level of knowledge, and with that they cannot be deemed superior to the people of African descent. Expanding even more on his belief, he insinuates that the black people (mainly those of his Rastafarian faith) have a higher, more rewarding, and ultimately more valuable form of spiritual knowledge. He says in patois, “De white man is full up of certain kind of knowledge. What yu call trash knowledge. (H)’im know how to mek moto-car an’ plane an’ skyscraper. ‘Im know how fe mek big gun an’ big bomb so dat ‘im can blowup ‘imself. But dat is jus’ de knowledge of de t’ings of de earth. Ras tell I dat them is there only there ‘cause them appear to be there…when my flesh dead an’ gone, same time them (things) dead an’ gone too” (83). Despite Brother Brisco being fairly convincing, Emmanuel retorts rationally, saying, “Of a truth, me Brother, but yu cant say dat de white man don’t teach truth sometime; remember Brother Solomon say dat if dem never did ‘ave sense dem wouldn’t be as successful as dem is in certain t’ings” (Patterson 83). The theories and images illustrated within their argument are analogous to the ongoing conflict of interests within the Jamaican identity. Patterson offers a literary depiction of the constant battle between the innate urge to regress back to purely Afro-Centric rituals and ideals, and the desire to expand spiritually and physically through a form of cultural gentrification. Exemplifying this moral sense of Jamaican identity is our nation’s motto, “Out of Many, One People.” This motto depicts that though several cultures are evident in our country and that we have different ethnicities flowing through our veins, collectively, we are one. We are not Africans, though we might have their skin. We are not Englishmen, though we might speak their language. We are Jamaican. Though a complex compilation of different cultures, languages, ethnicities, and ways of life, as the motto states, we are “one people.” Some critics, like Rastafarians, argue that we Jamaicans should mainly pay homage to our African roots through the foreign identity in Negritude. This should not be the case. Though we are of African descent, we have our own identity. The Jamaican character is built upon innate desire and ambition to strive for excellence without conforming to the nations that previously colonized us or remaining content with an ancient conception of the culture of the African motherland. This identity searches without merely accepting what is given because for far too many centuries our people have been oppressed and brainwashed: therefore, in a steadfast and somewhat stubborn manner, we now seek the answer ourselves. It’s like middle school or high school. There are several enticing and convincing cliques, wanting, urging you to adapt and comply with their way of life, they feed you lies about other sects while preaching the benefits of theirs, all in a subliminal yet blatant attempt to rid you of your own identity and what makes you, you. In this proverbial school setting, Jamaicans would represent the individuals who keep in mind where they are from; yet know where they want to go. They would embody the nonconformists and praise the so-called “hipsters” who remain “different” despite the persistent pleas and attempts by those fraternal organizations. At the same time, the Negritude or Black Nationalist impulse is understandable, but only as a temporary response to the seemingly irreparable trauma of white supremacy and colonialism. It’s essential to have this type of mentality, for it is imperative that this sense of Black Nationalism seals the cracks that appeared as a result of oppression and western colonial rule constantly jamming the air of inferiority into our “feeble” minds. However, despite the need for this, it is best that it just be a temporary act, a means to an end, rather than the end goal itself. Completely reverting back to purely Afro-centric ways is essentially reversing the problem and flipping white supremacy beliefs into black supremacist beliefs. This act would also exhibit a blatant disregard for the Chinese, Indian, and several other cultures/ethnicities that have integrated into, and ultimately influenced, our identity. For us to say that our island’s sense of identity would be benefit from exclusively Africanized ideals would be a mistake, for it is almost analogous to stating that we should strive to be just like the westerners who colonized us, or only emulate the indigenous people who first inhabited the island. The Jamaican identity is nearly a perfect equilibrium of all the cultures we have come into significant contact with, and we are in essence a multi-colored vase with the appropriate amount of “white glue” at the foundation. ELF 2015 (Vol. 6) 17


English Literary File_Vol 6
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