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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Jamaica Funk

Please pardon the jacked-up attitude of this post, but sometimes I just can't help myself. Let me just put a piece of life advice out there for all of you: if two people are having a conversation that in no way concerns you, stay out of it unless you're invited in or can provide relevant discussion.

A co-worker and myself were joking about our Jamaican heritage. Yes people, I'm a full-blooded Jamerican (for those of you who can't figure this word out, Jamerican means half Jamaican, half American. My mom's American and my father--not to be confused with the stepfather that I call daddy--is Jamaican.) Any-stinkin-way, we were enjoying our jokes, some of which would only be funny if you grew up or were closely associated with an island family. Enter co-worker #2 who decides to chime in, "Hey Mon, Me like de Bob Marley Mon. You know you be de Rastafari"

Record scratch, dead silence. What in all the hell? Here was this woman whose only experience with Jamaica was a family trip in 1987 and hanging around the white kids with dreads who listen to Bob Marley all day long trying to be part of a discussion that she obviously couldn't keep up with. Co-worker #2, if you can't tell, is NOT Jamaican, NOT Jamerican. She's a tourist if you will, and a bad one, at that. Co-worker #1 and myself are the only people with Caribbean backgrounds that she actually knows.

"Yo yo yo, how many jobs did your parents have? You know how de Jam-eeee-cans be havin mad jobs at once!" and even worse "Tasha, stop playin...your parents are divorced. Your mom and stepdad raised you, so you couldn't have been around that many Jamaicans"

How in the name of Purple Rain did she think she had any right to comment on something so, well... non comment-worthy? I don't know if she really thought showing off her fake-ass Jam-eeee-can accent would make us think she was cool or make us jealous of the fact that she's actually travelled to the country? Duh woman, we've already been there, parts of our families live there. Trust me, you haven't been where we've been. You got off the Carnival Cruiseboat and hung around the tourist traps. You couldn't tell the difference between Bob Marley and Garnet Silk if your life depended on it.

Both of us were quite offended by the things she said. I mean damn, not every Jamaican has five jobs at a time, I don't care what the old "In Living Color" skit said. And even if they did, that's for us to joke about, not her. Oh, and let me put this out there, just because my parents are divorced doesn't mean that my father and I don't speak. I grew up with his Jamaican family just as much as with my mom and stepdad's. So I do get to speak about my ethnic background, however dysfunctional as it may be, LOL.

People please, if you know that you only have a passing understanding of the subject being discussed, stay out of it. You will quickly be dismissed. No one wants to listen to a know-it-all. Think about it this way, would you interject into the conversations of people speaking Spanish just because you took Spanish I in high school? No you wouldn't. Well I hope you wouldn't, because that's plain rude. If you have questions about someone's conversation, go ahead and ask, but wait until the first conversation is over. Usually people don't mind answering questions when they're asked with a genuine desire to learn. (That's a topic for a different day).

Have you ever heard, "This is an A and B conversation, so C your way out of it"?? Yes, this elementary school phrase holds true even in your adult life.

People, help me out here...do I have a right to be offended or am I overreacting?


Anonymous field negro said...

Big up yawdie! I knew there was something I liked about you:)

How about when people say: "Can you speak some of that Jamaican patoi for me?" Or, "I loved the movie 'Cool Runnings'"

Good post!

Blogger Tasha said...

Yawdie!! I hate hearing "Jamaica, we got a bobsled team...Cool Runnings" with a passion. As soon as they hear you're Jamaican, out come the ganja references too. *sigh*

Blogger Gunfighter said...

One of the agents I work with is originally from Jamaica... I can't imagine saying any of those things to him.

People are strange.

Blogger Golden Silence said...

Ouch. People are becoming more and more stupid and insensitive nowadays.

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