Race in Jamaica

by Hubert Taylor
(Birmingham, England, UK)

What is race of the majority of Jamaica'a population, please?

I ask as family is a base human society, and humans group predominantly by race - albeit that out of a few people many have grown, and so by race (in my question) I mean race as marked by the dominant visible traits of the people.

P.S. A most interesting Web-site which I shall continue browsing with vigour.

Hubert Taylor



The majority predominant racial features in Jamaica are undoubtedly African.

But the majority of Jamaicans take pride in the fact that they are Jamaican - out of many one people.

Jamaicans are a very unique people, with a fantastic sense of pride in being Jamaican, wherever they are in the world.

The late, much loved Jamaican poet, Miss Lou sums it up in her poem "Back to Africa".

Back to Africa, Miss Mattie?
You no know wha you dah seh?
You haf fe come from somewhe fus
Before you go back deh!

Me know say dat you great great great
Granma was African,
But Mattie, doan you great great great
Granpa was Englishman?

Den you great granmader fader
By you fader side was Jew?
An you granpa by you mader side
Was Frenchie parlez-vous?

But de balance a you family,
You whole generation,
Oonoo all barn dung a Bun Grung-
Oonoo all is Jamaican!

Den is weh you gwine, Miss Mattie?
Oh, you view de countenance,
An between you an de Africans
Is great resemblance!

Ascorden to dat, all dem blue-yeye
White American
Who-fa great granpa was Englishman
Mus go back a Englan!

What a debil of a bump-an-bore,
Rig-jig an palam-pam
Ef de whole worl start fe go back
Whe dem great granpa come from!

Ef a hard time you dah run from
Tek you chance! But Mattie, do
Sure a whe you come from so you got
Somewhe fe come back to!

Go a foreign, seek you fortune,
But no tell nobody say
You dah go fe seek you homelan,
For a right deh so you deh!

When you visit someone's house do you decide to enter based on the color that the house is painted?
It is the family inside that you like and love, which in Jamaica is more often than not, out of many, one multiracial family.

Why does the human race choose to like or dislike a person based on the color of their skin?
It is the quality of what is inside the person that matters.

Being Jamaican my very closest friends have been multiracial - out of many one people.


Comments for Race in Jamaica

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Dec 30, 2011
Race does matter
by: Hubert

Chris, thank you for responding. I trust, to encourage further conversation - albeit my following contribution will be somewhat verbose (sorry).

Not sure I follow what Miss Lou wrote.
Indeed, if I understand reasonably well, I would challenge the late Miss Lou's tenor.

One's race (and one's root culture) seem humanly determined by ancestry and not by place of birth.

Being born in Jamaica (or elsewhere) seems relevant to nationality but irrelevant in terms of one's race.

One's practised culture may of course be influenced by environment.

As implied in your response, skin colour is also clearly not indicative of race as south-Asians, Arabians, Africans, Australasians and other share similar ranges of skin colour.

As just two colours are used to relate to people such reference has to be demeaning as exclusive and meaningless - otherwise please give inclusive honourable meaning to such colour-labelling to accommodate peoples globally.

For example what colour is to be given to east-Asians, or to the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Surely, an African (of race) living in Jamaica remains African (of race), just as a European (of race) living in Australia, Jamaica or the Americas remains European (of race).

By this means respect is paid to indigenous peoples globally.

Nationality is a wholly separate matter determined by local laws.

A person may be, by nationality, US-American, Jamaican, Australian, Chinese, British, English (et al) regardless of race but in line with the law of the nation involved.

Whether by creation or 'big bang' view, populations have grown from smaller roots and have interbred, but as one's race is the root of one's family it is clear that in a strong family unit race should matter and cannot be an arbitrary point. If a family has a head, its body should surely reasonably suit.

Had for example, Miss Lou found her discourse on a recognised African language rather than seek to give (unfounded) value to a corruption of English, a European language, then Jamaica and Jamaicans may be better place in terms of local and international honour and pride.

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