The Racial Paradox of Jamaica

Jamaica is truly a racial paradox. You can have athletes in Beijing, the majority who have brown to dark skin, representing the masses of Jamaica to the world burning up the track, then you have the Jamaica Miss Universe competition where a stunning beautiful light skinned racially ambiguous woman is selected as the winner. My critique isn’t with the new winner but with the fact that many Jamaicans refuse to see and flat out deny the presence of colorism in the post-colonial state. Yes our motto is “out of many one people” but if it is true where are the darker sisters that are also a part of the many? This makes almost three years in a row where the same “type” of woman was selected as the winner. She is beautiful there is no denying that but to westerners she represents the exoticism of the Caribbean and feeds into the fetishization of Caribbean women due to their “mixedness.” Some Jamaicans use the motto to silence protests and live in a fantasy that race isn’t a problem in Jamaica which is a lie because Jamaica was built on racial subjugation (slavery and colonialism). Using the motto to silence valid critiques is no different than many Latin American countries saying “we don’t have a problem with race, somos una mezcla (we are a mixture)” all while Afro-Latinos are more likely to be confronted with police brutality, not see themselves  represented on TV in a variety of roles, etc. Race may operate differently in Jamaica but it still has power. I just want to know who is going to tell the little dark skinned girl from downtown that she is beautiful too?


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