top of page

Jamaican stereotypes that every Jamaican hates.... | PART 1

Jamaica, the small Caribbean island has a unique and distinctive culture that has become a powerful global brand. Instantly recognizable the world over through music, culture and athletics, the country has much to be proud of. Unfortunately, the human tendency to simplify things has led to a number of stereotypes that every Jamaican hates.

So it is important to start by saying that it is impossible to generalize all Jamaicans, just like it would be wrong to do it other nations. But of course, every place in the world has its own unique culture elements that crate a social character of the people living there.

What I can say for sure, that by living and traveling in Jamaica, you will get to know this energetic and vibrant colorful that leave a mark on almost every tourist. This small Caribbean island has a unique and distinctive culture that has become a powerful global brand.

Jamaican culture is Instantly recognizable worldwide, through music, food, athletics and more, the country has much to be proud of. But along with these great achievements, there are a few social stereotypes that are often being used when describing Jamaicans that are absolutely wrong.

But its ok, because, I am here to tell you right from wrong and do some order in the fake news.

All Jamaicans Are Black

Well that assumption is defiantly wrong, the majority of Jamaicans are of African descent, however there are also descendants of Spanish Chinese, Europe and East Indians in Jamaica.

The diversity coming from mixing of cultures has added to the richness of the Island. This diversity is reflected in the country’s motto, “Out of Many One People”. So please don’t be surprised if a person of white European or Asian or East Indian appearance declares they are Jamaican.

On April 3, 1962, Jamaica choose the motto ‘out of many, one people’ in celebration of their anticipated independence. This saying replaced the previous Latin motto ‘Indus uterque serviet uni’ which means ‘the Indians shall serve one Lord.’ As you can guess the country felt that motto no longer served modern Jamaica.

‘Out of many, one people’ motto reflects the diversity of the Jamaican people, a mix of different races, cultures and religions. The new motto was inscribed on the Coat of Arms which also shows a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples.

It was 4 months after the new motto was accepted by the Premier and Cabinet Leader of the Opposition, at midnight on August 5, 1962, the British flag was lowered and the Jamaican flag was raised, symbolizing the new independent nation of Jamaica.

The following day, August 6, has become a public holiday and the national day of celebration of the country’s independence from 1962 onward.

Although the motto still stands up to today’s, some people claim if it still true based on the current level of classicism & racism in the island and the contradiction of the sense of unity that the motto trying to preach.

So to people who think ‘All Jamaicans are black’ I do recommend to stay tuned to my channel so you can keep learning more about this country and the beautiful mixture of cultures that really makes the people & culture so interesting, trust me, you going to be surprised…

All Jamaicans Run Fast

Its true to say that Sport is a part the Jamaican DNA, but what even more interesting is how much being competitive is a culture DNA element here. The first sprinter silver medals won by Arthur Wint and Herbert Mckenley back in 1948 started a great sprinting tradition.

Since then, the country became almost a sprint factory of the world, with a great reputation of sprinters such as Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce that achieved global fame through their track performances.

Almost every local schools here will have an athletics program in the curriculum, those plan are often sponsored and provide intense and important training that puts most children into athletics at a young age.

National athletic event like VMBS Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (colloquially known simply as 'Champs') are an every Jamaican child obsession. These championships are a chance for young athletes under 19 to show off their talents to national and overseas scouting coaches that can make a decision that could changes their life.

Champ is a cull a historical event which began in 1910 at Sabina Park in Kingston and were won by Wolmer's High School. The championships are incredibly popular in Jamaica and the athletes are normally competing to crowds of 20–25,000 people, which is good preparation for major championships and some of the championship records are world class.

Being a successful athlete in Jamaica is defiantly still a big inspiration to a lot of youths who coming from different family and social economical background that can really define and improve their future.

So over all this one is not that off, because generally Jamaican are not afraid to move and usually want to be noticeable and show off so it’s an invadable part of their DNA. And this leads me to the next stereotype, Jamaicans are aggressive.

Jamaicans Are Aggressive

Omg, this one is really an annoying one to hear, mainly because I leave here and I know is such a wrong serotype… Jamaicans are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people anywhere. You only have to get lost, or get stuck in some unfamiliar place to experience smiling locals approaching with numerous offers of help.

People here are not afraid to express themselves and will do all to not loose an argument, which might give a reason to the idea that they’re aggressive, but really, it’s absolutely not true. Jamaicans are just very opinionated and expressive. And One of this is one of the things I love about Jamaicans is being strong opinionated and giving their honest truth without a political correctness filter.

The cultural way of expressions is very lively and energetic, you can see that by the street, and hear is from the language, its like there is a riddim for each person and everyone wants to be heard.

People here are actually excited to meet new people and learn about other cultures and just communicate with people. Jamaican are very polite and will greet you if you pass by them.

And when they are into something, there in it totally, so maybe this combination of being focused and having a strong opinion might seems to other as aggression?

What’s for sure it is a very spiritual place and culture, a common saying like ‘ Mi spirit nuh tek to yuh” (I don’t like you) or “Mi spirit tek to yuh” (I like you) can easily show the important of personality when combination with a person, and ability to feel the energy of places or people.

So yes, Jamaicans are defiantly unique and special and one of the realest nations on earth but defiantly not aggressive.

You don’t sound Jamaican

This stereotype is based on everyone expecting that Jamaicans will say ‘mon’ and ‘irie’ in every sentence. This assumption is not that correct and also, just like in any other country, every parish have a different accent.

More the that, in most work places, schools, and official organization local will speak straight English with not even a bit of patowa. In the streets you will hear right patowa that might sometimes confuse you, but again if you dont understand, ask to get an English translation.

Personally I think it such a cool language and even if people say yes they actually does say mon and irie all the time, then i don’t care, cus in the end of the day it remind me I am still here…

Jamaican Don’t Speak English

So as I mentioned before, English is the official language of Jamaica, however the primary spoken language is English-based creole called Jamaican Patois (or Patwa).

Jamaican patois is known locally as Patwa and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-based creole language with West African influences (a majority of loan words of Akan origin) spoken primarily in Jamaica and among the Jamaican diaspora; it is spoken by the majority of Jamaicans as a native language.

Patois developed in the 17th century when slaves from West and Central Africa were exposed to, learned and nativized the language and dialoge of English spoken by the slaveholders, that were: British English, Scots, and Hiberno-English.

Patowa is a language with character that have its own riddim and often sound to stranger like music. Its is not English and should be compared to and it comes with a hard historical journey people have gone thru in this land.

Moving on to the next, maybe most anticipated assumption…All Jamaicans listen to reggae

Jamaicans only listen to reggae

Yes its true that Reggae is the most well-known genre of music to come out of Jamaica, and rightfully has a important place in the nation’s musical lexicon. But tune into a Jamaican radio station today and you’ll hear mainly dancehall local genre as well, you’ll hear pop music, as well as every type of music you’d hear anywhere else in the world.

Music is invadable part of local’s life, and music is part of the view here, it everywhere all the time. As a nation that has been pioneer in music crating so many sub-genres and being an inspiration to the whole world, Jamaica defiantly carry the reggae crown in pride.

But you would be surprised by the wide variety of music Jamaicans listens to that is not local like hard rock to jazz to R & b. Today Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is popular in Jamaica and there is even an annual festival.

So you can certainly say that local music is the mainstream here, but there are for sure a representation off all other sub-genres in the world.

Next week publish PART 2 of this article.

122 views0 comments


bottom of page