David Starkey’s Comments About Black People in the U.K…and Jamaica
To be honest aside from highlighting the racist nature of Mr. Starkey’s comments I’m not going to say much more. Below are two videos: the first is Mr. Starkey’s appearance on UK programme “Newsnight” and the second is a response to that appearance by a UK comedian (who I’d not heard of before this) called Nabil Abdul Rashid. Mr. Starkey’s comments come in the aftermath of the recent riots in London. I thought that Mr. Rashid’s response was good, better than the response of the two people who were on the programme with Mr. Starkey. His response pricked my conscience and reminded me of my own ignorance…there is so much more that I have to learn about where I come from and the people who came before me.
I am angered yet conflicted about Mr. Starkey’s comments (all of the comments, not just the ones about Jamaica or “whites becoming blacks” or the links between “black” and “criminal”) but I’m making this post so that folks (especially those have not seen the video or read about the comments) have a place to offer their two cents. My two cents will follow in a separate and hopefully coherent post. I must wonder out loud, however, where the strong response from Jamaica is…? Whether from The Rock itself or our representatives in the U.K. (or both), shouldn’t something (sensible) be said loudly and clearly to address Mr. Starkey’s comments? To refute the criminal and disparaging brush with which our country has been painted? We have been singled out.
Finally, as I thought about and digested this incident I was reminded of Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett Coverly‘s poem Colonization In Reverse. When I first read this poem — I think late in prep school or early in high school, probably the latter — I was fascinated by the idea that those of us who had been ruled could have an influence on the rulers. I remember reading it many times trying to really understand what she saying. It would seem that her words have come to past. This is especially prescient since Ms. Lou wrote and acted in patois/patwa to enourage — I think — a strong sense of pride among Jamaicans. She mastered the Queen’s English but she ruled in patwa. The poem is reproduced after the two videos; the copyright to that poem belongs to the rights holder, likely Ms. Lou’s estate.
Ms. Lou in action:
Wat a joyful news, miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs
Jamaica people colonizin
Englan in Reverse
By de hundred, by de tousan
From country and from town,
By de ship-load, by de plane load
Jamica is Englan boun.
Dem a pour out a Jamaica,
Everybody future plan
Is fe get a big-time job
An settle in de mother lan.
What an islan! What a people!
Man an woman, old an young
Jus a pack dem bag an baggage
An turn history upside dung!
Some people doan like travel,
But fe show dem loyalty
Dem all a open up cheap-fare-
An week by week dem shippin off
Dem countryman like fire,
Fe immigrate an populate
De seat a de Empire.
Oonoo see how life is funny,
Oonoo see da turnabout?
jamaica live fe box bread
Out a English people mout’.
For wen dem ketch a Englan,
An start play dem different role,
Some will settle down to work
An some will settle fe de dole.
Jane says de dole is not too bad
Because dey payin she
Two pounds a week fe seek a job
dat suit her dignity.
me say Jane will never fine work
At de rate how she dah look,
For all day she stay popn Aunt Fan couch
An read love-story book.
Wat a devilment a Englan!
Dem face war an brave de worse,
But me wonderin how dem gwine stan
Colonizin in reverse.
Please leave your comments below. This is an important issue.