It is never my intention to post on topics that are controversial, derogatory, and or inflammatory but I find it necessary to share my thoughts on the current issue regarding Ishawna and her expression of Miss Lou’s bandana as a ‘tablecloth’.
As a product of the early 60s, we were taught certain basic principles that should transcend all generations. Our parents and the community that raised us made sure that we understood the basic rules of life and the success of future generations as a people. As far back to primary school we were taught the importance of culture and the history of us as Caribbean nationals and in particularly Jamaicans. “Carry mi ackee guh a linstead market”, serves as a mainstays or definition of a place and time that we shared national and civic pride. Even though we are a developing country and more than 50% of our citizen lived below the poverty line we still had confidence and respect in the generations before us. We believed in the teachings of the community and the rule of law. We understood the role of the family. We were taught basic rules of respect and civil liberties within the context of the wider society.
These lessons and skills weren’t ours to keep. This should have been a priority for us to transfer to our children….and our children’s children so that our identity as a people could be understood, preserved and passed on. After all, if a tree has no roots, how do we expect it to grow?
Ishawna’s expression and belief is not a disrespect. It is a show of ignorance to these cultural and civic values that as older Jamaicans we treasure. A set of rules that if they were properly planted in her subconscious would not have been perpetuated into mass ridicule and societal outcry. Whether or not this might be a marketing plot on her behalf, most self-respecting, culturally aware Jamaicans, will not find this funny or ingenious. In fact it is a picture of where our moral and cultural compass are and should provide an opportunity for cultural education and empathy. Ishawna’s language and expressions are real (remember, we taught our children to express themselves) but the real culprit is us!…the previous generation. Yes, us who provided all the latest fashion and trends to our children without discussing our history and culture as a people. We tried our best to make their lives more comfortable but failed in exposing them to hard work thereby robbing them of the values of hard work. Yes, us for creating in our children this entitlement where they are taught that the path to success doesn’t include respect, appreciation and dedication. Yes, us that trusted in our schools and education system to raise or children……and not us as parents and us as a community.
Ishawna please accept this as my apology and here’s hoping that you will be motivated to read and understand the role of culture in the development of our society and the impact of cultural icons such as the Hon Louise Bennett-Coverley. Please pay particular attention to the significance of the Tablecloth and the role it played in the positive impact on our development as a nation. Let’s start from there.