Race & Women In Rastafari

In original Rastafarian doctrine, Babylon and white people were one and the same. Also, all other races were black except white people. White people were seen as the oppressors who took the Black man away from Africa. Some Rastafarians call white people pink, as they will say their pigmentation is not white. White (Pink) people were seen as evil as they have created the Babylon system and have constantly denied the rights of blacks. The denial of the Black man’s rights, slavery, the images of a White Christ and Euro-centrism associated with Christianity in the past, is one of the main contentions of Rastafarians with White (Pink) people. As the archeological evidence in recent years continue to reveal a less Euro-centric biblical times, many have taken a moderate position to White people.

Three of the 6 foundations (see link) that were set forth by one of the founding fathers of Rastafari, Leonard Percival Howell (see link), are very Afro centric and racist.

1) Hatred for the White race;
2) The superiority of the Black race;
3) Revenge on Whites for their wickedness;

There is also the writing in the Holy Piby (see link), also called the “Black Man’s Bible”, which is one of the most revered books of Rastafarians, that emphasizes the destruction of white “Babylonia” and the return of the black Israelites to Africa.

In recent years Whites have joined the sect and are judged on an individual basis and their sympathies to the Rastafarian cause. Today white (Pink) Rastafarians are acceptable but called “African at heart”. The intermingling of white & black was taboo in the original Rastafarian movement but has now become acceptable. The majority of these interracial marriages are between black Rastafarian men and white women. Be aware that that many men who may appear to be Rastafarians are not and use the Rastafarian movement to marry foreign (mainly white) women in search of overseas visas.

Roles of women
The women in Rastafari are normally referred to as Queens. Many of the Rastafarian marriages are informal (common law). Even though things are changing, originally a woman’s role in the Rastafarian sect is basically regulated to housekeeping, childrearing and to pleasing her King. A Rastafarian woman is a Queen and must keep different standards than the women in “Babylonial” society or Western culture. Some of the standards include, no make up, no dressing in short skirts and they cannot use chemicals in their hair. Many Rastafarian women cannot use any form of birth control, as it is not natural and also seen as a Euro-centric way to control the African population. Rastafarian women are expected to nurture the community but know her place. The Bobo Shanti order is the strictest when it comes to the role of women, as they adhere to the strict bible principles of the Old Testament. Abortion is also not an option for Rastafarian women as it is seen as murder as in many other world religions. Women play a very secondary role in the sect and are to stand by their King.

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