20 Jamaican StereoTypes You Must Challenge

Jamaican StereoTypes You Must Challenge

Jamaican StereoTypes You Must Challenge

11. All Jamaicans Are Rastas
Bob Marley is the most famous Jamaican. He was also the most famous Rastafarian. So people put the two together and think, Jamaican and Rastafarian are the same. Hence all Jamaicans are Rastafarians and all wear dreadlocks. The two are independent. You can be Jamaican and not Rastafarian. In fact the statistics currently show less than 5% of the population identifies as Rastafarian. It is popular to grow dreads and pretend to be a Rastafarian because it is popular and also what sells in the “rent a dread” schemes. Some say there is Rastas (fake) and Rastafarians (practicing the religion).

12. Know Bob Marley
We all do not know Bob Marley when he was alive. We don’t know his relatives. Not because Jamaica is an island it should be assumed that we all know each other or that we are all related. We may know someone who knows someone else but that is another story. See the “Jamaicans can find anything” stereotype.

13. Jamaican women are very flexible and make great sex partners
This is one of the newest stereotypes. I have heard stories from many women that men are looking to hook up with them just because they are Jamaican and have some extra “sexual” prowess in bed. The popularity of Jamaican dancehall videos have given men the impression that all Jamaican women have the flexibility of a gymnast. For some men this “flexibility” make Jamaican women desirable to “bed”. Men are expecting them to make moves in the bedroom like they see in the Jamaican “Pasa pasa”, “Weddy Weddy” and dancehall videos.

14. Jamaicans have many jobs
This stereotype of Jamaicans living abroad is quite prevalent. There are some Jamaicans who will work a couple jobs when they first move abroad. But the goal is doing whatever it takes to get ahead. Many immigrants do the same. Imagine arriving to a new country with nothing and then trying to catch up. Jamaicans like other immigrants will work 2 or more jobs to catch up. Typically immigrants work multiple jobs until they have caught up with a place to live, transportation and furniture. They do this until they have one really good job. The goal is to move forward by any means.

15. Jamaicans can find anything or anyone
There is some thread of truth to this but there is a reason. We are well connected to each other. We will do an unofficial background check on another Jamaican by inquiring with other Jamaicans. So with a great network you can anyone or anything.

16. Jamaican men are womanizer
This stereotype is sometime very difficult to challenge because there are Jamaican women expressing this sentiment.  I had a Jamaican lady friend tell my daughter to never date Jamaican men. This stereotype is like the generalization that all men cheat. Not all men cheat. There are some that do and some that don’t. Do Jamaican men have a way with words and compliments? Do they flirt? Many of them do, like men in other cultures. It it does not make them womanizers.

17. Jamaicans Practice Voodoo
Jamaicans do not practice Voodoo. The voodoo religion originated in Haiti and is practiced there. The movie “Marked for Death” did not help to dispel this stereotype as it showed actors playing Jamaican Rastafarians practicing Voodoo. I am sure many Jamaicans; especially Rastafarians were upset by this. In fact this movie has one of some of the worst portrayal of Jamaicans down to awful fake accents. Jamaica does have its own spiritual taboo system. It is called Obeah. It thrived during slavery. Once slavery end it continued to be practiced by a very small percentage of the population but Christianity started to become the dominant religion. Obeah is outlawed in Jamaica and you will hardly hear about it as it is a dying belief system.

18. All Jamaicans Smoke weed
This is probably the number 1 stereotype on Jamaicans. There the Jamaica and reggae t-shirts with marijuana leaves. There are posters of Bob Marley smoking ganja. Jamaican ganja seems to be the standard for those who smoke it. Most people would think it is the national plant of Jamaica. Some see it as a drug and other see it as a part of their religious rituals. Whatever the reason don’t assume everyone in Jamaica smokes it or can find you the best place to get it.

19. Jamaicans women are facety and emasculate men
The truth is Jamaican women are like all women; they do not tolerate foolishness and will express it. They will take charge and men may feel like they were put in the back seat. I hear Jamaican women say all the time that if men would lead and do the right thing then women would not have to do it for them.

20. All Jamaicans Live Near the Beach
I would be a rich man if I got a dollar each time I was asked “Did you go to the beach everyday”. Even though Jamaica is an island it is not small. Everyone does not have access to get to the beach in 30 seconds. There are hills and mountains on the island. Many people live inland and getting to the beach can take up to 5 hours. Even though I lived near the beach I did not go every day. People have lives; they go to school and work. I went to the beach mainly on public holidays and special events.

About the author

Glen Benjamin

I strongly believe there are 3 sides to every story. Telling each side is the challenge.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that - Martin Luther King