Jamaica (Mckoy’s News) – Black History and the Chinese Impact: Ignorance and lack of knowledge of history can shape our minds with biases, prejudices and even bitterness. I am forced to use make this remark as many today are insensitive to our Chinese population.
The surge in arrival of the Chinese from Mainland China since the early 90’s have led to repeated offensive remark and ostracism for a nearly 100% merchant class whose ubiquitous wholesales are a fixtures of major Jamaican towns but also rural towns and hamlets.
While we cannot deny that most stick to themselves and in all fairness can be said to be “clannish” it would be ridiculous to attribute to them the legacy and role of slave masters. The reality is that people cast upon foreign shores gravitate to their own groups and will be averse in the short run at other cultures or ethnicities. In celebrating Black History Month we can look at these new nationals to Jamaica as a people whose forebears never thought of enslaving black people.
In 1986 while in England, I learned that China was trading with Africa at least 400 years before the arrival of Columbus and European navigators to the Western World and to Africa. China came to the coasts of modern day Tanzania and Kenya. It was even said the Chinese traders came as far as Zimbabwe. While Europeans were busy “thiefing “ lands, precious metals and slaves, the Chinese were only thinking of commerce and nothing else. Therefore our perspective and views of the Chinese ethnicity means we are to respect these people who have never lifted sword or rope to cut or lynch us. All of England , Belgium, Holland, Spain, France and Portugal and even Germany and Denmark wealth are derived from stolen and exploited resources from Africa, India and South America but predominantly from Africa. Today their “thiefing “ presence is sublimal – several of Jamaica’s national institutions such as the Institute of Jamaica, and the National Gallery among others have no black Jamaican at the head but still are controlled by British and Belgians. are headed by these foreigners who are hegemonic. The newly arrived Chinese are not in any pivotal positions in national space.
Our Black History should also reflect on who have shaped our history and who are responsible for our marginalization and lack of real wealth and importantly property. The Chinese never had a hand in our misery and the stripes and pain of slavery.
Let us give credit where credit is due. Our Chinese neighbours were never a part of the transatlantic slave trade, rather they are a part of our survival as purveyors of dry goods and food staples. They have served us as middle men by supplying our food, clothing and household needs by their grocery shops, wholesale businesses and supermarkets and now electronics stores, restaurants, and even sports clubs.
by Maurice Christie
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