Durante el aislamiento social preventivo obligatorio, las actividades dentro de casa se multiplicaron. El tiempo disponible debía ser invertido en algo, y una de las actividades preferidas en los…


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Perspectives Project

Based on the structure of Jamaica’s STEM curriculum — renamed STEAM to include Art, I’ve had to create drawing lessons for grade 8 students to develop their drawing skills and toy with the concept of perspectives in drawing. I am not sure whether they had the foresight to perceive perspective in its various versions that essentially has a singular or true origin.

The definition I gave them was this, ‘ Perspective refers to the point of view that the artist has of the subject in their work. It allows for a logical explanation of how one’s point of view may affect how someone perceives the size and distance of an object one to another and the viewer.

That definition was tailored to the subject of Visual Arts and drawing but we can note the crucial words formulating the definition. Essentially, a perspective is simply a point of view and a myriad of factors can have an impact on that point of view. Is it linked to relativity? Perhaps, but let's not create an illusion (as is done when drawing)by deluding ourselves based on the factors at play. It is important to stay true to a logical explanation of said perspective.


The Anti-Black Propaganda Part 1

“You will hear that Miss Elvy bright son study till im tun fool an is same ting dem did tell im madda im shoulda stop study long time for too much book no good. they will say that is book make im siddung a plait im finger an look eena dih cave top like im laas something” ( Velma Pollard extract from “Karl” published in Her True-true Name ,1990.

Declarations like the above was prevalent in Jamaica during the late 1970s and early 80s. It has not evaporated entirely. Some persons still believed that “reading too many books” might be among the prime contributory factors to the insanity of many “mad” black persons. Other prime factors include obeah, ganja smoking and man or woman problems. The crucial factor of State oppressiveness is not counted as a factor. This widely held misconception of “book phobia” is probably latently affecting the contemporary Jamaican Negroes. That is why many people old and young browse the internet rather than read. During the early days of the covid-outbreak there were sharp increases in crossword puzzles and other reading materials, people were stockpiling culture. But this was in Europe. Correspondingly in Jamaica, there were overabundances in the stockpiling of food. It was belly over books.

Teachers from several high schools across the island were frustrated about the online teaching methods necessitated by the attack of the covid-19 plandemic (coined term). They complained that students were not participating in the readings exchanges, that they were more interested in circulating pornographic images and literature during the online class hours.

In fact, I was standing in line at a local fast-food establishment during covid’s first phase attack, I had the lengthily waiting time opportunity to read the message on another waiting pachyderm male T-shirt. The slogan written in bold type read: “Suck yuh muma, yuh read too much”

He was so self-consciously proud of his seemingly offensive laconic message. Where did this anti-black propaganda of fear and loathing of books and reading come from?

Well, the illiterate Europeans made reading a crime punishable by death, or almost death, during the centuries of our enslavement by whites. That is the primary source. The other pernicious source is that fool, fool Negroes propagate the stupidity that black people are from oral tradition, bull crap! Black people invented writing and alphabet, and words and speech.

Oral cultures belonged to Greece, Rome and those other peoples. The Great David Walker in his 1929 “Appeal” reminds us that:

“The whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmerciful, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority. — We view them all over the confederacy of Greece, where they were first known to be anything, (in consequence of education) We view them next in Rome, where the spirit of tyranny [oral culture]and deceit raged still higher”(P.20)

Scala courtesy of the Minstero Ben ii Att Culturali


It does not come as a surprise to see the embarrassing story of studying too much being capable of reducing a man to lunacy. In fact, I doubt that by the time we get to adulthood, it is certainly not strange for us to have heard such a sentiment expressed. Those who are brave enough, will make connections with post-traumatic slavery syndrome as expressed by Joy DeGruy and attempt to attack the ideologies by identifying and debunking them at their source, much as Ra did in highlighting the origins that evolved into the so-called Jamaican oral culture. I can recall in high school that a teacher once said he left a $500.00 note in a students’ book and gave it back to him. At the end of a month, he collected it again and it was still there. Back then a marvelled at such a thing, noting the importance of reading but even more so the glory of being able to find money in that manner.

Breaking the cycle of disinterest in the hunt of valuable knowledge with the aim of compiling the information to distribute to our immediate community can only begin with the re-enlightenment era of the black mind — independent of the influences of the white enlightenment period experienced in history and taught even in art. I haven’t seen an enlightenment documentary for the black man however, our history primarily seemed to have begun with slavery. To prove my point, as an experiment while I writing this reflection I typed the following: ‘the history of black people’ in google search and the first thing that popped up was related to blacks being enslaved. However, when I typed the following: ‘the history of white people’ apparently there was a book by that title and in the synopsis of the book the writer was examining the idea of white and its origins as far back as the Greek empire. It is as though we had no existence before being enslaved. Aye, yet it is a sore topic that some persons prefer to deem over-used. Well to them I say, it's overused because its yet to be addressed in a straightforward manner and the trauma treated as trauma.

As a teacher, I share in the concerns expressed as well. While online platforms allow for flexibility truth be told the factors that need to come together to take advantage of that flexibility is simple non-existent in the Jamaican context. Let’s say I take advantage of using fun videos and synchronous remote learning exercises to teach students, the likely-hood of me reaching half of most of my classes is significantly reduced. Why? Internet Access. The hierarchies in our country tips and slips every now and then but never to the point of collapsing. Students using WIFI is a gift from the heavens! But the fact is, using data with any of the phone network providers may result in unmerited expenses. As such my lessons usually contain both options. Some persons may be misguided in saying that the students learn better when they are spoken to by teachers in a live setting and thus is the premise for continued education live than remotely but I say, the social component of meeting live and interacting live is a far better at teaching communication skills and acceptable verbal and non-verbal communication for the cultural context. Online interactions simply cannot replace that.

Let’s save the discussion of the impact of popular culture on social norms for another time.

Final reflection in bold, Oral cultures belonged to Greece, Rome and those other peoples. This is nothing new and for those interesting in history and matters of this nature its common knowledge. Of course this was not the Oral that teachers were referring to but it provided the perfect opportunity to bring it up and thrust the idea that certain sexual tendencies or preferences may be innate than learnt. Throughout history, many cultures used art not put it aside to look pretty or just to talk about it. At least for the state of the black man and the black mind, take solace in knowing that various tendencies that go beyond the oral was no such element of your ancestry. It’s important for me to say it held no prevalence in the REAL Black History. Not the fake one that started with slavery because if it was based on that alone then there is no denying that it was a part of that history. Forced, tempted and enticed, traumatized and ultimately learnt behaviour imposed by social norms and context and cultural shifts and appropriations and etc.

To assess the essay without the pretext of hate and a need to be defensive, there is no need to feel fear or shut such a mouth. Come now, in this space and time as much content there is on how to guarantee that a seed rots or blooms multiple colours the perspectives to have it flourish or bloom black might as well be aired also.

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