I wrote the following about 8 ish years ago. See, I used to contribute to a blog called ‘Yaadinfo | A Lighter Side to Jamaican News’. The text has been somewhat modified but the thought process of the younger me stays true in the post.
It’s a rant that was triggered by the spectacle made out of a man named Clifton Brown from a community in the parish of St. Thomas. See link below and feel free to explore the rabbit hole.
Have a read and enjoy!
I am saddened at the fact that fellow Jamaicans who continuously argue and fuss about our nation not being able to grasp the English language, have so much fun in subjecting individuals who try to speak the language and fall short.
I think it is hypocritical of the members of this country (especially the ones who claim to utilise standard English well) to be making fun of those who unfortunately cannot do the same.
What irks me is that the nation finds it funny when someone who represents a serious cause says a word or phrase that is grammatically incorrect. Everyone else seems to forget about the real matter at hand. The ‘poorly speaking’ champions for the cause usually comes from a “less educated” – more rural community too. This, for whatever reason gives the laughers more power to cackle and chastise.
What we should do is take serious matters seriously and attempt to help them fight for the cause they defend. Additionally, instead of finding the lighter side of every mispronounced word, phrase or sentence, we need to recognize that the illiteracy problem the nation faces gives rise to such phrases as “deading” and “the bus can swim” and the acquired accent that has given Mr. Clifton Brown the wrong form of popularity.
It is of my belief that we see and know the problem of our countrymen and women not being able to speak English well. And we do nothing about it.
By laughing at such things, we perpetuate a cycle of a nation not being able to speak, read or write well. I say this because we see and we know the problem but instead of fixing it we look over it with laughter and do nothing.
In addition to us making their issues known by all and helping them to rectify same – how about we we also target them and their community. Teach them the language that is supposedly the primary language of our country. [Team them that patois/patwa is in a league of its own and not to be demeaned by the Enlgish language.]
We need to do better than this.
Instead of encouraging individuals who get caught on national television (or otherwise) speaking “incorrectly”, we call them dunce and illiterate. Go figure. Invariably, if you cannot speak well, then you cannot read or write well – says the learned folk.
I wonder at times if the Jamaicans who laugh at their countrymen and women do not realise that it only takes one Jamaican to identify the entire country. The videos made and the quotes uttered tell the world that the country that we live in does not value literacy.
How then do we aim to improve our literacy? It is more than just giving the children who struggle to read more attention. It is more than trying different methods of instilling the ways of learning. And what of the older folk who did not have the luxury or opportunity of learning how to utilise the English language well?
Not every serious matter that occurs in this country must be turned into a joke. It does not hurt to be serious some of the time.
There you have it.
A raw version of the younger writing Candice.
Unu like it?
Signed with love,
2 Comments Add yours
Interesting perspective and you are correct. We have so much work to do yet we find it easier to laugh in the moment than to address the more serious aspect.
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❤️ You are truly being a voice for the voiceless and the change you desire to see.