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Familiar Contrast?

A nanny in 1950

I was so shocked when mum told us her experiences back in the day,

How (as today) black people in Jamaica were treated in a horrific way.

She said, before the Jamaican independence, Jamaicans had race segregation rules;

White ethnic minority children attended separate schools.

All the affluent areas were controlled and inhabited by whites,

And blacks (besides the workers) were never seen on site.

Nannies were deeply disrespected and underpaid,

Forcibly addressing all members of the family as though she was enslaved.

Workers were to call even the youngest members of the family master or miss -

And they were expected to wait hand on foot as the children saw fit.

If a white person accused a black of a crime, they were arrest no questions asked;

Imagine how many of our people needlessly suffered in the past.

Mum said, originally Jamaica belonged to Briton, that’s true -

But before the British gave them their independence what did they do?

They exhausted the people and stripped the country of all it’s worth,

Then they handed it back and said now you can have the remaining turf.

So there we have it, Jamaica had been used and stripped bare;

Many of the residents fled to England to reverse their despair.

But they never allowed their determination for self-improvement to fade,

Even though their jobs were still menial unpleasant and underpaid.

Even though their suffering was truly great,

Discrimination, poor housing and sometimes even rape.

Our people suffered so much as they paved the way to make life better for you,

So make them proud and ensure you are proactive in everything you do.

Mindful of the way my mother’s generation was treated when they came to England, I was gobsmacked to learn that my grandparents were in this country for a period during the nineteen-thirties. They travelled to England worked and returned home and built their house, this was customary to do back then. Now it important to bear in mind that goods were stripped from Jamaica and exported to England, America and a number of other countries too. Things like sugar tobacco, rum, rice and cotton. Jamaicans were British citizens and truly believed that England was the mother country therefore they were helping her to grow and natural they assumed they would be welcomed by all.

This type of prejudice has been purposely and systematically encouraged and supported by the system. The communities for the most part were deliberately coerced into fear, jealousy and hatred towards foreigners but in particular black people. When the government was happy for black people to be in England they ensured that the majority of the communities followed suit. In other words for the most part, the English people respond to subliminal messages via radio television and the media.

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