Jamaica has been known as an island paradise and has been taking the world by storm with the fastest man in the world, top sports athletes, and reggae. Not to mention our unique culture, cuisine, scenery and people.
While there are so many amazing things that make up the country which has brought tourists near and far to visit, Jamaica has also been given many stereotypes.
Here are the top seven stereotypes known to most Jamaicans that seem to follow them if they interact outside of the island:
We don’t smoke weed as you think.
There is a widely held preconception that most Jamaicans smoke weed. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is not the case. Nor are we all Rastafarian. Of course marijuana, or as the popular name states ‘weed’, has been legalized recently in small amounts it doesn’t mean that it is a practice done predominantly across the island.
We are not all from African descent.
The Jamaican motto is ‘Out of Many One People’ and as such we have many cultures, races and ethnicities that make the country a very diverse and unique population. A melting pot as many call it. Our descendants dating as far back as Christopher Columbus has made this little island home, so there are many generations of Indians, Chinese, and African etc. Through the rich bloodline of our ancestors and the interracial unions throughout the decades, there has been a mixture of cultures and fusions of ethnicities.
We do not live in huts on the side of the beach, in a coconut tree.
Although we are surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and we are a very small island on the map of the world, we do not live like jungle people. We consist of urban and rural areas across the island and while the rural areas are more country-like and have more beaches and vegetation, the urban areas are more modern, concrete and city bound. Jamaicans love to get away from the city, urban areas, and relax in the more rural areas – by rivers or on the beaches. City folk Jamaicans do this just as much as international tourists love to travel to visit the island from their respective countries.
We do not only listen to Reggae, Bob Marley, nor are we all Rastafarian.
Again, we are ‘Out of Many One People’ and while there are Rastafarian Jamaicans residing among us, not everyone is Rasta. To also touch on the genre of music we listen to, we do listen to a very diverse collection of music; since we are also exposed to pop culture and music. Ranging from Dancehall, R&B, Jazz and Blues, Gospel, Hip Hop, Soul, EDM and Reggae to name a few, we always have an appreciation for our music and the world’s.
All of Jamaica isn’t paradise with beaches stretching from north to south, east to west.
Unbeknown to many tourists who only explore a mere piece of what Jamaica has to offer, there are parts of the island that aren’t very tourist welcoming. While we love all the facets that comprise the beauty and culturally-diverseness of the country, we have very sundry infrastructure than beaches and what tourists call ‘paradise’. Check out the other parishes when next you decide to vacation in Jamaica; see what awaits you.
We don’t always say: Mon, Irie, nor do we only speak Patois.
We speak English as well as the next man as well as many other languages that we have so eloquently taught ourselves and our society for generations. This connotation that we only say Irie and Mon is as real as there being only black and white cows or the tooth fairy. It is not known who exactly started this phenomenon, but the fact that the tourist capitals have caught on to it and added to its popularity is just as far-fetched even though it is a fallacy.
All Jamaican men are not dogs and all Jamaican women do not steal your men.
If we decide to migrate to your country and pursue an individual within that country, doesn’t mean that we came with the sole intent to steal/ break your hearts. It has more to do with genes and one’s upbringing than one’s nationality. So before accusations start flying about Jamaican women stealing someone’s husband or Jamaican men are heartless, there might want to be some further analysis into the lifestyle of that person because anyone regardless of nationality can act fit those shoes.
By Alexandra Daley