Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Poor Jar Jar Binks

I remember when I first heard the noise that Jar Jar Binks of the Star Wars saga fame (Episodes I and II) was a racist stereotype of Caribbean people.

In particular, his "obviously" Caribbean accent was demeaning to West Indians everywhere.

Except that he just didn't sound West Indian at all.

In fact, I distinctly remember having trouble following what the heck he was saying (assuming he was "male" and not merely a computer generated figure.)

However, I am sure that there are those Caribbean people who would take it upon themselves to relate to the figure as racist, in spite of the fact that he sounds nothing like us. Some would argue that I am just being naive , of course, and that iam unable to see racism when it is plainly in front of my face.

Which reminds me of my first week living in the U.S. as a college student. I was amazed at how frequently my fellow students of African descent, who had grown up in America, labelled everyday incidents as "racism."

He looked at me funny -- "racism."

He cut me off at the light -- "racist."

I got a low grade -- "racists."

In my first few weeks there I remember being quite confused that what just a few days prior had been called "rude," "mean" or "impolite" under same-race circumstances became racist when a difference in ethnicity was involved. My confusion was settled when I realized that the absolute worst thing someone can be called in America is "racist" and that as a way of getting some kind of "victim power" it worked.

That is, it worked for a while, because the most potent weapon a Black person has is to cry out "racism!"

And, in like manner, Jar Jar Binks became a racist parody of Caribbean people.

Except that he just doesn't sound like anything like a Caribbean person.


At 3/22/2010 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he speaks in ebonics, ever watched the disney movie 'Uncle Remus'?


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