By Vannessa Gordon
Are we still asking questions about Kamala Harris’ ‘allegiance’ to Jamaica?
Last year, the social media landscape erupted with what appeared to be shame and disappointment when Iana Tickle Garcia, Miss Jamaica Universe 2019 masqueraded in a beautiful ball gown as Annie Palmer during the National Costume Competition of the Miss Universe pageant.
The contestants were to sport a costume which represents their country’s culture or heritage. Persons were upset that she gave the white witch of Rose Hall a global stage and felt Iana had essentially chosen her as a cultural icon. Further to that, some people were upset that she represented her as being so dignified and beautiful.
But what I found rather interesting was the fact that some Jamaicans immediately started questioning the woman’s Jamaican heritage by claiming that she was not quite Jamaican because her mother is Cuban and her father is Swiss.
I can’t help but wonder now whether or not these people would have had the same comments if Miss Jamaica was crowned the winner in 2019.
Fast forward to 2020, Kamala Harris is elected as Vice-President of the United States. Jamaicans, as expected, have run wild with the fact that she has a Jamaican father. Apparently, the United States now has a Jamaican Vice-President. At least, that’s what so many Jamaicans seem to be saying.
Interestingly, Harris in her victory speech did not even as much as mention her Jamaican father – the same father whose Jamaican ‘genes’ she has apparently inherited. I think perhaps it’s time Jamaicans have the talk about the obvious inferiority complex we are suffering from.
I think this discussion is important because it will at least help to eliminate the ‘likki likki’ type of behaviour we display every time accomplished or otherwise famous people visit their Jamaican cousin or ‘vacay’ for a weekend on the North coast.
We have more than enough reasons as Jamaicans to be proud of our heritage. However, the desperate appeals for famous people to oblige us as we use them as our poster boys and poster girls reflect a deeply entrenched inferiority complex.
Jamaicans continue to demonstrate that we are still in fact carrying the weight of mental enslavement. It is for this reason we care so much about the validation from Kamala Harris that hasn’t come– so much so that we refuse to even allow her to address her own family matters in her own time.
Even now, conversations about her supposed allegiance to Jamaica are still arising. That is, as if she doesn’t have a right to identify with the country or countries of her choosing.
When criminals are deported back to Jamaica, we are quick to make the point that they don’t belong to us. And while it is easy to separate ourselves from the vices of our fellowmen, we find it so easy to claim as Jamaican, every distinguished individual who has even the slightest connection to the country.
If the reason for celebrating Kamala Harris’ victory is that she has Jamaican heritage, perhaps we shouldn’t be celebrating. Primarily, because the link she has to Jamaica, through her Jamaican father, doesn’t even seem to be holding up too well. Does this mean Jamaica is any less? Not at all. We are no less because we can’t claim Harris’ victory as our own. We have our own victories. Victories that are truly ours.
We should allow Kamala Harris and her family to sort through their issues. It really doesn’t concern the people of Jamaica and it is time we let sleeping dogs lie.
We want to hear from you! Send feedback to email@example.com.