Prayer for Jamaican Men Of All Stripes
December 19, 2007
Just a few things I would pray for, if I was so inclined…
1. That JM learn to control their bodily urges, and refrain from using every available wall and patch of grass at the side of the road as a public latrine.
2. That JM stop using their penises, hands, mouths and money as weapons against women and children.
3. That JM learn to value people’s lives, including their own, and stop using automobiles and the roads as battle terrain.
4. That JM read and learn to ask questions about the information they pick up at the rum bar, the gas station, the barber shop, massage parlours and other such places frequented by other men.
5. That JM learn basic hygiene principles e.g. washing their hands after they touch their genitals, stop spitting in public places, tossing their garbage out their car windows, and wash their handkerchiefs and sweat rags regularly.
6. That JM learn humility, grace and introspection, and stop behaving like arrogant, intolerable, defensive, oversexed, sexist, aggressive, know-it-all jerks wherever they go.
7. That JM learn the art of conversation, dialogue and compromise, and refrain from shouting down, dismissing and doing harm to anyone who asks questions or disagrees with them.
8. That JM understand that being a man does not require a bag -o-mouth, a puffed-up chest, a self-righteous disdain of – and inability to feel – genuine empathy and love towards other men.
9. That JM understand that they are not God’s gift to other men and women, but are simply human beings who do have a responsibility to make the world a more harmonious and just place, rather than continue to fuck it up with their slackness, callousness, penchant for violence of all sorts and general disrespect for the environment and all who live in it.
No, I do not hold most Jamaican men in very high regard. As human beings, they have needs like all others that I respect and hold quite dearly. As social creatures borne of dis yah society, ah cyaaa tek dem one bit! Clearly, there are complex reasons for why the characteristics I have noted above have become so pronounced over time, many of which I am aware of, so maybe we can work on outlining (and addressing) those one by one. I just can’t ignore the patterns of mistreatment and disrespect — at every possible level and dimension — in everyday life in Jamaica. It makes life that much harder every single day to deal with this crap. Clearly, there are lots of exceptions, but certainly not enough (in my opinion) to change the general rule suggested by the list above. And for what its worth, my men friends, less than a handful of whom live or aspire to middle class lives, would agree with every word I say above.