Did he really say that?

June 21, 2008

“It is innate in us to reserve the best for visitors and treat them even better than we treat ourselves. That is why there are so few crimes against them. In our homes, we were taught at an early age to use the best china only when strangers come.” Harry Smith

If this is what is right with Jamaica, then I shudder to think of what he would say is wrong.

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4 Responses to “Did he really say that?”

  1. ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID Says:

    Who is this HOUSE NEGROo espousing this anachronistic colonial perspective vis-a vis Jamaicans and tourists, with regard to the low incidence of crime experienced by tourists? Please wake up, this is the twenty first century.MASSA day done long time.And incidentally,there are other explanations as to why crimes against tourist may be,or is, relatively low vis-a-vis locals.Also,how can a value be innate and at the same time be taught.

  2. experienceaurie Says:

    experiential learned behaviors by our ancestors has translated in innate values today (i agree with the House Negro on that observation)…the perpetuation of the same experiences from before is what we see today in the way that we treat foreigners vs locals. There is true animosity between the two for any number of reasons and this isn’t just confined to the traditional tourist, but also returning Jamaicans for a host of other reasons that are easily apparent. The attitude of “so yuh tink seh yuh betta than mi cause yuh a guh ah foreign” comes to mind. I don’t know how we translate that into a positive as Smith suggests, but I do know that Jamaica’s ability to market itself is uncanny and yet still untapped in many ways.

  3. longbench Says:

    Aurie — There’s nothing “innate” about Jamaicans’ deference to tourists or other foreign-minded persons.
    Its a matter of social coercion and policy. The media are constantly making us feel paranoid that our country is going to fall into the ocean if we don’t bring in more tourists and treat them well. Now its encourage more people to come back and invest. Police harass people for harassing tourists; tourists are a so-called product; haven’t you yourself defended this “product” on other occasions? Well, if you want to make money off the product, surely you will not let us “natives” tief, assault, bad-drive and violate them the way we do ourselves with nary an intervention or oversight? Just a few complaints led hoteliers and govt to come up with big plans and money to make tourist areas “safe” while the rest of us battle for our lives to just get home.
    “Returnees” think they are some kind of hot shit, and of course they would think so. They are told that they are our new saviors; we tell ourselves that we want to be like them; they tell themselves and us that they are better than us, having gone away and acquired the credential of foreign citizenship and just enough money to return to eke out a living. There’s no mystery there why Jamaicans resent foreigners. They don’t recognize how much they are pawns in a game, and end up making us more insecure by claiming entitlement,and by being treated as entitled.

  4. diatribalist Says:

    You know, I was going to take on this series and decided to leave it alone, but I think I’ll make a few comments about it here.

    For one thing, one wonders why the series was so often filed under lead stories when the newspaper was published online. Surely the repetitive platitudes, of a few well-to-do Jamaicans, was a waste of space against a background of skyrocketing crime. When they began the series, it was during a spike in the drumbeat of murder and mayhem to which we’ve grown accustomed. The only appropriate analogy I can think of for this series is that it is the equivalent of seeing your mother on fire, and taking the time to sing “mama cooking is the greatest” instead of getting a bucket of water to put the fire out. But that is the Jamaican media for you, predictable platitudes trump real action anytime.


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