Friday, March 31, 2023

Jamaica, BRICS and South-South Cooperation

"The rise of the BRICS presents both opportunities and challenges for small states like Jamaica. While the BRICS offer new avenues for trade and investment, they also pose a potential threat to traditional economic partnerships.
~Henry J. Bernard

Jamaica's potential for deeper engagement with BRICS countries and South-South cooperation must not be ignored. The term "South-South Agreement" encompasses the array of partnerships between countries in the Global South designed to promote economic, social, or political cooperation. Meanwhile, BRICS countries, as a group of fast-growing, large economies that have the potential to become major global players in the 21st century, are viewed as critical actors in the South-South cooperation discourse. Developing countries often share similar challenges and opportunities, such as poverty, inequality, and the need for infrastructure and sustainable development. Hence, South-South cooperation is an essential platform for developing countries to share experiences, collaborate on solutions, and implement best practices.

BRICS is an acronym that refers to a grouping of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The term was coined by Jim O'Neill, an economist at Goldman Sachs, in 2001, to describe these countries as a group of fast-growing, large economies that have the potential to become major global players in the 21st century. BRICS countries are often seen as key actors in the South-South cooperation discourse. South-South cooperation refers to collaboration among developing countries in areas such as trade, investment, technology transfer, and knowledge sharing, with the aim of promoting economic growth, social development, and poverty reduction.

Jamaica, like many other developing countries, could potentially benefit from deeper relations with BRICS countries and the South-South cooperation more broadly. Developing countries often face similar challenges and opportunities, such as poverty, inequality, and the need for infrastructure and sustainable development. South-South cooperation can provide a platform for developing countries to share experiences and best practices, and to collaborate on solutions to common challenges.

In addition, Jamaica is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is a regional organization of 15 Caribbean countries that promotes cooperation and integration among its members. CARICOM provides a forum for South-South cooperation among its member states, and Jamaica has played an active role in promoting regional integration and cooperation in areas such as trade, education, and culture.

Jamaica has also been involved in various South-South initiatives related to climate change, including through its participation in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). AOSIS is a coalition of small island developing states (SIDS) that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and it aims to promote cooperation among its members on issues related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and financing.

"South-South cooperation offers a promising alternative to traditional development assistance, as it promotes mutual learning, shared experiences, and equal partnerships. However, it also poses challenges related to political alignment, resource constraints, and institutional capacity."
"South-South Cooperation and the Future of Development Assistance: Mapping Actors and Options" by Bernhard Trautner:
For Jamaica, deeper relations with BRICS countries could offer opportunities for trade, investment, and technology transfer. For example, China, one of the BRICS countries, is already a major trading partner and investor in Jamaica, with a focus on infrastructure development and tourism. India, another BRICS country, has also shown interest in increasing its economic engagement with Jamaica, particularly in areas such as renewable energy and agriculture.

Furthermore, the New Development Bank, which was established by the BRICS countries, could provide a potential source of financing for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Jamaica. The bank aims to promote development in emerging economies, and has already approved several projects in other developing countries.
"The BRICS countries are emerging as major players in global governance, challenging the dominance of Western powers. As they continue to gain influence, they may reshape the international order in significant ways."
"BRICS: A New Role in Global Governance" by Paulo Roberto de Almeida
The Monroe Doctrine is a U.S. foreign policy doctrine that dates back to the early 19th century, which stated that any intervention by external powers in the politics of the Americas is considered a hostile act against the United States. It is difficult to predict exactly how the changing global dynamics will impact the Monroe Doctrine in the long run. However, it is clear that the doctrine's relevance has declined in recent years as the United States has become less influential and other countries have gained more power in the region.

For instance, China has made significant inroads in the region, including through investments in infrastructure, such as ports and railroads, and through trade agreements. Similarly, Russia has developed closer ties with countries in the region, such as Venezuela and Cuba, and has sought to increase its military presence in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, countries such as Brazil and Mexico have become more assertive in their own foreign policies and have sought to play a greater role in regional affairs.

All of these factors suggest that the Monroe Doctrine may be less effective in limiting the influence of external powers in the Americas than it has been in the past. However, it is important to note that the United States remains a significant economic and military power in the region, and it is likely that the doctrine will continue to play some role in U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, the impact of changing global dynamics on the Monroe Doctrine will depend on a wide range of factors, including economic, military, and political developments in the region and around the world.

"The Monroe Doctrine was a landmark policy that established the United States as a dominant power in the Western Hemisphere. While it has faced criticism for being outdated and imperialistic, its legacy continues to shape American foreign policy today."
"The Monroe Doctrine: A Retrospective" by John G. Schroeder

Today, many countries like China, Russia, India, and others in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America are working to counter western dominance by developing alternatives to the west-dominated global economy, especially to the US dollar. For example, the latest BRICS summit, which saw the participation of major emerging economies, including Russia and China, was designed to challenge the G7 and signal to the world that Russia, China, and the Global South are preparing for a long fight against Western dominance. The outcome of this conflict is likely to shape the future of humanity.

In the face of global economic hegemony dominated by the West, emerging economies like China, Russia, and India are developing alternatives to the US dollar and challenging Western dominance. The latest BRICS summit saw the participation of major emerging economies and signaled a challenge to the G7, demonstrating that Russia, China, and the Global South are preparing for a prolonged fight against Western dominance. As the US's international decline continues, countries such as BRICS are creating their own institutions with different values, like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China and 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Jamaica must explore the opportunities offered by deeper engagement with BRICS countries and South-South cooperation, as they provide a platform for Jamaica to share experiences, collaborate on solutions, and implement best practices with developing countries sharing similar challenges and opportunities.


Other Reading Material:

  • "The Impact of South-South Cooperation on Jamaica" by W. Marvin Williams, in Journal of International Development (2016)
  • "The BRICS: Opportunities and Challenges for Jamaica" by Henry J. Bernard, in Caribbean Journal of International Relations & Diplomacy (2016)
  • "The Monroe Doctrine: A Retrospective" by John G. Schroeder, in Naval War College Review (2007)
  • "BRICS: A New Role in Global Governance" by Paulo Roberto de Almeida, in Brazilian Journal of Political Economy (2014)
  • "South-South Cooperation and the Future of Development Assistance: Mapping Actors and Options" by Bernhard Trautner, in Journal of International Development (2016)

These sources may offer additional insights and perspectives on Jamaica's potential engagement with BRICS countries and the concept of South-South cooperation.

#Jamaica #SouthSouthCooperation #BRICS #GlobalSouth #development #partnerships #trade #investment #technologytransfer #climatechange #regionalintegration #smallislanddevelopingstates #renewableenergy #NewDevelopmentBank #USforeignpolicy #globalgovernance #economicgrowth #sustainabledevelopment #bestpractices #collaboration #equality #mutualbenefit #institutionalobstacles #challenges #opportunities #coherence #coordination #expertise #resources

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Gang Culture's History in Jamaica and it's link to Black American Culture

The world today is like a monstrous machine, grinding everything into a homogeneous paste, leaving no room for diversity, for culture, for individuality. This is especially true for small, struggling countries like Jamaica, where the relentless tide of globalization has washed away our cultural identity, leaving us adrift in a sea of Americanized popular culture.

For decades, Black American culture has been spreading like wildfire across the world, and Jamaica is no exception. With the advent of cable television, the internet, and other modern technologies, the global village has come into being, drawing the black diaspora closer and closer together. As a result, Jamaican culture has been supplanted and usurped by Black American music, movies, and media.

In "Globalization, Media, and the Culture Wars in Jamaica" by Brian Moeran, the author examines the ways in which the globalization of media has influenced the culture and politics of Jamaica, particularly through the spread of cable television and the influence of American media. The article explores how American media has shaped cultural attitudes and behaviors in Jamaica and contributed to the spread of consumer culture.

Similarly, in "The Impact of Television on the Culture of Jamaica" by Gladstone Taylor, the author examines the influence of television on Jamaican culture, particularly in the 1990s when the country experienced a rapid increase in cable television access. The article discusses how American media has shaped Jamaican cultural norms and values, including attitudes towards gender roles and consumerism.

The globalization of media, including the spread of cable television and American media, has had a significant impact on Jamaican culture and society, particularly in the 1990s. It has been a devastating impact on Jamaica's productivity and cultural output. Our once-vibrant culture, with its rich traditions and unique heritage, has been replaced by a cookie-cutter, homogenized version of Black American culture, with all its bling and bravado, but little of the substance that made our culture great.

There should be more concerns in civil society and government about the negative consequences of the impact of cable and U.S. media on Jamaica, particularly in relation to the potential influence on gang culture. Some scholars have argued that the portrayal of gang violence and criminal behavior in American media, particularly in movies and television shows, may contribute to the glamorization of gang culture and influence the behavior of young people in Jamaica.

For example, in "Youth and Violence in Jamaica: The Influence of Socio-Economic Factors on Perceptions of Violence" by Wendell Wallace, the author notes that the portrayal of violence in American media, particularly in rap music and movies, has contributed to the normalization of violence and the glamorization of gang culture among young people in Jamaica.

Similarly, in "The Effects of American Culture on Jamaican Youth" by Monica Stewart, the author argues that the influence of American media on Jamaican youth has contributed to the spread of gang culture and the normalization of violent behavior.

But this struggle is not new. The relationship with cultural transfer is also made by academics in the United States. Thinkers like Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele have long argued that cultural differences between Black Americans and Black West Indians are real and significant. They contend that Black West Indians in America were historically more productive than Black Americans, and that this was due to cultural differences rooted in their distinct histories and experiences. Thomas Sowell is an American economist and social theorist who has written extensively on race and culture. Some of his works include "Race and Culture: A World View" (1994) and "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" (2005). While Shelby Steele is an American author, columnist, and documentary filmmaker who has also written about race and culture. Some of his works include "The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race In America" (1990) and "White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era" (2006).

Sowell and Steele's theories hold true for Jamaica as well. Our unique cultural heritage, with its fusion of African, European, and Indigenous traditions, gave us a creative and vibrant culture that was the envy of the world. But now, with the relentless onslaught of American popular culture, we have lost much of what made us unique and special. In "Black Rednecks and White Liberals", Thomas Sowell argues that the persistence of cultural factors that hinder black progress can be traced back to the historical experience of African Americans. He contends that many of the negative cultural traits commonly associated with contemporary black Americans, such as a lack of education, high crime rates, and single-parent households, actually have their roots in the culture of the antebellum South.

According to Sowell, the antebellum South had a distinctive culture that was characterized by violence, honor-based values, and a lack of emphasis on education and literacy. These cultural traits were brought over to the United States by white settlers from the British Isles, including Scots-Irish immigrants, who settled in the Southern colonies in large numbers. Sowell argues that this culture was adopted by many African Americans after emancipation, as they sought to assimilate into the larger society.

However, Sowell contends that this culture was not well-suited to the challenges of modern society, and that it has contributed to the persistent poverty and social dysfunction that continues to afflict many black Americans today. He argues that the solution to this problem lies in recognizing the historical roots of these cultural factors, and working to replace them with more productive and adaptive cultural traits.

To compound these academic arguments, consider that the FBI's actions under COINTELPRO had a negative impact on Black culture in America. By targeting Black political organizations and activists, the FBI undermined the efforts of the Black community to fight for their rights and equality. This, in turn, contributed to a climate of fear and mistrust between the Black community and law enforcement, which has persisted to this day. Additionally, the FBI's actions helped to perpetuate negative stereotypes and stigmas about Black activists and organizations, which has had a lasting impact on how Black activism and culture are perceived in American society.

So even when there are attempts at redeeming and repairing the negative aspects of black culture it is befuddle by outside cultures. But the FBI isn't the only agency to muddle in black cultural affairs. There is also the CIA, but where as in the FBI tends to be domestically oriented and focus on the USA, the CIA has been the arm of USA's interference overseas and the police of it's foreign policy.

It would be hard to argue that there aren't certainly some similarities between the actions of the FBI and the CIA in terms of their impact on Black communities and activism. Like the FBI, the CIA has a history of involvement in domestic surveillance and intelligence gathering, often with a focus on political dissidents and civil rights organizations. For example, the CIA's Operation CHAOS was a secret domestic surveillance program that monitored anti-war activists and other political dissidents in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, the CIA's operations are primarily focused on foreign intelligence and covert actions, and as such, their impact on domestic Black activism may not be as direct as that of the FBI. That being said, the CIA's involvement in various foreign conflicts and interventions has certainly had an impact on Black communities both in the US and abroad. For example, the CIA's support for anti-communist forces in Africa during the Cold War led to the destabilization of many African nations, which in turn had a negative impact on Black communities in those countries.

Gang violence has been a persistent problem in Black American communities since the early 20th century, with the emergence of notorious street gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips in the 1960s and 1970s. These gangs primarily originated in Los Angeles, California, and their activities and influence have since spread throughout the United States.

On the other hand, gang violence in Jamaica gained prominence in the 1970s, with the emergence of politically affiliated gangs such as the Shower Posse and the Spanglers. While gang activity in Jamaica may have begun earlier, it was not until the 1970s that it became a widespread and visible problem.

"Gang Violence in the Caribbean: Understanding the Current State of Affairs" by Randy Seepersad and Ryan Lee discusses the prevalence of gang violence in the Caribbean region and its impact on social and economic development. The article highlights the transnational nature of gang activity and notes that many gangs in the Caribbean have links to gangs in the United States.

Similarly, "Transnational Gangs in the Caribbean: Assessing the Threat to the United States" by Robert Bunker and John Sullivan examines the connections between gangs in the Caribbean and the United States, including the role of drug trafficking and the impact of gang violence on local communities.

Music has played a significant role in gang culture, particularly in terms of identity formation and expression. Gang members often use music as a means of expressing their experiences and perspectives, and to assert their identity as members of a particular gang or community. In this sense, music can be seen as a way for gang members to communicate their values, beliefs, and experiences to others.

Hip hop and rap music have roots in Jamaica's reggae and dancehall music, which played a significant role in their development. During the 1970s, Jamaican sound systems and DJs popularized the practice of "toasting," a style of rhythmic chanting or talking over a beat, which became a precursor to rap music.  So you see, music has also been an important part of cultural exchange between different communities, including those associated with gang culture. For example, the influence of Jamaican music on hip hop and rap has been a significant aspect of the cultural exchange between Black American and Jamaican communities. This exchange has not only impacted the development of music, but has also influenced fashion, language, and other aspects of popular culture.

At the same time, music has also been used as a tool for promoting violence and aggression within gang culture. Some gangs use music to promote their violent activities, to intimidate rivals, or to assert their dominance over certain neighborhoods. This can have a negative impact on the broader community, contributing to a culture of fear and violence.

The links between Black American and Jamaican gang violence, particularly in terms of the drug trade have only gotten more intricate with time. Some Jamaican gangs have established drug trafficking networks in the United States, which have resulted in violent conflicts with Black American gangs over control of drug territory. Additionally, there have been instances of Black American gangs collaborating with Jamaican gangs in drug trafficking operations.

The impact of this cultural shift is evident in the decline of our cultural output and productivity. According to a report by the Jamaica Observer, the country's music industry has been in decline for years, with fewer and fewer Jamaican artists achieving international success. This is in stark contrast to the 1970s and 80s, when Jamaican music was a global phenomenon, with artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff taking the world by storm.

But it's not just our music industry that is suffering. Jamaica's film industry, once a vibrant and creative force, has also been in decline in recent years. As the American film industry continues to dominate global box office, Jamaican filmmakers struggle to find an audience for their work.

This decline in productivity and cultural output is not inevitable, nor is it irreversible. But it will require a concerted effort by the Jamaican people to reclaim our cultural heritage, to embrace what makes us unique and special, and to resist the homogenizing forces of globalization.

As Arundhati Roy famously said, "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." It's time for Jamaica to join that world, to reclaim our cultural identity, and to breathe new life into our creative and vibrant culture.


#gangculture #historyofgangs #yakuza #ItalianMafia #IrishMob #RussianBratva #AfricanAmericanGangs #BlackPower #Crips #Bloods #drugcartels #LatinAmericanGangs #violence #criminalactivity #culturaltransfer #marginalizedcommunities #socialconditions #economicconditions #politicalconditions

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Petition: Bob Marley Statue in Montego Bay Harbour or Bay Area

I Have a dream... or I dreamt rather, that there was a monumental statue of Bob Marley in the Monteg Bay harbour... or Bay area. think this dream would be great to bring to reality. This is why I am throwing it out there into the universe!

Montego Bay, Jamaica, the land of warm sunshine, white sandy beaches, and reggae music. It is a place that has long been associated with the iconic musician Bob Marley, who has left an indelible mark on the world with his soulful and uplifting music. Marley's legacy has transcended generations, and his music has become a symbol of hope, love, and unity for people all over the world. It is time to honor him with a monumental statue in the Montego Bay harbor. Don't you think so? It's not like they're in a rush to make him a national hero. We got to do something!

The statue of Bob Marley would serve as a national project that stimulates job creation and fosters national pride. It would also bolster tourism and increase the number of ships coming into the harbor just to see our Liberty-esque statute of Bob Marley, thus boosting the local economy. Imagine it being visible from maybe as far as Sandy Bay in Hanover. The statue would be a visual representation of the man who has become an international icon, an ambassador of Jamaica's music and culture.

The statue would be a symbol of Marley's commitment to social justice and his message of peace and unity. It would inspire visitors to learn more about Jamaica's history and culture, and it would serve as a beacon of hope for the local community. The statue would be a place for people to gather, to celebrate, and to remember the man who brought joy and hope to millions of people around the world.

The idea of a monumental statue of Bob Marley in Montego Bay's harbor is more than just a symbol of national pride; it is a testament to Jamaica's rich cultural legacy and a beacon for tourism and trade. The statue would be Jamaica's colossus of Rhodes, akin to the Jesus statue in Brazil, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and the Renaissance Monuments in Senegal and Burkina Faso.

This statue would not just be grand for grandeur's sake; it would be a celebration of our human capital and intelligence. As Marcus Garvey and Friedrich Nietzsche both believed, "Art is the highest form of expression of the human intelligence; without art, one's civilization is not complete." This statue would be the embodiment of our collective cultural identity and creativity, culminating in one magnificent piece of art. Like the Sphinx, Obelisks, and Stella of old, this statue would stand the test of time and be a testament to our civilization for millennia to come.

Beyond the cultural significance, the statue would also serve as a job stimulation national project, creating employment opportunities for local artisans, architects, engineers, and builders. The project would bolster tourism and enhance the harbor's appeal to ships from around the world, boosting trade and the local economy. 

But why Bob Marley? Why is he the right person to honor with such a monumental statue?  Bob Marley's music is not just Jamaica's national treasure; it is a global phenomenon. His music has touched people from all walks of life and transcended cultural barriers. His message of love, unity, and freedom resonates with people across the globe, making him a symbol of hope and inspiration. Furthermore, Bob Marley's legacy extends beyond his music. He was a political and cultural icon who fought for social justice and equality. His influence can still be seen today in Jamaica's vibrant Rastafarian movement and the wider global reggae community.

A monumental statue of Bob Marley in Montego Bay's harbor would be a fitting tribute to this cultural icon and an emblem of Jamaica's rich cultural heritage. It would serve as a rallying point for national pride, stimulate employment, and enhance tourism and trade. It is an idea worth pursuing, not just for the short-term benefits but for the lasting legacy it would leave for future generations to come. Marley's music was a reflection of his personal beliefs and his dedication to social justice. He believed in the power of music to bring people together and to inspire change. He used his platform to speak out against oppression and to call for unity and peace. His music has transcended borders and cultures, and it has become a symbol of hope and inspiration for people all over the world. What more do I need to say to make the case more, clear, more real, more necessary?

The statue would be a tribute to the man who brought Jamaica's music and culture to the world stage. It would be a testament to the power of music to transcend language, borders, and cultures. It would be a symbol of hope for the future, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, we can find inspiration and hope in the beauty of music and the human spirit.

In conclusion, the erection of a monumental statue of Bob Marley in the Montego Bay harbor or on one of its Bogue islands would be a powerful symbol of Jamaica's music, culture, and history. It would stimulate job creation, foster national pride, and bolster tourism, all while honoring the legacy of one of the world's most beloved musicians. It would be a tribute to the power of music to bring people together, to inspire change, and to bring hope to millions of people around the world. Let us come together and make this vision a reality, for the sake of our community, our country, and our world.

#BobMarleyStatue #MontegoBayHarbour #BayArea #Jamaica #MusicLegend #ReggaeKing #OneLove #Petition #CulturalIcon

Thursday, March 16, 2023

On Being an Blerd in Western Jamaica

What is a Blerd?

A "blerd" is a slang term that combines the words "black" and "nerd." It is often used to refer to a black person who is passionate about science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields, or who is a fan of traditionally "nerdy" things like comic books, video games, and science fiction. As one might imagine in an age where many Jamaicans have taken on "Dunce" as their moniker, being a nerd in some instances can be frowned upon or make one a pariah of sorts.

It can lead to odd social situations. I remember being on a corner full of young smokers and we were calling an instance of a woman beating a man and I said "she discombobulate him," the crowd went silent till one young man bravely came forth saying "Rasta mi nah go pretend yah but mi nuh know wah dat mean, and me think me a nuh the only one.

In Jamaica, as in a lot of places, black children are allowed to ignore the interests and accomplishments of the black adults around them, and to focus their admiration on white folk (am just being honest). Being a blerd in Jamaica is a paradoxical experience, as the country has a rich cultural heritage and a strong tradition of education and academic achievement. Jamaica is home to many successful scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, and the country has a vibrant community of people who are passionate about STEM subjects. Yet this is not advertised, promoted or trumpeted and the stereotype of Jamaica being a land for the hewers of wood and drawers of water, or sun, sand and sex, or track stars and reggae stars, when we are so much more.

Being a Blerd in Jamaica

Growing up in Jamaica, I often felt like I didn't quite fit in with my peers. Like many of my friends, I was interested in sports and music, but seemed to distinguish me from them in my own mind was that I was also very drawn to science fiction, fantasy, and technology. Probably inherited from my father. He would buy me astronomy books and discusses Pleiades, Orion, Betelguese and show me Saturn and Jupiter through his telescope. I would spend hours immerse in his National Geographics and perusing the past, pondering Mesopotamia and such. But I digress... It was this intense romance with science and even current events and world affairs that sometimes made me feel like an outsider, that layered with imbibing Bob Marley to Bob Dylan, the trippy surreal sounds of reggae created an interesting mental tapestry... but over time, I came to embrace my love of nerdy pursuits and to celebrate the unique perspective that being a Blerd brought to my life. At key points like this X-men and The Chrysalids really hit home.

I can't speak for every household in Jamaica but I grew up in the crossfire of intellectual battles on Sunday evening. When the religious in the family would battle the atheists and the philosophers. Sometimes it would politics at the crux of the debate other times there would be just linguistic showing off and semantic pageantry as the members in the family versed in Spanish would match wits with the dictionary aficionados and the clique schooled in Latin. It was a vocabulary ego show, with dissecting of etymology, Greek prefixes and the nuances of pronunciation.

It's really easy to feel different in Jamaica, because the country is so different from what you see of Jamaica on television. Also the world outside of Jamaica on television seemed so different from Jamaica too. One of the challenges of being a Blerd in Jamaica was dealing with stereotypes and misconceptions. Many people assumed and still do that because I am Black or Rastafari, I must not be interested in intellectual or academic pursuits,or speak a particular kind of way or am limited to a particular vocabulary. They would try to steer me towards more "traditional" Black interests, such as music or sports, and would sometimes mock me for my love of science fiction and technology. But times have changed.

I've never been one to let these stereotypes get me down. Instead, I embraced my inner nerd and used it as a source of strength. I joined online communities of like-minded Blerds and found support and fellowship with others who shared my passions. I also began to see the value in my unique perspective and how it could be used to challenge stereotypes and push back against the narrow-minded thinking that had held me back for so long. Not only that new modes of black lifestyles (livity) and identities I believe are needed for the future, and the new black male, be he Rastafari or not must not only be physically fit, but intellectually agile and creative.

As I grew older and entered college, I found that being a Blerd was actually an advantage. I was able to connect with a diverse group of people and to learn from their different experiences and backgrounds. I also found that my love of science fiction and technology gave me a unique perspective on the world and allowed me to think creatively about problems and solutions.

Conversely being a blerd in Jamaica has it's downsides as there is a facet of our culture that is very suspicious of intelligence and views it as a threat. "Think yuh a go use yuh big brain pon me an twist me up!" Yes, Jamaica which has a culture of "bandooloo","Anansyism" compounded a fierce and competitive sense of oneupmanship. So being smart in a lot of environments is perceived as a threat, from the workplace to the streets, and especially in the world of scamming.

Blerdism Today

Despite some of the negative aspects of being a blerd, it seems there are good times ahead for blerds in Jamaica, there are many opportunities to pursue their interests and connect with like-minded individuals. The country has a number of science and technology organizations, including the Jamaican Association of Science and Technology (JAST), the Jamaican Association of Engineers (JAE), and the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS). These organizations host events and workshops, and provide support and resources for people interested in STEM fields.

Not only are there academic avenues for blerds but fun activities too. When I was in high school and University I dreamt of visiting a comic convention. I'd hope that maybe I'd be in the states one of those summers I went and there would be one near by. It never happened, but my daughter is an anime junkie and guess what there was an AnimeCon... of course I had to take her. It was one of the proudest moments of my life that I connected so well, carried her to where she wanted to be and in a space in Jamaica where she can get a tiny tiny glimpse of Japan and Japanese culture of which she is also a fan. I am not into Anime, am a fan of the old schools... Marvel and DC and as of late lots of Image and independent comics.

In addition to these organizations, there are also a number of schools and universities in Jamaica that offer programs in science, technology, engineering, and math. For example, the University of Technology, Jamaica offers a range of programs in these fields, including computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics. The University of the West Indies also has a strong focus on STEM subjects, with programs in engineering, computer science, and mathematics.

These days Jamaica has many high schools with robotics clubs. In the earlier part of 2000 there was a JaLinux user group I used to be in regular contact with. Poetry groups are more prominent. The space is growing. Being a blerd in Jamaica also means being part of a broader global community of people who are passionate about STEM subjects and geeky interests. Many blerds in Jamaica are active on social media and other online platforms, and there are a number of online communities and forums where blerds can connect with each other and share their interests. For example, the website is a popular online destination for blerds, and there are many other online forums and communities that cater to this audience.

In Jamaica, we are at a cultural crossroads, so I wont act like blerds' life is ideal or romanticized in our island as the black nerd will still often face stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to be black and nerdy. Some may think that being a blerd means you are not "black enough" that you are not fully invested in your culture. But even as the nation schisms and waxes and wanes from choppers, dunce and scammers to black excellence, it is still worth noting that being a blerd means celebrating both your blackness and your nerdy interests, and not having to choose one over the other.

Overall, being a blerd in our modern society can be a rewarding and enriching experience. The country has a strong tradition of academic excellence, if we as a people are able to embrace both our black heritage and unleash in our youth the love of all things nerdy, from science fiction and fantasy to video games and technology, we will definitely secure our place in the future of mankind. Being a blerd in our nation can also give you an esteem boost and sense of belonging. You become inducted into a vibrant and dynamic community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for learning and discovery. You may find support and friendship among other blerds, and you can most crucially use your unique perspective to contribute to the broader conversation about race, identity, and culture.

Being a Blerd framed my coming of age and taught me to be proud of who I am and to never let anyone else define me. It also taught me the value of embracing my uniqueness and using it to make the world a better place. I am grateful for the experiences and challenges that being a Blerd has brought into my life and I hope to continue to use my passion and knowledge to make a positive difference in the world.

#Blerd #Jamaica #WesternJamaica #GeekCulture #CaribbeanNerds #BlackNerds #Afrofuturism #BlackExcellence #NerdLife #CaribbeanGeeks #IslandGeeks #CaribbeanCulture #IslandLife #BlackCulture #BlackandNerdy #BlackGirlMagic #BlackBoyJoy #NerdCommunity #BlackExcellenceMatters #JamaicanNerds #CaribbeanBlerd #DiasporaGeeks #NerdyByNature #MelaninMagic #Afrocentric #CaribbeanCommunity