The Rastafari movement was started solely for the purpose of resisting white racism, imperialism and colonialism. That was not to say that only Black, Brown or oppressed people could be Rastas. The Nyabinghi motto is “Death to Black and white oppressors”. Therefore the main tenet of being a Rasta is that you must be anti-oppression and it was not based on the shade of your skin.
The question must be asked, however: Are these white “Rastas” anti-oppression and if so, what are they doing to combat oppression? The world might not be as oppressive as when the Rasta movement first started but it is oppressive none the less. Yet, you will never see any of these white Rastas doing anything that can be remotely considered fighting against oppression.
You will see white Rastas at reggae festivals, with long dreads blowing in the wind, decked out in red, green and gold from head to toes, big marijuana spliffs in their mouths, freeing their mouths of these spliffs just long enough to shout “One love mon” on the top of their lungs. You will never, however, see these white Rastas at a Black lives matter demonstration. There was not one single white Rasta at the protests in Baltimore over the killing of Freddie Gray. There are no white Rastas screaming out against the atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people. White Rastas showed no public outrage when a grand jury refused to indict the cold hearted murderer of Tamir Rice.
Rasta means resistance. But exactly what are White Rastas resisting? Their parents maybe? They surely aren’t resisting against the system. In fact, they are defenders of the system.
The sad thing about it is white Rastas could make such a huge difference if they chose to. They could chant down racism without being accused of playing the race card. White Rastas could bridge the gap between white and Black cultures since they have an idea of what goes on both sides of the fence. But it seems like if it takes more effort than blowing marijuana smoke in the air it is too much responsibility for them. In other words, they want the “coolness” of Rasta without carrying the burden. They will dance with the real Rastas at a reggae concert but once the music stops, their motto becomes; “He is too heavy, he is not my brother.”
If you are a white Rasta fighting against oppression, let us know exactly what you are doing to fight oppression.