I just finished reading “Black Passenger, Yellow Cabs” by Stefhen Bryan. I was really enjoying the book as the author painted some vivid pictures of his childhood days in Jamaica. Not only could I relate to his memories but they are the kind of memories I also share with others.
While describing the things Jamaican children did for fun however, the author took a sudden turn that really rubbed me the wrong way. The author seems to insinuate that the level of poverty among Jamaica’s Blacks population is a direct result of their belief in God. To make his point, the author use the fact that most most people of African descent in Jamaica are poor while most people of Asian descent on the island are wealthy; he then said this is because Asians don’t waste time in church while Africans living in Jamaica does.
Now, if you are a Jamaican or have ever been to Jamaica, it is no secret that most supermarkets, grocery stores and other businesses are owned by Asians. Even look at reggae, almost all reggae artists in Jamaica are Black, but the ones who make the most money from reggae are the Chins from VP Records, who are Asians. To say this is a result of Black people belief in God, however, is ridiculous. I would think that our lack of support for other Blacks, our lack of unity, our hatred, malice and grudge for each other have something to do with our impoverished state and I did not even get to politics, corruption and education.
Below is an excerpt from Black Passengers, Yellow Cabs:
In that impoverished and homicide ravaged east Kingston neighborhood, there were three Chinese shops which sowed the seeds of my yellow fetish, as early as my first sexual experience. The Chinese, not even those who lived atop their shops, never ever associated with anyone in the neighborhood. They were mysterious and I always looked forward to being sent on errands in order to admire and lust after the women, with their straight jet-black hair and upward slanted, hardly opened eyes. Absent was that rounded bottom and big legs which I was socialized to find sexy, but I developed a love for their long waists and short legs and always wanted to introduce them to my boyhood. But that would’ve been impossible, I’d never even seen one walking in our decrepit neighborhood, let alone talking to a person of African decent, other than their employees during work hours.
“How did they get here, to this neighborhood from China?” I often pondered. Some lived atop their shops, while others like the Hos, – no pun intended, that was their actual name – drove big American cars and resided in some faraway uptown, gated community, to which they fled at the end of the work day. They did not hang around. To this day I sometimes imagine that I am tearing up one of the shopkeeper’s daughters, while making the beast with two backs with yellow women.Â Apart from wanting to give them a proper rogering at that tender age, they quickly became my economic role models.
My enigmatic personality as a child manifested itself in ways other than sexually, hence the pronounced disparity between the races were quite clear to me from as early as five years old. But no one, not the least my mother, who didn’t even make it beyond the fourth grade, could provide me with an explanation as to why these outsiders were so economically well endowed. Most people of African decent, including my own family, subsisted in abject poverty, daily ‘praising the lord.’
But the yellows owned shops, drove big American cars; all that without ever setting foot in a church.
The funny thing about the excerpt is that, it is not the first time I have heard the argument, where someone is blaming Black poverty on the church. In “One million bottle bags”, Chuck D of Public Enemy rapped:
Bust your ass to pay the rent
and lets look at that word-project
another word for experiment
one side of the street is the church
across is a liquor store
both of them keeping us poor
keeping us down
my hood ain’t considered a town.
I don’t see how going to church one day out of the week could keep you poor when you have six days to plant and reap what you plant. And if it is the tithe and offering that is making us poor, then don’t pay it, only God can be your judge in that regard.
Anyone who would blame being financially poor on God, may want to read the following speech by Marcus Garvey.