At the risk of sounding too liberal for the likes of homophobic bigots in Jamaica, I declare that the recent behaviour of a large group of school boys, in a once highly regarded high school in our capital, was abhorrent and should not go unpunished.
Much of our nation is up in arms about the insulting chants these boys projected, during their assembly, about the boys in another high school in Kingston. And we should be angry, not only for the damage it does to the children in our country, but also the damage it does to the LGBTQ community the world over. The immorality here is twofold: firstly, the phrase used by these boys, to pinpoint and insult gay men, is an age-old derogatory term, which we in Jamaica must obliterate. Secondly, the intention of the phrase depicts homosexuality as being a bad thing.
(By the way, the principal, the board, the staff and the parents are very much responsible for what happened.)
We Jamaicans wish to be modern, striving to have access to the internet and social media, using the latest smartphone and tablet. We want our nation to be recognised internationally for producing great athletes, musicians, artists and scholars. We boast about the beauty of our land and sea, enticing visitors to make Jamaica their number one vacation choice. We travel abroad and proudly announce where we are from, flashing our passports to prove just how cool we are. Yet, here we are, still behaving like intolerant barbarians from centuries ago.
Imagine what could happen when news gets out and reaches the international stage: “Jamaicans are a bunch of small-minded assholes,” they might think. “We’ll support and sponsor your star musicians and athletes, provided they denounce Jamaica, because we don’t want anything to do with a country where such atrocious acts are accepted or swept under the table.” Not good for us, right?!
Wake up Jamaica! We cannot have it both ways. Stop picking only the cherries that suit your palate. We are either living in the twenty-first century, or we are not. If we want to be part of the first world and its luxuries, which we currently crave, then we must embrace it all and be tolerant of all religions, beliefs, sexual orientations, choices and every race.
It goes without saying that kindness must be the motivation behind everything. In fact, think about it for a few moments, if kindness was considered before each action, the world would be rid of so many problems, bigotry included.