There’s no modest way to say this so I’m just going to come right out with it: Jamaican people look damn good.
I don’t know what it is, but we seem to have gotten the right mix of all the right genes to end up with the perfect blend of awesomeness.
If you’ve ever travelled overseas you know what I’m talking about. The moment you arrive back on the Rock you immediately overindulge in a visual feast. If you’re like me, you might even stare.
“No sah, da man deh look good eeh!”
“Jah know star da girl deh look good!!!”
After what seemed like drought conditions abroad, you spend the better part of your first day just drinking in the gorgeousness, thanking whichever gods you subscribe to for blessing your eyes with such magnificent beauty.
But why? What’s the secret behind our undeniable good looks? I’ve come up with two theories as to why Jamaican people look so good.
Theory One: Our Ancestry
Part and parcel of our creole culture seems to be the glorification of our “mixed” heritage, but the fact is that over 90% of Jamaicans are of African descent. Specifically, research shows that we have very similar genetic make-ups to Africans from the region of West Africa known historically as the Gold Coast – modern Ghana. And obvious similarities in language and culture make it widely accepted that our ancestors belonged to the Ashanti and Akan peoples.
This lineage would explain our most prevalent features: velvety brown skin, button-shaped noses, luscious lips, amazingly versatile textured hair, fit bodies.
But there are lots of Jamaicans that don’t match any or all of these phenotypes. That’s because of the other ~10% of our demographics is accounted for by Indian, Chinese, Syrian, Lebanese, English, German, Irish, and Taino ancestry.
So, it could be that our good looks is because of this unique mix of ethnicities.
Theory Two: Our Psychology
Have you ever wondered why all Asian people seem to look the same? (If you’re too embarrassed to admit it, I’m not!) Here’s another embarrassing confession for you:
I have to sit down and study for hours to have any hope of identifying the members of pop groups.
No matter how distinct their individual features, the only ones I can consistently identify without some complex criteria or comparison, will be the ones that could most easily pass for Jamaicans.
I know it may be hard to take my word for it but, trust me – despite apparent evidence to the contrary – I’m not blindingly racist.
The phenomenon is actually rooted in psychology and is caused by a well-documented cognitive bias: the cross-race effect.
Basically, it could be that simply because we spend so much of our formative years around persons of our own race, we become very skilled at identifying features based on differences we encounter the most.
Maybe you’ve had run-ins with the cross-race effect yourself. On a couple occasions, strangers have told me I look like Kerry Washington. And while the comparison is certainly flattering (Kerry a proppa goodaz!!!) we definitely have nothing in common by way of features, except the colour of our skin.
It makes sense, and it doesn’t just apply to race either. It’s the same principle at play when, to you, all the chimps in a zoo will look the same, while the zookeeper will be able to identify them by name. Or why, if you spend a lot of time around identical twins, you’ll wonder how people can say they look exactly alike.
So, perhaps the reason Jamaicans look so good is…simply…because we’re Jamaicans.
We’ve grown accustomed to our own features. We’re good at identifying them, differentiating them, and appreciating them.
And this applies to every other group of “beautiful” people in the world.
Who and what we consider beautiful may just depend entirely on who we’re listening to. Who do we – consciously or unconsciously – spend most of our time listening to?
What do you think makes Jamaicans beautiful? Is it our ancestry? Is it just psychology? Or something else altogether?
Danielle – Check out her Blog HERE || Twitter: @deeatee
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