Black History  Month – Black History And The Chinese Impact

Ignorance and lack of knowledge of history can shape our minds with biases, prejudices  and even bitterness.

I am forced to make this remark as many today are insensitive to our Chinese population.

The surge in  arrival of the Chinese from Mainland China since the early ’90s has led to repeated offensive remarks and ostracism for a nearly 100 percent merchant class whose ubiquitous wholesales are a fixture of major Jamaican towns but also rural towns and hamlets.

While we cannot deny that most stick to themselves and in all fairness can be said to be “clannish” it would be ridiculous to attribute to them the legacy and role of slave masters.  

The reality is that people cast upon foreign shores tend to gravitate to their own groups and will be averse in the short run at other cultures or ethnicities. In celebrating Black History Month we can look at these new nationals to Jamaica as a people whose forebears never thought of enslaving black people.

In 1986 while in England, I learned that China was trading with Africa at least 400 years before the arrival of Columbus and European navigators to the Western World and to Africa. China came to the coasts of modern day Tanzania and  Kenya. It was even said the Chinese traders came as far as Zimbabwe.

Related Post: How The Chinese Came to Jamaica

While Europeans were busy “teefing” lands, precious metals and slaves, the Chinese were only thinking of commerce and nothing else. Therefore our perspective and views of the  Chinese ethnicity means we are to respect these people who have never lifted sword or rope to cut or lynch us.

Black history month should also reflect on who have shaped our history and who are responsible for our marginalization and lack of real wealth and importantly property. The Chinese never had a hand in our misery and the stripes and pain of slavery.

Let us give credit where credit is due. Our Chinese neighbours were never a part of our diasporic presence, rather they are a part of our survival as purveyors of dry goods and food staples. They have served us as middle men by supplying our food, clothing and household needs by their grocery shops, wholesale businesses and supermarkets and now electronics stores, restaurants, and even sports clubs.

By Winston Donald

via Flickr Commons

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Winston Donald

My name is Winston Donald. I am currently completing a MA in Cultural Studies researching Street Art ( from a cultural studies perspective) I am Recruiting Officer and Enrollment Officer for University College of the Caribbean, New Kingston. I contribute to the Commonwealth Short StoryCompetition Columnist for the defunct Sunday Herald Newspaper Author on Marijuana : Export trade and Rural economics (manuscript being completed) Author on Rural Jamaican Cooking Creator of The Diaspora - Word Press blog Contributor to Sun Sentinel newspaper of South Florida Regular/Frequent contributor to the Gleaner and Observer newspaper