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Commentary With Winston Barnes: Discrimination Against Rastafarians

SOUTH FLORIDA – Shortly after 9/11, a number of Jamaicans of east Indian descent reported being treated in a suspicious manner by immigration and TSA operatives at airports in the US. Even today, 2015, the majority of Americans cannot fathom even the concept of a Chinese-Jamaican. These realities stem from an abject ignorance of the world this country would like to consider itself the leader for.

Commentary with Winston Barnes
Winston Barnes Host – “Open Line” WAVS 1170AM
Photo Credit: Leroy “Dreamy” Riley

I have in the past shied away from the possibility of being thought presumptuous, even impertinent in articulating the need for folk like Jamaicans to teach their American friends a few lessons in what has come to be called diversity. That need continues to exist.

A Rastafarian who is related to me through marriage could go to their child’s school and the husband was prevented from entering the campus because of his headdress, what some call a turban others call a wrap. Fear it is said is usually based on ignorance, and this appears to be the case here.  How can anyone even remotely connected to a school, in South Florida, not have some understanding about the reality known as Rastafari? Golly, here is one Bob Marley! Plus, these days dreadlocks are a fashion and political statement, but even more, there are dreadlocks and there are Rastafari brethren and sisters.


The husband in the above mentioned case reacted with a laugh, possibly at the ignorance of the school employee who refused him admission but my dear cousin did not take it so lightly. I am suggesting that she prevail upon the school’s administration to allow them to talk with the students about Rastafari, if it is even during Black History Month.

Gosh golly-wow, as the song used to say, maybe the teachers could learn something about dreadlocks and the real story about why Bob Marley wore dreadlocks.

Commentary with Winston Barnes: Dreadlocks Ban at School in Jamaica

South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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