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NO LAUGHING MATTER: Where is the ‘identity’?


Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Where is the ‘identity’?

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THE DEFINITION of the word “identity” is given as “the sense of self; the condition of being oneself and not another; condition or character as to who or what a person is; identity is what makes somebody different from the rest of the population”.
I have recognized some trends in the Barbadian behaviour that are contrary to the aforementioned explanation. This has been going on for some time but now it seems to be getting worse.
I was always concerned about the naming of our sports teams. The names of sports teams in the United States and Europe have some historical or cultural background but we here in Barbados copy these names which have no connection to our history or culture.
For example, we have a basketball team here named Lakers. This name is copied from the Los Angeles Lakers (LAL).
The L.A. Lakers’ franchise came from Minnesota where the team was called The Minnesota Lakers. Minnesota has 12 034 lakes, hence the name Lakers.
We have a basketball team named Lakers and they are not even from Lakes Folly. Oh, what folly! Where is the identity?
Also, there is a team called Detroit Pistons because cars are made in Detroit. We also had a basketball team copying the name “Pistons” and they can’t even show me a toy car. Psst! Psst!
Show me the identity.
And then our national football team, in its quest to make it to the World Cup, named itself “The Rockets”.
There is a basketball team in the U.S. named Houston Rockets. Houston is in Texas and so is NASA where the space  launching is done – hence the name “Rockets”.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that we have no sense of identity. “Youth Milan” obviously represent the young people of Milan, which is in Italy. Where in St Lucy do you see young Italians?
Yet there is a football team in St Lucy called “Youth Milan”. Yes, a definite “foul”. The penalty should “deafinitely” be a kick.
What about “Youth St Lucy” or “Youth Checker Hall” or “Youth Pie Corner”? What does this say about us? Are we not conscious of our culture and history? Can’t we see that everybody else’s name reflects their patriotism, culturism, and understanding of “self”?
Even close to home there was the “Reggae Boys” along with the “Soca Warriors”. What a worrier!
Now the identity crisis has become a major crisis. Our women, who are now prospering more than our men, are wearing other peoples’ hair and hairstyles. They are wearing hair which is real and unreal. They no longer like the hair that grows out of their heads.
The job which the slave master did was so fascinatingly and wickedly great that over 400 years later we still talk about good and bad hair. Woman, the hair that grows out from your head has to be “good” hair. It is part of you.
Are you not good? So, are you going to change your colour too? Why don’t you change your eyes so that you can see that you are naturally beautiful and that you are as good as anybody in this whole wide world; that you have two hands, two feet, a brain and naturally beautiful hair that is alive – so alive that when the rain hits it, it does not collapse?
Who are you trying to impress? Don’t you think that white people are quietly laughing at you while thinking that after all these years of struggle and “Black Power” and “Civil Rights” and “Black is Beautiful” and “I am Somebody”, that you still want to be like them? That you don’t like your nose, your lips, your skin and your hair, which then makes you a “no-body”?
I shudder to think that the white “doll baby” which you cuddled and caressed as a child while consciously and unconsciously wishing that you could have hair like that, and even as you combed it, is still impacting on you today.
What a masterful piece of psychology! Our slave master doesn”t get the praise worthy of his genious. Have you ever thought about the Remy hair which you clamour for – where it came from; who or what it belonged to; whether the owner had the mange or an incurable disease or lice or slept on the street or died with it on their head; what process it went through; what it might do to your head? I know what it has done to your brain.  
 
 • Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary schoolteacher.

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