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Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount SPR16

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Julie Jenkins

on 22 March 2018

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Transcript of Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount SPR16

Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount
RACE:
"culturally constructed label (classification) that crudely and imprecisely describes real (human) variation" (Relethford).

--biologically/genetically meaningless classification
--How people in Mango Mount experience, interpret, contest, and reproduce ideologies and structures locally, esp. race & class
Mango Mount
-6 miles outside Kingston
-5% middle class
-moved into during 1950s
CLASS:
--group defined in terms of wealth, occupation or other economic criteria
--but also a social grouping that is associated with specific symbols, values, norms
How do members of Mango Mount think about race? How do they classify those that they interact with?
--not solely based on phenotype
--tied to social and occupational behaviors
Occupations symbolically coded in racial terms
--'Black'- attachment to land, farmers
--'Brown'- detached from land, civil servants, professionals
--'White'- attachment to land as owners
"Another woman is brown, but she's really black. But she's brown because she's married to a brown man and she leads the Anglican church, so her family unit is brown and therefore middle class, though she didn't grow up that way. It is her husband's job that give the family its status rather than hers."
impressions formed in face to face interaction does not extend to whole groups and how people in these groups are expected to behave
Expectation that:
-'White'- oppressive
-'Brown'- civic minded, help poor
-'Black'- to be poor
Do members of different class groups in Mango Mount have the same educational opportunities and experiences?
--middle class able to send children to schools in Kingston
--lower class less able to do so
--All Age school-
poor quality, multi-grade setting
--lower class felt like opps are thwarted b/c of lack of educational opps and professional contacts (primary route to social mobility)
Do members of different class groups socialize together?
--social contact is not the same as socializing!
Middle- class: cities
Lower -class: "Square"
What kinds of values do the middle-class associate with the Square?
middle-class makes moral judgements about the values and quality of persons in these spaces
"Dem people not going forward in life. All them do is smoke spliff and drink all white rum and tun themselves wutless"
Racial and moralizing discourse about Dancehall
Midde class: "slackness", noisy, immoral
lower class-- don't think middle class can appreciate and identify with
--distrust of education as 'equalizing' institution
--focus on acquisition of wealth and status for social/economic mobility

--also also affecting most youth in 90s- today
--education isn't translating into more/better economic opportunities
-unemployment rate is higher for those with secondary education
"dancehall" expression mirrors experience & critiques social/economic hierarchies
--rejects assumption education and middle-class values are route to mobility
--valorizes capitalism, individualism, consumerism

Today:
GDP per Capital PPP
US: $51,704
UK: $36, 569
Mexico: $15,363
Jamaica: $8,916
Haiti: $1,229
When economy declined b/c of oil crisis in late 1970s--
"Blackness" and policy aimed towards the lower class were blamed
Reacted by electing Seaga in 1980
fully imposed IMF conditionalities
"Untold Stories"

While I'm Living
Thanks I'll Be Giving
To the Most High You know,

[Chorus:]
I am living while I am living to the father I will pray
Only him knows how we get through everyday
With all the hike in the price
Arm and leg we have to pay
While our leaders play

[Verse 1:]
All I see people a rip and a rob and a rival
Tief never love fe see tief wid long bag
No love for the people who a sufferin bad
Another toll to the poll may God help we soul
What is to stop the youths from get out of control
Full up of education yet no on no payroll
The clothes on my back have countless eyehole.
I could go on and on the fool has never been thrown.

[Chorus]

[Verse 2:]
Who can afford to run will run
But what about those who can't... they will have to stay
Opportunity a scarce, scarce commodity
In these times I say... When mama spend her last and send you go class
Never you ever play
It's a competitive world for low budget people,
Spending a dime while earning a nickel
With no regards to who it may tickle
My cup is full to the brim
I could go on and on the full has never been told



Chorus]

[Verse 3:]
All I see people a rip and a rob and a rival
Tief never love fe see tief wid long bag
No love for the people who a sufferin bad
Another toll to the poll may God help we soul
What is to stop the youths from get out of control
Full up of education yet no on no payroll
The clothes on my back have countless eyehole
Could go on and on and the fool has never been thrown.
(On and On)
Though this life keep getting me down
Don't give up now
Got to survive somehow
Could go on and on and the full has never been told

[Chorus]

[Verse 4:]
Who can afford to run will run
But what about those who can't... they will have to stay
Opportunity a scarce, scarce commodity
In these times I say... When mama spend her last and send you go class
Never you ever play
It's a competitive world for low budget people,
Spending a dime while earning a nickel
With no regards to who it may tickle
My cup is full to the brim
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on the full has never been told
I could go on and on...
The full has never...

Been...
Toooooold.
uneven domestic distribution:
GINI: 45.5
0- absolute equality; 100- absolute inequality
1.1 million under poverty line of $2.50/day PPP
Wealthiest 20% owns 47% of national wealth
What is class?
To middle class:
"cultural", rasta inspired artists as legitimate
"gangster" & "slackness" artists as problematic
To understand poverty and the lack of social mobility, have to examine:
Domestic & international economic policies
Social policies
the type of ideologies that maintain a racialized class system
Cutty Ranks- Gun Disease
Everybody wants to be somebody/ Ask the youth dem whey dem want/
do you want to be a lawyer/ he says no/ do you want to be doctor/ he says no/do you want a job/ he says no/ so den what do you want/ gi mi one gun, two gun, three gun please/ wave mi gun nuff dem tink mi have gun disease/ 4 gun, 5 gun, 6 gun please, me can't hold dem in mi wais dem have dem under mi sleeve. The mlO, mack 10, the bwoy dem naw cease, but the tek 9 bring dem to dem to knees. I walk with mi gun, talk with mi gun, sleep with mi gun, wake up with mi gun, bathe with mi gun, dress with mi gun, mi no lotion mi gun, mi na powder mi gun, mi oil up mi gun, clean up mi gun, and if a bwoy try a ting, him life ago dun, so give 1 gun, 2 gun, 3 gun please.
So it's like I am definitely telling you a story. That is not promoting violence. So if you come now and you have two thousand dollars in this hand and you have a machine gun in this hand and you put the two thousand dollar on this side of the table and put the machine gun on this side of the table and ask a little young youth to pick one out of the two of dem. He goin' to pick the machine gun. That is what dem doing. That is things what I see. Him pick de machine gun, because him figure more or less because he can use the machine gun and go around and rob more than two thousand dollars. He can go on one robbery and earn around two thousand. So the gun is more useful to him, that is how him check.
"I know you don't care about me" - Ziggy Marley

Our ancestors wey build this country and all sticks and whips and kicks and punches meanwhile your living like some bird in bunches/ Tell me where the justice much less the dances?

My struggle for survival is to be accepted and treated as a member of the human family, who's practice should reveal the fundamental right and duty to be humane in all judgement and action to all humanity
Why might one see the discourse of 'hardwork' as an ideology that maintains the status quo? Why might this idea be felt as constraining?
understanding the lower class as "lacking" ...
-reinforces class boundaries and idea that upper/middle class should be in control
-rather than transforming the economic, educational, and social institutions to allow for equitable distribution of resources and possibility for social & economic well-being
-some argue that these types of lyrics promote violence and are indicative of the incivility and lack of respectability of the lower class
-and that produces their position within the socio-economic order.
-Others argue that lyrics and performances are symbolic, conveying a message about the social economic realities of life & an attempt to exert control over these.
--what do you think? does stigmatizing the content of dancehall lyrics and policing crime solve Jamaica's problems of economic inequality?
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