Social Commentary

Our False Sense of Freedom

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I’m not the biggest believer in this Emancipation day because I still think we have a long way to go before declaring ourselves a Freed people. Jamaica celebrates its emancipation from Colonial Slavery every year on August 1st. The year was 1838,  on this very day, when our enslaved ancestors tasted freedom for the first time after over 400 years of Slavery. This move was definitely a big step in the right direction for Jamaican people, and an even bigger step in the right direction for Black people. But to what extent are we really free??

The shackles might have been taken off our wrists and ankles, but what about our minds? our dreams, opinions, emotions and ambitions; to what extent are they free??  To me this freedom we think we have is just a fallacy. A political tool that the oppressor uses to maintain their control over slaves by distracting them from rebelling against the State. Historians have noted many times in their literature that the fact that slaves rebelled often, in the most violent ways, was a contributing factor in the Monarch’s final decision to end Slavery in the Caribbean.But Slavery never ended on that day. The oppressor had just found a more cunning way of control by literally giving the slaves what they were fighting for in the first place, which was a false sense of freedom. All they did was take advantage of our then intellectual vulnerability, for us to give up our fight. Probably the most successful reverse psychology ever accomplished.

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So they give us this holiday every year, and use the money that we gave them from our taxes, to celebrate our false sense of freedom. The reality is, most of us still work for this oppressive class. In actuality, most of the owners of Jamaica’s factors of production are descendants of the 21 families that controlled Jamaica in the 19th and 20th century. I’ll resist from listing them in this post to avoid any legal hiccups that may follow, but this is information readily available online that you can research for yourself. The plantations that once were, have now morphed into corporations and where you were once classified as slave, you’re now referred to as a worker.  Whether you’re in the office handling administration or in the streets doing the groundwork,  the fact is the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. The only way to truly break free from this is to see the reality for what it is, a modernized plantation system. 

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Black people will only achieve absolute freedom when they acknowledge this, and scheme a plan to pull down everything. Until the black man starts to think about owning his own plantations , instead of how he’s going to get his skill/degree(s) to go work on a plantation, then he will always be a slave to the system and a fool for thinking an annual holiday on August 1st means that he is free. Entrepreneurship needs to be the next rebellion, for it alone can emancipate the people from this Fallacy known as freedom.

Despite what I’ve revealed just now, we should not refrain from celebrating our emancipation; because technically we were made free on that day, and this we must acknowledge and appreciate. Be grateful to the slaves that fought and died, and the advocates that dedicated their entire lives so you could enjoy this sense of Freedom. But be mindful that we’re a long walk from absolute freedom, and we’ll forever be stagnant in our progress, if we don’t shift our focus to how we can fully emancipate ourselves instead of how we can fully celebrate this false sense of freedom.

 

-G.B

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2 thoughts on “Our False Sense of Freedom

  1. It’s true that “the oppressor” is still there – and always will be, until we actually DO free our minds. That should lead to taking corrective action. By the way this modern plantation exists almost everywhere in the world, and is not unique to Jamaica! Entrepreneurship would certainly be a great way to break free, if the oppressors will let you. A strong and supportive community of entrepreneurs would be even better…

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