I Hate “Bajans”
This article originally appeared in the INTERLUDE Newsletter.
On Wednesday night, Sir Puffington of Barbados represented the island, and the Caribbean at large, in the second round of the Red Bull Thre3style championship in Santiago, Chile. “Bajans” came out in droves, digitally, to support; collectively championing the young disk jockey with kind words and emojis, and lambasting whoever had anything bad to say… because he’s a Bajan.
After an amazing, eclectic and energetic set, Puffy proved that “bajans” were right with their biased favor. The judges and the crowd (chanting his name loudly) were won over. He had made it to the finals. [Ed. Note: This was written before Puffy’s historic win] “Bajans” were ecstatic. Then things went left, because “bajans” cannot enjoy anything for too long.
The regular “‘Bajans’ don’t support you until you get big” talk reared its ugly head. “If he did play this same thing at home, wunna wouldn’t be getting on so, wunna would be cussing he,” made an appearance. Shite, man. “Bajans” don’t like to see other “bajans” happy at all. “Bajans” know how to spoil a good time.
The “bajans this, bajans that” has irked me for sometime now. Online and in-person, “bajans” always want to deduce negative human behavior to a whole 166 square miles, generalizing that unfavorable characteristic and behavior they are singling out is mutually exclusive to everyone within our nationality, while they, ironically, are an exception to the rule. They are never at fault, they never make mistakes, and it is just those other “bajans” that need to get it together. They place themselves on a high-horse, even though it may be something they might have done in the past, something that they are doing currently, or something that they might possibly do in the future.
Always ready to paint each other with a broad stroke, “bajans” don’t realize that they get paint on themselves.
I’ve come to realize that, in reading, research, and travelling, some of the deplorable cultural practices that we’re familiar with are not exclusive to those born at the Q.E.H. Lets use the good ol’ “‘Bajans’ are always late” for example. Chronic tardiness is cultural worldwide. Nigerians are known to attend events three hours after they are scheduled to start. Our cousins throughout the region hardly respect the clock, too. “Maliciousness” may be frowned upon here, but billion dollar industries in North America and Europe are built off of jucking yuh nose in people business, prying into the private lives of the celebrated. However, within these nations there are also a number of people who arrive on time and those who could care less about the latest celebrity scandal, just like ‘bout hay. Behaviors and interests vary from person to person. It is unfair to attach an entire populace to everything deemed as bad. Peter doesn’t always need to pay for Paul. Good people are good people. Shitty people are shitty people. Not just “bajans”.
When I think about it, when “bajans” use the word “bajans”, which is almost always used in a judging tone, it is coded. It subtly deems that this lamentable behavior or characteristic is that of a lower-class citizen – uncouth, passive, meddlesome, black. It reeks of pompousness and self-hate from black “bajans” who make up the majority. So when it is used in a derogatory way, 9 times out of 10 it is reference to us. On the other hand, when any other sub-group of Barbadians are mentioned, another term is used (“whites”, “indians” etc.). Its like they are subconsciously excluded, when they, too, are “bajans” as well. Born on, and occupying the same rock as us.
This speaks volumes. It’s the crab mentality of which each “bajan” believes that they are a victim of, but somehow convince themselves that they do not participate in when referencing each other. It’s a mind-numbing paradox that we contribute to with self-hate speech we deem as innocent. We have to do better.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. We’re not perfect. We all have our shortcomings. I understand that we might see some things in others we may not personally agree with, but deeming that downfall as an attribute proprietary to everyone within this island is unfair. Again: it varies from person to person. Rather than saying “I hate bajans that…”, say “I hate people that…” The habit of making blanket statements will be hard to break. But we gotta start somewhere.
I wrote this hoping for a discussion that can possibly bring about change, because I wish for this negative generalization to stop, die a slow death, or that we come to the obvious conclusion that we’re all different. Hopefully it happens. One day. But ya know “bajans”. We int easy.
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder & Editor of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.
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