“Tube Trading”. It’s a ritual my older brother and I practised since we discovered You Tube. He’d show me videos he thought were funny OR interesting and vice versa. Yes, I know it’s a weird way of bonding but we’re weird so who gives a shit 😛 . Any who, he showed me the video you’ll see below. I implore you; watch it in its entirety (just not now when yah read mi things)
The video was by a Japanese teacher, who had shown his students a documentary called “The Eye of the Storm” by Williams Peters. In the documentary, a third grade teacher in the USA does an experiment on her students to investigate their thoughts on racism and segregation. ‘ Madamasensei’, as he’s called on You tube, used the documentary to stimulate the views of his own students in Japan. The core of his lesson was to try and identify if his students believed there was racism and segregation in Japan. I won’t spoil his findings (guh watch it yuhself lazy like, pree the link The Eye of the storm Documentary)
But after viewing this rather INTERESTING experiment both by Jane Elliot (the grade school teacher) and Madamasensei (the Japanese teacher, just so we’re on the same page.lol) my brother and I surprising didn’t talk about racism or segregation (thought it DOES exist everywhere, it’s not limited to the states for the ignorant Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman fans out there). I’m straying >_> But YES! We spoke at length about something I’d like to call “ The unspoken Classicist law” which exists in Jamaica.
Whether or not we want to admit it, Jamaica is heavily yet obviously at the same time covertly, classicist just like anywhere else in the world. The law states:
If yuh come from a certain place people treat yuh differently. If yuh complexion is lighter or darker yuu get treated differently. If you speak a particular way you get treated differently. If you dress a particular way yuh get treated differently. It goes beyond Uptown and Ghetto .
Etana sings about it from the perspective of one’s address and the inability to get a job because of it. So we know seh a sumn real caz smaddy sing bout it.*troll face* Mhhhm!lol
At a point in our conversation, my brother brought up the concept of : Occupational Classicism and Occupational Profiling. People get treated differently because of where they work, or what they do for a living. There is an invisible stigma on particular jobs worldwide but here at home, we stigmatize some occupations more than others; though these may not seem as flashy and important as being Governor of Bank of Jamaica, Ministers of Parliament or even being a doctor they are just as important. To me, being a mobile sole trader (hustler), a sanitary engineer (garbage man/woman), and a produce retailer (market vendor) is a tremendous task, for without these people life wouldn’t be so comfortable.
A nuff people not even know dem garbage man name much more fi care about what he/she does or his/her importance to our community. A lot of people would beg to differ but any day garbage is not collected for long periods of time, people live pon dem phone a call Solid Waste Management Authority a cuss bout garbage smell and nuh collect fi weeks. And when the garbage do collec, you see Ms. Liza come out a smile wid the garbage man fi tek a extra mash up tv or fan but she woulda nevah shake him hand. You ever shake your garbage man hand? If not,why not? Would you hold a medz (meditation/reasoning) with a bag juice seller or have dinner /drinks with the market vendor?
But if a nevah f idem, you wouldn’t have a clean community, a bag juice fi drink or a credit fi buy conveniently when you need it, fresh produce on your table. If it weren’t for those jobs, we’d have ALOT more idle hands around and idle hands usually kill and steal.
One comment I heard recently was that being a garbage man is a functional job and there isn’t much room for advancement.
According to Howstuff works.com ‘The average annual salary for this occupation is about $43,000
. In California, the average hourly wage is $16.04, and in some places, the overtime can help shoot the pay to over $60,000 a year’ THAT SOUND LIKE NUFF MONEY STILL >_> though this may vary as it relates to the wages of the Jamaican garbage man it is indeed a JOB and doesn’t take away from the person’s integrity. They’re making a honest living doing a thankless job. And who knows maybe the garbage man/hustler/market vendor could aspire to own their own businesses respectively.
Why am I such an advocate for these jobs? Because, all things are connected. These ‘low level jobs’ are just as scorned but probably not as much as Artists and Teachers, OP! Would you look at that? I’m both, so I’ve taken it a bit personal. I’ve done my own little experiment with some friends of mine. I asked them only to reply to this question:
“ How would you react to your son/daughter if they told you they wanted to become a garbage collector/huster/janitor? “
The responses I got were really fascinating and some funny. I’ll only show you three though. The last one struck a chord for me, because I made no mention to my good friend Duery about what exactly I was doing, I simply asked him to answer the question.
Why would you become a garbage man? Why would you become an artist? Hell why become a teacher? (especially with all the crap going on now in the Jamaican Education system). My belief is that if you’re hungry, eat. Thirsty, drink. Love something, pursue it. My philosophy is as simple as that. I’m an artist teacher ( NO not an Artist and teacher) and I chose to pursue this field because I love it. I tell people, I had to literally fight to do art and I wouldn’t change a thing about that. I’ve heard countless times throughout college “How are you going to eat doing that whole art thing?” OR “why you never do something more practical and sensible?” . I’m still not worrying about how I’ll eat (even without my day job) and Art don’t get much more practical and sensible than this Through art, I have and continue to find myself. It’s my outlet of expression, my forum for opinion. For many artists like myself, art is our only means of survival (not even speaking monetary) I’ve met people who get psychically sick when they’re restricted from doing art, that should mean something. Art is a massive part of life and we need to accept that it IS and CAN BE a lucrative and fulfilling career. Stop telling children that art is for fun and it isn’t a job/career or that it’s something to do on the side.
On the note of me being a Artist Teacher, there’s even segregation within the realm of artists and art teachers. “Unno just teach, unno a nuh artist” . FOOLISHNESS. Master artists were always teachers, they were given the great task of passing on their knowledge to young apprentices in order to carry on the perpetual cycle that is art. If yuh nevah have an art teacher there would be no ARTISTS. Creative and innovative ideas would cease to exist.
The common theme in all the responses were “Be the best garbage man/janitor you can be”. Which I whole heartedly agree with. To answer the question myself: I would ask my child the same question my mom asks me when I’m about to make a decision “Does it make you happy?” If my future babies ,one day decide to become garbage men/hustlers/ vendors because they think it’s the best job in the world, I will simply ask “ does it make you happy?” and we’ll go from there.
To send you off I will say, whatever it is you want to do in life go for it, regardless of your situation, status, colour, religion even the unspoken Classicist law of Jamaica. Never look down on a profession because it seems lowly. Everyone has their role in life and treating others with the utmost respect due to all human beings is all that matters. Stop suffocating the pickney dem creativity. If them want to be an actress, supermodel, singer, artist and super man/woman all at the same time mek dem gwaan. And most important remember to thank the thankless workers. Hail up the garbage man, hustler, janitor, market vendor the next you come in contact nuh?
Live good, Love God, Life goes on. Come off a mi things!
WAIT! Answer the question!! Arite gwan now :D- KOI