- Jamaica is a mountainous Caribbean island just south of Cuba.
- Columbus landed there in 1494, and the Spanish soon brought in slaves as the native Arawak Indians died out.
- Today more than 90 percent of the population is of African descent.
- The British seized the island in 1655, granting independence in 1962.
- Capital:Kingston; 575,000
- Area:10,991 square kilometers
- Language:English, patois English
- Religion:Protestant, Roman Catholic, other spiritual beliefs
- Currency:Jamaican dollar
- Life Expectancy:75
- Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean (4,213 square miles, 146 miles from east to west.
- The Tainos, who came from South America over 1000 years BC, are considered to be our original inhabitants.
- They spoke the Arawak language and called the island Xaymaca … land of wood and water.
- In 1962 Jamaica gained independence from Britain, but has remained a part of the British Commonwealth, and maintains the Queen as Head of State.
- Music plays a big part in the Jamaica culture
- Jamaica culture can be consumed all around the world, for example Jamaica music, art, literature and food.
- The Handsworth neighbourhood (encapsulating the Lozells and East Handsworth ward) is located just over 2 kilometres north of Birmingham City Centre.
- It is one of the most densely populated areas of Birmingham.
- Housing is mainly in older terraces.
- The neighbourhood has a long history of migration where old migrants from areas such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, the Caribbean and Africa outnumber new, and with recent immigration adding to the diversity of the neighbourhood.
- Low income and unemployment are particular problems, with many dependent on benefits.
- The Asian ethnic group constitutes 60% of the total population. The next largest ethnic minority group is Black (22%), followed by the White population (12%) and then Mixed / other ethnic group (3% each). 682 and 497 individuals respectively).
- On September 9, 1985 racial tension and other community problems finally boiled over in the Lozells/Handsworth area.
- The motives were said to be related to racial tension and inner-city deprivation, a distrust of the police and authority
- Hundreds of people attacked police and property, looting and smashing, even setting off fire bombs.Two brothers Kassamali Moledina, 38, and his 44-year-old brother Amirali) were burnt to death in the post office that they ran.
- Before the riots Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing, though according to historians, local Black British youths later disputed the claim that relations between them and the police had been amicable: around 40% of them had been stopped and searched over the previous 12 months.
Dojo Community Project
- Dojo Community project has delivered community services in and around Handsworth since the 1960s
- It was conceived and developed by Mrs Mavis Pinkney (Hector’s Mother) working from her own home in Handsworth.
- In the 1980s as a response to growing concerns for the well being of elders in the community, the organisation broadened its attention towards the wider community, developing a keep-fit program for all ages including the elders, the community run and a range of social, educational, and training programs.
- Over the past 50 years Dojo Community project has developed and delivered a number of high quality programs, designed to engage the local community and address issues of local need.
Portrayal of Black People in the Media
- Negative representations of black males are readily visible and conveyed to the public through the news, film, music videos, reality television and other programming and forms of media.
- The typical roles are all too often the black sidekick of a white protagonist, for example, the token black person, the comedic relief, the athlete, the over-sexed ladies’ man, the absentee father or, most damaging, the violent black man as drug-dealing criminal and gangster thug.
- Higher rates of poverty, homicide, unemployment, and over involvement in the criminal system.
- Stereotypes of blacks as lazy, stupid, foolish, cowardly, submissive, irresponsible, childish, violent, sub-human, and animal-like, are rampant in today’s society. These degrading stereotypes are reinforced and enhanced by the negative portrayal of blacks in the media.
- Black characters have appeared in American films since the beginning of the industry in 1 888. But blacks weren’t even hired to portray blacks in early works. Instead, white actors and actresses were hired to portray the characters while in “blackface.” By refusing to hire black actors to portray black characters, demeaning stereotypes were being created as blacks were presented in an unfavorable light. In addition, blacks were purposely portrayed in films with negative stereotypes that reinforced white supremacy over blacks. This has had a tremendous effect on our society’s view of blacks since motion pictures have had more of an impact on the public mind than any other entertainment medium in the last ninety years.
(Horton, Price, and Brown 1998)
We are so used to seeing negative things in the media about Handsworth, which makes us think it is a bad place to live. When I tell people I am from handsworth, they either point out that a lot crimes happen there or they joke about me carrying a gun or knife and refer to it as a “rough area” or the “ghetto”. The media has created this dominant discourse by sharing stories of crimes that have happened in Handsworth. As mentioned before, Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing before the riots. Personally for me to live in handsworth, I can honestly say I always hear negative stories about the area and hardly anything positive. Many people state that there are a lot of “chavs” in Handsworth too. During my research of looking into statistics I found that these statistics were focusing on the negatives of Handsworth. For example:
- In overall terms the health of residents in Handsworth is worse than the average for England across a whole range of indicators. In particular, Infant mortality rates are higher than the national average and there is a high incidence of respiratory illnesses and heart disease.
- Teenage pregnancies are also a problem.
- Unemployment is a problem in the Handsworth area.
- Gang culture is dominant in the Handsworth area
With my FMP I do want to show the positive side to handsworth and the good aspects of the community. We are so used to seeing these negative portrayals of Handsworth, I want to share something new and look at it from a different perspective by showing Handsworth and Black people in a positive light.