Marginalization has been the buzz word for males in Jamaica for a few years now. Women are lamenting the lack of ‘manpower’ in universities and in the home; papers have been written and studies have been . . . studied. The concept is so old hat that it’s become one of those issues that are only discussed and not addressed.
But how can this problem be swept so easily under the fabric of society when young men – beg pardon, yuuts – are parading around with their pants halfway to their knees, jeans tighter than mine, their faces bleached out because ‘everybody love a brownin’‘ and cubic zirconium studs in not one, but two lobes?
I don’t even care that I’m starting to sound like an old woman, moralizing to all and sundry, because there is an even deeper issue in the attitude of the women – beg pardon, di gyal dem – who traipse around after these boys like dem frighten fi man. Certainly, some deeper moral and ethical issues are at play here, vis a vis the raising of one’s children to not be complete asses. And I, for one, am intrigued by how far this downward spiral will go. If so many boys continue to be unambitious, trigger happy louts, then girls ‘have no choice’ but to lower their standards (if they weren’t already scraping the bottom in the first place) or find themselves single indefinitely (the horror!).
But from the point of view of an irritated female, I am sick of seeing the debilitatingly gauche overtures of these wayward ‘boys’ and tired of watching my sex debase themselves through association and uncalled-for desperation. If I had the chance to say one thing only to the misguided youth of Jamaica it would be this: grow up.
But not the type of growing up that little children do all too frequently here. Growing up doesn’t mean advertising your sexuality; it means learning to respect the rights of other people. Growing up doesn’t mean scamming or killing to feed your family; it means acknowledging that there are legal ways to get the help you need. It doesn’t mean being the ‘don’, the ‘big man’ or even the ‘world boss’. Nor does it mean being a cog in the unsatisfactory machinery of our so-called democracy.
Growing up means realizing that you are the means to change your world. . . for the better, or for the worse. It’s up to you.