Are You a Real Jamaican?

Us first-generation West Indians have all either experienced or witnessed this at some point. Sometimes it’s funny, and other times it’s downright annoying.

The Translation

If you’re not West Indian, don’t worry. I’ll translate. Here goes!

The Backdrop

Though both actors are Jamaican, the video illustrates what often happens when a first-generation Jamaican meets a second-generation Jamaican born abroad, who hasn’t kept up with the local culture, but makes claim to the nationality.

The Jamaican in the video is annoyed by this, and decides to put the American through a series of tests to prove he isn’t “worthy” of referring to himself as a true Jamaican.

The Dialogue

He asks, “What are the two biggest gangs in Jamaica?” When the American guesses Bloods and Crips, he corrects him by naming our two main political parties ie The Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) and The People’s National Party (PNP).

He then asks, “What are two things every Jamaican is promised in life?” The American takes the stereotypical route of making weed references. The Jamaican replies with, “Death and bun!” If you remember our very first patois lesson, bun means to be cheated on.

As another test, he asks, “What is the name of every Chinese person in Jamaica?” This is a trick question, as he really means, What do we call them? The American misses the point and guesses Lee and Chung. The Jamaican says, “Miss and Missa (Mister) Chin.” Before you think we’re being racist, read 6 Main Ethnic Groups that Contribute to Jamaican Culture.

As a final test, the Jamaican then asks, “How does every bad man (criminal or thug) escape in Jamaica?” The American makes a reference to tunnels and El Chapo. Frustrated, the Jamaican again tells him he is wrong, because any yaadie knows criminals always “escape into nearby bushes”. This is almost always how the police and the news report it to the civilians, making it a long-standing joke on the island.

He then concludes that if you aren’t born a yaad (in Jamaica) then you can’t be a yaadie (Jamaican).

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, Jamaicans are jealously protective of our culture, and generally don’t like to share. As you can see, this is the case even when your parents happen to be one of us.

We’re terrible — I know. 😅

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13 thoughts on “Are You a Real Jamaican?

    1. The government has some stuff trademarked, but it’s difficult to uphold in international courts and then you can’t have the govt own everything and the people can’t use it. It’s a tricky situation, so I guess it’s us foot soldiers who really keep everything in check. 😂

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