So I am walking the streets, not just in T&T, everywhere and men call me ‘Ras’, ‘Pretty Ras’ and ASSUME that I am Rastafari.
I try not to be rude, but I end up either ignoring them and walking away, or in situations where I cannot, I have to tell them that Rastafari is just not me. When I talk to them about Osun, and Egun and Ifa and Orisa, they look at me with these blank faces.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have a problem with Rastafarians. I do however think that the insistence of Selassie’s divinity and some of the negative, continuing off-balance treatment of women, are not ‘ideals’ that I can live with.
Oyadele was telling me about a night she went to a binghi fire and that the assembly allowed males of al ages, young and old to speak. However, when a woman, an elder at that, got up to speak, they cut her off, dismissed her comments and then ignored her. This is a Mother who was fighting in the struggle before half the males present were born, yet they couldn’t even respect her enough to allow her to speak. Women aren’t allowed to speak at binghi fires.
On a personal level, I have dealt with Rastafari sexism and it has always left s bad taste in my mouth. I have had brothers trying to talk to me and tell me that Haile Selassie is God, and Divine and all these things.
I believe though that Rastafari has exchanged one set of dogma for the next.
While I admire their efforts to be Afro-centric in their approach to life and living, I think in most ways they miss many of the fundamental aspects to a truly Afro-centric perspective on life.
One of the questions I continually ask, but no one can seem to answer, is that if we are trying to get back to our roots in Rastafari, then why is that they can cry down Orisa and their worship, but yet subscribe to a Zionist, Judeo-Christian ethos and forgive me, pathos?
Wouldn’t it seem logical that in getting back to our roots, we should explore the legitimate spiritual lives of our ancestors, who if you are from the Caribbean, more likely to be from West and Central Africa, than from the long overrun-by-froeigners North East?
Why adopt a hodge-podge of spiritual ideology, instead of embracing systems in place for thousands of years?
Where is the ancestral honour in Rastafari? Where is the balance between male and female in Rastafari?
So as beautiful as my dread locks are, as strong as my consciousness of my African self is, I cannot subscribe to the Rastafari view of the world.
As Afro-centric as their perspective claims to be, they have missed the fundamental point about African spirituality. It is a spirituality that has as it’s core an honouring of where we really come from, and as such, firmly grasp where we going. It is a spirituality that honours both male and female in balance with one another.