Essay about Roots And Ideology By Barry Chevannes

Essay about Roots And Ideology By Barry Chevannes

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Throughout Rastafari: Roots and Ideology, Barry Chevannes traces the beginnings of the Rastafari movements and the movements that gave birth to Rastafarian ideology, through both historical perspectives and through the narratives of those people closely associated with these movements. He begins laying out the groundwork of the Rastafarian movement at the slave trade, which gave rise to the institutionalization of racism and the subordination of black people in the “New World.” This racism, and its lasting effects on the social, political, and economic positions of black people in Jamaica led to a realization of the need to create a life, or a belief system, that would actually serve black people and their needs.
The beginnings of these movements came from black rebellions against the white supremacy that was in place in the institutions of Jamaica; from these rebellions, new religious systems were born that placed emphasis on black empowerment. Chevannes notes the rise of these movements really started with the Myal religion in the 1700s, a religion which he describes as refashioning of the “symbols and teachings of Christianity” in which they snatched “the message from the messenger” (p 18). Myal became critical to syncretism of black Jamaican ideology and Christianity, and was an early predecessor to the Rastafarian movement.
However, with deteriorating social conditions in Jamaica, especially around Kingston, and drastic inequality and poverty, this syncretism of black Jamaican ideology with white Christian ideology was not the sort of enlightenment or uprooting that this progressive pro-black movement felt they needed. Marcus Garvey, and the ideology of Garveyism, was crucial in creating a movement of Revivalism and the rei...


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... important traditions is, of course, growing out their hair, hence the name “Dreadlocks.” The Bobos differ from this Dreadlock tradition in that they tend to keep a neater appearance.This difference is in line with Chevannes’ description of both Bobos and Dreadlocks; the Bobos tend to be more reserved, quieter, and less angry, whereas the Dreadlocks are opposite in nearly all accounts.
However, regardless of worship differences, all Rastafari movements work towards the same goals: the idealization of Africa, ideas of repatriation, and worship of men like Selassie and Garvey. These are all central ideas in the Rastafari ideology as documented by Chevannes. Through these movements, Rastafari, and their predecessors, give rise to a strong black-first and Africa-first narrative that continues to strengthen a cohesive identity for many black people in Jamaica and abroad.

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