Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

“How dancehall holds us back,” by Ian Boyne, from the

“Our inner cities have been balkanised, garrisoned and criminalized by the politicians. Bitter feuds have ensued over decades and there is a long list of scores to be settled. Drug dons have entered the fray, complicating what was already a very dangerous situation. Add to this a national culture of fractiousness, divisiveness, and poor conflict resolution skills. There are communities where hate and animosity are drilled into the heads of young minds every day: The youth are told of all the ills, which have been done against their community by ‘those people.’ The natural human tendency is for revenge. “Now add to this a dancehall culture which reinforces the view that only a bwoy, a Fassy or a P— would not want to ‘defend his own,’ to ‘settle a matter once and for all.’ When the unemployed, unschooled, unchurched youth spend hours day and night chanting the lyrics of hate and vengeance, then how can you truly have peace between poor, black ghetto youth, divided originally by the politicians? So the politicians started the fire and have been fuelling it, but the dancehall artistes come and pour more oil on the fire.”

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Grant Barrett