It certainly was not one of those days when I looked forward to dealing with a sexist, homophobic bigot, not that I ever look forward to encountering any of that, but when ‘my dear one’ asked me to help supervise the van removal drivers that were to move her things to a new place, I wasn’t expecting to confront all that in a single move.
She reminded me to thoroughly check the inside of the van to make sure none of her things was (intentionally or not) left behind in the van. She then added “They are Jamos, so make sure you check”. ‘Jamos’ is Nigerian short term for Jamaicans. Needless to say, I was irritated at this. I mean, what has their nationality got to do with how trustworthy they are? I know she would still have insisted I check the van if the van removal drivers were Nigerians, Americans or Britons. But I doubt if she would have added their Nationality for emphasis. Well, If they were fellow Nigerians, she probably would have added that, but if they were Britons, I doubt she would. Yes, I did call her out on this as I am not a fan of discrimination of any kind.
When the van removal driver finally showed up, he came with another Jamaican guy who was to help him with the move. He immediately informed me that the man he brought wants extra money, so he would have to charge more than the agreed price. While I was trying to explain to him about how you don’t just change contracts at whims, the 6 footer plus moving partner he brought wouldn’t let me get a word in. He was abrasive and obviously was used to shouting women down. He was trying to talk over me and I instantly recognize the sexist, patriarchal body language and tone. So, I completely ignored him and directed my attention to the one we had an agreement with.
He wasn’t pleased that I was ignoring him, so he mumbled and grumbled about women not wanting to pay, about African women wanting to take all their money to Africa, he didn’t even spare my hair as he commented on my ‘expensive’ hairstyle and how he is sure I won’t allow any money to come out of my expensive looking purse! All through his banter, I completely pretended he didn’t exist. I truly was not in the mood for his sexist, ignorant banters.
Little did I know that was just a tip of the iceberg! At least it was easy to ignore him when I was not in confined space with him, but then came the time I had to join them in the van to go drop the loads, I was squeezed or rather sandwiched between the two of them in the front seat. Since it was a journey of less than 10 minutes drive, I did not mind that much.
I noticed it has been drizzling and the ground was slippery, so I thought, it must have been difficult moving heavy loads in this weather, I might as well add some extra money to the agreed price. So as an opener to the offer I noted:
“The weather is really bad today”
The abrasive Jamaican immediately cut me shout with his response
“No, there is nothing wrong with the weather. God made everything perfect. Man spoils everything and made it bad.”
I screamed in my head…Oh nooo, not a bigoted religious asshole too!
He went on in his Jamaican English, which most times I find interesting even sexy but with him, I really had to struggle to hear what he was saying, not that I was interested in listening to any of his batshit talk. He nevertheless rambled on:
“God created everything good, but man made it all bad with sin. Batman made it bad”
In my head I went…Batman? He believes Batman is real too? And what the heck has Batman got to do with bad weather? However, I was not about to engage this despicable man in any discussion so I just stared right ahead. And as if right on cue, he clarified my confused stare.
“You know battyman, dem lesbian, they made everything bad.”
Oh Batty man, not Batman, goodness me, a homophobe too! BTW, Batty man is an offensive Jamaican word for gays, equivalent to the offensive English word ‘faggot’. So according to this man, gays and lesbians are responsible for the bad weather.
And how is rain really a bad thing?
Was God not going to make it rain before gays came on the scene?
How were the vegetation supposed to grow or was it all part of the grand, divine, mysterious way God was going to provide us food?
Since the main driver appeared more reasonable, at least in his interactions so far, he had been calm and reasonable, I looked at him with the hope that he would stop the drivel of this asshole but he was busy nodding vigorously in agreement with his cohort. Bang went my hope!
The abrasive one continued the assault on my senses:
“You know in this country they allow man and man to get married. Yeah man, man and man marry. They don’t believe in God, yeah man, they don’t. They do evil, now everything is bad, I tell you everything is bad. God made everything good but they made everything bad”.
I thought blaming same sex marriage and atheists for bad weather was the exclusive copyright of American republicans! To hear this balderdash from a Jamaican just made me go “Yuk, no man!
It was a journey of less than 10 minutes and I knew with the time constraint, it was going to be useless engaging in any rational discussion with these people. They were practically ranting about how gays and atheists have made the weather and the world bad. If I did not know better, I would have thought they knew about me and just wanted to rile me up.
Normally, I am quick to anger when people spout homophobia or religious delusion in my presence but in this case I looked at both of them going on and on about how God made everything perfect but how gays, lesbians, same-sex marriage and atheists have now made everything bad and all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of sadness. Sadness for the black man, sadness for Africa, sadness for the human race.
Here were two adult black guys from Jamaica who had come to UK to make a better life for themselves. Yet all they have brought with them is their baggage of homophobia, sexism, and religious delusions.
It is irritating when a religious believer, no matter the color of their skin, goes on and on about their Skyddday, but when the annoying Christian or Muslim religious believer is a black person, I just feel this overwhelming sadness in me. Like Chris Rock said, “A black Christian is a black person with no memory”
How do I even begin to explain to these two black men that rain is a natural occurrence?
In this age, aren’t they supposed to know this basic fact?
Didn’t they benefit from elementary education in Jamaica were they came from?
Could it be that the only thing they learned from the missionary schools was the creationist myth spread by their colonizers?
If ‘battyman’, dem lesbians, men who marry men and atheists are the cause of all the bad things in the word, why is Jamaica not a heaven on earth since ‘man no marry man’ in Jamaica?
Why is the ‘saintly’ black man still slaving away in the land of the cursed white man?
If those black men still believe rain is a bad thing caused by gays and atheists, how do I even begin to explain to them that homosexuality is natural?
I was so busy trying to drown out their ignorant voices that I was startled when they asked me for the direction. I opened my eyes, looked out of the window, not familiar with the route they took, I said…” I think you should turn that way”. The driver asked if I was sure but the abrasive one immediately jumped in again and offered his two cents:
“Oh when Jamaican woman says “I think”…eh eh she doesn’t know” and he went on another torrent of how women really don’t know their right from left. Whoa, such blatant sexism!
Are those people for real? Unfortunately yes, they are real. And they were not spewing this nonsense just because of their presumably low level of education. They really weren’t saying anything new. I have heard almost the same drivel from highly educated people.
Sexism, homophobia, religious delusions all seems to go together. I just wasn’t expecting to have it all heaped on me within an enclosed space of 10 minutes drive! I never even got round to offering the additional money because the abrasive man in-between his sexism, homophobia and religious delusions, wouldn’t let me get a word in!
I did finally give the other man the extra money, but when he said he hope I use their service again, I took a horrified look at him and muttered “I doubt that very much”. I would most probably need a van removal service in a few weeks time, but one thing I am certain of is that those homophobic men won’t be touching my things!
But come to think of it, most small business Van Removal services I know in my London area are owned by Jamaicans, the odd of running into another homophobic one is quite high, so I’d probably still give the calm one a call but this time insist that he does not come with the abrasive man. I could then proceed to give him a lecture or two about weathers, sexism, homophobia and black history. I bet he never knew that one of the earliest ships used to cart away his ancestors to a lifetime of slavery in foreign land was named Jesus. Maybe, just maybe that little bit of important information would set him thinking and start a process of emancipation from mental slavery. I am afraid it is going to be a long process.