WORD TO JAMAICANS AT HOME:
Jamaicans, before you leave Jamaica for the USA, there are some oft-neglected intangibles you should consider.
Not making a judgment on whether you should migrate or not. I’m simply saying, be mindful of these intangibles.
Fresh air, clean rivers and beaches, healthy organic food, a close-knit community, proximity to friends and family, nonstop cultural events and opportunities for expression, a judicial system that’s non-racist.
Longevity based on the absence of multiple bombarding stressors.
Advanced degrees, professional licenses and certificates that are fully recognized, whether achieved in the USA, Britain, the African continent, in Jamaica or not.
IN THE USA:
Redlining, color-based obstacles to professional advancement, police brutality, housing discrimination.
Complete disregard for professional licenses, awards and certificates not acquired in the USA or possibly Great Britain. You’re going to have to start over.
An economic landscape that severely limits options for a well-paying job outside healthcare, computer coding and computer science.
Even in healthcare, you are relegated to the lower-rungs of the spectrum like quarterlies, home healthcare givers, live-in nurse attendants or, a little higher on the spectrum, Registered Nurses, achieved after a long spate of education and training.
If you migrate as an older adult, please be mindful of the time constraints involved.
Multiple race-based obstacles in the workplace that hamper advancement and promotions.
Most blacks are on the periphery of the management apparatus of any given enterprise, qualifications notwithstanding.
Blacks are rarely given an opportunity to advance to the meaty, intellectually demanding and highly rewarding echelons of upper management in any enterprise, healthcare industry included.
Many Jamaican immigrants, after assessing the landscape, take jobs that are significantly below their abilities and qualifications.
These jobs sadly, are significantly above (pay-wise), more prestigious jobs (whatever that means), at home.
The other option that many Jamaican migrants choose is to start their own businesses. Except that that has it’s fair share of obstacles:
Most USA businesses operate against the backdrop of an overly regulated business environment (especially in liberal states like New York, New Jersey and California, centers chock-full of Jamaican migrants).
Punitive fines and other governmental actions are often used as a revenue-generating tool, rather than a genuine attempt at deterrence, so you have to expect that government intervention in your business affairs will be constant and increasingly expensive.
There is not a friendly and understanding financial infrastructure, and the ugly face of racial discrimination will inevitably meet you.
Segregated churches, neighborhoods, school districts, law enforcement and civil service entities.
And if you have young children, consider the following:
90% of elementary and secondary school teachers are white. Almost half of the schools in the USA, do not have a single teacher of color on staff.
80 to 93% of all teacher education students are white. 88% of All teacher education instructors are white.
Please think of the psychological impact of same on the fragile mind of a young black child in his formative years.
Racial segregation in schools and housing continues unabated. The majority of whites have not lived near or attended school with people of color.
A media landscape that constantly subliminally and supraliminally, assaults racially, your self-esteem.
These potential obstacles are not insurmountable, you can succeed in-spite of it all, because the USA is multi-faceted and it does consist of alluring treats too numerous to mention.
However, consider the enormous servings of courage, fortitude and determination it will take.
No judgement on your decisions, just saying.