I’m going to assume you all know about Barbados removing the Queen as the head of state. It seems there is a ripple effect of Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean gaining independence from the English monarchy! Jamaica is the latest country to start the process of removing the Queen as its head of state. The latest news is that Jamaica plans to become a republic on its Independence Day this year, which is on August 6th. I am excited for them! I hope they become a republic after being a “constitutional” monarchy for 60 years and being subject to colonization and enslavement long before that. Even though it may take a lot longer, I do hope Jamaica and other countries that are demanding reparations from the monarchy will receive them.
Why Am I Putting Air Quotes Around Constitutional?:
I have learned from living in the UK that you can call the English Monarchy constitutional all you want. Newsflash: It doesn’t change anything. The monarchy has led to systemic inequality within the UK for almost 1,000 years and abroad for about 500 years. It’s been almost 1,000 years since the Normans invaded the UK in 1066. More than 80% of the wealth in the UK is still owned by the descendants of the Normans. They imposed the nobility and gentry system that still exists today. It didn’t just disappear with the Renaissance, the English Civil War, or the end of the British Empire. Its role today is far more subtle, but it’s there if you look harder. I believe in calling a spade a spade. If you put constitutional in front of monarchy, you’re putting lipstick on a pig.
On a Personal Note:
As you can probably tell from the flags in my display name and bio, I have a connection to Jamaica. I know what you’re thinking:
OMG Karen! You can’t just ask people why they are white!
Well, I am going to tell you part of the reason why I have a connection to Jamaica, but I won’t say everything. It’s not because I’m ashamed of it. It’s because there are others who could be impacted if I reveal the whole truth.
I grew up in an area outside London that had people from India, Pakistan, Africa (mainly Nigeria and Ghana) and the Caribbean (mainly Jamaica). My parents and I became quite close with Jamaicans, mainly because we were from a similar area of the world. We went to lots of Jamaican parties and participated in discussions of social issues with Jamaicans. I can honestly say Jamaicans are the most socially aware people I have ever met. I heard people’s firsthand stories of the Windrush Generation and moving to the UK because of the lack of jobs in Jamaica. Still, the ones who moved from Jamaica talked about how much they loved it and they taught their kids about their Jamaican heritage. Something else happened that had a significant impact on my life, and that’s where I will stop.
When I saw the 60 Reasons for Apologies and Reparations from Britain and its Royal Family, I was slow-clapping Jamaica. If you don’t know Jamaican history, the above link is a good starting point. Additionally, I am happy that word has gotten out about how Jamaicans have been treated in the UK and that has been included in the reasons.
And Now Kenya is Speaking Out:
When I was writing this post, I found out the Talai Clan in Kenya is petitioning Prince William for reparations. They were evicted from their land so that tea plantations could be grown. Seems like the ripple effect of demanding accountability is going beyond the Caribbean! Go Kenya!
I would like to take the opportunity to give a shoutout to Rosaliene Bacchus from Three Worlds One Vision. She gave me a copy of her book The Twisted Circle during this time when I can’t afford to buy books. I have been slowly reading her book for a few months and absorbing the thoughtful writing that makes me feel like part of the story. Lately, I have been rereading the parts that are related to colonization because of Barbados and Jamaica standing up to the English Monarchy. If you want to learn more about colonization in the Caribbean, particularly in British Guiana, this is the book to read! It makes me recall my Jamaican friends’ stories with both fondness and sympathy.
Could Canada Become a Republic?:
When Barbados made the leap from a “constitutional” monarchy to a republic, there was a discussion on Reddit if Canada could do the same thing. The answer: not any time soon. In the past year, public opinion of the monarchy in Canada has become quite negative, especially after Harry and Megan’s interview. Although, here’s the problem. Canada’s constitution states that it must have a monarch. If they were to remove the Queen, approval of all provinces and territories is needed, which could take years. It’s tough to get provinces to agree on changing the constitution, to say the least. Let’s just say the monarchy has got its claws into Canada. It’s going to take a while to get them out.
It’s common to say here that it would be easier for the UK to remove the monarchy than for Canada to do so. I would say that’s true for Canada since it’s far away from the UK. However, getting rid of the monarchy there would cause serious upheaval in the UK. I’m going to write a post about what I have learned about the monarchy from living in the UK. What I am saying in this post is only the tip of the iceberg.
Will Reparations Happen?:
Truth: I don’t think it will happen any time soon. There’s still denial on the part of the Royal Family about the atrocities they committed. I do think if Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya keep up the pressure, it could happen. However, public opinion in the UK is that reparations aren’t needed for Commonwealth countries. On one side, the UK has a long way to go to even admitting racism and xenophobia are problems in their culture. The denial is rampant! Then again, anyone in the UK who is not nobility is also entitled to reparations after almost 1,000 years of Norman nobility and gentry keeping them “in their place”. I’ll say more about that later. The Royal Family have 1,000 years of oppression in their history. It’s time they owned up to it!
Even though it’s tiring for Commonwealth countries to demand reparations, I have a feeling that they will be more successful at it than people in the UK. There’s too much groupthink in the UK that’s led to racism and xenophobia, but I believe that can be traced back to the propaganda the monarchy created during the Age of Exploration. When you’re talking about an entire nation with a groupthink narrative embedded in the culture, it’s tough to kick it.
Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments! Go Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya! 🇧🇧🇯🇲🇰🇪