I follow Kei Miller’s blog. I saw this post pop up over on Facebook. It is something we must read and think about. The violence with which we live every day is endemic, is cultural, is inherited, and is fundamental to the way in which we see ourselves. The dancehall culture in Jamaica which engenders daggering is replicated in various ways around our region–Jamaica is a cultural engine in itself–but it is not always unpacked, not always understood, not always interrogated, most often not by those for whom it is part of survival. Here in the Bahamas we don’t deconstruct words like “jungless/junglist” and “ghetto” and understand that they are more than descriptions; here, the practice of “daggering” is similarly more than a dance. It is an enactment of something, something that may be beyond our collective comprehension but that at the same time re-enacts again and again our collective violent cultural subordination.
I got up in the middle of the night to write about Bahamian independence on Blogworld and will do so before I go back to sleep. But this post of Kei’s caught me and would not let me go. Read it, digest it, sleep on it. I did.
Those apologists who make the spurious claim that it is always the violence of Caribbean society that spills over into the violence of dancehall music, and never the other way around, will not know about that curious time when Jamaica’s Kingston Public Hospital saw a sudden spike in cases of broken penises.
It was in the time of daggering – which is to say, not so long ago – and a friend was working as an anaesthesiologist at the hospital, applying icepack after icepack onto weeping men’s groins before wheeling them into surgery. But how did they get there? Well, in Jamaica’s Dancehall culture, Daggering was as bizarre as it was a perfectly natural culmination of what had always been a space in which an aggressive masculinity was affirmed and constantly performed…
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