Leonard Barrett: The Rastafarians (306p.)
I do realize reading Leonard Barrett’s The Rastafarians is reading in the margin, but while it is fairly poorly written, the question why now a subset of the Black Jamaicans should adopt a religion with as central tenet the divinity of a former Ethiopian king (Haile Selassie) is an interesting one. As an anthropology of Rastafarianism, Barrett’s The Rastafarians is a good book, even including a tally of the different implements to smoke the green stuff with.
The Jamaican psyche, at least that of the impoverished Blacks (former slaves originating from Africa’s west coast), is one of fight or flight, fight against or flight from oppression, poverty, racism, and this is precisely where the millenarian and messianic overtones of Rastafarianism come from, a mythical cult which borrowed its symbols, rites, and teachings from various sources, one example being the Bible, the only book available…
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