WHY NOT WEAR WHITE? University professor questions donning of black in call for end to violence against women

February 06, 2017

A university professor has questioned the usefulness of wearing black as a sign of protest.

Dr Hume Johnson said that marching and symbolism are important but, to be effective, protest must move from the streets to real action at the policy, policing and legislative level.

"Why call on people to wear black? Today is the anniversary of our nation's most iconic citizen, Bob Marley, a champion of love and enlightenment; a global symbol of our country's greatness and power. A genuine hero of all that is good and positive," Johnson wrote on Facebook.

Women participate in a Black Friday march in Half-Way Tree protesting sexual and other violence against women and children, in September 2012.

"I understand you grieve for our women and girls, but let's celebrate their life, unity, peace. Let's celebrate that. Why not wear white, since you crave some symbolic gesture?" she said.

Johnson, a Jamaican, is an associate professor of public relations at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, USA.

Many Jamaicans have answered the call of civil society leaders to wear black in order to send the message that they are tired of violence against women and children.

The call, however, has not found favour with many persons, and Angela Brown Burke, former mayor of Kingston, feels some of the naysayers have gone overboard.

"If you believe wearing black is a waste of time, then fine. I respect your opinion but please don't denigrate those who choose to do so. It's this intolerance that's part of the problem," Brown Burke wrote on Facebook.

She added: "I'm hoping that the sad state of crime and violence and gender-based violence in particular, will increase overall activism by Jamaicans. There is so much we can all do. Let's go do it and big up all advocates against crime and violence and those with emphasis on gender based violence."