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Rastafarianism, also known as Rastafari, is a religious and political Black movement, begun as a deluded cult in Jamaica in the 1930s, later spreading to other areas.

Rastafarianism is not about love and justice, but about rejecting Western culture in favor of international socialism. Rastafarian ideas are useful for elites who see traditional Western culture as an obstacle to their vision of a better world.[1]


The movement selectively cites the Bible and claims that the Blacks in Western society are exiles living in "Babylon". European colonialism and global capitalism are regarded as manifestations of Babylon, while police and soldiers are viewed as its agents. In theory, Blacks should return to Africa, referred to as the Promised Land of "Zion".

Ethiopia is given special prominence and the name Rastafari derives from the title and given name (Ras, translated as "prince" and Tafari, "he who must be feared") of the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, whom most Rastafari worship as a god-king or messiah.

A less politically correct aspect is patriarchal values and accusations of sexism.

Other aspects include having long hair in its uncombed state, dressing in the colors of red, green, gold, and black (symbolizing the life force of blood, herbs, royalty, and Africanness), a special speech style (“Dread-talk"), and eating a special vegetarian diet. Religious rituals include prayers, the smoking of marijuana, and all-night drumming ceremonies.

A less politically correct description is that it is a combination of Black supremacism and Communist propaganda methods, influenced by Communist attacks on Western society/culture and the writing Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy. The founder called for complete “race enmity" and described Western culture as the “indomitable, incurable, accursed, deadly disease". He attacked Black people who work alongside White people or who do not reject Western culture. He called people of mixed-race “third-class people” and forbad intermarriage between the races. Blacks would be given supremacy over all other peoples. It would be preferably if Whites disappeared.

Reggae music derives from the movement and has been used to spread it. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to which the Jewish Chris Blackwell was inducted in 2001, he is “the single person most responsible for turning the world on to reggae music."

The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy is a text from Jamaica, published in 1926 by a proto-Rastafari preacher, Fitz Balintine Pettersburg.

See also

External links



  1. Rastas and the World Bank by Elizabeth Whitcombe