How did CNN’s attempt to demystify curry lead to a debate over Jamaica’s relationship with the Caribbean?
It is a long story.
The American news network on Thursday (Jan 23) sought to explain what is meant by the term curry and, how the style of cooking went global. According to CNN’s Kate Springer, curry is not a single spice, nor is it related to the namesake curry tree. Springer citing—Colleen Sen’s book Curry: A Global History—explains that curry is an umbrella term that refers to a spiced-meat, fish or vegetable stew.
Curry, according to Springer, which is said to have originated around 2500 BCE in what is now modern-day Pakistan, made its way around the world through colonization and immigration, indentured labour, trade and entrepreneurship.
Sounds, pretty standard so far— right?
However, things went left when the article encouraged curry lovers to visit one of 12 famous curry destinations, of which Jamaica was listed as number 2 and the Caribbean was listed as number 11. The separation of Jamaica from the rest of the Caribbean sent Twitter users into a frenzy. While Jamaicans, who are strongly nationalistic welcomed the separation, even touting that “Jamaica is the Caribbean”, others in the region were not so happy.
“Um, why is Jamaica listed as separate from the Caribbean?!!?” commented one Twitter user.
“Obviously CNN knows Jamaica is a cut above the Caribbean,” added another Twitter user.
The article comes at a particularly interesting time, as Jamaica recently concluded discussions with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, which was harshly criticized by some Caribbean leaders as an attempt to divide the regional community.