Global Vision

Rastafari has extended beyond Jamaica, to the UK and USA in particular. There are also smaller Rasta populations in Japan, New Zealand, Brazil, and other countries. Some Rastas have no ethnic link at all with Afro-Caribbean people; not only are there white Rastas but also Rastas of Native American background, and Japanese background, among others. Rastafari spread internationally through the migration of Jamaicans and the popularity of reggae music. Rastafari symbols of colour, hair, language, and Ital diet have become symbols of identity for Jamaican and non-Jamaican youth more generally. Rastafari symbols became associated with gang violence in Jamaica and then the drug trade in cocaine with US. However, those who adopted the symbols often did not also have the religious values of the Rastafari. This, alongside the sacramental use of ganja, associated Rastafaris with drugs and as addicts in the US, which many Rastafari felt was an unfair and inaccurate association. In the UK, Rastafari was taken up by second-generation immigrants from Jamaica and the Caribbean from the 1970s onwards. It has become more common since then for young people in particular to dress as Rastas without following the religious values.

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