Thursday, November 15, 2012

Race Issue?

***This is a jumbled post. I will at some point edit this more. It has taken me over a month to put this enough together to post.***

It's always a race issue. Especially where I'm concerned. I'm tired of people telling me what I am and what I'm not. First off I'm of mixed heritage, secondly, does it really matter? I identify with all my family's cultures, and I was brought up with the knowledge of them. So let me clear it up right now.

My parents before I was even thought about.

My mom is Chinese and Jamaican. Her mother is Chinese Jamaican and her father is Chinese - he came to Jamaica from China. My father is Indian Trinidadian. I can't give the specifics on his side because I don't speak to him, and for awhile I didn't know who he was. But that's another story all in its own. I was raised by my mother and grandmother. So I grew up well versed in the Jamaican and Chinese cultures. It wasn't until I was older that I learned about the Trini side. I do identify more strongly with my Chinese and Jamaican roots, but I embrace all of them.

Grandma, her mom and her kids

Grandma (my mom's side) and some of my uncles and aunt.

I hate it when people ask me what I am, and then tell me it doesn't mean anything because I wasn't born there. If anything, I tell most people I'm American. I'm never black enough, Indian enough or Chinese enough to be accepted by the various cultures. Throughout my high school years I spoke to different groups and cliques, but I really didn't belong anywhere. When all else failed I just hung out with the Latinas. Why not? I looked like one. For the most part I just pretend to fit in, knowing damn well I didn't really.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going through an identity crisis. Far from it. It's the rest of the world who has issues with who I am. And I'm tired of it. I'm always judged by the way I look, especially when I'm in certain neighborhoods with a specific demographic. I always feel like I'm being judged too. When I'm hanging with the Caribbean or African American folks, it's always about me being too American, not knowing enough about my cultures and not having the accent. Not knowing about the hair, or all the struggles they have gone through. With the Indians, I'm not Hindu or Muslim, so I don't subscribe to the same beliefs, know enough about the food, or the clothes. Chinese people don't even count me as "one of them." I always speak too "white" and am told that I'm trying too hard to be better than everyone else. No I'm not.

It's like I can't just be myself and have people understand or appreciate that. It's complicated. But I know who I am and what I believe. At this point I'm just ignoring what everyone says. I am who I am, get over it.

-L

6 comments:

  1. Although I am not mixed race I can identify with this post. As a Jamaican woman I do get criticized for not being Jamaican enough or acting "too stoosh" by some jamaican friends. Anyone who knows about caribbean culture is aware that there are many different types of people that make up the caribbean from native peoples, african, asian, european, middle eastern etc so there should be no question of your heritage because it doesn't fit with their picture of what a typical jamaican/trini person looks or acts like. The best phrase I can find is "Out of Many One People"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely agree Georgette. Too many people have this idealized version of what Caribbean people should look like. I blame that on the media. But yes, "Out of Many One People."

      Delete
  2. I'm not of mixed race but hell who really knows these days...LOL!!! I can totally relate, I was born in Jamaica, came here at 5yrs old and grew up in a white neighborhood. The black groups didn't like me, said I act & talk like a white girl and I wasn't white but they embraced me more. I don't have an accent but I love my culture & who I am as a person & that it all!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can relate somewhat. Growing up the black kids looked at me funny because I looked a bit different and the white kids would play with my hair and look at me funny. Even as an adult and sometimes even now I get asked "what are you? where are you from?" Get over it people!!! I'm me. That's all that is important.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can relate. My mom is Afro American and my dad is Nigerian. Because my parents divorced when I was young, I was raised as a Black Girl. Therefore, I'm certainly not African enough. You know what? I am who I am and I'm proud as hell of that. So, I congratulate you on doing YOU and being PROUD of all the many pieces that make up who you are!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am appreciative of all the comments, and I am glad to see that you can understand and somewhat relate to this. The world still has a far way to come...

    ReplyDelete

Show me some love, share a suggestion, add an idea, or just say hello...