caribbean traveller

Everywhere I go, I meet another Caribbean national . most places I go to, people seem to be excited to meet someone from the Caribbean. Then they think there are only black people in Jamaica. Nope! Jamaica has a wide diverse ethnic mix. And even though most people may be mixed, they are prejudiced against each other. I faced more prejudice in my own country Jamaica than I faced in London. In Jamaica there is the class system that is summarized in the popular saying,

If you are white, you are alright,

If you are brown, hang around,

If you are black, stand back!

Wherever I go, people are so excited to hear my Jamaican accent. They think I a m unique and that I am from some far away exotic fairy tale paradise.

In large cities like London and New York, people of other races seem to be more open and “tolerant” of others from different backgrounds. As you leave the cities and go to the country areas, like the country parts of America, prejudice is more obvious.

I am always amazed by the influence of Caribbean music like reggae and soca, and Caribbean culture in foreign countries. Sometimes I see people with the dreadlocks, the bob Marley hat, the bob Marley shirt, shorts, shoes, backpack and I am so certain that they are Jamaicans. I go up to them and say , hey! Are you Jamaican? They reply enthusiastically YES! so then i ask, What part of Jamaica are you from? and their response varies from … oh, I’m really from New Orleans, or, oh my great grand father visited Trinidad once …

Some of the very brave will answer oh I am from Kingston! So I ask, what part of Kingston are you from? Then they start to stutter.

I continue to be amazed by how much people embrace Caribbean culture. There are people who will tell me the history of Jamaica, of marcus garvey, and of course bob Marley and I feel ashamed that they know more than I do!

What is it about a tiny Caribbean island that some people can’t even find on a map, that it can exert it’s influence all over the world. And I have come to understand that the Jamaican culture is very strong and vibrant even in places like Japan.


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