Monday, August 27, 2007

Shut up and listen

Maybe it's best not to write when I'm ticked off, but why do people think Jamaica makes up the entire Caribbean? Who the hell are "Islanders"??? In all my life I have never heard Caribbean people referred to as "Caribbeans" or "Islanders" - people in the Caribbean don't even refer to themselves as that. I can only assume it is a type of Americanism that has found its ignorant way into the vocabulary of some sort of majority.

If you cannot be bothered to check the map, please be aware that the islands of the Caribbean are not an annex of the United States of America - they are mostly self-governing with their own individual identities. Please do not confuse us with African Americans because we are definitely not.

Because most of the people you may meet could possibly be Jamaican, we are not all Jamaican nor do we come from Jamaica. In case you haven't bothered to look at a map, the Caribbean is made up of a number of ISLANDS, none of which are appendages of Jamaica. Just like a Ghanaian does not want to be known as a Nigerian nor a Zimbabwean as a South African, make an effort to find out where people are from. Just because you cannot tell one accent from the other it doesn't mean we are all the same.

Everyone expects us to know about them and their culture but they never bother to learn about someone else's. Just because the world decides to tag us onto South America don't think we accept that either, we might learn Spanish or Portuguese but it is not our lingua franca. We have our own dialects and patois, we talk it and write it. Although slavery has been a part of our history it doesn't mean that we haven't carved out our own culture in spite of this. Reggae music is not the only type of music that has come out of the Caribbean, neither are we all dreadlocked and we don't all spend our days hanging around on the beach drinking rum and dancing - people actually work for a living. The beach is reserved for weekends, annual leave and public holidays. And rum ain't all that.