Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's a strange thing to be from the West Indies. Even weirder to be from the only English speaking country in South America. Most people assume that I'm Indian, which to an extent, is true. But I'm not. Sure, I can fix your computer and I know my way around a hospital, but my parents aren't strict and I eat beef and I dont speak a drop of hindi accept for maybe my name, and even that I can't pronounce correctly, according to real Indian people. Sometimes people think I know Spanish, which happens mostly in grocery stores.

When filling out forms, I always have to check 'other' when they ask my race. This seems ridiculous to me. I find the choices very limiting. Well, I'm not Asian, Hispanic or Caucasian, Or African American and I'm pretty sure I'm not a Pacific Islander. 'Other' for 15 years of standardized tests. Maybe I am Asian.

The British and Dutch sugar trade changed the lives of thousands of Indians, Africans and Chinese. Replanted on tropic soil, these people settled on the other side of the world and have stayed there for 200 years, losing many of their past traditions. They are no longer Indian, African or Chinese. They are Guyanese. We listen to Buju Banton and drink Red Stripes. We use British slang and eat Edam cheese. We are different from our ancestors in the Mother Lands. We are not quite what people think we are. Especially if that island accent is long gone.

The only people who seem to know what I am are Indian people. I guess I dont give off that Desi vibe. And according to some cab drivers, I would look Pakistani, but only if I were taller.

I've tried to research what part of India my great grand uncle was from, before he stole my great-grandmother, still a baby at the time, and set foot on the good ship Hesperus, whose captain promised him land and all the sugar he could handle. Uttar Pradesh is all I can trace back to, and that is a gigantically large region.

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