Friday, November 28, 2008

All appearances to the contrary

A dear friend asked me why I had put the term "all appearances to the contrary" in relation to being Jamaican. She said this was (a) giving in to stereotypes, because we were "out of many one people" and all that, and (b) somewhat apologetic. She's right, but I don't feel moved to change this phrase, because having my nationality being treated with disbelief is a great part of my daily life. Any stranger in Jamaica who engages me in conversation is going to ask me where I'm from. And they're all gonna be amazed when I say, Kingston. Yard. Yah so.

Really?? Fi true? Bawn yah??

Yup, I'll say. Eee-he. Fourth generation.

I have this other friend, who told me: The trouble with you, Diana, is you're too WHITE!
And a business colleague told another friend I was too RED...followed by, mi nuh trus dem kinda red people...
At a library reading of my soon-to-be-published novel - long story - the person who introduced me said: she's a Jamaican, don't watch how she look...
And when I went away to go to school a few years back, the folks who had been sent to meet a Jamaican at the airport didn't believe I was me until I fished out my passport...

But see, here's the thing: I'm definitely not from anywhere else...all appearances to the contrary.

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