Instead, it suggested I came in peace. I slowly found it ok to do these things—convince Caucasian Americans that they had nothing to fear from me. Then there was that evening, while in junior high, where two black men attempted to rob me, I froze—one of them buried a hard object in a brown paperbag between my ribcage. My parents had chosen a bad neighbourhood. Whether they had a gun in that bag or not, I wished not to test them. Ah, perhaps those white folks who feared me were on to something, I thought. So I, in turn, feared any person of colour I saw that was not from the Caribbean or Africa. Yes, there were ways to tell the difference. If I saw someone who looked like me, I looked to cross the street. It was my second year living in America and still in the midst of a culture shock that would last over a decade.
Among black people, my fellow, it was/is dismissiveness and trivialisation. Because I was born and lived in the caribbean for 13 years, to them I was and am not black enough. To them, I was/am not able to truly understand and connect with the black experience as it is in America. To them, they own a monopoly on blackness and with my accent and delivery of the English language, I was not (and still not in certain circles), black enough. I am not the only one in this. There was actor, Samuel Jackson’s comment on the lead thespian from the surprise hit movie “Get Out”. The actor in that film is British (and black) but Jackson appeared to highlight a missing monopoly on blackness by suggesting that the lead role should’ve been played by a Black American. Taking Jackson’s comments at face value, he at least suggested that black people from different parts of the world have never experienced micro-aggression, or even a constant effort of suppression by a system that prefers us to be silent and subservient. These were some of the movie’s main themes. To Jackson’s credit, he later clarified but for many like me, the damage was already done.