You are Jamaican?

A who dat ah seh who dat? Yuh nuh no seh is me.

This is a short one. I have so many other stories to write about like my trip to Cuba, but this has been on my mind. I work in a company where there are quite a few Jamaicans. One of the guys brought his friend, a fellow Jamaican, by my office to say hello, a frequent occurrence.

After a quick introduction, the guy looks at me. It went a little something like this:

Him: No, you are not Jamaican. You are Jamaican?

Me: So what, you are Jamaican? If you are Jamaican, how you can look pon me an seh dat? If I AM Jamaican? You mus know seh der are plenty Chinese Jamaicans. (I think my face said something too!)

Him: Yes, now that I hear you speak. I am sure you get that a lot.

Me: Yes, I expect it from foreigners who don’t know any better, but not from Jamaicans. Yuh mus do bettah dan dat man. (I gave my colleague a look, KMT and escorted them out of my office.)

If only that guy had said something like, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” Instead he came with this foolishness. Even if he added in a little “Miss Chin,” I would not have minded.

It bothered me so much I wrote about it on my family Facebook group and asked my cousins if they had similar experiences. I learned about the influx of new Chinese who are opening up wholesale shops in downtown Kingston. Apparently, there is some confusion between the new Chinese and Chinese Jamaicans who have been born and raised on the island. Still, you don’t have to look so shocked when I tell you I am Jamaican. We do have White, Indian, Syrian and Jewish Jamaicans and I love that we are all mixed up and there is such diversity in our culture.

However, I will say that on a recent trip to Cuba not once did anyone say, “Oh, you don’t look Jamaican.” They would more ask why I spoke such good Spanish. Cuba has the largest Chinese community in the Caribbean followed by Jamaica. I guess they are more used to it.

No matter what our national motto still stands – “Out of Many One People.”

ONE LOVE! Respect and peace!

Friends from prep school and high school. We are all Jamaicans!



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