#culture · 1 year ago

Question over identity

Came back to the states for a family reunion , over that 4day period my family would make Jamaican stereotypical jokes. I’m not sensitive I even laughed at them. But eventually it turned into remarks such as “your still here? , don’t you gotta go back to your people?” Now my family is Southern African American , Black American or whatever PC term for people who’s ancestors was US slaves. Moved to Jamaica when I was 18 and I’m currently 26 I love it here and plan on raising a family here. Even after their jokes turned into just hostile remarks I still didn’t really care. Until I noticed a lot of my family looked and treated me like I was different over little stuff like in my opinion a slight accent on certain words. But on the plane ride back all the way from North Carolina I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Now for the question . Is my family right in how they feel, am I only Jamaican and will my kids be viewed the same way my family viewed me ? Side note : And that’s something I love about it here, most the people I’ve met don’t care about race or background as much as people in the states do. Everyone is just themselves and don’t think about little stuff like that. My whole time here I was able to think of myself as a individual with out a race or stereotypes attached to me like how it is in certain parts of the states. The whole lifestyle and culture is just different . I encourage anyone interested in moving to Jamaica to do it!


I’d be surprised if there are a people on this planet more confused about their identity than African Americans. Don’t sweat it, more than anything it sounds like jealousy, you moved away in persuit of something you felt you couldn’t get there and they resent that because it makes them look lazy in comparison. So it’s best to bring you down rather than build themselves up. It’s sad but don’t sweat it, if anything it’s validation that you were right to move


I think you may have took this the wrong way , I know who I am and don’t feel confused about myself. I should’ve have phrased the title differently, my main point was to get some advice on where I fit in with my African American heritage and Jamaican nationality because I feel stuck in between the too


Sorry you went through that! I think it’s amazing you were brave enough to move! I’m African American too and I’ve always been a fan of Jamaican and Caribbean culture my whole life (my mom is a fan too). There’s just something about their culture that I can identify with, I can’t describe it. I finally visited 3 years ago and omgggg I didn’t want to leave!! I was trying to find any excuse to stay (I should’ve lol).

I have no identity as a black person in America. I don’t want to be here anymore!! In Jamaica I felt like I was home. I felt like I belonged there! I felt at peace. I didn’t feel stressed, anxious or paranoid for once. I have NEVERRRR felt that way in my 31 years of life and I don’t blame you for moving there. I’ll never forget the way the Jamaican people made me feel. It felt so good being among people who look like you and treat you with dignity and respect.

How do you like living there though? I swear I want to fly there and not come back here. It’s been on my mind constantly since I last went there.


Love everything you wrote and encourage you to spend at least a year off a resort here before you decide you want too move ! but something I read kind of made me stop for a second , what do you meant by “I have no identity as a black person in America”


Sorry for the the late response, but what I meant was I feel like I’m nobody in America as a black person, especially as a black woman too. I don’t like how we’re treated here. It’s pretty rough in the city I live in as a black person too.

But when I went to Jamaica and was surrounded by majority black people, it just made me feel comfortable being around just “us” and not “them”. Not having to deal with white people for a whole week while in Jamaica was nice I’m not going to lie lol. I never felt that stress free and relaxed in my life.

There was just something about being surrounded by that many black people while in a Black country. Makes me feel like I’m missing out on what it would be like to live or be from somewhere like that versus an all white country.


Hostile remarks about if you’re not leaving, after 4 days? What kind of family is this? Jest or not, you’re not welcome?

“am I only Jamaican” was weird phrase for me to read.

I was born and grown in Jamaica until 18 like you, moved to the States, I’m 38 now. Which means I’ve been in America for longer than I lived in Jamaica, and I’m a citizen now… but I consider myself Jamaican because that formed me. If you were the reverse and born/grew up in the US, you’re American. But if naturalized, you’re also a Jamaican, like I’m American, but those birth to teenage years are the formative identifying ones.

Then if your children are born and grow in Jamaica, they’ll be Jamaicans.

I find that Americans, particularly most Black Americans and other sects that don’t travel much, struggle with the differences with immigrant/international people. Not understanding you just because of an accent, stuff like that. Not knowing how to interact with you outside of their own cultural settings (like let’s play dominos instead of spades, I don’t have the best examples). Joking about any stereotypes they can find of your otherness.

On the other hand, Jamaican e like your kids as well as the rest of the world are exposed to American news and culture. While they do acknowledge immigrant differences, they don’t denigrate it. When they move to a different country like the States, they pick up and fit in.

tl:Dr; that sucks from your fam but they don’t know any better


What kind of family is this ? A black family from the south lol, that’s how a lot of us are down there and that’s why I don’t have any resentment toward my family from that whole incident . But what you said towards the end shocked me. Your right (from my own experience) black american, African Americans whatever you want to say, don’t travel much outside of there own state alot much less the country . All my friends growing up from Charlotte to Wilmington (basically the whole state) had never been outside of the country unless they were like you , from a foreign country or had family outside the country, then the rare few that had parents with money and would go to places like Cancun. My point is a lot of foreigners think black Americans don’t care or don’t respect foreign cultures but it’s like you said , they just don’t know any better . Too some degree you could say it’s ignorance but it’s been a mindset that’s been here as long as we have . Before I moved All I knew was America and couldn’t imagine people living anywhere else . And that’s something I’ve even had to explain to my friends I made in Jamaica when it comes to how Black Americans view other black people outside of America ( Yes I was asked this a lot for like the first few weeks of me living in Jamaica)


Omg, I’m sorry you went through that. From what I watch and read the US have some serious issues when it comes to race. Try to forget the negativity you received and enjoy your life and just do you 🇯🇲🇯🇲🙏🏽


I come from a family that is pretty international and some of them have experienced something similar to what you describe, especially with their purely American in laws.

I think that’s a reflection of the American fairy tale - a lot of Americans, regardless of race or class, do not gracefully accept other citizens’ decisions to migrate because they have been told from birth that the US is the best at everything, especially at being a place to live. No matter how hard their lives are for whatever reason, they’re still in the best country in the world.

People leaving attacks that core belief. Especially if they show signs of assimilation into the culture, like your example of your accent changing. (Which is natural and expected.) The thought that a foundational part of their identity might not be correct is scary and you’ll see that expressed in hostility.

I think you should expect some of this to be ongoing, but much of your family might well settle down over the years. And your children might get a very different reception, of course. I think race adds another complication also, because of the difference between a minority and a majority experience.