By Calibe Thompson
Special To The South Florida Times
The phrase African-American fails to describe who I am. Call me Caribbean-American, Jamaican-American, Black-American, and I’m okay with that. But call any Caribbean person African American and we are likely to cut you to bits with our eyes.
We are proud of our African heritage, but for most of us, it is now so far removed that it is only historically significant. Collectively we are most proud of the rich, vibrant, colorful, talk-bad, kiss-teeth, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural heritage that census takers and those who don’t hang around with us too much, seem to overlook. We’ve become Americans to chase the dream, but our Caribbean identity has been swallowed up and muddled into the general population. While your census may choose to place us in familiar boxes for its own convenience, our association with our home islands is not something we take lightly, ever.
Consider this. When asked – “what are you?” Americans may answer, “black mixed with native American and asian.” A Jamaican of any hue or hair texture will answer’ “Jamaican.” Our Caribbean-ness is our race, our identity, the thing that gives us the confidence to believe innately, as Babacar Mbow stated in my recent interview with him, that “we’re not better than anybody, but no one is better than us.”
Rather than complain about our lack of recognition, I’ve chosen to put us front and center. With the help of a great team, I’ve create a TV show, a window into our world. Beyond the festivals, carnivals, blue mountain coffee and steel band music, I’ve chosen to share some of our collective joys and struggles, the things that move and entertain us and the people we’re proud to have as part of our Caribbean-American family. Our community at large likes to have a good time. So do I, trouble maker that I am. Enjoy the column and stay tuned for the full extent of my musings on our new TV show “The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly.” See you Sunday mornings at 11:30AM on SFL (The CW Network)
About the Author; Calibe Thompson is the host and producer of the TV show The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly and multiple other radio and television projects reflecting modern Caribbean culture. Watch The CDW Sunday mornings at 11:30AM on SFL (The CW Network) through fall 2014 and on South Florida Times website SFLTimes.com coming soon. Calibe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org