I don’t want to go home! I mean, I do for a visit. I want to do what I can to help advance the cause of my island. When I was pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and they made me say I’d bear arms against my former country if I had to and I said yes, I think I was lying (shhhhh). I still cheer for Jamaicans at the Olympics and not the Americans. But I don’t want to go home. And I know a bunch of other West Indians who don’t want to either. Does that make us bad people?
I did another one of my highly scientific and empirical Facebook polls on this subject and found that there seems to be a generational gap of sorts regarding who wants to go back to live in the West Indies and who wants to stay abroad.
The folks who had left their country when they were very young or who had been gone for over 25 years seemed to have adopted their new home (the US, Canada, the UK) wholeheartedly and expressed some reminiscence, but more concerns about the negatives of repatriation. Negatives including crime and violence, inefficiency of emergency responders, the sliding value of the dollar, lack of earning potential and inferior health care.
The folks who were just around the 20 year mark or who were younger, by and large had idealistic dreams of going home to effect change for good in the country. They had similar concerns about crime and violence but could not imagine abandoning forever the place whence their memories were conceived. They also cited better primary and secondary education, and longing for the family, friends, food and easy vibe that the region carries with it. My favorite response included this thought, “We need to fight for change and make Jamaica a desirable place to live. Do our part, don’t run away leaving our beloved rock to be overturned by criminals.” I invite you to hear more about the pros and cons of Caribbean folk going home this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. And please let me know your thoughts on the matter. Cheers!
To watch the extended perspective and much more on Caribbean America, set your DVR or tune in to each Sunday’s episode of The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly on SFL / The CW Network (Ch 39 / Comcast 11). Catch replays on the website at www.thecaribbeandiaspora.tv. Calibe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.