A Tribute to The Caribbean

My Caribbean: 5 Vignettes

Beautiful pieces about Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, and The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is high on my list of Caribbean places to visit (along with Trinidad and Guyana).

I once attended a conference at Florida International University titled The Caribbean Woman Writer as Scholar. I went because my university footed the bill and a professor recommended I attend. While there, I got to hear two authors (Edwidge Danticat–one of my all time favorites–and Elizabeth Nunez), both of who are featured in the above article.

That’s the beauty of a liberal arts education. It opens you up to everything because you don’t know what life will bring.

While sitting in on presentations at FIU I never thought that I would one day be mistaken for a Trinidadian because as a black English speaking woman in Venezuela people think Trinidad (which is off of Venezuela’s east coast), not United States.

I never thought I would be reminded of how one woman at the conference (who was either from Colombia or Venezuela) stated, “We are Caribbean too. We are a part of the Caribbean” when I step off of Venny’s sandy beaches and into the beauty that is the Caribbean Sea.

That woman pushed my definitions of what it means (and looks) to be from a place because when I think Caribbean, I think West Indian. And when I think West Indian I think black.

As a sophomore, I never imagined spending five years in a West Indian neighborhood and learning how I prefer my roti and sauces (pepper and tamarind, please).

Who knew that Latino man who made my heart beat accelerate the moment I laid eyes on him would throw me for a loop because that “Latino” had the thickest Trinidadian accent I ever heard in my life?

In response to my trying-to-be-PC-but-not-being-PC question of “What do you consider yourself (i.e., what are you)?” he simply said, “I’m black, love. Since moving here [NYC], people are always asking if I’m black, Spanish, mixed, whatever. Back home I was never asked that. I’m from a black country. I’m black.”

And there I was ruminating about the politics of an interracial relationship with a man who considered dating me dating within his race.

There I was learning from The Caribbean  again.

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