I thought I’d lighten the mood and write about something not so serious today. Think… satirical. For those that don’t know, my parents are Guyanese, which is pretty nifty. You can eavesdrop on other Caribs having conversations in heavy accents and understand every word, Asians give you freebies because they figure you originate from the same village as their forefathers… But then of course, there are downsides like getting your freebie taken away because you clumsily tell them the truth when they ask where your parents are from. Here are a few more.
1. Everyone – even Asians – think you’re Indian…
…or Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi… basically every nationality from Asia. I have had the odd guess from outside of Asia like Arab, Kenyan and Mauritian, which to me is über exotic. But generally speaking, people have no damn clue where Guyana is.
2. And even if they do, chances are they’re mistaking it for Ghana
I get that it’s not the most well known country in the world (its major exports are only sugar, rice and rum), but you must know that nationals of Ghana are Ghanaians. Not Guyanese. Geography isn’t everyone’s forte, I get it, but who knew I could be West African as well as East Indian?!
3. We have serious identity issues
Guyana is a sovereign state situated on the Northern coast of South America. It is also part of the Anglophone Caribbean and is one of the few caribbean countries that is not an island. Seems reasonable right? But what happens when it comes to our ethnicity? It’s the only English speaking country in South America so we’re hardly Latinos. We’re not exactly Asians, however brown our complexion is, and somehow ticking “Black Caribbean” on those ethnicity forms makes me feel like a wannabe. “Other” it is then…
4. Over the top Caribbean accents are not funny – they’re embarrassing.
I went on a date once where I was subjected to a brief monologue in a Caribbean accent by an Asian guy after I told him where Guyana was. Not wanting to be rude, I smiled, gritting my teeth through the whole spectacle. It wasn’t funny, nor was it impressive. When asked if that’s how my parents spoke, I killed his dream by informing him that at no point in my existence, have I heard my parents say “What’s wrong with your bumbaclart.” *Major Eyeroll*
5. You can’t make “green card” jokes – because they might just be true
If you’re from the UK or USA then I’m sorry to say but you’re fair game. For some, the most beautiful thing about you is not your kind heart or your delectable culinary skills. It’s your passport. And he wants one too.
6. EVERYONE makes the “best pepperpot”
If you haven’t had pepperpot, you’re missing out! Usually cooked on Christmas morning and other special occasions, the truth is not everyone has been gifted with the ability to make a knock out Pepperpot. I don’t have that je ne sais quoi just yet but my Mum does. And as far as my family goes, no one else has been able to match her level. Not my family in New York, Florida, Canada… None of them. If anyone who makes pepperpot tells you they make the best there is, don’t believe them. Great cooks don’t boast about their talents. They let their cooking do the talking.
7. Life really is a competition
You think you have it bad competing for jobs against other graduates. Well add your family to that. In some cases, Guyanese children aren’t just made to carry your name on – they’re created as ammunition. To prove to your family and the Guyanese community that you’ve done everything right as a parent and as a result, have raised a GENIUS. Yep. Your brain box’s acceptance into Cambridge/NYU (depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on) is all down to your discipline and duck curry. It has nothing to do with their preference to read or their natural ability to absorb information.
Don’t lie now. You know exactly what I’m talking about!