Looking for Black
A recent trip to the US reminded me of some of what it was like to live there, and to assume entirely new ways of thinking.
I think it was my arrival in the airport when I reflectively realized that I was looking around for other Black people. After living for over 20 years in the US, I had developed a "Black reflex" which is to scan every room I enters to see whether or not there were other Black people. Now that I have moved back to Jamaica, I have stopped doing it.
Interesting, I thought. In an earlier entry in this blog, I spoke about how Jamaicans that migrate to the US (and probably Canada and the UK) have to make a choice as to which group to join: white, black or ethnic. One's habits, choices of food, accents and musical tastes would then fall neatly into line.
Also, in a conversation with few Black Americans I found myself falling into a familiar conversation that Black Americans engage in, about race and racism, and where it is appearing to appear. It could be on the job, on television, in the news, etc. but among the Black community in the US there is a LOT of talk about it, while here in the Caribbean, there is very little.
Not to say that these habits are bad or wrong... they are just very distinct, and very foreign to my experience here at home.
Coming back home necessarily involves un-learning some of these habits.