I was born in New York City to a Jewish-Belgian mother and a Jamaican father. When I was little, I moved to Belgium, but spent at least two months each year with my family in New York, or Jamaica, or Israel. I have three younger brothers with whom I’m very close, but not one of us shares two of the same parents. Three of us are from the same father, two of us share a mother....more
When my daughter Alex was much younger, my family took a quick weekend vacation to Tobago, the neighbouring island to Trinidad, where we lived at the time. While we were there, we met a young British couple who were also vacationing from England and whose daughters close to Alex's age. The girls played together in the sand, while we grown-ups sipped fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, and watched them play.
"She's lovely," said the wife to me about Alex. "And you realize, of course, that she's very cool."
"I'm sorry?" I responded, confused.
"Oh, it's very cool to be mixed-race," she said, blithely. "It's true. Back in England all the kids want to be friends with mixed-race kids."
For eight years I have knocked on Black America's door in hopes that someone would let me in. Instead, I keep getting a "thanks but no thanks" card in the mail. I have forged several meaningful friendships with women of color since I moved to America. However, I am disappointed with my interactions with most black people since I moved to America. I am disappointed in constantly having to justify and defend my blackness. realize now that I came here with extremely unrealistic expectations, that have influenced my reactions to these situations.
I have sought community all my life.