Not you, you’re from the Caribbean

Unknown (1)Johanne Rahaman,
Miami, FL.

I am half black, half Indian, from the Trinidad, with an obvious Caribbean accent, and while I enjoy adding my bit to the diversity of America, it’s also a curse, because I have often in the past heard people make derogatory comments about African-Americans in my presence. They have referred to them by the n-word, then looked over at me and say, “but not you, you’re not black. You’re from the Caribbean”. This used to infuriate me so much but I was undocumented at that time, so I never said anything, but I always felt ashamed for getting a pass. Now that I am a citizen, and I consider myself proud to be labeled African-American, no one dares to say that in my presence. I would tell them off, and I even tell off Caribbean people who think that they can use that pass as some kind of superiority. I stand up for African-American any chance I get. I am a photographer, and most of my work is done in the marginalized African-American and Haitian communities of Miami, where I use my talent to spotlight the faces of the people of marginalized communities for their resilience, their talent, the survival, their beauty.


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