I read for Literature while in university and during this time had learned the theories behind racism. Even though born and raised in a (post)colonial era, and therefore very familiar with the concept of the 'other', I had never had a racist experience before.
As a result, I always believed that living in the Caribbean, blacks had a different experience in life when compared to African Americans and European Blacks.
In those places the racist was present and easily identifiable as the white man or woman and therefore, racism was existent; a guaranteed fact of life
In small Caribbean islands with majority populations of the world's minorities, I thought that the occasional incident of racism was limited to tourists perpetrating such acts.
How could I be that stupid?
Sadly, this belief continued well into my adulthood and even after I left university when I lived in England for a little over one year and in that time I had suffered racism. I guess it was expected. Coming to the epicenter of colonial empire, how could I not be subjected to racism? Still it surprised me.
It was like watching myself in a movie- those same movies and t.v. shows that I would watch growing up showing dehumanising acts of racism. This time, though, I was not removed from the stark reality of so many black people across the globe.
And it shames me to admit that.
But when you are determined worthless and not even human just from the colour of your skin, it does something to you that words cannot explain.
I never thought that in a million years a human being of a different orientation possessed the power to make me feel worthless from their actions and their words. Never.
And then, I returned to Barbados and loved.