This is a question that I constantly ask myself, it’s a difficult one. My parents are forever drumming into me don’t mind what white people say you are British because you were born here. Though I wonder does birth mean I have automatic rights to claim British citizenship.?
When the law changed in the 1980’s, a child born in the United Kingdom was automatically a British citizen if their mother was at the time of their birth. It was all based on your mothers identity. However a sneaky part of me wishes that my mother had kept her bajan status so I could claim that.
However bajan law has also changed before it used to be you could only gain bajan citizenship if your father was a bajan born individual. Though as my father is Jamaican born I wouldn’t have been able to access it that way. Now the updates in bajan laws on citizenship state that anyone who has family born in Barbados can apply for citizenship through descent. It will cost a fee of $300 bajan dollars which is roughly £150 converted into English currency.
The fact that Barbados and Jamaica and various other Caribbean countries, have changed laws were anyone born outside of the Caribbean can access citizenship means identifying yourself more complicated then you think. If you only had the choice to be British and nothing else you can see clearly in your mind that is who you are.
Despite white people constantly asking you where your from from? What does that even mean? They say where are you from I say I was born here in England. They say no really where are you from because your dark skin automatically blocks you from being assumed as British. You always have to be from somewhere else even, if you’re fourth or five generation born here in the United Kingdom these issues will still effect you don’t ever let your guard down.
I feel like an alien in the country I was born in, I visit my parents countries of origin to be told I’m an quote on quote ‘English gal’. However despite being called an English gal when I’m in either Barbados or Jamaica I still feel more at home there then I do here,
Spiritually I have never felt so at peace and content then when I’m in the Caribbean it’s a deeper connection to my roots. I feel the ancestors pull there, I hope to one day make the leap and move there permanently until then I’m constantly going to battle with self-identity issues and where did I fit into a racist society.
Where you’re born isn’t always your spirits home……
Written by Sistah Soul