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
Today marks the day I start by doing a whole week of blog posts on citizenship, how do you identify yourself. The importance of moving back to black majority countries and finally how to gain citizenship in your parents countries or elsewhere. So I hope you enjoy but first let’s start from the beginning the importance of the windrush to us a Caribbean people!
The 22nd June 1948, exactly 70 years ago the empire windrush docked in tilsbury, Essex bringing along with it over 500 migrants from the Caribbean. The vast majority were from Jamaica. The Caribbean people were invited to come and rebuild Britain after world war 2 the country was a mess. There was also not enough British men who could help to fix the country as a lot of them died fighting in the war.
It was also an opportunity for Caribbean men who had served in the war before or as part of the air forces, for a chance to come to Britain and see the advantages they had to offer. However when they did come here it wasn’t all roses, which they were soon to discover.
They faced constant racism, having to deal with niggers go back home spray painted on their front doors. Black nurses who worked for the nhs were paid incredibly poorly, think about it the white nurses weren’t paid much either and the black nurses were beneath them. Some of the white nurses used to wash their underwear in the black nurses pots and pans. I could go on all day about the discrimination and racism they faced.
However to get to the point I wanted to speak on their sacrifices they made in order for us to have a better chance at life. Compared to what they had come from, they wanted to settle here at least for a few years none of them had the intention to stay here forever but sometimes it’s what happened.
When you’re not earning to even have a roof over your head, how can you make plans to even return to your country of origin. Racism in the United Kingdom is so insidious that we were tricked to coming over here, to work for them and then ended up trapped with no means of being able to leave. That is until they wanted to kick us out.
Without our grandparents sacrifices, without them integrating into British society would we have been better or worse off. There is money to be paid in the uk however the British calling for West Indians to come and build up their country left Caribbean counties without the talented and those countries are now a mess.
I think it’s time we move forward and for us of the younger generation to start leaving the uk, I’ve already seen it happening in America children of African immigrants from countries such as Nigeria or Ghana are returning back to these countries. It is time for us Caribbean folk to do similar build up our countries like how we build up ungrateful Britain.
Written by Sistah Soul
So we’re going to have another conversation as I’m not done yet white people……
Im going to say it straight the psychological damage you have inflicted through white supremacy is one of the influences of black people’s poor mental health. You may not want to listen but I’m going to say it anyway because I don’t particularly care for your emotions.
Leta go back to slavery, just for a brief spell I don’t want to explode your brains or maybe I do who knows. Let’s talk about the damage that started of slowly.
Traumatising black men and black women by keeping them seperate, yes isolating black men and women from one another. Black families weren’t allowed to be together and you wonder why that trauma lasts into today.
However when we present facts, you insist on writing fiction you lot are experts world class authors on fiction novels.
Secondly let’s talk on what is happening recently with the spate of white people calling the police on black people fpr simply breathing the same oxygen as you. Are you that offended, because I’m sure your lungs are doing fine. Yet you insist on being petty.
White privileged human beings can’t function unless black people are constantly beneath them. Once again the word trauma imagine you are simply living your life and the police are called on you.
The fear of loosing your life or being beaten up, because Becky said you looked at her funny (where have we heard this before emmett till anyone?) it is not even so much the police being called, though we are steadily loosing trust for them and this seems to be a common theme. It’s the fact that white people can freely call the police and face no consequences.
While our mental health suffers, they can just apologise and that’s the end of that. While we only have to turn on our TV sets and see one of our brothers and sisters lying on the ground shot to death. You will never understand that pain, and I don’t care for you too.
Thirdly I want to address how you are damaging our black children, with the constant attacks on their self esteem. Imagine you go to the hairdressers get your hair done in braids which are nice and neat. To then go to a white institution where they instantly devalue them, and threaten them with expulsion just for a hairstyle. Or banning children from schools because they follow the Rastafarian faith and wear their hair in dreadlocks which is a reflection of this.
Apprently it distracts them from their education, I question the education you mean the myths and fables but I digress…. Or let’s talk about children and constantly disadvantaged from the minute they step into your gates. The reason why they’re black and they’re good to be productive to keep the white economy going working on mini plantations.
However what about their mental health, what about the fact that black people are the ones who are hospitalised at higher rates compared to white people. Or the fact that black children’s mental health is suffering greatly. Cahms is overwhelmed and if whote choldrwn can’t get a referral instead being left on a waiting list for months. What chance do black children stand, absolutely none.
So yes white people are to blame for a lot these issues and it’s time for them to acknowledge it. The race audit Teresa may (Britain’s prime minister) released a few months ago was cute but that’s not enough. To put it simply there was nothing in the report that we didn’t already know……
Written by Sistah Soul