Havilah Driver wants people to understand why describing herself as an African-American should be fascinating.
People often ask me, “Are you from Jamaica or Haiti?” And I usually answer back, “No, I was born in America.”
After I reply, people seem to find me less interesting when I tell them that I was born here. This baffles me. I know people don’t mean to harm me, but their questions do hurt. It’s as if being African-American is not appealing.
Ironically, I can’t help but wonder if African-Americans are reinforcing this idea. Some people feel uncomfortable identifying themselves as African-American, but instead, identify themselves as part of their parents’ or their grandparents’ country. Sometimes, when I’m talking to some people who are of my race, yet of a different ethnicity, they tend to stress: “I’m from the Caribbean, I’m not black.” I understand the pride people feel towards their cultural roots, however, I don’t like the idea that being African-American somehow seems inferior. African Americans are diverse, and should recognize our history, but we should also embrace where we live now.
I know America isn’t perfect, but no country is. I am proud to say I am an African-American, and I think I am fascinating.