If you didn’t have the opportunity to meet Poet and author, Staceyann Chin at the NAACP’s free Author Pavilion event where she was signing yesterday, I think you should take the time to read her work.
Before I met my boyfriend, who is also Jamaican and Chinese, I was unaware of how large this particular community is within the Caribbean (the population in Cuba is second to the Jamaican one) since many of the Chinese who came to the region as indentured slaves were not permitted to marry Caucasians. When I traveled to visit his family there it was really interesting to say the least. I’ve always found his ancestry extremely fascinating as well any narrative that relates to being of a mixed heritage or “race.”
When I heard about The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin, I was thrilled because she delves into what it was like being both Black and Asian (Afro-Asian, Blasian) in Jamaica (in the real Jamaica – not the the tourist version) and then her experience as an immigrant to the US. She expands even further into that experience as she narrates what it is also like to be a gay woman in Jamaica – a place and culture known to be highly homophobic.
I am thrilled when I see books like this that tell the (often common yet marginalized) story and experience of those who often are left out of the mainstream realm. This sounds like required reading to me.