Am I Jamaican or Haitian? – Ask a Jamaican Guy


Q. I am born in Boston to Caribbean parents. My father is Jamaican and my mother is Haitian. They are no longer together but they are both driving me crazy. I feel a stronger pull to the Jamaican culture because most of my father’s relatives are here in Boston and I see them all the time. I even speak Jamaican. When people ask where I am from I say, Jamaica. My mother says I am ashamed of my Haitian heritage that is why I call myself a Jamaican. Whenever I say I am Haitian my father and his family get upset. Don’t know what to do? Am I Jamaican or Haitian?

A: You seem to be having a cultural identity crisis. The proud Jamaican side of me wants to tell you to continue to say you are one of us but that would not be fair to you. It all comes down to you being YOU and not letting anyone define who YOU are. If right now you identify more with Jamaicans then be Jamaican. At another point in your life you may identify with being Haitian and then be Haitian. Embrace that you have two great Caribbean cultures.