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This is my version:
I love hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese
I love Rhythm and Blues and Hip Hop
I love basketball and soccer
I love jeans, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein
I admire American history and politics
I feel no more an immigrant than I feel American.
‘I just fit in’.
But day after day I battle questions like ‘Why am I here?’ And ‘Do I belong?’
I have to answer these questions to myself in order to establish my purpose here and to understand how I can contribute to American society…
…And at the same time, I have to sought a way to connect and relate to Americans in such a way that they understand that I am hardly any different.
Having grown up and lived in Jamaica, I know what it’s like to live within an oppressive culture – one that deprived me of the opportunity to be who I am.
…American culture is good and progressive and I adopt easily because I can be myself.
At some point I realized that culture- from the language I speak to the food I eat- is irrelevant if I want to go on living.
Because of that it has become easy for me to make the shift towards the American culture.
Quite frankly, I identify Jamaican culture with my struggle. The ‘way of life’ that is being embraced within Jamaican society is not compatible with my definition of an ideal life; it does not embrace others differences.
Still it’s easy for me to be reminded of my past… say I pull up a YouTube video or someone asks me about Jamaica…
…And at times, it can be frightening because I cannot see myself living an openly gay life in Jamaica.
‘I just don’t fit in’
…I don’t see myself going to LGBT support groups
…or hanging out with college friends
…or having a good career
It’s almost unimaginable.
I am an immigrant nonetheless… I understand the socioeconomic trends that are at play in American society when immigration is being discussed but regardless, I am also an immigrant who is willing to study and work as hard as other Americans who continue to make this a great country.
I also believe in the words of George Washington, who is a true inspiration:
“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”
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