The Body Part My Genetics Handed Me

Caribbean Artist, Briana McCarthy's piece "Jump Out Yourself"

Caribbean Artist, Briana McCarthy’s piece “Jump Out Yourself”

This has to be the third or fourth time someone has made this comment to me and/or asked me this question:

“Wow! You have a big/nice butt!”

“You must workout/do a lot of squats!”

“Do you work out a lot/squat a lot for it to be that way?”

**Laugh Out Loud**

I usually do laugh when this comment and/or question are made.  Then I tell them “Actually, I don’t work out for this.  This is what my genetics handed me.”

This is just some of the comments that are made or questions that are asked in reference to my “derrier”.  I also get comments/questions about my hair and skin color too.  Most of the times, if not all of the times, these comments/questions usually come from Europeans, Middle Easterners and Asians that I meet as I work and travel.

I have had some people (specifically males) identify my African roots by my “derrier”.  “Are you South African/Ethiopian?” and “Are you mixed with African?” are some of the questions they ask.  When I ask why, they will refer to my hair or my “body” with their eyes on my behind.  Some are lustful so I ignore them but most people genuinely would like to know.

Out here in the East, is where I have felt more connected to my “African-ness” than anywhere else that I have lived.  No one ever asked me if I was African in the US or Caribbean.  For most African Americans and Afro-Caribbean people, I’m not completely “black” or black enough because I’m mixed. In addition, African Americans and Caribbean people are fully aware of our African ancestors.  When I have visited places like Puerto Rico, Martinique, Trinidad, Seychelles, South Africa and Brazil I never get questions at all about my look because I look exactly like many of them!  It’s only when they start talking to me in their language that they realize I am not one of them.

FYI:  The reason I look like them and we look the way we do is because we are truly all mixed.  These countries were once colonized by the Europeans and they brought the slaves with them.  In addition, to the locals and indentured workers from India and China who moved to these places, when everyone started having sexual relations, simply put, you get a new population of people that look like me! *LOL*  Many of us with African “derriers”.

Now back to the comments and questions.

At first the comments/questions were a bit annoying. Though the majority of the times they are complimentary, I was not used to being asked so often about my origin, where I am from and asked about my “derrier”, skin color and hair.  However, as I travelled more, I started to realize that there were not a lot of faces like mine in certain countries that I have been to and a lot of the times, when I travel with my colleagues, I’m the only one that looks like me.  So, obviously, I stand out.  After understanding this, I have chosen to use these times of commenting and questioning as a time to enlighten others about my background and ethnicity.

 

I am born American but my mother is from the Commonwealth of Dominica (NOT the Dominican Republic) and my father’s family is from Puerto Rico and both are islands in the Caribbean.  Subcatergorized, my mother would be considered Afro-Caribbean while my father would be considered Latin-Caribbean. I just consider myself Afro-Latino. The beauty of the Caribbean is that it is a melting pot of races and cultures!

 

What I do find quite cute and endearing is when my Caucasian and Asian colleagues ask my African colleagues and I if they can touch our hair.  At first you think “What?!” because it is quite a different but amusing request.  I don’t consider it a stupid request though.  Though they have seen African or curly hair, many of them have never experienced what it felt like.  Subsequently, many of us allow them to feel our hair.  Though some might get offended, it does not bother me at all.  I actually get a kick out of their facial responses and reactions. “Wow! It’s so soft!”, “I wish I had curly hair!” and “I did not know your hair was so long when it’s straight!” are some of the comments I get.  So, I am cool with it… just as long as no one asks to feel my behind!  *BOL* That’s where I draw the line.  **serious face**

In regards to my “derrier” I can honestly say, it is a general African physical attribute.  Of all the 6 continents I have traveled to, Africa is where you see the large, round “derrier” the most.  As I am typing this I find it quite hilarious explaining it in this way; however, it is a physical feature that is very common to Africans and it is shapely, appealing and “bootylicious” thus, the reason it is admired by many.  It is no different than physical features that other races can claim as their own.  Most individuals from Asia have features that are specifically found within their race like the shape of their eyes, their hair types and small body frames.  Most individuals from Europe have features that are specifically found within their race like their noses, eye color and hair color and texture.  Such is the case, with African features that are specifically found within the African race like their hair, facial features, skin color … and the round, perky, gluteus maximus.

Honestly, I do not like the extra attention my physical attributes may bring.  At one point, which has not happen to me in years, I became a little self-conscious about them.  Then I quickly put myself in check!

“Hold on, Sister girl! You are a grown woman and you KNOW WHO YOU ARE and WHOSE YOU ARE and the beauty and confidence that lies in that! Don’t let the devil manipulate your thoughts and make you start feeling insecure or become self-conscious.”

 

Diversity is beautiful! As the world is merging and we are able to travel to lands we weren’t able to before, we will see the diversity of human beings and their cultures! If God found beauty in creating diversity why can’t his creation find beauty in it? 

 

I recently saw, for the first time, a Melanesian family in an airport in Austrailia.  I have heard of them and seen pictures but it was awesome to see them in person! They were so beautiful! They had beautiful brown skin with naturally blond hair!  I wanted to take a picture with them but they were gone before I could even finish the thought.  It reminded me of when I went to China with another Caribbean colleague of mine who looks like me and the Chinese locals kept asking us to take pictures with them.  It’s unusual for us to be asked to take pictures like that but it was unusual for them to see people who look like us.  And that’s what makes the experience beautiful! We intrigue one another and learn from one another’s differences but we must also choose to compliment and accept one another for our differences, too

 

***

The Beautiful People of Melanesia

 

More Caribbean art work like Brian McCarthy’s here:

http://caribbeanwomanincharge.blogspot.ae/2012/05/caribbean-women-in-art.html

 

 

 

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