British | Jamaican

Raymond Antrous.jpg

People don’t look at me and think i’m Jamaican, people don’t look at me and think i’m British so I could pretty much be from anywhere and nowhere. There’s a certain anger /defensiveness when I am not perceived on the outside as who I feel on the inside. It's a constant thing. I try to work towards seeing it as standing on a rock, if I know that I’m standing on this rock and I know that my feet can be flat on this rock, then I can’t be moved from it – in a way that it doesn't matter what someone is saying to me or how they are perceiving me or what their understanding of me is. I can’t be moved. At different times/days of my life, I have a different stability on that rock however it always comes with instability. Because I do feel very self conscious about how I am perceived and that is always changing. It’s difficult for the younger generation. I’m a teacher, I spend a lot of time with younger people. I see a new kind of status anxiety, which is in part turbo-boosted because of our interaction with social media. Social media is all about presenting an identity, it’s all about saying this is who I am, this is what I like, this is what represents me. And also these are the things that I reject, these are my enemies. Your online social media personality is all about affirming the things that make you, you. There are so many different understandings of who they are. I am hearing so many younger mixed race people interrogating what is called their ‘privilege theory’. What are their privileges as a light skin person? How does their status or assumed status reflect or socially reflect with their darker skinned friends or with people who look more inherently African or more inherently European? It’s a hell of a thing to navigate and I think that there is more serious pressure on younger people to assert that and understand that. Your identity is many things It doesn't have to be a racial one. It could be being a parent, a cyclist, a musician. If you realign those kind of priorities, there is a kind of freedom that comes with that but at the same time you could be accused of social irresponsibility if you don't understand your own history.