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People Of Color Do That Too

Updated on December 14, 2014

Stereotype Elimination And Awareness

There is a thin line between stereotyping and bringing awareness in a bid to have people look into themselves and ensure that they are not missing out or being boxed into expected spaces or even mental slavery. I am fortunate to be from an educated black family where life is celebrated and full potential is constantly sought. I am also fortunate enough to have grown believing that it was the norm for people to want to aspire for and achieve the best, especially since we were raised in a poor family and volatile community, much to our discomfort or disadvantage at times.


My sister's graduation: University of the West Indies, Mona
My sister's graduation: University of the West Indies, Mona

My Culture Shock Experience

When I started traveling, it was a culture shock for me to discover that people (colored and white alike) from these great ‘first world’ nations had sub-standard education and that there was extreme poverty in developed countries (yes, I was very young). The good thing about my ‘discovery’ is that it further opened my eyes to see that some people choose to fail regardless of skin color; while circumstances and geographical location (or skin color) do not define you. It was also heart-warming to see people living as true royalty in African countries.

One of the last Air Jamaica flights
One of the last Air Jamaica flights

We Do Live Life Abundantly Too

Notwithstanding, I still feel led to write about the fact that while black people might not entertain themselves in the same way as whites do; there are many of us who simply live life more abundantly and capitalize on educational opportunities. We are therefore making strides in the field of education and in a bid to be seen as humans, full stop. Publication and invention are also on our list of accomplishments, because the fact is: black people DO read, even if sometimes it is different formats or content than what others read...sometimes!

My former neighbor at her first book launch
My former neighbor at her first book launch | Source

I Can't Swim, I Continue To Try

Growing up, I was sent to swimming lessons. Yes it was a pool filled with black children at a local college, now University of Technology, Jamaica. At that age, there weren’t many white folks around to enrol in the classes. I am now wondering if that’s because those who were around had their own backyard pools. Can I swim? Nah! But I can probably help myself, tread and glide. The feel of water in my nostrils probably traumatized me as a child...or as an adult! Maybe I am not in the water often enough as I did catch on once, breathing and all. I guess it is not like riding a bicycle. I have, however, ensured that my children get sufficient exposure to swimming and am proud to say that the older of the two is a pro. Yup! People of color do that too.

Sunshine Jamaica Grande, Montego Bay, St. James.
Sunshine Jamaica Grande, Montego Bay, St. James.
My son at the water park at Beaches, Ocho Rios/Boscobel
My son at the water park at Beaches, Ocho Rios/Boscobel

Stereotypes And Rules

We also went hiking, which was introduced to me by a then church-brother turned boyfriend. We were a part of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and for the first time today, I am learning that the particular denomination is a ‘white denomination’. I am smiling at the very thought even as I write this; I don’t know how that could have missed me. Needless to say, while I loved the Adventist church dearly, some rules were a bit too much for me and didn’t seem biblically based or applicable, depending on one’s climatic conditions, country of residence or culture, among other things.

The beautiful hills of Halls Delight, St. Andrew Jamaica
The beautiful hills of Halls Delight, St. Andrew Jamaica

Theme Parks Are A Big Deal For Us...But!

We went to theme parks as youngsters and I longed to someday go to a ‘real’ theme park as the local ones were nothing compared to the likes of Disney World and Six Flags. I am yet to reach Disney World, but Six Flags will do for now. Not only did we go to Six Flags, we dared the rides that might not seem such a wise thing to dare; you know, the types which life-loving black people wouldn’t be caught dead trying out. The big news I guess is the fact that many other people of color were there too. Pity I didn't know I needed to get pics as I don't see color.

The Amazing Spiderman, amazing indeed.
The Amazing Spiderman, amazing indeed.
Black People probably don't do that (smile) I didn't dare, next time maybe. #selfpreservation
Black People probably don't do that (smile) I didn't dare, next time maybe. #selfpreservation
Heading for the Batman ride with my son at Six Flags, New England
Heading for the Batman ride with my son at Six Flags, New England

Endless Activities, Endless Possibilities

But then we also did a lot of other things which include kayaking, glass-bottom boat riding, parasailing, five-star hotel hopping, fancy restaurant dining and picnicking. All this seemed pretty standard to me until now. Let’s hope trips to the zoo are expected. I intend to travel the world as soon as the resources become available, but in the meantime, I will jump in my car and travel the fourteen parishes of Jamaica. I shudder at the thought that people who do not have this passion have race or color in common.

My reward for having completed the Dunns River Falls climb
My reward for having completed the Dunns River Falls climb
Horseback riding on the Hellshire beach in St. Catherine, Jamaica
Horseback riding on the Hellshire beach in St. Catherine, Jamaica
About to go kayaking
About to go kayaking
Glass-bottom boat view at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort And Spa, St. Ann
Glass-bottom boat view at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort And Spa, St. Ann
My younger sister at Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours, on the zipline
My younger sister at Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours, on the zipline

Photographer And Education Required

One of the things I am now realizing is that sometimes when you are having way too much fun, you forget to capture the moment...well at least I do. But then, there is also the other side to the stereotypes which I want to address. It is one thing to believe that we are not entertaining ourselves enough outdoors, but what about our education?

My reading toddler
My reading toddler

Defying The Odds; Rising To The Occasion

Where I am from, guns often bark in the streets and girls often drop out of school prematurely because of pregnancy. However, I always tell people that of the four houses which comprised a lane where I lived; at least two persons in every household attended university and graduated with honours. In fact, some are now published authors, including my mother; while my aunt has gone on to complete her PhD for which she should have graduated this year. She also has publications in overseas medical journals.

My former neighbor's debut as an author
My former neighbor's debut as an author | Source

Success And Endurance

My aunt has visited Alaska for the sheer joy of seeing avalanches, glaciers and igloos. My neighbour has studied in Cuba and since returned, fluently bilingual. My neighbour’s mom formerly owned a corner shop/store and subsequently returned to school to further her education. She is completing a Masters overseas. Likewise, my sister’s cousin has recently left for Ukraine, where she is pursuing a medical degree. Needless to say these are all people of color.

An Avalanche
An Avalanche | Source
An aerial shot of Jamaica on a return trip home from vacation
An aerial shot of Jamaica on a return trip home from vacation

Education Is The Key

I say all this not to boast, but to say that this was my norm and still is. Likewise, black people and by extension poor people as well as those of us grown in volatile communities are beating the odds; stereotypes simply do not hold true for us. Notwithstanding, there definitely is a problem within the black community and others need to know that there is usually a way out of the quagmire, for which education is a certain stepping stone.

Alma Mater Crest
Alma Mater Crest

Do It Yourself: The Challenge

My DIY challenge is therefore for those among us who feel boxed into these situations to first and foremost ensure that our education and that of our siblings and offspring is addressed as soon as possible. Help your children with homework, maintain a strong relationship with teachers and a presence at the school; buy them educational toys as primary gifts and other toys as secondary gifts.

My toddler out and about with some kids at a prep athletic championship
My toddler out and about with some kids at a prep athletic championship

Plan, Explore And Put Children First

You also need to believe in yourself and your children no matter what, and love your children. Likewise, find different ways and means to enjoy the outdoors and unusual places or activities with your children and your family. If something seems a bit far-fetched, save towards it. If it is just once a year that you can afford the activity, it is better than none at all. Likewise, always try to take your kids for once in a lifetime opportunities and rare treats.

Chilling at Merrils Beach Resort, Negril
Chilling at Merrils Beach Resort, Negril
A  view from the newly built East to West highway, Jamaica, which boasts some beautiful scenery.
A view from the newly built East to West highway, Jamaica, which boasts some beautiful scenery.
Strolling on the Grand Palladium Beach with my toddler
Strolling on the Grand Palladium Beach with my toddler

Do You Feel Boxed In By Stereotypes?

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    • Keisha Hunter profile image
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      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Paradise and then some

      Thank you Faith, you are very kind. I'm still getting the hang of Hubpages but I must say that I already love the community of Hubbers. My family and I have come a far way and continue to strive and even lead by example. It is good to show perspectives and experiences as well as avoid and discard stereotypes. Some people tend to internalize other people's expectations of their reality and by extension, become their own worst enemies. I just wanted to show one side of just how nonsensical it is to beat oneself up because of circumstances as well as the viable solution which is always valid.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Keisha,

      Welcome to HubPages! I truly loved reading your interesting and insightful article here and seeing all of your lovely photos. You and your family are beautiful and adventurous indeed. I am so glad you have shared your story here and some of the difficulties in overcoming being stereotyped.

      I really love that photo of you chilling at the beach, so lovely.

      I love that you pointed out how important education is and how it is much more important in life to focus on one's education first and then still when one is able to go on little adventures when they come along.

      Up ++++ tweeting and pinning

      Blessings to you and yours always

    • Keisha Hunter profile image
      Author

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Paradise and then some

      Thanks hun, Khalil loves it too...I haven't braved it yet, lol imagine that.

    • La Tanya X profile image

      La Tanya X 2 years ago

      I enjoy sushi. Absolutely LOVEEEEEEE it! I have met people who think it is not “Jamaican” to even smell much less eat and love sushi! Matters not to me though!

      Lovely article Keisha

    • Keisha Hunter profile image
      Author

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Paradise and then some

      So true hun, thanks for dropping by and for the nod of approval! Its really sad that people believe that they have to be boxed in because of societal dictates...not realizing that it is really they who are usually their own worst enemies.

    • profile image

      Catherine Carter 2 years ago

      This is impressive! Continue LIVING OUT LOUD and defying the odds that were stacked highly against us. I have developed a strain of colour and creed blindness that, fortunately, put me on equal footing with those who care to notice a difference between the start of my story and theirs. We have only the limits we place on ourselves... Lots of love... Cathy...

    • Keisha Hunter profile image
      Author

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Paradise and then some

      Thanks dear, for that I will be forever grateful to them. It was a real outlet at a difficult time in my life (teenage years). A real escape I tell you.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      I'm glad you were able to break loose from stereotypes! I grew up Seventh Day Adventist, too. They're very much into outdoor adventures, and they helped me A LOT to escape the ghetto!