Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

Caribbean livin': six reasons why Caribbeans are proud

By KERYCE CHELSI HENRY | April 17, 2014

There is no sense of pride like that of a Caribbean.

This is probably a little-known notion to most Hopkins students because there are probably about 12 and a half students in the whole university who identify as Caribbean. As someone who spent most of her life immersed in Caribbean culture as a Guyanese-American, however, I can say with authority that we are some pretty awesome people. In case you need some convincing, here are six reasons why Caribbeans are so proud of where they come from. Grab some coconut water, lean back in your beach-side hammock, and enjoy the list:

1. The landscape.

We’ve all seen tourism commercials for various places in the Caribbean and – I can assure you – what you see is what you get. The white sand, blue skies, and vibrant wildlife are all very real when you get to the Caribbean. Vacationing there is an amazing experience, so you can only imagine what it’s like to live there. I mean, I have relatives who can walk out of their homes right onto the beach. Granted, I can walk out of my apartment onto the Beach, but it’s not quite the same.

2. The music.

Bob Marley is probably the one Caribbean music artist that everyone knows, and rightfully so; the man practically changed lives. Still, there’s so much more to Caribbean music than the legendary reggae artist’s moving lyrics. Listen to just 30 seconds of soca (the type of music that’s typically played during Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago) and I guarantee that you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing in your seat. And don’t get me started on Jamaican dancehall – it seems like Jamaica produces a new (sometimes dangerous) dance every year. Proceed with caution, however; many people’s necks are still recovering from the “Dutty Wine.”

3. The food.

If you take away anything from this article, it’s this: you have to try Caribbean food. Now, this is no easy feat. Just because two countries are Caribbean doesn’t mean that they’ll share the same cuisine. Even still, most Caribbean countries boast some combination of African, European, Indian, Chinese, Latin and Native American foods, since the area has long been a cultural melting pot. At the very least, you should try out Jamaican, Guyanese and Haitian restaurants just to get a feel for the various foods of the Caribbean. (Not that I’m biased, but Guyanese food is probably going to be the best food you’ve ever eaten. Ever. Just saying.)

4. The people.

Not only is the food diverse in the Caribbean, but the people are as well – and they are gorgeous. Skin tones range from the deepest ebony to the fairest ivory. With the exotic fruits and vegetables that cover the countries of the Caribbean, organic diets are a given, and the benefit is clear from the healthy glow that emanates from the natives. The constantly shining sun definitely adds to this radiance – it’s like everyone has naturally been retouched with the perfect Instagram filter.

5. Family.

In the Caribbean, everyone is family. It’s not uncommon for someone from the Caribbean to spend most of his or her life thinking someone is related to them, only to find out that the person is just a friend of the family. That’s because anyone who is your parent’s age is known as your “Auntie” or “Uncle,” and anyone who is your age somehow becomes your cousin. Moreover, Caribbean people are always taking others under their wings, caring for distant relatives whose immediate families don’t have the means to support them, so the lines between families are constantly blurred. Sure, this complicates family trees a little bit, but there’s nothing like being surrounded by people who you consider to be close relatives – regardless of their actual relation to you.

6. The mentality.

The true Caribbean operates based on a simple goal: to enjoy life. Caribbeans know that we only get one life to live, so we have to make the most of it. Many people from the Caribbean come from tough upbringings, but that’s no excuse to live miserably. Every breath you take is a blessing, regardless of your personal or financial circumstances. The Caribbean mentality definitely focuses on celebration but when you think about it, life is just one big party, isn’t it?

 


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