Friday, October 24, 2008

A short story of Alice

Her name is Alice. But she also goes by whitee, whites, pinky, reds, fine lips, pink nipples, ey look a white gyal, sexy reds, how long yuh staying in Trinidad. Empress, honkie, convant girl, you never sweep ah floor or plait ah hair. Ooooo dey ooooo dey oooh oh oh, cyah cyah cyah cyah. She was always too skinny, too white, too rich, too poor to be one of them. They spoke in accents to her and at her. It was always a joke. Oh goush, look at white people in ah old car! Cyah, cyah, cyah. Never comfortable in her home, in her school, in her skin, she somehow managed to hide the hurt. Pretend it was ok, that she was ok. A self conscious, shy, uncomfortable girl... All ah we is one, cyah, cyah, cyah...

This native has a narrative, and it's coming out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

De Whitie Talks

I am currently working on a new and exciting project tentatively titled 'De Whitie Talks'. While reading I came across this interesting essay by Annie Pual, 'The Enigma of Survival: traveling beyond the expat gaze'. This particular excerpt stood out for me. NB, all phrases highlighted were done so by myself and not Annie Paul.

"Cozier's South African experience suggests that there is much to be gained from swiveling the steadfastly northward gaze of the expat art critic/historian in a southerly direction. The danger inscribed in the expat gaze is that one might end up being co-opted into nation narratives and thus miss the alterNATIVES such as Cozier, Ouditt, Bowen, Irenee Shaw, and others. Cozier talks of feeling "storyless" and "myth-less." The alterNATIVES are natives without narratives, or perhaps ones with unpopular or inconvenient narratives. Often their talent is recognized abroad before it is accepted as talent at home. In privileging a discourse about the self and the other exclusively, the expat gaze overlooks identities ostracized or exiled by the national. In between representations of the self and the other are lost a myriad of OUR SELVES who fall into the chasm between Us and Them. These are the untranslatables, the alterNATIVEs, those who resist translation into the language of the nation."

I think that I am one of the alterNATIVEs that Paul speaks of. The story of my nation does not include me. Where do I fit in, I often wonder? Are my narratives unpopular or inconvenient? I think so. How then do make my narrative part of the national narrative? Do I need to? Do I really want to? Does anyone else want to know or even care? Often times, I think not. Are we really all at Home in the Land of the Homeless? Some may be, but I feel that many, myself included, have a deep sense of non-belonging, an unwelcome-ness emanating from this space.

So then what of De Whitie Talks? What does the whitie have to say? Stay tuned...