Dear Damion Crawford
I write to you as a fellow Jamaican. I could show you my passport to prove my Jamaicanness, but I do not know if you would accept that as credential enough. Most people, however, accept me as a Jamaican writer and academic. My 9 books to date have consistently thought through the complicated question of what it means to be Jamaican.
It is by no means an easy question to answer. Most of my work tries to expand the dangerously limiting ideas that are out there. At the University of Glasgow where I taught until recently, my students were mostly white and from the UK. They sometimes came to my lectures on Caribbean Literature with very naive ideas about the region. Sometimes they thought that we all looked like you and me – dreadlocked men – and that we were always smiling and playing…
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