Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is Belizean?

"Oh, Land of the Free, by the Carib Sea"

We are a calm people. Very laid back...even to the point that we appear to be nonchalant. The majority of us tend to be humble. Who am I talking about? Belizeans, of course. Though, it seems that we have always had a problem defining WHO exactly is Belizean.

"Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold"

Well, not all our fathers were Baymen. Most of them were indentured servants, immigrants, exilees, outcasts, and runaways. Belize has accepted so many different people with open arms. But, even though we may accept with our heads, it takes a few generations to accept with our hearts. The face of Belize is an ever-changing and dynamic. I love to explain to people at my school, how myself and my Asian-descent best friend are both fully Belizean.
I wouldn't say that we Belizeans are racist... just "race-aware". We are fast to unload a menagerie of insults including, Pania, Alien, Chiney, Kerub, Whitey, Blackie, Tuff Head, Coolie, and the like. But we're more segregated by economic ties than we are racial ones.

"Drove back the invaders this heritage hold"

I guess in some ways. we're hypocritical. A naturalized Belizean is not REALLY a Belizean {Some people questioned the legitimacy of Ms. Belize 2009, Charmaine Chinapen}. And a dual citizenship holder isn't QUITE Belizean enough. {The current debate on whether a dual citizenship holder can run for office in Belize} But a person of Belizean descent is VERY Belizean, especially when they win and make us look good. {Our Team Belize, with 7 players only of Belizean descent and Marion Jones}.

"Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold"

Belize is so blessed. But, by far, our greatest resource is our PEOPLE. Who is Belizean? Someone who loves this nation. Someone who takes pride in our multiculturalism, each and every race. Someone who embraces our differences! {I can cook rice & beans, curry, hudut, chimole, and stir fry. Can't get more Belizean than that!} I think it's important to add someone who has spent time in Belize. {Remember all the stories about Marion visiting here as a child, while some of those basketball players have never been to Belize before last month?} Someone who has our values reflected in their character.

Just my two cents. I know we've been silent lately, but let's begin the dialogue again.
The Voice


Nancy Marshall said...

Interesting thoughts! I agree with you especially that the Belizean by descent but never having touched Belize soil is not really Belizean, even if they win. It's a shame when the brightest and best move to the US, for school or sports or the "American Dream". That's betrayal.

FYI the anthem is "O Land of the FREE..." you have "O land of the Sea"

Bigtykes said...

Bravo. I couldn't have agreed with you even more!
It is true how hypocritical we are when it comes to defining Belizean. I was born & raised in Belize until my 20s until I moved away for school. I can talk, cuss and rail up just like any other 'Kruffy', but everytime I travel home to visit my family, I get offended by people thinking I'm another tourist just because I don't look 'Belizean'. What in the world does 'Belizean' look like? Again, fantastic post!
By the way Nancy, why would you say a Belizean who moves away from Belize is betraying their country? People move for love, for education, for trying to better themselves. I'd just like to understand your view point on this. said...

Ciao from Italy