No Man’s Land

“Where are you from?”

“Telford.”

“No, where are you from from?”

Being part of a diasporic community is a beautiful, but sobering experience to say the least. There’s something quite wholesome in our longing for the motherland, but there’s also a lot of emptiness in rejection from the home we claim and from the home we occupy away from home.

This is why I hate nationalism. It says “pick a side!” and pushes the anomalies into no man’s land.

My experience personally hasn’t been the best. I can’t speak the native language and I don’t adopt the cultural values and norms, so I’m not Ghanaian by their definition of the term. But on the other side, I don’t fit the mould of what it means to be British either, because I was born in Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on 08/01/2000 at 11:35pm, but I’m not white. So, whenever I get into the ‘where are you from’ conversation, I prepare myself for the same response that I’ve heard a million times before.

In Black Panther, my favourite character was Eric Killmonger. I think I identified with him most. He was completely rejected by his people, even when he proved himself to belong. As a person within a diasporic community, you’d expect me to love my origins and hate the place I was born in, but to be honest, I don’t like either that much. Neither of them have ever accepted me without some sort of condition attached. Whether that be remittances or role modelling, I have to give before they’ll take me in.

If I make it in life (by their definitions of success), both countries will have my face printed on t-shirts. If I end up a failure, both will shove me away.

“You raised her!” Ghana will say.

“Her parents raised her, and they are Ghanaians!” the UK will respond, and the conversation will go on until I am no more.

-Pepper

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