Title

In Our Shoes

Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Joe Heithaus

Second Advisor

Leslie James

Abstract

In Our Shoes has lived inside of me for a long time. As someone who has always been fully immersed in my own culture, I was born into this duality of identity. I realized early on that I existed in two different worlds: the one shaped by my Bajan identity and the one shaped by my American one. I wasn’t fully a Black American. I had deep ties to this tiny island in the Atlantic, famous for flying fish and Rihanna. And I wasn’t one of those immigrant children that had never set foot on the island that they were calling home; I went every summer for months. But there, I was just American, nothing else which created this really awkward place for me where I felt as though I was stuck in this “in between-ness.” It was a confusing and isolating experience for me for a long time.

But as I got older, I realized that I wasn’t alone in the in between. I started meeting people who were the same as me; children of immigrants from all over the diaspora. We would go out to dinner, play card games, do homework together, and in the midst of these activities, we’d tell each other stories of our crazy immigrant family experiences. Through these experiences, we were knitted together across cultures by this seemingly invisible connective tissue. We had all packed barrels to send home or felt the pain of beatings with a belt.

This collection of stories, memories, and memoir is shaped by my friends and family.

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