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The Tick Box: Why I Have Always Opted For Black Caribbean

Recently, I had to fill in an application. As with all applications, once you have answered all the necessary questions, there is often an equal opportunities monitoring form. It is supposedly for monitoring diversity, though from what I can see the quotas remain the same – minorities are very much in the minority.  Nevertheless, the form remains and I always feel conflicted when filling in a particular section – Ethnic Origin.

The conflict I have is multi-faceted. You can only tick one box. It has been a while since I have had to fill in such a form and in the past, my options were usually black Caribbean, Black African, Black British or Black Other.  Being born and raised in North West London to Jamaican parents the choice for me was always difficult. Am I black Caribbean or am I Black British?  In reality, I consider myself both Caribbean and British and should not have to choose between the two. Yet I have always opted for black Caribbean and here’s why.

Being brought up with Jamaican parents naturally there are cultural differences. I grew up in a predominantly Caribbean area. I went to a primary school where the majority of kids were Caribbean and some of the teachers were too. Some of my fondest memories are of singing Caribbean folk songs in morning assembly. So I feel very Caribbean.