“I Live Where You Vacation”- Trinibagonian Stereotypes

“I live where you vacation”

"I Live Where You Vacation"
“I Live Where You Vacation”

Trinidad and Tobago’s scenic landscapes attract many tourist and quite often people are “surprised” when they observe that we actually have an economic industry beside tourism. Absurd right? I recently had an encounter with a relative from abroad who’s never been to T&T but has heard of it. The questions she asked me about where I live had me picking up my jaw from the floor. First the way she spoke as if I was deaf had me telling her, “I’m Trini… Not deaf.” made me think about how many other people think these very obnoxious stereotypes about our twin-islands. Here’s a list of general stereotypes I’ve come across, ranging from some drastic ones to some that have truth in them.

Anyone with a Caribbean accent is automatically from Jamaica

Sesame Street's Representation of the Caribbean
Sesame Street used Jamaica to represent the entire Caribbean

I have some friends studying abroad who frequently complain about foreigners asking them if they’re from Jamaica as soon as they hear their accents. Newsflash, not everyone with a Caribbean accent is from Jamaica. Jamaica isn’t the only island that exists in the Caribbean, get an atlas, this is the 21st Century. Seriously? Many times we can see Jamaica being used as a representation for the Caribbean as a whole, so the media is partly to blame for some of the stereotypes. Some may even blame Trinibagonians for not promoting their culture as much as Jamaicans do. However, the point is there are many other Caribbean accents and not all of them sound like Jamaicans and come from Jamaica. They’re the Bajans, the Vincentians, the St. Lucians and so forth.

Everyone in Trinidad lives next to a beach

Home to some of the most beautiful beaches
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches

Beside the fact that this question is so stereotypical, how is this logically possible that 1.2 million individuals has the beach as their backyards? What happens to all the other land away from the coastlines? Are they “undiscovered” still? This is such an annoying stereotype that upsets me because it makes me think that people believe all we do in Trinidad is live this hyper-fantasized idea of living on the beach and relaxing ALL THE TIME.

economy  Silhouette of oil platform in sea against moody sky at sunset

Let me eliminate that idea one time, we do not ONLY have beaches here in fact we have a series of successful business and we can boast of islands rich with natural resources. People hustle and bustle daily to their jobs which isn’t just being a coconut or doubles vendor, which brings me to my next point…

Coconut Vendors, Doubles Vendors, Vegetable Vendors and Women Making Ornaments at the road side.

COCONUTS2

This is such a pervasive stereotype that Trinbagonians and by extension Caribbean people face, that we do not have other jobs beside selling something made by hand or selling fruits and vegetable and honey at the side of the road. The movies really has a primitive way of portraying “island life” as extremely laid back and not taking things seriously, when in fact we do more than pick coconuts and sell.

All Trinis do is LIME!!!

ave

There is definitely some truth in this stereotype and if you say no, “Yuh blasted lying”. We see you on the Avenue liming and drinking, taking a wine on the ‘smallie’ that pass in the short shorts, you and your girls tracking that fineee man passing by and if you’re still in denial Triniscene and Lime.TT can prove you wrong.

Admit it, Carnival is the most anticipated time of the year for Trinbagonians whether you play mas or you’re anti-Carnival you still look forward to the season. Some may go to every single fete and participate in almost all/ all Carnival related activities. Whereas, those who participate may go to the beach or camp etc. Whatever you do you see it as a lime and Carnival happens to be a great reason to lime.

Carnival5
The Greatest Show on Earth

Let’s be real here whether you and your friends are catching up on some hot gossip over dinner or partying it out on the Avenue you’re still liming. Trinibagonians make a lime out of anything and find any reason to lime. Can’t necessarily blame us when we live where you vacation 🙂

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