There are some things that get the thumbs up, ‘true-true Bahamian’ verification by our detector; as you would expect, Junkanoo is one of them. Peas and rice, along with over Ninety percent of the dishes made with conch also get the stamp of approval. I believe conch spaghetti is the rare exception. When it comes to locations that are ‘True-true Bahamian’, all the forts are there, right along with Bay Street and Over the Hill, however I regret to inform you that the device has yet to get a definitive reading out of Suburbia, and the people who live there are even more suspect. Naturally this concerns me because this is where I am from.
Of course, you know that the Bahamian Detector is not an actual device, but that does not make it any less real. It seems that a vast majority of Bahamians walk around with one of these devices in their heads, and we seem more prone to use it all the time. There are things that 99.9% of Bahamians will agree on as ‘true-true Bahamian’, with everything else being either ‘not Bahamian’ or ‘not Bahamian enough’. I don’t have much of a problem when these labels are stuck onto simple non-controversial things like Johnny Canoe’s ‘Bahamian Spinach Dip,’ but I do start to have an issue when people start using it on others or, most interestingly, on themselves.
As a product of Suburbia, my Bahamian Detector has continually flashed its red light into my consciousness, and made me painfully aware that I was in the ‘grey area,’ in other words, that I was not Bahamian Enough. You see I can’t make peas and rice, my conch salad is sketchy, I don’t like boats or fishing and probably most serious of all: I have never attended Junkanoo. Am I Bahamian? Despite what my passport says can I lay hold to the Bahamian National Identity? In its present form I would guess not, and the hurtful thing is that I am not alone. Many of us from Suburbia have been fighting against the device in our heads for most of our lives. I have now come to the conclusion that it is not our fault.