24 November 2010

The gallery: Black+white=Jamosie!

I just saw Mirka's post on her Kahanka blog... how adorable is little Isabelle! As most of you know I am not a good weekly poster but I am a fan of #thegallery, and like Mirka, I have mixed race children as well.
We call ourselves 'Jamosie' which is a blend of Jamaica and Aussie... Jam-osie...as we are Jamaican and Australian!

So when I read her post I immediately thought of this poem I found a couple of years ago when teaching English. Unfortunately, the words half caste are still widely used in Australia to describe the people who have an Aboriginal Australian parent and a Anglo Australian parent. Racism angers and saddens me. I won't babble on and will close with... I LOVE LOVE LOVE this poem, I love the way it's written, the tone, the message, it's just beautiful.

As for a photo, the first one that popped in my head  was this one of me and my Dear Husband at the Black Heath fireworks for bon fire night (2010).
One day, when Xavier was 4 years old, he asked us why we were different colours. So we explained that we were like chocolate, some chocolate is white, some is brown and some is dark brown, but it's still all chocolate. People are the same. Some are white, some are light brown, some are dark brown, but we are all people.  4 year old Xavier was listening intently and then says 'Janelle is not white, she is peach!' We cracked up.

Half Caste by John Agard
Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?

explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass

ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow

but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.
an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.

Love it.


  1. I'd wondered where the Jamosie came from. What a brilliant way of looking at it!

    A truly wonderful post, and that picture of the two of you is gorgeous!

  2. What a beautiful picture of you two and a wonderful post!

  3. Awwww, that poem is beautiful as is the way you explained different colours to your kids. chocolate! Genius and I love your son's reply :D
    Beautiful photo, beautiful post

  4. i like the joke very funny, when he asked you guys why are you guys different colours...
    hope your doing good miss ... its me your old student i know i was never but we really liked you we still do
    love your blog

  5. What a beautiful story behind Jamosie! Make me love your business even more!!!! Is there a chance in the future of strawberry shortcake theme toppers?

  6. Thanks Megan... :)
    Yes! in the works. I love strawberry shortcake! i have the designs done, just got to get them made and photos taken. Even the name 'strawberry shortcake' sounds delicious!
    vintage bags are coming too.


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