Sarah: “Where I’m from is always a complicated question”
From her name, you might imagine Sarah Rodriguez is hispanic. But she is not. Born in Germany to an English mother and Caribbean father, she is actually a quarter (Caribbean) Black, a quarter Indian (from India), a quarter British and a quarter Irish. She has lived most of her life in the USA, and volunteered to share her story with us because (in Sarah’s own words): “my family’s crazy history shows that love conquers race, location and religion.”
Tell us a bit about yourself. How would your friends or family describe you?
My friends and family would describe me as outgoing, funny and a little wild. I love diversity in all forms and I’m always trying new things, from spoken-word to muay thai boxing!
Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?
I currently live in Los Angeles. Where I’m from is always a complicated question. I’ve lived in Virginia longer than anywhere else. I decided to move because I just graduated college and I wanted an adventure. I can always go back home if I fail, but if I never leave I will never know what I could have been or done. I was born in Germany to a mixed race couple. My mother is British and my father is St. Lucian.
Which of your cultures do you most identify with and why?
I most identify with my Caribbean heritage. Caribbean people are open, friendly, fun and still fierce and feisty. The first time I visited St. Lucia I just felt a deep sense of rightness. I also just feel more at home and welcome among Caribbean people. However, I also truly do mean it when I say I’m multi-cultural. I love and value all of my cultures and never consider myself to be one race or culture over the others.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
A typical day for me involves going to work! I do public relations for a few companies. I ride the bus home and then blog and play video games until I fall asleep.
What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?
The best part about living in America is that I can find and interact with people from all walks of life. The worst part is that racism runs so deep. That’s why I started saying “Make mixed babies not war”. I think the only way to heal these rifts is through the joining of races and cultures.
What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?
To learn more about St. Lucia you will just have to go there. There aren’t any books or films about it!
What language or languages do you use on a day to day basis?
I use English on a daily basis.
Tell me about a national hero in St. Lucia. Who are they and what are they admired for?
My cousin John Compton is a hero of St. Lucia. He was the prime minister three times. He was St. Lucia’s first leader when it gained independence from Great Britain and was the one who pushed for that move of independence. He was a man of the people and even participated in the sugar strike. He was so popular that he was re-elected when he was 80 and died in office.
Tell me about your favorite holiday, and what cultural traditions you practice to celebrate on that day
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because I love to eat. My family’s only tradition is that we must all be together. We usually do a pot-luck with everyone bringing their favorite dish.
Describe a favorite typical meal from your country
My favorite typical meal from St. Lucia is actually not a full meal, it is street food: bakes! They are also known as floats. They are made of dough and can be baked or fried, although I prefer the fried ones. Rastas often make wheat bakes with fruit in them and those are delicious as well. My favorite way to eat them is fried and with saltfish.
What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?
People are usually surprised by the poverty. Here they are on a beautiful cruise to a gorgeous rain forest and the people have nothing. They spend thousands of dollars on beautiful hotels and walk on to the beach to find beggars. Another thing they are often surprised about (but which I am fiercely proud of) is that no one can own a private beach in St. Lucia. So no matter how fancy the hotel is, if it is on a beach then natives can come and be on the beach right next to those rich white people!
Find Sarah on her blog Sarah the Rebel.