“Your Only Shame Is To Have Shame”
“Mommy please! I’m sorry Sir, please forgive her ignorance.” Growing up I didn’t know what to do about my mom. I wouldn’t bring my friends around, I purposely never wanted any house parties and I always walked a couple feet behind when out in public with my mom. The way she carried herself never changed as the years went by, but I certainly changed! Every time new things came around, I had them. Whatever everyone else was doing new, I was doing too. However, that all changed after I started learning more about myself and my family’s culture.
In Fish Cheeks, Amy’s mother says, “Your only shame is to have shame.” She said this because all the nasty food that was served on Christmas Eve was Amy’s favorites. The strange menu that her mother had outdone herself with was pleasantly enjoyed any other day, but because the Minister’s family isn’t accustomed with the Chinese Culture Amy was miserably ashamed. Amy’s mother understands she wants to be like the other Americans girls, after all they aren’t in China. Nevertheless, she doesn’t want her to forget her roots, she’s Chinese and she can’t change that.
I truly understand how Amy felt, my family’s Jamaican and they can be very different as well. I’ve seen them kill a goat, clean and eat it in the same day. I had no problems eating it until I saw it for myself. They cook every part of the pig, with the exception of the fat and maybe the intestines. My family’s very particular about who I bring home. They pay a lot of attention to how people carry themselves, kind of like they’re flawless. Hair has to be combed, as if some Jamaicans don’t run around with nappy dreads in their heads. Clothes can’t be too tight or too loose, a belt must be on at all times and you can’t wear wrinkled clothes. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw my mom ironing her undergarments. Oh my goodness, have you heard them talk? It’s so funny if you don’t understand what they’re saying. Jamaicans speak a little...