The issue of what some simplistically calls “hyphenated Guyanese” has bubbled to the surface again. It seems as if some people are bent on causing more confusion among the population. We already have to deal with the negative consequences of our evolution as a multi-ethnic society. Now they are trying to scare people away from affirming their cultural identities. One must ask the simple question—why raise that issue at this time? In any case, the premise of the issue is what needs addressing. When we say we are Guyanese are we affirming the totality of our identity?
Identity is complex; it is partly who we say we are and partly how others perceive us. It is also a historical phenomenon that is sometimes determined by migration- forced and voluntary—and by groups bonding together in the face of extinction or threat to their honour. Given Guyana’s historical evolution, multiple identities is a given, whether we as individuals choose to affirm them or not. Most people choose to affirm one of those most of the time.