For fashion model LaTonia Robinson, being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is not a label. Rather, it’s a journey.
Robinson and being Jamaican-American
Robinson is Jamaican-American who was born and raised in New York and now lives in Florida. She was brought up by two Jamaican parents that prominently retained their Jamaican culture regardless of their geography. Being a Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) can be experienced in many ways, however for Robinson it meant being in two completely different worlds as soon as she stepped in and out of her home.
Growing up in New York was “fine” for Robinson because it is a “melting pot,” therefore she had no problem. Although she carries Jamaica with her everywhere she goes, she feels less of a connection to Jamaican culture in Florida than in New York. And even though she technically didn’t grow up abroad, she still considers herself to be a TCK.
Robinson’s TCKness is a part of the journey into becoming the woman she is today. In a telephone interview, this is what she had to say about her TCK and CCK story:
What answers did knowing that you’re a TCK provide for you?
“I think because I am a TCK, I think I view things a little differently than the average person or average American that has been born here. Me being a TCK of Jamaican decent and having my parents come straight from Jamaica and then here to raise me, showed me a little difference in the American dream. Putting in the extra effort and work can go a long way.”
How did having a TCK background affect your career and accomplishments?
“There is like a joke that Jamaicans have like 15 jobs because we are known to multi-task, so it is like a continuation of that mindset. I have a go-getter mind set — it has been instilled in me ever since childhood because I didn’t have a map, because my family were immigrants so the way they perceived things are different than me being a TCK growing up.”
What would you say to the people that are going through the lost identity of not knowing they are TCK?
“I would tell them that it is OK, and that being different is OK. All these experiences create who you are. And you will recall that more when you are able to reflect and grow older. You will appreciate where you came from and wherever it is you are not. It just makes a well-rounded person who can see things from multiple vantage points and perspectives.”
Robinson continues to live in Florida and hopes to one day go back to Jamaica for more than a week.
I think as a TCK myself, Robinson’s words and perspective resonate with me highly.