I debated on whether or not I should even write this post given the political climate of our world right now. I am tired. But if not now when?
I am a black woman. I was born of two black people, out of the country of Haiti. Haiti is known as the first country to win its independence from the French after roughly 10 years of intense and well calculated attacks. My bloodline consists of warriors who just do not roll over when the going gets tough. My ancestors fought for their freedom and the legacy that once set precedent for the black man has been reduced to that of a third world country.
I remember working at a customer service job and a white older lady asked me if I was grateful to be here in Canada as opposed to Haiti. My blood boiled at the thought that she assumed that I was here because I was some immigrant. That I was some charity case for this country. The nerve of this woman, that I should be grateful. This country should be grateful to have me! But I did as I always did, I hid. I tactfully informed her that I had distant relatives who owned land and that I would be quite all right if I so choose to go to Haiti.
I’ve been told numerous times to go to where I come from. I guess my black skin doesn’t allow anyone to think that I was born here even though the only place that I legally come from is this country. I’ve been called racial slurs. I’ve been called ghetto. Then I showed them how “ghetto” I could be and that shut her up real quick. In that moment I became the stereotype she saw me as. I’ve been told that my hair looked like a Brillo pad. I’ve been treated as the token black girl because I was “cool” enough to be friends with the white kids. I’ve been asked to speak on issues simply because of my skin colour, I’ve also been dismissed when I spoke up because of my skin colour. Canada isn’t racist, and yet… “driving while black” is still an issue. Racial profiling is still an issue. I don’t know how many times my husband and I have been stopped for absolutely NO REASON. When I say no reason, I mean the police officer provided no reason, not one reason. You know how it goes, when they realized they made an assumption that bears no fruit because their tone goes from cold and stern to super friendly as they hand back the license and registration. I’ve had customers give me dirty looks and proceed to the nearest white cashier, I’ve been slapped in the face by a customer (after being told I should go back to my country and I said I would after she went back), so how do I raise black girls in this white country?
Well for starters, they are not allowed to ever change for their peers. I will be the woman I expect them to be. Knowledgeable and proud of their history, aware of their rights and privileges, kind, smart, beautiful and well spoken individuals ready to make positively powerful and effective changes so that this generation doesn’t have to hide their “blackness”. You see our generation will not bow down to no man but God. Our children will be able to go out and come home safely. Our children will not be viewed as weapons but as human beings. A human who doesn’t have to work twice as hard in order to prove themselves, they will be respected and treated fairly.
After all, those that came before me, in 1804 fought and bled so that we could manifest the vision they had. So, why wait?