Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why do I have to have struggled?

Yes, I'm a Black woman. No, I'm not African-Canadian/American... whatever, just Black. If pushed I'll tell you that my parents are from the West Indies but I'm not. Just straight up Canadian with a sprinkle of "flava".

So why should I have struggled? I was born in middle class Montreal. I went to suburban schools and had a pretty boring youth.

I can count the "racial" incidents that happened in the last 40 years on one hand:

1) I was about 7, riding my bike and a little kid shouted at me "Nigger black!". I didn't even understand what that meant.
2) In grade 11, Cheryl Guerra (a Black girl) called me an Oreo cookie because she said I was Black on the outside and white on the inside. So?
3) When I graduated college the dean asked me if I was planning to take my degree "back to my country".
4) When the kids were little (and very pale compared to me) I got asked quite often in different ways if I was their nanny.
5) A few months ago a delivery guy assumed I wasn't the lady of the house.

Seriously, that's about it. Nothing really hurtful or insulting. Just a nagging feeling that some people are idiots... racially motivated or not. Really, most of these incidents were from the mouth being engaged before the brain is in gear.

Being a Black woman, I haven't struggled. I don't have a concept of being discriminated against. I don't understand it. I watch movies about race issues and they affect me like science fiction. An interesting study on a fascinating subject but that's about it. I feel a bit guilty about that but there it is. Is it my fault that I had a discrimination-free youth? I suppose I'm lucky. And I hope my kids are just as fortunate.

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