I Know She Meant Well But ….

20 May 2009 at 3:01 pm (Random, Rants, Toronto Life) (, , , , , , , , , , )

…. why is it so hard for white people to understand that not every black person in Canada is from Jamaica or the Caribbean or Africa? WHY!?

Case in point: a woman in my class approached me today to sign the back of a group picture we had taken last week to commemorate our prof’s birthday. Now, this woman is a nice lady. She really is. Always pleasant and kind, so I don’t want to make it seem like she was being racist, rude or anything because she wasn’t. However, she is definitely ignorant. (I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. I mean that literally. If you need to look up the word and it’s meaning, do so.)

So she asked my last name for the picture, which I told her, and then she asked me where I’m from. Not a problem, she was asking everyone. Why? I don’t know but I didn’t feel singled out or anything so I told her I’m from here. Here meaning, Canada, Mississauga, Ontario – whatever. She kind of looked at me blankly and was like “No, I mean where were you born – Jamaica?” And I politely smiled my tense, irritated smile (as I’ve been through this before) and replied, “Nooo. Here. Canada.” And again I was given that blank stare. Now, because it was HER and I know she didn’t mean anything by it I started to explain my heritage. My mother’s side of the family are Canadian, most were born and raised most in Nova Scotia. I’m 5th generation Canadian. My father was born in Jamaica and raised in England. Now, while I identify with both my parents’ backgrounds, at the end of the day – I AM CANADIAN. I am NOT what my mom and dad are. Though Canadian-Jamaican is my “background” it’s not what *I* am. I’m proud to be Canadian and if you are going to put my ethnicity on the back of a damn picture, then put what I am. Not what my parents are.

I get upset with this because I understand while the majority of people in Canada are immigrants – yes, even Caucasian people can be immigrants too, there ARE black people that WERE born here. If my mother had me with a Canadian man, I’d have to go back quite far to see if my family hailed from Jamaica or Africa. Hell, maybe my family could’ve come from Germany. Just because my skin colour is brown, doesn’t mean I am automatically from a country that brown skin is predominate in. I mean, come on. It sounds ridiculous right? Then why are people so dumb? And, I’ll be honest, when I speak to someone that IS from Jamaica or Trinidad or Africa and they ask my background and I reply my usual reply they say, “There are black people in Nova Scotia?” HELLO, idiots, do you know anything about Canadian history? Did you pay attention in highschool? Where do you think the freed slaves settled coming into Canada? Do you not know The Underground Railroad came through Nova Scotia? Shit. Nothing bothers me more than ignorant people!

This has happened one too many times. I’ve had people tell my aunt to go back where she came from – and the woman that said this had a thick polish accent! WTF!? We know YOU weren’t born here, so why don’t YOU go back to where YOU came from? But did my aunt say that? No, because my aunt has class.  I’ve been told to go back to Jamaica and I just laugh. I CAN’T go back to a place I’ve never been! I don’t even have a passport (as sad as that is) and I don’t require a citizenship card. WHY? Because I’m a Canadian citizen, asshole. I’m not a landed immigrant, I was born and raised here.

I don’t know. This is more a rant than anything but some people need to get their shit together. Stop being so ignorant and DUMB. It makes no one but yourself look like a complete jackass.


1 Comment

  1. Mz. Fenyx said,

    I fully understand what you mean! I get the ‘You sure aren’t Jamaican somewhere in your background?’. Ignorance is apparently bliss.

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