Feb 14, 2011

A WALK BACK (in celebration of Black History Month)

An article written in celebration of black history month. I was given this topic - To write of my experience back home and now in Canada and the challenges I have faced as a black kid. 
woman, walk, back    Taking a few steps backwards to recount the whereabouts of the past, a vivid memory is placed before me even though the happenings of the past occurred years back. I still can picture my well pressed uniform placed neatly on me, the socks, the whimsical shoes that had to go with it and the routine of my daily life all attached to it. I laugh now as I take a walk back and even as I progress further, I encounter treasured memories on my way picking them up not wanting to lose any of it. Of course! Such joys of reflection brings with it unforgettable events and trust me events you want to let go of.
  High school days had a mixture of fun and sadness, stress and playfulness, hard work and relaxation, laughter and tears and it all helped to create a joyous moment there. It was a time to let the youth in us out of its hiding place and to undergo body changes that aroused confusion but in it all I can come forward boldly to say it was an adored moment.
More importantly, bonding with my peers was a thing that came naturally because we were all from the same race and understood each other’s language and taste.  We had something in common and well we experienced a bit of drama here and there but it never kept a restrain on my relationship with friends. I had become so happy and yet  so sad when I knew I will be letting go of that commonality and the affection I had with friends but I had comforted myself still knowing I needed to be exposed and meet with people other than my race welcoming the idea unknowingly. 
  My transition from high school into the university brought a whole lot of experience. I had known hard work and stress was a necessity. I had to put up with the practice earlier before I made my way in. “I have arrived”, I thought (thinking it silly now) not knowing what awaits me – Changes, disappointments and adjustments. As a black kid, it has been a little bit strenuous trying to make my presence known. I had realized early that I had to go out of my way to make friends and that no one would come by to say hello as expected in high school. I also took to adjusting the way I spoke and had to make my pronunciations of words clear and precise. I still battle with the idea of correcting certain stereotypes people might have about black kids by painting me as trustworthy, honest, and reliable but absolutely still portraying just who I am.
   Now! Looking at things more closely, I have become aware of the fact that we bound naturally with people of the same culture with us with the assumption that we are far away from home instilled in our heads. The same ideology has plagued us blacks as we hardly go out of our way to interact with other blacks. We want to remain within a certain group that we can easily start up a discussion with. That is purely natural. I remember when I first entered; I had gone round asking a set of black kids just where they were from.
  Furthermore, it would be funny to say that there isn’t discrimination within a certain racial group (I laugh hard to that). Sure there is, this is what makes us human. I have overheard blacks say that they do not want to relate with a certain black group still judging that group based on the stereotype associated with the country or because they dislike the way they speak. I am a little concerned that this still goes on within our racial group. Notwithstanding, it is a joyous scene when blacks get together, from the loud music, wild laughter, funny accents, crazy personalities, weird hairdos and tales about their homeland. It is a sight worth seeing. They got a lot of energy in them.
   The journey so far has been filled with challenging moments, sleepless nights, happy days, rainy days and alarming events. I know now that even as I get those strong stares in lectures from my peers or those funny looks that say “what are you saying?” or “what do you know?” or harsh words that insult my entire existence because of my straight face in lectures or the ignoring personality that say “you can wave forever for all I care” or “I do not want to be friends with you”, I learned that I have to move on and not hit nails on people’s head and say that it is because I am black. That will get me nowhere. I have also realized that been outspoken is the key if I do not want to be trampled upon. They might say no discrimination but playing ignorant and sitting my butt down and letting people toss me side by side will be plain foolishness. Notwithstanding, I see people around that treasure my colour. I was told by someone who wanted to be black as I was. That felt good. It was like taking off the funny notions associated with blacks and wearing a new outlook.
   Looking at both pictures closely, the past and the present, high school and university, I see a lot of maturity within a short space in time. The ability to think more critically and to observe issues more closely. I must say the latter was fun, thrilling and daring but coming over here as a black kid exposes me to a vast amount of cultures and created that will to rub off my cultural background on friends. 


  1. Its always good to be yourself and make no excuses or think too much about the criticism of others. The good things is, the more we grow the more we learn about ourselves. But, every grudge, every bad time has to be left behind us. To move on we have to ignore negativity. I believe trusting in God only is whay allows us to be completely who we are.


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