Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
I am Métis. In my case, I am a mix of Abenaki, Huron, Micmac, French and Irish. I am the result of a love that highlights how interconnected we truly are. I’m a nice melting pot of proud cultures.For the most part, mixed people have the right to define their own identity and their relationships with their varied ancestry. Our identity is our own.
I want to address common misconceptions, misconceptions, micro-aggression, and outright oppression that mixed race people face.
Since I was little people have had difficulty pin pointing my background. People have assumed that I was Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. I have heard the question “What are you?” more often than any other question when first meeting new people. Sometimes it was from strangers on the train trying to figure out from what cultural background I’m from. First of all, I’m not a what but a who. Secondly, what does my cultural background matter to strangers who will only share public space for a short moment while commuting to our different destinations?
I am very proud of my ancestry and my cultures. Yes, I did put a (s) to culture on purpose. That’s what it means to be mixed blood. I’ve had people tell me I had to pick one cultural identity, that it’s impossible to be a mix of many cultures. I assure you that it is possible.
This year Canada is marking it’s 150th birthday. It citizens walk among the decedents of the people who lived on the continent thousands of years prior. The majority of my ancestors were here before the continent was “discovered” according to our history books. After all, how can you discover a place when someone already lives there? This celebration to me, feels completely wrong, and like most history book, a very incomplete story.
I know and I have seen first hand the devastation and the lasting marks that residential schools did to families. The health system should really recognise inter-generational trauma. These kind of traumatic event does not only affect the person it happened to, but everyone they love.
I have faced people who assume I have a drinking problem due to their own prejudice.
On my first day of college I was told by a boy with a strong British accent that I needed to go back to my own country. Oh, did I have fun educating him on that subject. So much fun that the teacher (debate class), put us on opposite team and continued the lecture inside the classroom. This boy entitlement and idea of superiority over me was based on racial differentiation which is scientifically false, morally unacceptable, socially unjust.
Here’s a list of articles from Native American’s that I recommend:
- Shame and Prejudice art exhibit looks at ‘150 years of Indigenous experience‘ in Canada
Here’s a list of song from Native American Activists that I recommend:
- ALie Nation -A Tribe Called Red
- Before – A Tribe Called Red (Residential Schools)
- How I Fell – A tribe Called Red
- Look at the Facts – Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Power In The Blood – Buffy Sainte-Marie
- We Are The Halluci Nation – A Tribe Called Red
I’ve been lucky. I’ve had it pretty easy in life. Not everyone is this lucky. Each one of us need to stand up and fight again racism.
All human beings need to be equal before the law and need to be entitled to equal protection of the law against any discrimination and against any incitement to discrimination all around the world.The world would be an extremely boring place if we were all the same.
Asian, Black and First Nations communities have just as much right to free speech and safe spaces as everyone else. Just because you may not face discrimination, doesn’t mean others don’t. It’s about empathy and change for the better for everyone.