I have lived in a small, rural white town east of Toronto (I’m from Toronto ) for the past 2 years. It is not easy as a Black woman living here. It is so bad racially that I have made a decision to homeschool my son . I also started a POC and Indigenous Peoples Homeschool Co-op that already has 4 families and 10 children . Is it better to create a Black inclusive community in a white town or just stay in your diverse city?
I noticed that I keep seeing more Black families in town. If there are places for them to congregate, it would make it easier to connect . Something like a POC Meet Up. The university is what draws a lot of professional Black families here. Refugees bring some , and others like me migrate here because cities like Toronto , Vancouver and Montreal are too expensive .
Politically, I’m a liberal , progressive feminist and fiercely pro-Black. Kingston is a good fit for Black conservatives who make good money, want to send their kids to “good” schools and sacrifice their Black identity in the meantime . I’m not particularly excited to meet these types, and they seem bewildered (embarrassed ? ) to see me too.
Establishing Black roots in a predominantly White town can seem fruitless at first. You never know who you’ll be connecting or what solace you are providing to an isolated Black person or family by simply organizing .
There probably won’t be Jamaican patties and barbershops blasting soca anytime soon here, but a place to feel at home is what everyone deserves .
When you choose to be unapologetically Black , it shouldn’t be on a when-I-feel-like basis. You know , with one foot in the Eurocentric Starbucks and straighteners world; and the other raising a fist with your printed turban made ethically in Namibia. The thing is, once you stare racism in the face, you realize you are stronger than you thought. You ask, really, is that it?
And of course, we shouldn’t have to deal with discrimination and have our warrior shield on 24/7. But being charged higher car insurance in a Black neighbourhood, getting stopped by police yet not having police assist or side with you when you need help , and being told “Go back to Africa, you f—– n—–r” are part of the parcel of being melanated, at least while white supremacy is still the order of the day.
I’m not saying we should accept abuse, ostracism and blatant racial harassment and profiling . I’m saying we need to be fearless . We need to be strong. Because white supremacy is fear, hatred and evilness wrapped in a white suburban house with a picket fence and a little Retriever in the front. It’s in every institution that was not created by and for Black people .
And until we can put away our armour for good, we must not fear.
I joined a church this summer after being invited by my Kenyan hair braider. She is in fire for the Lord, and I only went because we live in a racist, rural town and I was desperate to see Black faces. There were Black children for my son to interact with, and not only were the pews filled with Kente cloth and dashiki-clad families, the pastor was Jamaican.
I’m from a Christian family, like most West Indians but as an adult I am highly critical of the church and it’s role in maintaining Black oppression. The church could be a revolutionary place. But instead of touching on freedom from white supremacy, it only speaks of a better life in Heaven…not on this earth. Great way to pacify the masses, pastor.
However, in the church there is Black pride. There are more married Black families and college students. There are more natural hairdos. There is more respect for one another. So I do not dismiss the church as a place for revolutionary work. Perhaps you can meet a compatriot there, a future spouse or an acquaintance who furthers your economic growth. And if not, it never hurts to have God on your side!
This will be the first year we will celebrate Kwanzaa, and it’s very exciting to learn more about it. My son and I are memorizing the Nguzo Saba, and I have already prepared the “mihindi”. We colour Kwanzaa pages and talk about the harvest season.
It’s been a rough week for me, and as I am in anguish, my son has really pulled through to do more self-led learning and even helping clean the house without my provocation. This demonstrates to me that I may need to step back sometimes and see what my son is capable of.