All immigrants face some form of racism when they arrive in a new country trying to start a new life. It’s unfair, unjust and wrong, but the reality is that it exists. Remarks like, Go back to your own country, What are you doing in our country and Speak English are a few of the insults thrown at newcomers. I was one of those people targeted with offensive remarks over the last 23 years since I arrived in Canada.
I never heard such insults or experienced racism until I moved to Canada. I grew up in my little bubble in Grenada. I was never exposed to any racial prejudices. Living in Canada didn’t feel like the carefree life I left back in Grenada. I felt uncomfortable, and people looked and treated me differently.
I’ve had so many instances of being called the N-word or dumb, hopeless, and a waste of time because I was black. During one of my first live-in baby-sitting jobs, I wasn’t allowed to sit at the table to eat with the family. I was only allowed to eat after they were finished and only the unwanted left-over scraps.
Another employer locked up the office supplies during my afternoon shift because they thought I would steal. Meanwhile, the supplies were readily available for the white team members on the day shift. I was mistreated because of my skin color and regularly intimidated; however, I stayed silent. On more than one occasion, I was told that I should be happy to be in Canada, let alone have a job.
The discrimination facing people of color in North America is unimaginable. There is limited access to opportunities for finding good and equal paying jobs. The hopes of becoming a home or business owner are constrained simply because of race.
I worked my way up despite the enormous obstacles, yet when someone walks into my business and makes me feel less than a president or CEO, the feeling is crushing.
The question that makes me most furious is where did a black woman get the money to purchase a house or a company? Are you a drug dealer? It’s never just congratulations on what you’ve accomplished as a hard worker.
Do you think being black is an option? You don’t get to make choices of being born black or any other color. I’m an unapologetic person who is proud of my accent and being a black Grenadian woman.
We are all human beings. Although our skin color might be different, we share the same emotions, struggles, passions, dreams, and goals. No one is better than the other person. We bleed the same blood, our organs are all the same, and our bodies function in the same manner. Despite our appearance, we are more alike than different.
Until the same opportunities given to others are readily available to blacks, this injustice and discrimination will continue. Until blacks are seen as equals and opinions are altered against invalid perceptions, this fight will never be over.
My only hope is that one day people will no longer feel prejudice based on their race. Regardless of race, all people should be treated with love, respect, and support as a person, not a reflection of their color.