It is hard overhearing your colleagues explain how fascinating they found their class on slavery.
Teachers who do not look like me,
telling me about people who look like me.
It is painful being talked about like a statistic.
Do not mistake me; I am not emotional over the learning and the attempts of future allyship.
Maybe I am jealous?
Maybe my frustrations are from my confusions over uncharted territory.
Is it the fact they can separate themselves as much or as little from the subject?
Making my subjective, objective?
Is it that they can go home and have dinner with their friends and bring it up as interesting conversation? I can hear them now: "Did you know...?"
Is it that they do not have to live the repercussions of what the facts mean today, but I do?
Learning about yourself through textbooks, through media.
Through the voices of others.
Makes me feel like the other.
Expectations from me to act rationally about the irrational.
When the world yells, why are you protesting?
They get to yell "I was born to protest", while I was born a protest.
- First poem of 2020.
My poem reflects recent experiences of returning to school while navigating real life events that have been unfolding around me. The building frustrations of being misunderstood and having to explain myself. I know I am not the only one. To paraphrase a recent tweet by DeRico Symonds (captured below), if you must ask why it is difficult being a minority in Canada, that is your answer.
There are experiences underneath the iceberg that are not visible to the naked eye.
This poem comes at a time when news hits too close to home. This week I opened my Facebook to find news of deep concerns over the probable racial profiling of Santina Rao in my home community (see details here).
I share this poem in hopes those who do not understand, can comprehend how being a minority changes your life script day after day. Although I have much to say, I hope my poem says it for me.
Special thanks to IG: @notaportraitshooter for this portrait