Shades of Gray

Red. Purple. Blue. Pink. Yellow. Teal. I miss the days when I saw the world through a colorful lens. When I felt gratitude in all of life’s experiences, and a sense of purpose. The state of the world has broken me, and I don’t know how to overcome the negativity.

As a colored person, I feel unwelcome in a world that I once considered home. I feel naïve for being optimistic and thinking that the world would see beyond the color of my skin. Every day, I watch the news or scroll through my social media feed and read stories about hate crimes. Seattle, a man is shot in his drive way. Kansas, a man is told to go back home and shot. This hate is slowly finding its way into my home, Canada.

I wasn’t born in Canada, but I love this country. It breaks my heart to think that while I am investing myself in being a Canadian, there are people in this country who feel I don’t belong because of the color of my skin.

When my mum watches television, she reflects on her younger days while living in England.  She remembers people yelling, “the skin heads are coming”.  She would see people run down the street. A couple of hours later her neighbors would come outside to have a look at whose windows were smashed. Fast forward to present day,  I fear for the safety of my family.

Recently, my family has been trying to find a vacation spot, and one of the first comments my brother made was, “we’re not going to the states, look at me, I don’t feel safe”. It’s 2017, and he doesn’t feel safe going to a first world country because of how he looks. What has the US become? I can’t say I disagree with his thinking. In the last NBA play-off season, a few of my family members drove to Cleveland for a basketball game. On the way back, we needed to stop at a gas station. Not even 5 minutes after putting in the gas, we were surrounded by a group of Caucasians. We immediately felt unsafe. We all ran back to our car, jumped in and drove off. We didn’t stop for two hours until we reached Canada. It was only when we were back on Canadian soil that we stopped for a much-needed washroom break. I often think back to that day and wonder what would have happened if we weren’t fast enough to speed off.

At that time, coming home to Canada, we felt safe. But today, that sense of safety is slowly disappearing. The hue of my skin somehow differentiates me from my neighbor. It makes me less human. It makes me less Canadian. I don’t know what I can do to change my Canada back to the tolerant and accepting country that it once was.

The current state of affairs makes me sad.
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