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Our home and native land.

Posted by Allison on September 7, 2009

The weird thing is, I never notice something before.  You who know me I notice that I have a comment on everything but something has escaped my eagle eye (shut up).  I was born and raised in Canada. I grew up in Saskatoon Saskatchewan where you could count the black people on one hand.  We all knew each other.  Secretly our parents hoped we would grow up and date each other, none of us did because a. we were raised like family and b. our parents wanted us to. Racism is NOT the subject of today’s post but writing this has me thinking of another post I’m going to do about Racism in Canada.  Remind me. I’m old.

When you live in Canada and you are black there is an unwritten code.   If you see another black person, you nod or say hello.  You acknowledge the person solely because you are the same in one way.  I think this comes from the fact that there were (relatively) so few of us and we’d all arrived in a similar fashion.  In the 50’s up until the 80’s 99% of the blacks in the west arrived there from the West Indies.  So we were all in the same boat (or off the same boat ha ha ha).  Anyway, for whatever reason this still plays out in Alberta (and other parts of Canada) on a daily basis.  Watch sometime (you know if you’re not black and already know this) there is a nod in the middle of West Edmonton Mall, there is a slight tilt of the head if your in line at Safeway, it’s just how it’s done.

Then I married a white guy.

Then comes a whole ‘nother level of recognition.  Black men give me a “oh my sister” kind of look and black women either pretend I don’t exist (a la Amish shunning) or cluck their tongues and make sure I know they do not approve.  It doesn’t remotely matter if their nasty ass husband is sleeping with their babysitter as they are working two jobs and supporting his ass.  It doesn’t matter that my husband works hard, plays with his kids, massages my feet everyday and treats me like an equal.  I’m not sure which is worse.  I love the idea that the men think that one good role in the hay will turn me back to black or the women who even if they are settling for much much less than they deserve still think it’s ok to look down on me for making a different choice.  I’m sure there are many upstanding righteous black men who I would be honored to spend my life with but I met my husband first.   I didn’t really look to hard to find one past the idiots that presented themselves but I was looking for a life partner and my hubby fit the bill….so I kept him.  If he came in black packaging I would have married him, he didn’t.

Then I moved to Germany.

Something tells me I’m not in Kansas anymore…..Interracial marriage is the norm here.   There are more black/white couples than I’ve ever seen in my life.  We aren’t a minority anymore!!!!  Our children “fit”.  Do you know how shocking that is?    We totally stand out because we don’t speak German, not because I’m black and Scott is white.  We’ve stopped counting the “couple like us” because we would hurt our necks and we can’t count that high.  Black people here don’t acknowledge like they do back home because they are EVERYWHERE.  It’s very comforting.

Anyway, I suppose living in Germany has been eye-opening in many ways.  I expected a lot of them, this one has hit me completely off guard.

6 Responses to “Our home and native land.”

  1. Rhona said

    Thanks for this post. It is very comforting.
    I totally understand the nodding when you see another black person but I hve to say that it is not done so much here in the GTA. When I was in Ottawa this happened all the time as there were very little blacks so there was that unspoken bond just like you talked about in this post.
    One thing I can’t stand about black guys, when they see you with someone who is not a “brotha” (rolling eyes) they always have something to say yet, in the Toronto area, they don’t even want us. Black guys here DO NOT really look at black girls so we have to look elsewhere. 🙂
    Also, I am so happy to hear about being accepted in DE. Although I have lived in Germany, I was bound to Kornwestheim in the Stuttgart region. I saw a few blacks but we were never treated differently. I have been slightly on the edge of going back to Germany to live for a while due to the rise of the NDP party (also the known as the neo-nazis-something we don’t experience too much of in Canada, well at least here) but I think I might be safe as there numbers are always in the minority. Hearing a black person sort of say that she is accepted in white-white Germany is a big relief.

  2. DonnaW said

    Congrats on finding a more comfortable pond. Someday, maybe in our future, all these differences will no longer matter. That is at least my hope. 🙂

  3. Mike said

    Just came upon your blog a week or two ago and am enjoying the read. My wife and I were both born in Germany, living in Canada now but will probably end up back in Germany some day. It’s that time of year for “The Rhein in Flammen” the Rhein in flames…when towns castles and all the ships on the Rhein light themselves’s something not to be missed, since you’re pretty much in the neighborhood and theres still time to make plans to see it you should do a little googling “images” will show you what it’s all about. Here’s an english language link if you’re interested…your kids I’m sure would love it.



  4. Kristinma said

    This post brought tears to my eyes ~ I’m glad it’s a comfortable experience for you there and that you’ve found a “norm.” You should never have to think about or defend your marriage choice for any reason and the children should never feel out of the norm too.


  5. Meech said

    Ah yes, I really like this post. You know there will always be haters. Although I know that those opinions exist in the black community, but I can’t say that I have noticed (or better yet paid attention) to those side glances. Being in a inter-racial marriage myself, I am enjoying how both our families interact with each other as time goes on. I can’ wait for your post about Racism.

  6. Becs said

    I was actually pleasantly surprised when we moved here. I was concerned about diversity and am so happy that it is a melting pot of religious, political and ethnic differences. Lexi still looks like a white kid…but one day I hope she browns up 🙂

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