By: Keanen Schnoor
VANCOUVER – At the early age of one I was adopted from Jamaica and moved to Lethbridge, Alberta. This was the start of a whole bunch of brand new experiences for me. One of these experiences was being the only person of color in my family. Even though there was nothing but love and support from my family, I felt held back by my skin color. This article is discussing my interactions with my white friends, who just so happen to be the majority where I grew up, and how I did not fit certain black stereotypes by being raised by a white family. In school, I was not the only visible minority. This made me feel even more separated from my fellow students. I was a minority in the minority population. This made it difficult to really connect with who I was as a young black man. There were little to no opportunities for me to make black friends. I did not get many POC (people of color) influences until later in my life.
My lack of blackness became the topic of conversation with many of my “friends” during my school days. The fact that I did not act like the black people that my friends were exposed to on their televisions or through music left them feeling confused with my racial identity. I looked like I should enjoy rap music; I looked like I should understand all the jokes from black comedians; I looked like I should enjoy grape soda but the truth is, I don’t. I did not fit these stereotypical ideas of what my friends thought it meant to be a black. My friends would comment, “But you are not really black, you are basically white because you have white parents”. If you are not black the truth of the matter is, you will never know what it is like to be black. Because of my skin color I could lose my life in the States whether I did anything wrong/Illegal or not. Since my parents are white that does not give me a free pass. This sentiment has stuck with me for quite some time and it has made me really want to discover who I am as a person and that is dynamic and unique. I am proudly black, gay, and I am the prideful son of an amazing adoptive family.
I am unapologetically me.