by Samuelx 02/12/12
Hello, there. My name is Jean-Michel Augustine. I was born in the City of Cap-Haitien in the Republic of Haiti. My family moved to the region of Ontario, Canada, about ten years ago. I guess ours is a bit atypical of the immigrant story in the Confederation of Canada. My father, Richard Augustine, studied Accounting at the University of Laval in the City of Laval, Quebec, during the 1980s. He earned his Master's degree in Accounting there. As for my mother, Helene James Augustine, she studied Nursing at the prestigious Northeastern University in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1980s. My parents are among the growing number of Haitian immigrants with degrees from American and Canadian schools. When they came to Canada, finding work wasn't easy for them but eventually, they found work in their fields.
These days, my father works for the Royal Bank of Canada as an Account Supervisor in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. As for my mother, she's a nurse at Ottawa General Hospital. We're all Canadian citizens now, which has made life easier for us after years of struggle. We settled into middle-class status in the quietly affluent suburb of Orleans, right outside metropolitan Ottawa. I was young when I came to Canada but not so young that I didn't feel or appreciate my parents desperate struggle to earn a better life for themselves and for me. Even if you're a highly educated immigrant with a University degree from an American or Canadian school, life in Canada can be tough for you. Especially if you're Black. In Canada, the discrimination is systemic and it is everywhere. My parents always stressed the value of hard work and education in me. That and being a good Christian, those are the values they drilled into my head.
For the most part, I'd say my life in Canada is okay. I am twenty two years old, and study business administration at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. I am engaged to a beautiful young woman named Rachel Des-Amants. She's White, of French Canadian descent. A six-foot-tall, blonde-haired and blue-eyed Teutonic goddess who somehow fell in love with me. Every day I count my blessings. Rachel hails from the City of Montreal in the Province of Quebec. She's been living in the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario, while studying Law at the University of Ottawa. And I'm here to share with you a special story about us.
I was sitting in my marketing class, listening to professor Wilson drone on and on when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and lo and behold. It was her. My sweet Rachel. I wasn't expecting her, to say the least. Rachel gave me a quick hug, then we sat down together. There were close to a hundred people in my marketing class, and quite a few of them noticed her entrance. I always wonder why people stare when they see a Black man with a White woman. I don't stare at White guys when I see them with Black girls. I really don't. I have learned to see past colour. One of my neighbors is a gay Jamaican guy who's been living with his Australian boyfriend in the same apartment building for the past eleven years. The way I see it, love is love.
Yet for some reason, the Black chick sitting among the Asian and Hispanic chicks one row behind Rachel and I felt the need to mention to her friends that she preferred White guys to Black men. Rachel and I smiled at each other. Clearly this was a jab aimed at us. Black women never smile when they see Rachel and I together. Even if the Black woman in question is with a White guy or a Hispanic male, she must give us a dirty look. What the fuck? There are a lot of racists in the Black community, but most of them hate their own. And that my friends is the awful truth about the Black community. I was fuming over what the young Black lady sitting behind me said. I get riled up pretty easily. It's part of being a Haitian male, I think. We are hot-blooded. As if sensing my mood, Rachel reached for my hand. Gently, she brought it to her lips. The Black chick sitting behind us groaned and Rachel smiled. The funny thing is that I was virtually invisible to this Black chick and all the Black women in the room until my blonde fiancée came and sat next to me. That's the story of the Black man in the Continent of North America. We're invisible to Black women but everybody else stares at us. I find it kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time.
After class ended at five in the afternoon, Rachel and I got in the car and drove to the Saint Laurent Mall. We ate some delicious food from Manchu Wok, then went downstairs at the Empire Movie Theaters. We watched the movie Underworld : Awakening, then split. It's a Wednesday night, and we're both students. That means going home and resting after a long bloody day. Hand in hand, Rachel and I walked through the crowded mall. I am always proud to hold Rachel's hand everywhere we go. We always get stares from people, including other interracial couples. Black men with White women smile at us. Black women with White men glare at us angrily. Single White men glare at us balefully. Asian women with White men look at us with a puzzling look in their eyes. Asians worship everything Caucasian and don't like anything Black. They're always puzzled when they see Black and White together.
Oh, shit. I'm doing it again, aren't I? Boring you because I keep bringing up the subject of race. Rachel often chastises me about that. I'm working on this pet peeve of mine. All I know is that I love this beautiful young French Canadian woman more than I love myself. I proudly introduced her to my parents as the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. And I'll do anything to make her happy. Including shutting up about stuff that bothers me a hell of a lot, such as the hostile looks we get from both Blacks and Whites when we're out together in the fascinating world of Canadian society. Life and love are about compromise, I guess. You give up a part of yourself to become part of something greater. I did that the day Rachel and I became a couple. And I intend to keep that promise until the end of my days.
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