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A major incident I had with racism was when I was in grade 9 and I was playing basketball. This one girl on the other team said to me, “get the fuck out of my way, you nigger” and I thought, “holy shit”. I didn’t do anything but one girl I was playing with came after her, and multiple people came down from the bleachers and were defending me. I’ve also had a number of negative experiences with dating outside of my race. I remember the last time I was on tinder, I was matching with people, I was feeling good, and then I opened up my inbox and got all these messages saying things like, “would you ever be interested in dating a white guy? Have you ever dated outside your race?” or “I wonder what a black woman tastes like, I’ve never tasted the juices of a black woman. I heard that the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” It was a lot, and it was really weird. I’d have white men calling me, “my black queen” or “my Nubian princess”. Another time, I was dating a half black man, and I got mad at him for something and he said, “this is why I hate dating black women, it’s because you’re so aggressive and so angry and so loud.” And I couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking, “am I not allowed to get angry at you for something that you did? And if I do it’s because I’m an angry black woman?” He’s come around now, but I think that’s what happens in Victoria. You want to identify with being black, but if you do you have to take on all the problems that come with being a black person so it’s easier just to “be white” and follow the ways of your white friends or try to fit in as much as you can. But you can’t fully because you’re clearly black, so as much as you may not hear or experience racism, you’re going to hear it eventually and then you have to start back at ground one with, “who am I?” There’s a book I read that talks about how black people will go into different public situations and shift into this different persona of “being white” just so they can be looked at as white, or being able to work in a workplace of all white people and be approached as a white person. That has so much effect on our black psyche, our identity, our development, and our mental health but we really don’t think about it like that until we’re around black people, and that becomes a part of our identity. It’s what you have to do to survive. My parents would always say, “you’re in a white man’s world. You have to play by the rules if you want to get anywhere.” Which is horrible.