My first racist experience in Canada was when I was in grade 6. This white girl Laura and I used to but classmates, not friends, not acquaintances just in the same class. I was the child of a single mother being bussed to a decent school because of government subsidies. My mom didn’t have much to give me, because she had been exiled from her family for divorcing my dad…so it was her and I.
One day for some reason Laura and her little clique came up to me in the Cafeteria and grabbed my Pop and said “you owe me this you dumb Paki, for all the stuff you’ve taken from us, go back to your country”
Did I mention I was a fat loner kid at 11? You DON’T take a pop from a fat kid with no friends who only enjoys food. I was shocked at first then said something along the lines of “gimme my pop, you dumb idiot I’m not even a Paki I was born in Canada!” She gave me the finger and began walking away.
I can say now I know sheer anger rushed through me at that moment. I got up and I’m sure to them it looked like I was walking away, when in fact I was walking around the long rectangular table to get right up behind her (I was too big to hop the table) I went right up behind this girl and grabbed her by the little tight up ponytail on the top of her head and smashed her face into the cafe table, BOOM!
At this point I knew I was in trouble, the whole cafe was staring at me, I lifted her head up realizing I was in so much trouble and asked her for my pop back, and she told me to “fuck off!”
I was still holding her ponytail so I smashed her face again! BOOM!
Well I broke the girl’s nose….
I’m not proud of it. In fact it still saddens me to tell the story. Now as an adult I know she learned this stuff from her parents, as they proceeded to call my mom and I all kinds of terrible names during the meeting with the principal, making it quite obvious that I wasn’t in the wrong..nor right for that matter…so basically the principal had to call it a draw. She had used racist comments and provoked and stolen from me, I had used unnecessary force, which at the time wasn’t a part of zero tolerance.
I continued going to school with Laura, I never spoke to her, but I made other friends, but almost 30 years later, she was the first time that someone told me specifically to “go back to my country” as an 11 year old I just didn’t get it! I still don’t get it! Canada is a land of immigrants and NO ONE except Native Canadians have the right to say that.
Up until yesterday I’ve never seen or heard a Native person say that to someone. As a frequent troller of news comments I finally struck gold! (Also I read the comments but never comment!)
Behold exhibit A:
She told him! And something inside me jumped for JOY! Maybe it was the 11 year old me that just went crazy! Braaap Braaap!! It was just such a good clapback that I had to share it!
I think I’m going to start a series on racist experiences. Please if you have ever had one living in Canada comment below! Also I believe in Canada White people are not exempt from racist experiences. I know plenty of Italian, French and Spanish people (to name a few) that were the minority of the decade to hate for a while…and that is why I’m writing this, I want it to be more open. I want others to see the commonalities we have and stop focusing on ththe differences!
A few years later my mom sent me to a charity run summer camp, and by some fluke Laura was in my cabin with me. She was scared of me, we hashed things out and found common ground, her parents had animosity and she was around that growing up. We never became friends but hey some common ground made us human to each other.