Black is beautiful. And no one can tell me any different.
When I was growing up, I never saw race as a differentiating factor between me and the girl I sat next to in class. We were never taught that we were different, and as a result, I never really fully understood the cultural barriers until I started high school in a new country. My siblings and I were bullied, our house was egged and kids our age followed us in hordes as we walked home from school. Venturing out without a grown-up was never something we did because we were scared of being on the receiving end of such hatred. We were kids ourselves and we didn't understand why they weren't nice to us. We were new to the country that we would later call "home" for over six years; but while we didn't know anything outside of what we had been taught back home in Zimbabwe; we learned fast.
Being exposed to racism showed us that the life we had grown up watching on our satellite dishes (cable), and in the movies were just all part of a fantasy that so many longed for, but would never see or experience because of hatred and negativity. Life was tough for us, but as we grew and learned, we were able to meet people who didn't ask if we "lived in huts" or had "lions for pets" because we were black and had gotten off a plane from Africa to try our luck at "the dream". My favourite to date though is, "Why is your English so good?" LOL. That one though is a doozy, but I can't help but smile and answer with the best manners I was taught from a very young age. Ignorance can be bliss, but in this day and age, in a world where a child under the age of ten (10) owns a cellphone...come one now! There is no room for such silliness!
Growing up in Scotland and Canada has given me the chance to witness so many different cultures interact on a daily. And while life has been an amazing roller-coaster, it has also been an eye-opening opportunity because despite how great some moments can be, being witness to some of the heinous crimes involving black people is maddening and hurtful. While death, drugs and crime riddles the lives of many black men and women, sometimes it is hard to showcase the good that isn't a stereotype of what being "black" is as defined by society.