Kattiana's Story: A Black Girl in a White Family & Community

It all started in 1995 when I moved to Canada from Haiti.

I was adopted into an amazing family in northern New Brunswick. Even though I’ve been so blessed to be adopted into an amazing family, I still felt out of place, mainly because I am a black girl raised in a white family and a white community.

The first time I realized that I was different was when I walked into class the first day of kindergarten.

I kept on wondering why there was no one in my class that looked like me.

Why they didn’t have the same skin colour, or the same hair texture. Then having to get used to going to the store and not being able to find the right hair products for my hair type, and makeup that goes with my colour of skin… it was just exhausting.

I don’t know how many times people would say things like “you’re very pretty for a black girl” or “you’re not like other black girls” thinking it is a compliment but it's really an insult.

I still remember I was in my hip-hop dance class and my teacher would say “get into your inner blackness…. Or be like Katt” and back then I didn’t take any offence to it but realizing it now, it was just inappropriate to say.

When living in a small community a lot of people are blind to the ignorance that happens on an everyday basis with people of colour.

I’ve learnt to ignore those comments and go on with my day, but it does still get frustrating at the same time because it should not be my job.

Now let’s fast forward to high school; it was a bit more challenging for me. I was told that I was uneducated about my own race and sometimes made fun of because of that. I would be called an Oreo; which, if anyone doesn’t know what that means, it refers to being black on the outside and white on the inside.

I felt like I was never accepted by the black kids in my school and at the same time I didn’t even feel accepted by the white kids either.

It’s like I was just “there” just trying to find my way till I got out of that small town.

Of course, I had friends in school. I’m not going to act like I was this lonely girl who had no one to talk to or hang out with, but I felt like I didn’t belong, and I had always had something to prove.

It was a hard go for a while, but I learned to overcome it and realized that I am who I am, and those who don’t like it don’t really matter. You can’t please everyone.

Right now, we are seeing a lot of police brutality especially against people of colour, and I’m not going to lie, it has taken a toll on my life. When you have your white friends not understanding the concept on BLM and feeling like it is your responsibility to educate them on it is mentally exhausting.

This year has really opened my eyes to who wants to listen and learn about what is going on in the world concerning my black brother and sisters and to those who just are committed to misunderstanding us.

I have lost friends this year because of it, but I have absolutely no regrets. If you knew me when I was younger, I may have been the one to say “all lives matter” just because I didn’t understand the concept and how bad the world is today having to do with racism.

So here I am at 26 years old.

I wish I could say that I completely found myself on a personal level but I’m still working on it. Yes, I did learn a lot of things about myself over the years, but I guess that’s the gift of life, you keep on learning more and more amazing things about yourself until the day you leave this earth.

The journey keeps on going.

So my message to everyone who is trying to find themselves in this little place we call life, just be true to yourself. There’s only one you, and you are enough.

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