When I am asked where I am from, I always say that I am born in Montreal and a proud Canadian but not a Quebecer. I know I am geographically, but I do not identify with the province at all as a Black man. I grew up in St-Michel and lived in a lot of neighborhoods in the 514. I speak both French and English. I bleed red white and hockey blue. But Quebecer? Hell no.
Mostly because I have never felt like this province was accepting of my color or culture. I am a First Generation Canadian with a Haitian/American background and you are either asked to assimilate or must go beyond excellence for Quebecers to feel like you belong in White spaces. And when you try to address the racism issues in this province, you get told that it does not exist.
I never saw people like me on TV or anything here so I gravitated to American Tv because I could see black shows and art. It never felt like Quebec cared to put us in their media.
I work in the arts and media industry as a visual artist and it always feels lonely. I am always the only person of color in the room in places where I am the first person of my skin tone to hold the position and I have to constantly prove that I have the right to be where I am no matter how many accolades I collect.
So to me the BLM movement represents not only Black people and minorities showing the world that we matter but also trying to change how we are viewed here. I do not want to assimilate to a space. I want Quebec to recognize that we can make our own, that we do not need to be accepted and that we are and always have been part of the culture.
Maybe then, I’ll call myself a Quebecer.