L’Amour et ses Raisons


«L’Amour et ses Raisons»
“Love & Its Reasons”: Interracial Lovinz, Take 2

Cut by: Davita Cuttita

I once met a Frenchman who told me he needed romance…

As I’m still learning the French language, it’s not uncommon for me to meet a variety of francophones from all over the world and it’s always interesting to see how romance and race work in different cultures.

Recently, I was in Montréal visiting a White friend of mine.

For those of you not in the know, the city of Montréal is in Québec; the French-speaking province of Canada. It’s pretty popular for its exuberant nightlife, excellent French cuisine and European inspired architecture. It’s a fabulous city full of life, many different kinds of people and sells booze basically everywhere (so it’s my kinda town). On the downside, the province of Québec also has a reputation for possibly being the most racist province in Canada according to a poll conducted in 2007 (although most people I’ve talked to would say that Québec is the least racist and before reading this survey, those were my thoughts exactly too).

Now you can kind of see where this post is going…

My friend and I desperately needed groceries for the week and made a trip to the store.

As we were at the cash placing the items onto the conveyor belt and making chit-chat in French, the cashier kept shooting us odd looks. I’d just arrived in Montreal an hour ago and was exhausted from the 9 hour bus journey so I guessed that I probably sounded strange to her because I speak in the France dialect rather than the Quebecor one.  I smiled at her politely to save face.

When we got back to the car, my friend burst out laughing hysterically.

“Did you see how she was looking at us?” he asked. “What was her problem?!”

I was so tired I hadn’t even noticed. I laughed.

A particularly nasty incident happened when we went to a Lebanese restaurant for some take-out one day.

As soon as I entered the store, a “gentleman” waiting by the cash register for his order frowned immensely. I ignored him. When we got up to the register and waited for our food to arrive, the man gave us the dirtiest stare down the ENTIRE time. This man was staring at us as though we’d just burned down his fucking house and pissed on the ashes; his eyes flickered back and forth between us as his frown reached towards the floor.

My friend is about 6”3 and had his back turned to the old shit and chatted with me, smiling all the while.

“Did you notice a guy giving us dirty looks at the cash register?” I asked as he opened the car door for me.

“What?” he chuckled “There was a man there?”

That old man at the restaurant and the young woman at the cash were definitely reminders that not everyone is going to approve of my life or the people I share my life with because we do not have the same skin colour.

To me, it’s odd to meet people who seem ridiculously oblivious to racism and thus far in my experience, the French people I’ve met are very forward and matter-of-fact about everything; racism included. There’s almost a nonchalant air about it and you really have to put up or shut up.

We’ve been on walks together; occasionally holding hands and it’s almost instinct for me to take note of the few people who stare or give us dirty looks. I’m sure to hold my head extra high.

My friend notices too but never once has it ever showed on him, he has never flinched nor has he ever let go of my hand or kept a distance between us to make the disapproving stares stop.

Never a patronizing word such as “So what do Jamaicans eat? I hear you eat [insert random food]”.

He’s never asked to touch my hair as though it’s some sort of exhibit.

For the first time I think I’ve met someone who genuinely likes me for who I am and not for the “novelty” of me being a “Black, domineering, exotic, Nubian princess”.

Do not be mistaken—this is not being colourblind. This is seeing my colour and accepting the fact that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. This is seeing all of me and being blind to nothing.

At the same time, it’s not uncommon for me to hear from other Black people or other people of colour who believe that everyone should “stick to their own”.  They can believe whatever they want but they can’t run my life and tell me who I should and shouldn’t talk to based on skin colour alone.

I am still proud of my country and my people, proud of my heritage and culture; proud and unashamed of my identity as a Black woman. I am no traitor; I have no debt to anyone because somehow my blackness owes the world something. My ancestors were in chains so I refuse to be held captive by any shackles to my mind, to my intelligence, to my spirit, to my persona, to my joy, to my beauty, to my integrity, to my ability to be responsible; to my ability to give.

And neither should you.

Never be afraid to go after something you want and never be afraid to enjoy it without apologies.


~ by davitacuttita on September 14, 2009.

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