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Audrey Esemezie, second-year medical science student, Feb. 25, 2020.

I used to feel like being black put me at a disadvantage

I used to feel like not being born in Canada was an unbearable baggage

I used to feel like having dark skin, a gap in my teeth and untameable hair

Made me less special, less beautiful, less worthy … it was my internal despair

I have never felt explicit discrimination because of my skin

But I used to feel the impact of teachers being surprised about how well I spoke

Although, I have never been openly harassed, I could always hear the predispositions within

The predisposition that the colour of my skin is an indication of my intelligence or lack thereof

The predisposition that where I was born meant that I could not aspire for excellence, that I could not achieve the same things others could, or compared to my non-black peers, I probably was not good enough

I used to feel like the most intrinsic part of who I am, being black, was somehow a crippling factor, an inhibitor of my success, a handicap to the feeling of acceptance I so craved when I moved here 9 years ago

Now I have learned that black is not a handicap, an obstruction or an obstacle to overcome

Now I have learned that being black is the epitome of resilience, the epitome of beauty, the epitome of strength … a natural phenomenon

Now I have learned that being black has made me a person who is understanding of all people

A person who feels empathy for anyone whose identity opposes destructive societal norms

A person with integrity

Now I have learned that being from Nigeria is why I have never settled for mediocrity

Being from Nigeria is why I strive for success

Being from Nigeria is an irrevocable part of my identity

Being black has put me at the forefront of excellence

Being black makes me anything but less



The Black Students' Association wrote and curated pieces from campus for the Black History Month issue; Angie Antonio was this year's Guest Editor.

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