Hello, this is Chantal, Founder of Love & Nudes. My wonderful son Tychon and I are pictured above. I had to share his black experience navigating in our society. Sadly, some of these incidences were never revealed to me until now. This is why I know it's crucial that we speak about our experiences...to foster compassion, connection, understanding. Most importantly to show that racism and oppression MUST CHANGE NOW. Read his story below.
How does one write their experience as a black male in this world? To me, this is a difficult question to answer. On one hand, my trials and tribulations throughout life have become normalized. The ignorant comments, the questioning of my intelligence and my mindfulness preceding opening my mouth (to not sound like the dumb black guy) have become normal. On the other hand, when I sit back and reflect on my life - this is nothing but normal. Living in a white man’s world is an internal war.
This war started when I was young - to my most vivid memory being in grade four. My mom sent me to a french immersion school which was predominantly white. I remember having a crush on a white girl and her telling me that “I like you - but you’re black.” I can still hear those words and I still remember that feeling inside of my stomach.
That sums up my first vivid memory, but the rest of my life was comprised of experiences that taught me that we live in a white person’s world. From the way that the police would search my vehicle or ask me for ID when doing nothing wrong, or when teachers would send me to the office for asking difficult questions - it clarified to me that I had to act a certain way to be successful in this world. This character became developed in university when I was surrounded by white peers, professors, and coaches. I had to either sink or swim - which means sacrificing a part of yourself to fit into the white person’s world.
Fast forward to adulthood - where it feels like some of these challenges become normalized. You begin to pick and choose your battles instead of fighting all of them. You begin to ignore ignorant comments so you are not seen as the angry black man so that you can retain your job and move up the ranks. In the corporate world, I’ve been asked “Do you work here?” countless times because my appearance doesn’t fit their identity of a black man in the corporate world. From this it felt like my intelligence was always questioned and that I needed to work hard to fit in.
I was jaded by these struggles and was convinced that these are the confines of the system and we must work within them. But to me this is wrong. It’s wrong that we have to work 3 times as hard to be on par with the white man. It’s wrong that I have to often suppress my identity to make white people feel comfortable. It’s wrong that the system disproportionately puts black people in prison. It’s wrong that white people are killing my brothers and sisters without consequence. It’s wrong - and we are no longer standing for it.
Written by Tychon J Carter-Newman
To learn more about Tychon follow my smart son on IG @tychonxcarter
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