Thandiwe McCarthy: “Who defines Blackness? It seemed everyone except my family in Woodstock was white and all those people I interacted with told me I was no different from them. So what makes me Black if the people in my life say it doesn’t matter?”
“What could be more racist than not even acknowledging one of the founding groups in your region? asks Thandiwe McCarthy, writing about his home province of New Brunswick. “We have no place to show our art, no building dedicated to our history, no representation at our universities, no representation in our news, none in our government. At every single level In New Brunswick being Black has been pushed into the shadows, while we have been here contributing to society for centuries.”
Thandiwe McCarty reflects on an exhibit of New Brunswick’s unsung Black heroes, people who excelled in many fields, the arts, academia, business and entertainment. How come I never heard of these people until now, he asks.
“As someone who only recently took identifying as a Black man seriously, I have struggled to look internally for the parts of me that are so socially visible and yet personally unfamiliar. Searching through music, movement and memory for the shadows that hide my Blackness in plain sight.” Thandiwe McCarthy
“But a Black poet among whites can only dare hope to be a gangsta rapper. Suddenly my every rhyme was measured and directed by the only other source of Black knowledge they had: entertainment media.” Thandiwe McCarty writes on being Black and the barriers to finding your own voice.
Thandiwe McCarthy on going to school while Black in New Brunswick. “No one ever explained anything to me, I was always ordered. I never got the chance to be a student because all the teachers viewed me as a threat.”