tagInterracial LoveForsaken: Good Black Men

Forsaken: Good Black Men


August 7, 2012. It had been a year since I got dumped unceremoniously by Diana Jones and experienced a life-altering change in the way I looked both at the world and at myself. Everything that happens in this life is a teaching moment, to quote the recently re-elected United States President Barack Obama. I've changed a lot since those days. For starters, I graduated from the Sprott MBA program at Carleton University. Yay for me, I guess. That was a major step. Tonight, my new lady love Brittany Lansbury and I are meeting my folks for their thirtieth wedding anniversary at a quaint little Caribbean restaurant in the west end of the Canadian capital.

My parents, Leonard and Mariel Sebastien moved to the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario, from their hometown of Cap-Haitien in the island of Haiti in the summer of 1985. I was born two years later. As Canadian as maple syrup, but decidedly Haitian flavoured. That's me in a nutshell. The name is Eric Sebastien. I've often been told that I was different, whatever that means. I stand six feet two inches tall, big and dark-skinned, with curly hair and light brown eyes. I'm built like a college or professional football player, but I couldn't throw a ball to save my life. I've always had a head for numbers, though. At Saint Augustine Academy, I was President of the Math team, even though everybody from the principal to the athletic director begged me to try out for the varsity football team. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but I missed the sport gene.

Not every big and tall Black male you run into is good at sports. We can do more than that, you know. People often speak of the Black male's physical prowess in matters of contact sports and sex. What about the Black man's brain? How come nobody ever mentions it? This makes me shake my head in disgust. Anyhow, growing up I was used to the other Blacks at my old high school accusing me of acting White simply because I wasn't into sports or skipping school but I rather enjoyed academia. On Friday nights you'd catch me playing chess with friends in a quiet corner of the academy library. Yeah, I was never mister excitement, let's leave it at that. I was simply me. A hard-working, church-going, friendly and easygoing Black male who didn't butcher the English language with every syllable coming out of my mouth. No sir, I believed in using proper diction and all that. Where did I learn that from? I got it from my parents. My dad studied civil engineering at the University of Massachusetts in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, before moving to Ontario, Canada. He came to Canada as a Haitian national with an American university degree. Something which amazed the authorities when he first came as a landed immigrant, dad told me.

Education is the Black man's way of reaching higher, that's what my father told me. He urged me to always strive to be the best. And I always listened to my dad. When I enrolled at Carleton University in Ottawa, I was surrounded by a diverse group of students for the first time. Canada's capital university has many students from places like Africa, the Middle East, China, India and Latin America. That was way more diversity than I was used to at the private Christian school which I attended a while back. There were only twenty five Black students among the eleven hundred person study body at Saint Augustine Academy and nineteen of them were female. I guess you could say that I wasn't used to being around Black guys...and I'm a Black man! I grew up in a White neighborhood, my friends were White and everything was okay, I guess.

I knew that the world saw me as a Black man and I embraced it. I have never been ashamed of being Black, even though I've often been accused of acting White. I just didn't like them trying to define who and what I am simply because of my skin colour. Being Black and male shouldn't just mean being good at sports and a sexual hound. Black men can follow intellectual pursuits too. We can be lawyers, doctors, engineers, chess players, writers, artists and lawmakers instead of just athletes and thugs. I've struggled my whole life with this, and it is still a struggle. Too many young Black men grow up thinking that being smart isn't cool, so they act dumb and look where it leads them.

When I arrived at Carleton University, I sought others like myself. Surely among these sons and daughters of the African and Afro-Caribbean Diaspora there must be some pretty intelligent and ambitious people. I always wanted to join a club filled with positive, smart Black folks who would uplift the Black community with our good deeds. We often hear about the Black male who's a deadbeat dad or the one who robs the liquor store. Why don't we hear about the one who's a rising executive in a big company, a hard-working policeman in a tough precinct, or a dedicated fireman? Black men can be more than athletes and thugs. That's what I believed. Fortunately at Carleton University, I learned that I wasn't alone in my belief.

I met a six-foot-tall, lovely young African-American woman named Diana Jones. Born in the City of Detroit, Michigan, she came to Carleton University on an international scholarship. You should have seen her, man. Tall and absolutely sexy. She kind of resembled that young lady from the movie ATL. The one who played rapper T.I.'s love interest in the movie. Diana Jones took my breath away. I've always been fascinated by African-Americans. From Martin Luther King to Malcolm X, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama, African-Americans are my heroes. Look at all the things they've accomplished in racist America. They should be an inspiration for us Black Canadians. Diana invited me to join the newly christened Black Students Association at Carleton University.

A gathering of African-descended intellectuals creating positive change through their actions in the community. Through Diana I met quite a few very interesting people. Abdul Ahmed, a smart brother from Somalia, a luminary in the civil engineering program at Ottawa University. Rose Kensington, a pretty Jamaican sister from the police foundations program at Algonquin College. Henry Adewale, a brilliant Nigerian-born British student who was spending a semester at Carleton University. Jose Sanchez, an Afro-Brazilian brother studying chemical engineering at McGill University. Wow. I was in good company! I was thrilled to be among them, and sparks were flying between Diana and I. Finally I met the kind of sister who liked smart brothers instead of thugs. We began going out. Everything seemed perfect for three months, then I found out she was cheating on me with this rich White guy named Trent Hauser. He's from the University of Heidelberg, somewhere in Germany, and is spending a semester at Carleton University. He's rich, White, and likes chocolate ladies. How do you like them apples?

I was really hurt when I discovered the awful truth, and when I confronted Diana about it, she got really mad. I expected her to be remorseful but she was angry and said she was fed up with me. I was heartbroken. I forced myself to move on because there's really no use crying over what clearly wasn't meant to be. I truly missed Diana, though I wished I didn't. sometimes I saw her on campus with Trent Hauser, and the rich German bastard was all smiles as he kissed her every time he saw me. Diana loved showing off Trent to me. As if he was some kind of prize. To Black chicks who can't stand Black men, White guys make great trophies and vice versa. I decided to focus on my schoolwork and ignored Trent and Diana for the sake of my sanity.

In spite of my best efforts, my grades slipped up. Elroy Jacobson, one of my favorite professors in the Sprott MBA program at Carleton University, advised me to get some academic help. My academic helper came in the form of a five-foot-eleven, blonde-haired and blue-eyed, tough-as-nails ( but with a nice big butt ) American chick named Brittany Lansbury. A recent graduate of the MBA program, she was working on campus as a teacher's assistant. I was a bit hesitant when professor Elroy paired us together, but I never should have questioned the old Nova Scotian's wisdom. Brittany Lansbury turned out to be just what I needed, in more ways than one. This Barbie-like lady did not go easy on me. She put me through hell, academically and personally. I needed someone to make me snap back to reality. I needed to stop whining over Diana, who clearly moved on with her life. Oh, yeah. And you know what? It worked like a charm.

Brittany Lansbury was tough on me, but as I got to know her, I realized that this Texan-born Barbie Doll had a heart as big as the State in which she was born and raised. One night, I mustered the courage to ask her out and she said yes, but only under the condition that my grades pick up. Well, you had better believe I brought my grades back up. Brittany and I began dating, and she was a breath of fresh air. Finally someone I could be myself around. We had been dating for three and a half months before I introduced her to my parents. I knew my dad would be cool with me being with Brittany but I was a bit worried about my mom's reaction. Like most Black mothers, my mom wanted her only son to be with a Black woman.

Well, I'm sorry mom but Black women don't like me. They can't like me. I tried, I really did. I swear to God that I did. I am exactly how you raised me to be. I'm a decent, educated, friendly and easygoing, respectful Black man. I respect women. I'm generous. I'm a good guy. I'm not a thug or a hustler. I don't treat women like garbage because I like to project a tough guy image. So, no, I guess they don't encounter Black men like me too often. In the end, my mother came around. For she realized that Brittany Lansbury made me happy. It's my life, and we only get so many chances at love and happiness. got to seize the moment or life will pass you by. Peace.

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