“No, but where are you FROM?”

Vancouver’s population is about 600,000 (2 million when you include the entire metro area). Less than one percent of that, 0.9 to be exact, is Black, which is equal to about 5,400 people. (In my grossly unscientific survey) I would say that about 90-95% of those people have immediate ancestry in a Caribbean or African nation. What that all boils down to for a Black American is this conversation:

“Where are you from?”
“The States–California.”
“Okay, but where are your parents from?”
“The States–California & D.C.”
“Okay, but where–”
“American. American. American. American. Native American. Slaves. Oh, and a dash of Irish, just for luck.”

That is the closest thing I had to any race issues while I was there and as strange as it seemed to me at first, when you look at the context of Vancouver being a city full of immigrants–52% don’t claim English as their first language–it all makes sense.

Also, when it comes to issues of race/nationality, I felt, and I have seen this sentiment echoed by other Black American female travelers, treated as American first, female second, Black third.

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