For the first time since January 2020, I was able to return home and boy has it been lovely. I have gotten to see my mother every day, seen my god parents, finally been in the same room as both members of Black in the Maritimes and cannot complain. On our first outing as a group, I couldn’t help notice the immense amount of diversity I was seeing. I noticed more diverse staff, other Black women with braids, visible minorities walking on the streets. I’m sure there is a possibility that I am noticing this diversity more since I am working with activists, am part of this very podcast, and have my eye on the look out for POCs, but overall I have been extremely impressed with the amount of diversity in Moncton.
What I find peculiar in seeing this progress, is that the mindset of Moncton still feels very “baby boomer”. I see increased diversity but still overheard racism at several functions and dinners. I was the only person of colour in two restaurants I sat in. I saw the community, and then I saw them walk right passed and still not participate in what I may consider Moncton culture. Throughout my time back home, I still found a lot of the culture to centre around alcohol and partying (the sign of the sand juxtaposed with a drink ‘on the rocks’ did not pass the vibe). Maybe some of that partying culture does not appeal to these vast groups of minorities.
Unlike Toronto, Moncton to me does not feel homogenized with it’s cultures. What I mean by that, is not necessarily assimilation, but that I don’t see the white anglos or acadians mixing often with the diverse groups. I felt very proud to see the diversity in this city, but most places I went still seemed to have a line drawn in the sand between groups mingling together, eating together, going to establishments. I really wonder what it is about Moncton or New Brunswick that doesn’t seem to want to encourage people with different backgrounds but similar interests coming together.
Seeing how Moncton has progressed really amplified for me the need, not only for Black in the Maritimes’ voice but for my own voice. I am one of those rare individuals who has been white washed, who is Acadian but who is also Black, a member of a marginalized community and sees cause and reason to mix both for the greater good of society. I am endlessly proud to be a Monctonian, and a New Brunswicker. I hope diversified groups continue to come to Moncton and share their experiences and voices so we can have a greater sense of community.