WHO AM I
I'm Anisha Holden-Bensdira, an 18 year old student attending my first year at McMaster University in Hamilton ON, for Peace studies - and here's my story.
I previously resided in Hamilton, a multicultural city where I was accustomed to an immense amount of diversity. However, my family had an urge to transition to a smaller area in 2011, and so we did. Although living in Collingwood has provided me with so many benefits, it also opened the door for so many more hardships - being that it is a predominantly white community and I'm biracial.
Being both young and vulnerable I didn't know how to independently embrace my background, because It was never taught to me within my community ; partly due to the lack of representation that was unable to be sought out. I wasn't really sure where I stood with my identity, was I black or was I white? being told that I was both too light and too dark to associate with either, leaving me in a no-mans land where I was known as the 'knock off version' or '50% off' of both. As much as I tried to ignore this feeling it was always present, I never could have the ideal look that I craved. Thus being blonde hair, fair skin, and blue eyes.
I didn't want to embrace my background because I wasn't taught to be proud of it. Until last year when everything changed, in May 2020 when the uproar of BLM was current in the media, I finally was able to find my people, people I could relate to.
I'm saddened that it took up until the movement to be proud of my background, however, I'm pleased that I can now proudly move forward on my self identifying journey.
A journey is an understatement, it's been a crazy ride. I have since been blessed with so many amazing opportunities to educate my community and beyond about racism.
If you're interested to learn more about these opportunities click below.