They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life and growing Up
By Eternity Martis
McClelland and Stewart 2021 Ebook $11.99
Reviewed by Grace Liu
In the style of a memoir of her time as an undergrad student at Ontario’s Western Univesity, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up ,by Eternity Martis, connects with its readers by presenting a compilation of both familiar and unfamiliar personal stories of experiences of growing up. The story explores Martis’ experiences as one of a small minority of Black students at the school and is manifested with a continued sense of curiosity to understand the evolving world in which we live in.
The book takes its readers onto an endless journey of reminisce and self-growth, through constant reflection and necessary re-learning. We are provoked in deep thoughts of the potential consequences of our words, actions, and interactions. We question the fine line between “embracing diversity” and “showing ignorance.” We explore demonstrations of micro-aggressions and the ripple effects they may bring into an individual’s life. We examine the relationship between intersectionality and the existent power dynamics in our surroundings: the realities, experiences, and sentiments behind a person of colour, a person of minority, and a woman of colour. We seek to understand tokenism and how it is portrayed. Ultimately, we face the big question: “How do we truly achieve anti-racism?”
This is a must-read that would undoubtedly make you laugh and cry at different moments. It opens a door for the reader to enter a realm of opportunities: to become self-aware, and to welcome change, in themself, to learn to make a difference in the society. This is a bridge for those still looking for clarity in finding their sense of belonging and their own voice. This is also a key for those who are ready to have open yet may be uncomfortable conversations—becoming allies in breaking the barriers around discrimination in order to celebrate diversity.
Grace Liu is a teacher in District 12, Toronto.