19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Altered Images
Taking Over. Domestic Attraction - The Eraser, 2020.

He grew up in an African family in a predominantly white environment. From a young age, his friends, environment, and even sometimes his family made it very clear that he wasn’t Black enough, or too white. He was a Black kid trying to survive his own insecurities and problems while under pressure to be someone he wasn’t. Stuck somewhere in between. Later, as a teenager, girls that he wanted to date repeatedly called him a Bounty [chocolate bar], white inside and black outside. That statement was hurtful. He was failing at being himself. This changed his relationship with Black women. He always felt like he was failing them. So he tried to avoid them as much as possible. It also changed his relationships with Black men. As a teenager, he never really understood the concept of community. He didn’t have one. He had his family and his friends. His friends came from all different backgrounds. One day, he was with who he thought were his friends. They had met another group of teenagers on a neighborhood soccer field to play. They started argu- ing about who was going to play next and things escalated quickly. A fight was inevitable. Most of the kids there were white or brown. There were only two Black kids. One in each group. One of his friends yelled to everyone that the two Black kids should fight to decide who was going to take the field. They physically pushed them toward each other. They fought. He won, but left. He went home and cried. He had no idea why he was crying. Now he knows. Racism is not only about discrimination against Black people, it also teaches us to hate each other. It took him years to not see other Black men as threats but as people to be interested in, to talk to and to love. Now that he’s older he wants to reclaim that past he never had. He’s trying to reimagine his memories with acceptance by the community. But memory is a tricky one...

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Vancouver, Canada
Copyright: © Kriss Munsya