I’ve faced a number of issues as a Black Canadian, yes, but those suffered by Black Canadian women are on a different level entirely.
It’s no coincidence that the Women’s March happened the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President — his election campaign was awash with sexist sentiment leaving women feeling more objectified than ever, so when Samantha Kemp-Jackson echoed these feelings in her submission, it was sadly just another example that women of colour have dealt with entirely too long.
Compiling Tales from the 2.9 gives me hope that with enough mindful action, we can find ways to work past the shackles that bind us, but who of us will commit to taking the first steps on that very long road ahead?
Hopefully, this post will inspire you to do just that!
What does being Black Canadian mean to you?
To me, being a Black Canadian means many things. It is a daily exercise in intersectionality, with my skin colour being the constant. I am a Black Canadian, but I am also a woman. The combination of both of these elements has led to many experiences, both positive and less-than-positive that are sadly, not uncommon for Black women in general.
I think we (People of Colour) have all experienced some standard questions: “Where are you from?” or “No, where are you REALLY from,” which underscores that while we may be a diverse society, we still have a way to go in terms of the greater public accepting minorities as “real Canadians.”
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Being a Black Canadian, and a Canadian in general, has allowed me to be appreciated by many who embrace multiculturalism, and who are open and welcoming to all. As well, I appreciate the many cultures and the diversity that I experience on a day-to-day basis. Living in Toronto, I’ve been spoiled in that every day, it’s the norm to see, speak with and interact with so many Canadians of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. Being a Black Canadian means walking through life with many different lenses and experiencing the society from a unique and interesting perspective.
What’s your experience been like as a Black Canadian and how has it shaped who you are today?
My experience being a Black Canadian has been a rich one. I wouldn’t change a thing, if I could. That’s not to say that there haven’t been situations that have forced me to be self-reflective, to feel pain or to wonder when we’re going to get to a place where racism and discrimination don’t exist, but aren’t those situations the ones that make you grow? I think on the whole, Canadians are welcoming and accepting. Because of this, my perspective of being a Black woman in Canada has, for the most part, been positive. As I mentioned in the previous question, it hasn’t been without its challenges, but being an eternal optimist, I like to look on the bright side of things. Yes – we have a ways to go, but we’re getting there, so that should count for something, right?
What’s something you’d like to see more of within the Black Canadian community?
I’d like to see more examples of Black Canadian success stories. I know there are a lot out there! We need to hear about them and celebrate their abilities. It would be great to see more positive media surrounding the community.
What do you think those outside the Black Canadian community need to better understand in order to coexist with Black Canadians in a respectful and considerate way?
That we’re not a monolith. That we have diversity within our community. That we have a lot to offer, a lot to give back and a lot of work yet to do. Treat us the way you would want to be treated. It’s as simple as that.
If your life could teach but one thing to your fellow Black Canadians, what would it be?
Stay positive, hold your head high and keep your eye on the prize!
Samantha Kemp-Jackson, aka “Multiple Mayhem Mamma,” is a successful parenting writer, blogger, public speaker and frequent media spokesperson. She regularly discusses the various triumphs and trials of parenting via her blog, Multiple Mayhem Mamma as well as on various media outlets including The Canadian Press, The Huffington Post, Reuters, CTV Your Morning, and CBC Radio among many others. Since starting her blog in 2011, she’s regularly appeared in the media, dispensing parenting advice and insight to advice-seeking Moms and Dads nationally. Having children of the most diverse age range ever, her “claim to fame” is that she’s a rare breed of folk who has the dubious distinction of having raised children in four decades: the ‘80’s, ‘90’s, ‘00’s and the ’10’s.
In 2015, her story was profiled in the November edition of Toronto Life. For a more detailed sample of her broadcast and print media interviews, visit her media page, here.
In Samantha’s professional life, she’s a strategic, senior-level communicator, writer and media relations expert with 25 years of professional experience working with both the public and private sectors. She’s also a lover of all things tech, and has built her Communications career on providing media relations and public relations counsel to clients primarily within the Technology sector.
With almost a decade of PR agency experience, she is known for her media relations savvy and writing and runs a successful Public Relations and Writing consultancy, Triple M Communications. Social Media is an integral part of her professional and personal life as evidenced by her large Twitter following. Samantha also shares her love of Communications and PR by teaching part-time in the Communications departments at both Seneca College (Seneca at York campus) and Sheridan College (Oakville campus).