Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #24, Natalie Bell, Lifestyle Blogger, PegCityLovely

Part of the duality of being Black is that you don’t want to be defined by your melanin, but you also don’t seek to forget everything that’s come before you to make you who you are today.

Natalie’s post reminds me that the world will inform you you’re Black no matter how you’re raised, but it’s up to us not to let the disadvantages of being Black Canadian hold us back. Instead, we must work hard to overcome them so we can shape the tomorrow we want.

Even through this series, we’ve seen examples of a number of Black professionals and the things they’ve done to carve their own paths—who’s to say you can’t do the same?

I hope Natalie’s story—like many of the stories we’ve shared this year—inspires you, and as for me, I’m off to prep tomorrow’s Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

Funny enough, I’ve never thought of myself in that context. I’ve always been Canadian. I was never taught to label myself in such a manner. If anything, I would state that I’m a Jamaican-Canadian, because I have been heavily immersed in my heritage from a young age, thanks to that good, good “broughtupsie’! I knew I was black, kids in school were quick to tell me, and I may not have completely understood what it was all about then but I knew was different, I just didn’t dwell on it. My parents would tell me afterwards how important it was to get an education and that I would need to work harder than others because I was a Black Canadian. I understand it now more than ever. Being a Black Canadian means I need to be a role model for my children and help guide them to see their worth in this world as they will be labelled the same way.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #16, Jackline K, Blogger, Sincerely Miss J

If you’ve read the Tales from the 2.9 ’til now, you’ll have likely noticed some common themes that tie every narrative together:

  • The need to overcome the negative portrayal of Black people as depicted in popular culture
  • That all Black people aren’t the same but are the sum of people from dozens of countries, hundreds of cultures, and countless different personalities and mindsets, and
  • Our community needs to work together and support one another if we ever want to change the world we were dropped into

One thing in particular from Jackline’s submission really resonated with me—”our accomplishments need to weigh as much and have the same meaning as everyone else’s.” We need to elevate—we can’t just compare ourselves to our fellow Black people and see that as a measure of success; we need to excel in general and show the world what we’re capable of! It means writing series like this. Or talking to Black youth about what’s possible in this world—I did a chat last week at Youth Employment Services on personal branding and I’ll be on a panel later this month doing the same. We need to keep raising our standards and let no one tell us of all the things we can’t accomplish.

Enjoy Jackline’s thoughts as she explores her Black Canadian experience—I’ll be back tomorrow with another Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

I consider the term “Black Canadian” a very broad term because I don’t really see myself as just that. Calling me just black leaves out a lot of vital information about me that is actually very important in understanding who I am. I’m not just black. I’m from Africa, Ghana to be precise, and I have many intricacies about me that are like or unlike most black Canadians out there. Therefore, I tend to use the term “Ghanaian Canadian” more often to describe myself.

Being a black Canadian means I need to grab every opportunity that I’m given. It’s almost a daily battle trying to disprove the many stereotypes that exist for black Canadians. I usually need to work harder than my counterparts to achieve the same goals and I have a bigger burden to be a good model for those younger than me.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #15, Lian “Reese” Wright, Blogger, Reese Speaks

One point I’ve made a number of times while running this year’s Tales from the 2.9 is that I don’t wake up each morning with my Blackness at the forefront of my mind. Am I aware of it? Obviously—it’s an integral part of my identity of the beliefs, behaviours and biases I have today. But I don’t let it define me—my race is part of the whole that is Casey Palmer, and that’s something I believe today’s contributor would firmly agree with.

I first came across Lian “Reese” Wright when I put 2016’s series together, and she’s staunchly supported the series since. As mentioned last year, parent bloggers of colour aren’t that prevalent—especially not in Canada—so when we can learn from each other, it’s truly a beautiful thing.

Without further ado, please enjoy some of Reese’s thoughts on what her Black Canadian identity means to her, and I’ll be right back tomorrow with another Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

For me, being a Black Canadian means so many things. I feel unique because I am usually the only Black Canadian in a group of people. I feel proud because of the all of the accomplishments Black Canadians have achieved and continue to pursue. For me, being Black Canadian also means that I have to overcome challenges put in front of me to be successful and to change what others perceive of me due to the stereotypes that are believed about our community.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #12, Cassandra Chambers, Blogger, Curvaceously Ambitious

Unfortunately, we aren’t all one big happy family in the Black Canadian community—its fragmented nature and the disadvantaged origins of its people mean dealing not only with the conflict and stereotypes that come from outside the community but also dealing with it internally as well.

Popular culture’s painted us as dangerous. Untrustworthy. As a people unwilling to lift a finger to help themselves, instead sponging off the efforts of other hardworking Canadians to get by. And many of these came to mind when I read Cassandra’s entry.

Now—those biases don’t mean she’s entirely wrong. It’s because we don’t come from a unified front that dissent, distrust and contempt can breed between us.  And it doesn’t have to take much—you have Jamaicans who dislike anyone from Guyana or Trinidad. You have Caribbean immigrants who distrust anyone from Africa. We spend a lot of time focusing on the ills that’ve been done to us from outside the Black community, but we can’t ignore the shifts in attitude and healing needed within the community if we want to collectively grow past what’s holding us back.

I didn’t put today’s piece out to vilify anyone, but to shed light on a simple fact—if unification’s something our community’s seeking, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Until tomorrow,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

To me, being a Black Canadian means diversity and being part of a country—a city, especially—that accepts black people, is cultured, and celebrates the achievements of black Canadians.  Over the years, Black History Month’s become more recognised; we also have our first black-owned radio station G98FM as well as different black-owned businesses and companies. Opportunities are available as long as you are willing to work for it.

The 2017 100 — It’s Not WHAT You Do, It’s How You DO It.

Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!

It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.

Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.

But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.

Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.

I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!

But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!