Kevin David, The IT Nerd | Tales from the 2.9, Vol. 2 #7

Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:51 pm

So let’s talk tokenism for a moment.

I’ve had a book in the works for a while now—TOKEN: Living Life Black in a World Coloured Otherwise. You haven’t heard much about it because I’m already doing more than enough writing to keep me busy, and no number of things I experience today will suddenly change a childhood where the only Black faces I saw were often the ones I was related to.

So then, does your community dictate your culture?

Well, if your definition of Blackness comes strictly from popular culture where stereotypes reign supreme, then I’m sorry my culture disappoints. The world I know is built on community service, extracurriculars and a private school education, so I might be a little different than you expected.

Today’s entry from Kevin David mirrors much of what I’ve experienced and then some. When you’re a token, you often become an unsolicited ambassador for your race, questioned whenever you do something that doesn’t fit the expectation. Hopefully this entry—and others in the series—help shatter those expectations and give us a world where kids are only expected to be one thing… themselves.

Until tomorrow,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #7, Kevin David, Blogger:IT Specialist, The IT Nerd — Kevin David Headshot

What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

It means being a chameleon. I find myself often having to be different things to different groups of people, be it Black, White, or whatever, in order to exist within this society. So much so that if you asked me what I am really like, I am not sure that I could really answer that question. It also means that I have break stereotypes on an almost daily basis. If I don’t, I will get placed into a category that really doesn’t apply to me.

Samantha Kemp-Jackson | Tales from the 2.9, Vol 2. #6

Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:48 pm

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!

Until tomorrow,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

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.

Ryan Elcock | Tales from the 2.9, Vol. 2 #5

Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:47 pm

A friend first introduced me to Ryan while seeking contributors for the first Tales from the 2.9, and we’ve kept in close contact ever since while he works at building inroads for the Black Canadian community.

I knew it when I read his post last year—Ryan has some of the most pointed views out of anyone I work with for Tales.

Black power groups have popped up time and again for a reason—because there’ve always been adversaries trying to hold us down. We saw it with the slaves who knew how to read and write on plantations. The victims of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Those left standing in the ashes after Black Wall Street was razed to the ground in the 1920s. There’ve been all too many horrific examples of the majority stopping the Black minority from getting ahead, which is why Ryan’s tenets of Black pride hold so much value.

If you came to Tales looking for a light read and fluffy emotions, I’m sorry—this post isn’t for you. But if you’re coming with an open mind and looking for real opinions from real people tackling real issues head-on, then read on—this post’s got food for thought!

Until tomorrow,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

To me, being a Black Canadian means acknowledging that I fight a battle where the odds are stacked against me, yet I know I do not carry the burden alone.

I carry the knowledge of my parents, who are immigrants, as well as those of my fellow Black Canadians, who also share the same challenges that I face no matter where they come from.

This shared struggle also gives me strength because I know that I have access to a wealth of unique knowledge that can help me in my personal struggle as a Black man since I can learn from others and not just myself.

Furthermore, being a Black Canadian also means that I have a unique ability to relate to the world since, like many Black Canadians, I am the first generation who has one foot in Canada and another in the lands of my parents’ birth. This gives me a unique perspective in navigating not only Canada but also in understanding the global community around me.

As a Black Canadian, I have had to deal with racism and the constant struggle of having to navigate a society that does not always see me as an equal or capable.

However, those hardships made me stronger and helped me develop a strong sense of self-worth because I know that many Black Canadians have endured the same things and triumphed.

Nicole Bedeau | Tales from the 2.9, Vol. 2 #4

Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:46 pm

Upon reading Nicole’s entry for the Tales from the 2.9, I felt we shared many commonalities in our lives—a lack of Black peers in our lives due to lifestyle choices from our Caribbean immigrant parents. Doing things thought “not Black enough” by family and friends, losing street credibility to things like figure skating and spelling bees.

In fact, though many of us are Canadian born and bred in 2017, we still have a hard time integrating into the lifestyles full of Canadian ideals prescribed to us through our popular culture.

Feeling torn between two identities is something that isn’t foreign to me—or any other Black Canadians, I wager—and while the struggle between “too Black” and “not Black enough” might not be resolved with my generation, I fight the ongoing fight to help my kids needing to struggle with the same.

Enjoy today’s read and I’ll catch you tomorrow!

Until then,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

It means holding two identities in my head at once. I see myself first, as sharing the same racial identity as African descendants from all over the world. I am an African first. Secondly, my culture is Canadian. I was born here and raised here. The Canadian way of living and thinking about the world influences much of what I do. Multiculturalism, winter sports, feminism, Tim Horton’s and a quiet modesty are the Canadian values I hold dear.

Chad G. Cranston | Tales from the 2.9, Vol. 2 #3

Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:45 pm

Those with a keen eye will notice that I scoured through last year’s submissions and invited some of the 2016 contributors back for Tales from the 2.9‘s second edition!

I’ve yet to meet Chad in person—we were brought together by someone whose opinion I trust thoroughly—but after Chad’s submission last year,  I knew I had to have him back on as I brought tougher questions to the table!

In his entry for Tales from the 2.9, Chad approaches a rather prickly subject that only keeps popping up—the need for Black people to better support Black-owned businesses. But it usually ain’t easy—with so few of us in Canada, it means staying true to one’s tenets at the sacrifice of choice. While I don’t have an answer that’ll make everyone happy, at least I know we’re talking about it!

Until tomorrow, everyone!

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Tales from the 2.9 — Chad G. Cranston

What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

It’s 2017—I want to take on the advancement of our culture as a personal responsibility. I think about our culture and how to advance into the future in a constructive manner. I have been doing research on how Africans contributed to civilised culture, architecture, language, religion, environment, stories and history that are not told in our educational system.

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