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!
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.
Some people I meet in the most interesting places.
Back in 2014, Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation held the 60 Days in Paradise contest, seeking an “Island Connoisseur” to promote Tobago and all it offers to Canadians looking to travel. Though the competition wound up feeling like a bit of a sham, I did end up making new connections from the ordeal, and one of them was Chattrisse!
The narrative she outlines below is one commonly felt by Black kids when they choose not to follow the archetypes that youths of colour seem to frequently adhere to. I too have had more than enough helpings of “not Black enough” in my life, and I hope her words reach out to anyone feeling a little lost!
That said, enjoy Chattrisse’s submission, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
What does being a Black Canadian mean to you?
It means lots of code-switching! Being able to move comfortably into, out of, and through different environments and situations as seamlessly as possible. In my experience, it also means I have abundant reasons to be proud of my heritage and identity: as a Canadian, as the child of Caribbean immigrants, as a Torontonian, etc. I’ve always enjoyed disproving stereotypes, and over the years I’ve found that being a black Canadian gives me numerous opportunities to do that.
With 2017’s Tales from the 2.9, we’ll build off of the successes of last year’s entries with a deeper look into what it means to be a Black Canadian and some thoughts on our culture… whatever you might perceive it to be!
I could’ve done like last year and come out swinging with a piece of my own to share my thoughts about all the issues attached to this project like I was hosting Saturday Night Live… but Tales isn’t about me. Tales is about the fact that you can’t easily define what Black means, and I hope to share a month’s worth of stories to show you just that.
I’ll still be here in my intros and asides, but I rather let my contributors do the talking until the end of the month, and when we get there, then we’ll have some words.
This year’s Tales kicks off with a piece from Dwayne Morgan, a poet, speaker and social entrepreneur from Toronto, ON who hits us with some poignant thoughts on being Black Canadian and how to embrace a culture that’s fragmented by its very definition.
See you tomorrow!
— case p.
What does being Black Canadian mean to you?
I always struggle with this question. There isn’t a Black Canadian identity, in the same way that it may exist in the United States. For that matter, I’m not even sure how I would describe or explain Canadian identity, so I see myself as a Black man, with all that comes with that from history, who happens to be born, and living within Canadian borders. Maybe my Canadianness is my deep connection to my Jamaican heritage and African roots.
So—things are about to get real over here at Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad. We’ve been through a lot together—daily Man Lessons, years of resolution lists 100 tasks deep… everything the brand’s stood for’s grown exponentially with every passing year, but it’s never been anything like this.
It’s a good time to be Canadian—this July, we celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday, and that’s not something we’re taking lightly! With all too many of those years spent trapped in America’s shadow, it’s only recently that the world’s seen Canada stand on its own two, and it’s up to the 35 million of us north of the 49th parallel to keep reminding them we’ve got our own thing going on.
Which is why I found myself thinking, “What better time than now to showcase what makes Canada the amazing country it is?”
February 1st is 150 days before Canada Day—July 1st, where we mark our nation’s independence without needing to blatantly call it “Independence Day”1—and I figured what better way to celebrate everything being Canadian born and bred’s done for me than to put 150 pieces out about our country and everything it means to us in 2017.
#Chronicle150 & Tales from the 2.9 — Two Projects Setting the Tone in 2017!
I know what you’re thinking—”150 pieces of content?! Casey, you barely survived getting 29 posts out last year!” But seldom am I one to step down from a challenge. 150 posts may seem like a lot, but what I think would be worse is to treat 2017 like it was just any other year.
We didn’t even have an Internet for our last milestone birthday! For Canada’s 125th back in 1992, as an 8-year old Mississaugan, all I could’ve done with my resources would be a nifty school project. 25 years later, there’s so much we can do, but too many of my ilk feel satisfied with a blog post here and a tweet or two there.
But me? I don’t want to look back at 2017 feeling like I missed out on something great because I chose to do the bare minimum.
I’ll launch Tales more formally tomorrow, but know this—I’ve put a lot of work into making a memorable series, and I hope that shines through as you check it out each day! One thing I learned from last year is that there’re plenty of stories to be told if you bother to sit down, listen, and become willing to share them with others.
And with that, I say so long January and thanks for the prep time—the real work is yet to come!
See you tomorrow, everyone!
Until then, I remain,
1 Just kidding, America—we love you. Really, we do!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: