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!
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.
Behind every good blogger’s a good network, and much is the case with Lian “Reese” Wright.
When I became a Dad, the parent blogger community almost immediately reached out, connecting me to plenty of other parents sharing their journeys online. One such group linked me with Reese and everything she writes about as a Mom up in Ottawa, ON, like music, food and fashion!
Her submission to Tales from the 2.9 focuses on the fact that The Black Experience isn’t solely one thing, and that one can find themselves in very different situations depending on the people, culture and societal context involved.
Hope you enjoy her thoughts below!
My name is Lian Wright, but my blog is called Reese Speaks. Why go by Reese? It is a nickname I had during high school, and it really became a part of me. I was born in Toronto, ON, but moved to Ottawa, ON after graduating from Carleton University with my Honours degree in Political Science. I talk about what I like and want to share. My three kids have become a bigger part of my blog, but I also share my love of music, product reviews, places I traveled or dined at and my interest in fashion. I also am the Editor and blogger of Ottawa Mommy Club, as well as the Community Coordinator and Content Writer of the BConnected Conference.
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
When I think of Black History Month, I think about the stories my family have told me about when they were growing up and then what they experienced when they moved to Canada. I try to imagine what it was like for them to get by without the advantages I had and marvel at their resilience.
2) The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?
So far, it has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I have been jeered and cheered for my race from when I was a child. The biggest thing I have learned about my Black Experience is that I should be proud of who I am, and to make others see that Black people are diverse and talented.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
I hope to share with my voice that I am an individual. The media may have Black people pegged as being a certain way, dressing and speaking a certain way and that, for some, that may not be beautiful. I want those who follow me to see I do not fit into the mold the media has created for others to view us in. I want to show that we are all beautiful, regardless of race or how the media tries to direct us to think about ourselves.
4) We all benefit from good mentors who guide us along the way to make sure we reach our potential in life. Who was your mentor to teach you from a cultural standpoint, and what’s the greatest lesson you learned from them?
My Mom and my sister have been my greatest mentors in my life. They showed me how to be fierce without having to bear my proverbial claws, how kindness can do more for people than tearing them down and how to stand up for myself when I felt I have been wronged.
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
Never give up. It sounds like a cheesy and hopeless statement, but if we had given up, we would have gotten as far as we have. No matter what we are trying to achieve, we have to keep striving to attain our goals, hopes and dreams or else it will not happen.
Tales from the 2.9 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: