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!
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.