Something I realized after my near-immediate induction into parent blogging just months after the birth of my first child was that the world of parent bloggers was a small one, and that of the Dad Bloggers specifically smaller yet. But though the number of Canadian fathers publicly sharing their stories online is but a handful, I’ve gotta say I’m glad I’ve met the number of Dads I have who I’d be more than happy to share a beer with sometime!
Shaun Worrell is one half of Milk and Coco, a parenting blog he shares with his wife Amy about their life in Durham, ON raising biracial children — much like another blogger we know. His contribution to Tales from the 2.9 looks a bit at inspiration, discrimination, and what it means to be a Black father in today’s Canada.
Check it out below!
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
I think about the stories of hardships faced by those before me. What they had to endure to ensure I had the opportunities I have today. I think about my parents and my parents’ parents. Where they originally came from. I think about what my parents had to go through to get here and what they had to go through when they were here. There is so much that I think about including the contributions of trailblazers from the past, those living among us today and those making their way.
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?
My experience in Canada has been nothing like what we’ve all been exposed to south of the border. I grew up in multicultural communities my whole life and it wasn’t until I started my career that I noticed I became the minority.
I’ve had a couple situations where the “N-word” was used towards me growing up and it was always people looking for a fight.
One moment that stuck with me from years ago was when I was getting off of a bus, walking home from work and I noticed a person immediately crossed the street so we would not have to cross paths. I remember thinking to myself “is she doing this because I am Black?” I thought it was funny, I always wanted to be “that” guy but at 160 lbs 5”8’ looking in the mirror, I didn’t see it. But because of what we see on the news, I could be the most vicious person on the block. We seemed to have the same schedule and I saw her often, so I started to cross the street before she felt the need to. I’ve learned that there are stereotypes out there and I need to be aware of them and people’s actions and responses to my presence.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
Regardless of what we may hear, read or see we are all unique and special in our own way. I believe you should never let them see you sweat. What I mean is, whatever you want to do, do it, and do it like you own it! Be confident and proud of who you are! That doesn’t mean being flamboyant or flashy it means respecting yourself and others. The most important thing to me is that my kids see me as who I really am, not what the world says I am or should be. At the end of the day, my children are my everything and I hope that they learn confidence from how I live day to day!
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?
To say I’ve had a single mentor would be a complete lie. I’ve had many, but if I had to choose one (well two) it would be my parents. Besides my parents my uncles, aunts, cousins and close friends. My family has always had my best intentions in mind and gave me the best guidance and life advice. My parents were immigrants to this country and they were brought up differently, I respect that. The greatest lesson I learned from them was to keep yourself Royal. Don’t ever stoop to “their” level.
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
In order to stand out from everyone you will need to give 115% in everything and be persistent! Always be prepared for your dream to happen and if there is something you want, go for it and know when you have it! Dream Big!! That extra 15% effort is what sets you apart from the pack!
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!