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!
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.
What’s your experience been like as a Black Canadian and how has it shaped who you are today?
My experience as a Black Canadian has had its positive and negative moments. When I was a young child, I was brought up in a multicultural community where I felt I was on equal footing with my peers. As an older child, my family moved to another part of the city, and I began to see and feel the differences of who I was versus some of my classmates. There were times I was treated differently because of the colour of my skin. It took getting to know each other better to get them to realise that the quality of a person is internal, not external. The one thing that being a Black Canadian did not do was close off my belief in the good in people—that not all people from a particular background act the same. These experiences, both positive and negative have made me a stronger person.
What’s something you’d like to see more of within the Black Canadian community?
Support. Giving a helping hand to a fellow Black Canadian can go a long way, regardless of industry. Getting more eyes on a blog post, going to events, purchasing products, sharing and taking in experiences from others in our community can make our community better.
What do you think those outside the Black Canadian community need to better understand in order to coexist with Black Canadians in a respectful and considerate way?
What I think people outside of the Black Community need to better understand in order to coexist with Black Canadians is that we are people, too. Just like every other person in this country, Black Canadians are individuals. Not all of us listen to the same music, have the same habits, or speak with the same accent. We are bright and talented people, and we aspire to do great things. We are more than just what is sometimes portrayed in the media.
If your life could teach but one thing to your fellow Black Canadians, what would it be?
Believe in yourself. Never ever let anyone tell you who you should be, what you can achieve, or where they think you belong. I have had to work hard for everything I have and continue to not be complacent in my life. The hard work and perseverance I put into my work allow me to move in the direction I am choosing my life to go.
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 travelled 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.