When asked about my social location (the combination of identities such as gender, race etc.) I often speak about my faith as a Christian first, followed by my racial identity and lastly, I talk about myself being a Nigerian-Canadian. I believe that my faith and heritage intersect with my racial identity in a way that affords me privilege despite systemic barriers. As discussed in other blog posts, it’s important that one reflects on their identity and the ways in which their social location impacts their health and wellness. We have to think about what strengths come with these identities as well.
For example, being a Black man means that we experience gendered racism in Canada which translates to barriers to within education, the justice system, health and mental health services. In navigating through life as a Black man, I draw upon my spirituality and resilience ingrained within me from my culture to remain empowered.
For some, being a Black man means being a man who is a part of many strong and diverse communities. It might mean resilience, strength, complexity, and love. It might mean learning from fathers, brothers, and sons. One may feel they are enacting their Black masculinity by providing for themselves and others, nurturing themselves and others and discovering their own strength.
Try reflecting on the following questions. You can write your thoughts and answers down, say them out loud or maybe even record them on your phone:
1) Fill in the blank: Being a Black man in Canada means _________
2) What influences (positive and negative) have shaped your identity as a Black man?
3) What does Black masculinity mean to society and what does it mean to you?