In keeping with their discussions of health, yesterday, I presented the topic “Know Your Power” to the Toronto Raptors. In speaking with the players, I reminded them of who they are on and off the court. Whether you are an athlete or work in an office, it’s very important for you to think about who you are outside of your profession because identity is very complex and not without its intersections. Your identity also relates to health and wellness and your ability to nurture yourself and ultimately nurture others. Yes, we know them as athletes who are important to the culture of our city, however there are other people who see them as sons, fathers brothers and friends and these relationships and roles are also very important.
In speaking about racial trauma, I wanted the players to reconsider and reimagine their intersections (social categories that interact with race) as they relate to their identities. Oftentimes as people of colour, we tend to think of ourselves as oppressed and powerless and we disregard our abilities and privileges. For instance, an individual might be racialized but may also hold class privilege which they can use to transform society. A young man might be Caucasian and middle class but may have a visible physical disability which impacts his ability to access privileges in society that are afforded to able bodied Black men. Identities are very complex, and individuals should be honored for their lived experiences. We all have the capacity to be allies of each other to some degree.
As men and individuals within the BIPOC community, we also talked about the importance of renaming and reshaping when healing from racial trauma. In speaking about the team’s impact on Toronto, I wanted the Raptors to be aware of the power that has been given to them in influencing the youths who look up to them. This is a reminder of the power that emanates from otherfathering, a practice whereby men nurture, mentor, guide and inspire children who do not belong to them biologically.
“Your real personality identity is not an option, it is the foundation for your happiness and health.” – Diana Dentinger