What: So…what are you? That notorious and very Canadian question. I am read as being anything from Southern European to East Indian to North African and back again. However, most infer that I am either “Middle Eastern”, a group that is in fact quite ethnically diverse, or the all-encompassing “Spanish” (usually referring to South American), which is another historically mixed group. Due to the complicated nature of identity politics with respect to race, “what are you” (despite its seemingly innocent nature) is a question layered with racist and xenophobic undertones of what Canadians are “supposed” to look like. However, there is power, agency, and solidarity in choosing and developing ones own personal and/or political identity, so when asked I generally say that I identify as Black mixed with Afro-Jamaican and Irish-Celtic heritage.
Who: I grew up in rural Ontario, Canada with almost no people of colour and zero vocabulary to help develop a framework of what exactly it means to be a racialized “mixed-race” woman in this country. I often felt isolated and insecure as I tried to understand the racialization that I experienced in my very homogeneous environment. However, it was equally difficult when I later was immersed into a more diverse setting, which totally took me by surprise. As an adult, this continues to be a subject I spend a lot of time thinking about and I believe that it will be a life-long journey. I intend to share what I learn along the way here with the hopes of providing support for others who are also interested in investigating/interrogating their identities. More more about me here: remajtavares.wordpress.com/
Why: I have always dreamed of creating a space where racialized mixed-identified people from across Canada could come together and think critically about our identities. Canada is a geographically huge country with a mixed-identified population that is growing exponentially and thus ought to have a platform with which to connect. Having said that, many Canadians strategically avoid talking about race, so I hoped that it could also provide a platform in which to center the experiences of people of colour/ Indigenous nations. Along those lines, I feel that it’s important for me to acknowledge the privileges that I experience by having been born in Canada with light skin, an “able” body, identifying as cisgender, and speaking English (more on privileges associated with mixed identities). For these reasons, it is my desire & intention to leverage these privileges to help create an inclusive platform for all racialized mixed-identified folks. So, whether you are thriving, developing, or struggling with your mixed identity, I hope that racialized mixed-identifies folks of all kinds can find a home here.
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