A mother with her daughter on her lap, both are smiling


How I’m Helping My Daughter Of Colour See A World Of Possibility

Sep 26, 2018

As a child, I never attended film festivals, met journalists, talked to Olympians or attempted a javelin throw outside city hall. And my Saturdays were never spent roaming galleries, museums or lakeshores. My child, on the other hand, has experienced all of these opportunities, and there’s a deliberate reason why.

... I want my daughter to feel confident stepping into different spaces, be it as part of the majority or being 'other' (as we often are).

I want my little one to see a world of possibility.

My eight-year-old is artistic, curious, virtuous, empathetic and an awesome human. The kind of human who keeps snails as pets, accessorizes like nobody’s business, asks tough questions and isn’t at all sold on capitalism.

My husband and I suspect we’re raising a future artist and/or entrepreneur — either of which is fine by me. I encourage my little one to dream boldly, and wish for her to explore her passions and potential fully.

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At the same time, I know she’ll encounter glass ceilings and muted colour lines that threaten to limit her sense of possibility. She’ll be faced with assumptions and attitudes that misjudge her capabilities and challenge her belonging in certain circles.

Why? Because she’s female. Because she’s black. And particularly, because she is both. I’ve experienced it myself, and see it reflected in all kinds of stats and stories:

In place of internalizing or feeling boxed in by negative assumptions and lack of representation, I want my daughter to feel confident stepping into different spaces, be it as part of the majority or being "other" (as we often are). I believe one of the ways to achieve this is with exposure. Exposure to people, places, professions, experiences and events to invite — rather than limit — that sense of possibility.

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It’s the same rationale fuelling organizations like Fast and Female, Girls Inc. and U.S.-based Girls Going Global, which all provide unique opportunities specifically for girls and/or girls of colour.

At the Canadian Sport Film Festival, we watched shorts about Usain Bolt, Harry Jerome and a crew of six-year-old skater girls called the Pink Helmet Posse. That day we also met an Indigenous female filmmaker. My daughter’s interest in javelin was piqued at an Athletics Canada event, and at a CBC event, she rocked at virtual snowboarding before meeting on-air journalist Dwight Drummond. And with every Saturday spent roaming the Royal Ontario Museum or shores of Humber Bay, she takes in life beyond our own inner city limits.

Small or uneventful as they may seem, I know these experiences go a long way in painting a bigger picture. As they say, “You can't be what you can't see.”

Article Author Debbie King
Debbie King

Read more from Debbie here.

Debbie King (aka SUPAFITMAMA) is a Toronto-based masters athlete, influencer, freelance writer, wife and mother of one. At age 42, she is training toward her goal of becoming a 2020 World Masters Athletics track and field champion. In her work as a writer and influencer, Debbie creates powerful content and connections in female fitness, sport, wellness and culture. Body positivity, inclusion and representation are strong themes throughout. As a regular contributor for CBC Parents, she explores a range of healthy living topics for individuals and Canadian families. Follow her journey at supafitmama.com and on Instagram and Twitter.

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