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Eunadie Johnson

by Eunadie Johnson | February 17, 1997

Though some changes have been made, barriers still exist for Black people in Canada, especially for a woman like myself who chooses to live in northern Manitoba. I feel that the barriers which present themselves on a daily basis have to do with ignorance and lack of knowledge about Black people as a whole. I have experienced blatant and not so blatant racist attitudes in this country. My way of dealing with it is to confront. I do not tolerate anyone thinking I am less than they are. There were times when I would spend time trying to educate, but I feel now that those who want to know can find their own education.

Working with the issue of family violence has not especially endeared me to a community which was willing for a long time to deny the existence of such violence. As a Black woman I am immediately recognized and labelled. People greet me with words such as, “Are you staying out of trouble, Eunadie?”

Although Black women as feminists have to be vocal as oppressed women, they are also fearful of speaking out and being rejected by their own communities. Their communities expect them to focus on the oppression of Blacks as a whole and not on a separation of the male and female. When Black women suffer oppression from the male in their race and speak out, it is difficult for them not to be considered traitors.

The feminist movement has been seen as a movement of and for white women. My feeling as a feminist is not to accept in totality what the movement espouses but, as an independent, thinking person, to listen and be part of discussions while forming my own opinions.

more to consider

Here’s what Second Story Press told us about themselves:

Second Story Press is a feminist book publisher whose list includes adult fiction and non-fiction as well as non-racist and non-sexist children’s books. Broad in scope, our titles attempt to explore the needs, interests and concerns of women so over the years we have published books focusing on women’s health, current issues, food and nutrition, and women’s art, criticism, history and biography. Every year, we also release a new edition of the popular entertainment calendar The Women’s Daybook. There are various ways to contact us for ordering information:

email: secstory@fox.nstn.ca
toll free tel. 800-565-9523
tel. (416) 537-7850
fax (416) 537-0058

resources for this story
  • For history of Black Canadian and perspectives on Black nation-builders: Ken Alexander and Avis Glaze, Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience (Umbrella Press, 1996 ISBN: 1895642205)
  • For an overview of the history of Black women in Canada : Adrienne Shad, 300 Years of Black Women in Canadian History: circa 1700-1980, Tiger Lily, Vol. 1, Issue 2. (This can be hard to find.)
  • A hands-on resource for students : Black Women in Canada – Past and Present, available from Green Dragon Press
  • For profiles of Black women in Canada: Rella Braithwaite and Tessa Benn-Ireland, Some Black Women (Sister Vision, 1993 ISBN: 0920813844)
  • For contact information for women’s centres and transition houses across Canada, see Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres [www.casac.ca]

This feature was first published on section15.ca’s predecessor site CoolWomen.

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