Rebel Rouser Eman Idil Bare: “When a Door Was Closed in My Face, I Broke a Window"

While working as an investigative journalist, multi-hyphenate Eman Idil Bare—who is also a law school student and fashion designer—learned not to take no for an answer

Eman Idil Bare on a pink background with illustrated border

(Photo: Antar Hanif; Art: Leo Tapel)

“When I walk into a newsroom, or news conference or even an interview people will always look at me differently. It’s either one of those ‘she’s not supposed to be here’ faces, or ‘this is not what we’re expecting.’

And because of the investigative nature of most of my stories, people get angry at me. I’ll be blunt—people really hate when you’re Black, intelligent and driven. Add being a woman and young, and that glass ceiling turns into a concrete floor that’s inches above your head at all times.

I did a story two summers ago on a school board outside of Toronto. Parents were upset and accusing the school of covering for a racist teacher. I spent two months thoroughly investigating that story. But a Black reporter doing a story on racism makes a lot of people (read white men) uncomfortable. At one point, the school board director tried barring me from entering a public meeting, meanwhile granting immediate access to my white male colleague. It wasn’t the story they had an issue with, it was me.

Later that night, the communication director of that school board sent an email essentially saying that he wanted me to put him in touch with my supervisor, so that they could ‘collectively educate me.’ I did the most responsible thing in my career and didn’t respond. Instead I forwarded the email to my boss. Over the course of six months, this person continued to deny me the information I needed for my story.

And then something (calmly) snapped and I reached out to *his* direct supervisor. It took less than 24 hours for him to send me the information I had been asking for.

To any young person of colour reading this: When a door is closed in your face, break a window.”

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