july 15, 2015

take time to heal


To be at our best as a people, we must engage in the long-delayed struggle for what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “psychological freedom.”

Beginning in the 17th century, the lie of Black inferiority was used to justify the enslavement and subjugation of African people. Slavery and Jim Crow are in the past. But the lie is still very much with us today.

The toxic idea that Black people are not as beautiful, lovable, capable, and worthy as other people continues to undermine our sense of self-worth, the well-being of our families, and our children’s sense of positive possibilities.

It contributes to the Black-White academic achievement gap, the epidemic of violence among Black youth, the mass incarceration of Black men, women, and youth, and many of the other challenges facing Black people today.

Toxic ideas about the inferiority of Black skin, Black hair, and Black people will not disappear on their own. As a people, we have to be intentional about working to overcome these ideas and other negative emotional legacies of enslavement and racism.

We have to take the time to deepen our understanding of the impact of our history on our emotional lives and relationships, share our stories, detoxify our minds and spirits, revitalize ourselves and each other, and tell ourselves a new, liberating, and empowering story about who we are and what we are capable of doing--as individuals and as a community.

As a people, we have accomplished great things even while carrying on our shoulders the enormous weight of the lie of Black inferiority. CHN believes that there will be no limits to what we will be able to achieve, once we free ourselves and our children from the lie, and take the time to heal.

 

Enola Aird