Why “Defy”? Why “The Lie”?

 In Blog

Some people ask me why CHN keeps insisting that in order to heal, we, as people of African ancestry, must Defy the Lie of Black Inferiority and Embrace the Truth of Black Humanity.  

“Can’t you find some softer language?” they ask.

Sure, we could. But then we wouldn’t be true to our history. People of African ancestry have long been defiant in the face of the brutalities and indignities of racism. The bold escapes from enslavement, the movement for abolition, the fight against colonialism, the struggle to end apartheid, and the quest for civil rights are all expressions of Black defiance.

But, it’s 2019 and we need a new kind of defiance. Progress towards racial justice has stalled. And that’s because we have not taken aim at the root of our challenges. Until we free ourselves and our children from the lie of White superiority and Black inferiority, the root cause of anti-Black racism, the global mistreatment of Black people will continue.

The first step toward genuine freedom and healing for Black people is recognizing and naming the ideology of White superiority and Black inferiority as the lie that it is.  No other word better describes what has actually happened to us. In order to justify the economic exploitation of African people and the looting of Africa, Europeans intentionally falsified history and fabricated lies that they then injected into every institution that shapes our lives.   

The next crucial step toward complete freedom and healing from centuries of anti-Black racism is defiance. That means open resistance to the lie. We must acknowledge that, for centuries, people of African ancestry have been living according to a narrative written for us by others to serve their interests. In the face of continuing acts of dehumanization, we must make a decisive, defiant break with that narrative—and write our own narrative. No other, more soft approach, will save us.

We cannot fully embrace the truth of our humanity unless we consistently defy the lie of Black inferiority. Defiance is the key to Black flourishing.

By Enola Aird, CHN Founder and President

Flicker photo by NiXerKG

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Showing 4 comments
  • Teresa

    We’re all at different stages in our life’s journey, and it’s good to hear multiple perspectives. Until we heal from internalized racism or internalized white supremacy it’s likely that phrases like “defy the lie” will elicit in us a sense of fear and protectionism – a psychological condition wherein we actually seek to PROTECT our oppressors from hurt or harm. This is not without precedent as for hundreds of years our safety and wellbeing was predicated on the whims of white folk (white enslavers, government officials) and we reasoned it best to keep them happy and safe so as to not jeopardize our own safety. This was during a time when we had little to no legal recourse in the face of extreme brutality and attempted dehumanization. Despite the horrors of the past, I stand firmly in the camp that knows this for sure: the most revolutionary act we can engage in is to free our minds even when, moreover, especially when we are fearful. So start by taking the first step of embracing the words, “defy the lie” and see where that takes you.

    • CHN

      Thank you for your insights, Teresa. Yes,”the most revolutionary act we can engage in is to free our minds….” This “revolutionary act” is a new kind of defiance: a way for black people to assert their dignity as Dr. King instructed.

  • Aisha K. El-Mekki

    The best description of their behavior is NOT supremacy or superiority. It’s White Savagery‼️
    There’s been slavery since time began. But NEVER, NEVER, NEVER has anything existed like America’s Chattel Slavery/Human Trafficking ‼️😱
    Back in my day, there was a song entitled, ‘Tell it Like it is!👍🏾💜✊🏾

    • CHN

      Thank you for your insights, Aisha! How can we defy the lie if we don’t speak truthfully about it, and expose it unapologetically?

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