Why Black Healing Matters

The other day I had a conversation with a Black Latina on Twitter who said that she doesn’t believe in white privilege because she refuses to believe she isn’t powerful.

*insert side eye here*

Of course, this is a false equivalence.  Saying that acknowledging the fact of white privilege and Black oppression is the same as devaluing your self-worth and innate power is like saying that a Black person in 1801 acknowledging the fact slavery was supporting ideas of Black inferiority.  It just makes no sense.  We can, in fact, acknowledge the problems of society while still claiming our own power, brilliance, and beauty.  In fact, Black folks do this all day, every day.

But as much as this woman’s arguments frustrated me (I mean, she suggested we give Trump a try) there is part of me that understands why she is choosing to put her head in the sand when it comes to the reality of Black oppression.

James Baldwin said it beautifully, “To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.”   For those of us, like me, who are sensitive water signs, INFPs, or just prefer a world where we really all could just get along, rage is not an ideal state.  In fact, rage is not ideal even those who can handle that emotion much better than us watery folks; constant rage is unhealthy and usually is destructive when not channeled properly. So it is much, much easier to pretend that those things which would throw us into a constant state of rage do not exist at all.  All of the problems of the Black community can be fixed if we work harder, show compassion to those who have harmed us in the past (because, surely, there is no harm happening in the present), and give Trump a try, right?

This perspective is dangerous (and a whole lot of other adjectives) because we cannot dismantle what we don’t acknowledge.  As long as we ignore reality we leave white supremacy completely unchecked and give away the power we have to a create a better world for ourselves and our descendants.

A healthier alternative is acknowledging that because we are living under oppression, even though we are brilliant and strong and magical, we are still very much human and we need healing.  We need space to release, to cry, to scream, to dance, to shout, to heal.  We need to resurrect the healing practices of our ancestors and utilize them to de-colonize our minds, bodies, and spirits and re-center towards a fuller and more vibrant vision of ourselves, individually and collectively.

This is why StayWoke Healing Arts exists: to provide space for us to heal.  To use our grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ medicines and return us to a state of healing, mind body, and spirit.  Black healing, for us, by us.  Ase.