I center Blackness in all that I do, because it is such a complex portion of our existence that affects, and is affected by nearly everything. If we don't understand it, we don't understand ourselves. If we don't celebrate it, we can't celebrate ourselves. If we don't love it, then we couldn't possibly love ourselves. At least not fully.
At the root of internalized anti-Blackness, there is an unconscious learned hatred, at the core of your existence. That teaches you, that everything about you, is the opposite of what is good, and thus, the opposite of what you should be. As it relates to self-actualization, in order to understand ourselves, we need to be able to both acknowledge, and make sense, of all the various complexities of our existence. Independent, of the way society says you should. When we allow for ourselves, to internalize, externalized thoughts about ourselves, we begin to think from a mind that's not our own. Allowing for that voice, to govern the way we see the world, and how we show up in it.
In a world, where we are constantly downloading negative images, messages and narratives about ourselves. If we do not understand that there is a looming agenda. Then unfortunately, we fall susceptible, to internalizing those calculated falsehoods. Thus creating a disdain for ourselves, and our (s)kinfolk. Because if we internalize this nations hatred of Black folk, we not only carry hatred for ourselves. We also carry hatred for our brothers and sisters in melanin, and most shamefully, for our ancestors, who we could not exist without.
In Toni Morrison’s, On The Backs of Blacks she defines something called Race Talk as “the explicit insertion into everyday life, of racial signs and symbols, that have no meaning other than pressing African Americans to the lowest level of the racial hierarchy.” The hated for Black folk was calculated, and then manufactured, to show up in so much of our everyday lives that we have no choice but to, "believe it to be true." Until we unpack this within ourselves, we will be unable to work towards de-rooting it as a collective.
As a first step in this process, *Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah encourages us to "take the time to reaffirm your experiences. In order to restore ourselves, we must first acknowledge that there is pain - that there is something that needs to be healed."
Further in the series we will talk through where to go post acknowledgement, but for now. Spend some time with the below affirmations of Blackness.
This month, I used the work of Ogorchukwu, with her book the geometry of being Black, as a guide through this month's series Combatting Internalized Anti-Blackness. Learn more about her, and her work below!
*Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah is a multidisciplinary artist with a passion for writing, photography, and graphic design. She specializes in creating content that speaks to the communities that are often overlooked. You can buy her book 'the geometry of being Black, here. Keep in touch with her work on Instagram @ogorchukwuu and on jacquelyniyamah.com.