You're overthinking. You're too sensitive. You're imagining things.
"It's all in your head."
Black people, raise your hand if you've been told this? Raise your hand if you've said it to yourself? Raise your hand if you've said it to someone? At one point in every Black person's life, when questioning an interaction with white folx or resisting racism we will be told and/or say to ourselves or others:
"It's in all your head."
For Black womxn, it's a double-bind. For Black, immigrant womxn, it's a triple bind. The more intersectional identities, the more complicated. And, the more gaslighting.
We are taught that our emotions and intuition are simply a product of over thinking "every little thing." We are shunned, isolated and labeled "too sensitive" for calling out daily racial microaggressions. We are silenced so that we can be permitted in and others can be comfortable with our presence. We are outright told that side-eyed glance we caught was just our imagination.
"It's all in your head."
The irony of the Black experience is that it is in fact, all in our heads. And, it ain't.
Institutional racism and white supremacy are not figments of our imagination or the symptom of a hyperactive thyroid. It is our reality. And for this reason, it is all in our heads and hearts because at least for me, as a dark-skinned, Afro-Latinx womxn mothering a light-skinned, Afro sporting, "too tall" for his age Afro-Carribbean son, the cost of this nation continuing to deny actual measurable evidence of white domestic terrorism is all I can think about. The cost of this nation ignoring the disease of white, straight male mediocrity has me up at 3am writing this blog.
. The Buffalo shooting is consuming 90% of my head and heart space.
It is all in my head AND it ain't.
There is no imagining. There is no overthinking. There is no being too sensitive.
Even in my grief, I'm clear eyed and headed. I am resolved.
My question is, how many more Black bodies must lay in the street, blood staining the pavement for this nation to finally get that it's not all in our heads: institutional racism is real and white supremacy is alive and well?
How many more mass shootings will it take for congress to act on basic, sensible gun control laws?
Please do not misunderstand me, I know this isn't just about guns. I understand mass shootings to be a derivative of systemic racism; a response to "The Great Replacement Theory." Eradicating racism and white supremacy is a much larger and longer endeavor. I'm here for it; I'm committed to the long-term fight.
However, the Virgo that I am needs concrete, tangible change in the interim that will stop the senseless and open attacks on Black bodies. I want to feel safe doing ordinary and necessary daily activities like grocery shopping. I want to read a book on the train in peace.
I also want to stress, what I am asking for, even daydreaming of is basic quality of life experiences that as Black Folx, we are being denied. For me, as a dark-skinned Afro-Latinx mother of a light-skinned, Afro sporting, "too tall" for his age Afro-Caribbean son, gun control is an intersectional feminist issue. And, I'm claiming responsibility for playing my role in addressing it as such.
Like so many other contemporary social ills of our time: abortion, healthcare, climate change, pay equity, trans rights, etc...Black womxn, womxn of color and our families are disportionately impacted. Our pain is compounded by the very same issues listed above: poverty, poor healthcare, the ravages of climate change on our communities. Just like our intersectional identities, there is no way to detangle one issue from the other.
It pains me to say this, because we have enough on our plates. However, if we want anything done in this country that is centered on accountability, healing and reparations, Black womxn must take the lead.
I know, you're tired. I know this because I am tired; it's been a lot to process and navigate through while modeling joy and ease for our babies. We've all earned the right to sit out a round. I encourage you to take time, sit on the sidelines for a bit, rest, reflect, hydrate and recenter. We have to believe that as we're stepping down, someone is stepping up. Once you're reenergized and wiser, step back in so another one of us can rest.
This is my offering to the movement. I hope the book recommendations included throughout add to your toolbelt of understanding the issue, skills to take concrete action and self-care rituals for along the way. Please click the image to learn more about the book and purchase.
Finally, remember to share. If any of this resonates, please share with as many people as possible. Forward this blog. Post to social media. Buy a book for a friend. That may be all you can do today and that's ok. We all have a role to play. Play yours with fidelity.
Sending love and light...