Black History Month
Black stereotypes are destructive because they’re connected to racism and discrimination. They insidiously form your unconscious biases that are reflected in your assumptions, beliefs and attitudes toward us as Black people. Not only do stereotypes strip away our individuality and our true character, but they rob us of access and opportunities that we rightfully deserve.
I’d love to meet Ava Duvernay because, to me, she’s a modern-day Black activist who uses her gifts as a filmmaker to create social impact. Weaved throughout her work are the poignant realities of the Black experience within a racist and patriarchal society. And the ongoing injustices that effect us individually and collectively for the sake of political and financial profit. Whether it’s her Netflix documentary “13th”, her docu-series “When They See Us” or her novel-based drama, “Queen Sugar”, Ava uses the realm of entertainment to educate and inspire people to reflect honestly about the abuses of power in this country.
I’d love to chat with my late grandfather, Arthur C Lamb. He died in 1988, the same year I graduated from HS. I only have a few childhood memories of him. Mostly that we called him “Dear” & that during our infrequent trips to Baltimore, he’d indulge the family in a game of Scrabble (still my favorite board game). I also remember him as a stoic man of few words. It wasn’t until, years after he died, that I realized just how much we have in common! I so badly wish we could chat because I’m sure he’d be a great storyteller. Like me, Dear was educated in predominantly White schools. But…
One of the many things I love about my culture is that, collectively, we know our worth and will never stop fighting for political, social and economic equity. We are the original activists. From subjugation, violent oppression, and institutional racism we have led the journey toward progress by birthing leaders, ideas and opportunities for us and others. We are resilient visionaries and social justice warriors.
ace, racism, and discrimination is different. So it’s important to listen, even when things get uncomfortable. For some it stirs up SHAME, GUILT, or DENIAL while, for others, FRUSTRATION, ANGER and EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION. I remember when a Pilates student of mine casually declared that racism didn’t exist anymore. My blood instantly boiled before leaving my body. My brain filled with expletives and a gazillion snarky responses. But …
Black history has never been separate from US history. We are integral to it. We’ve lost so much, been denied so much and fought for so much. We’ve survived so much, overcome so much, and achieved so much. So, for a mere 28 days, it behooves us to pause and assess our own personal understanding of Black history, the impact it’s had on the U.S., its institutions, and our beliefs about Black people. The more we ignore accurate history, the more we get buried in its trenches & progress never happens.