Strategies For Healing

CREATIVE WAYS TO FACE THE BLACK SHADOW

  1. Pay Attention and Reflect on Your Own and Others’ Uses of the N-word.  Promote new rules of communication with family and friends by challenging them to avoid use of the N-word in conversation.
  2. Acknowledge the Black Shadow in Your Own Life.  Become “shadow alert.”  Feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness, shame and rage; of not being smart enough, pretty enough, or worthwhile are opportunities for shadow sightings.  Negative reactions to other blacks are also opportunities to name the shadow.  Still other opportunities for meeting the shadow are found in language used to describe blacks, either-or thinking about blacks and whites and an unrealistic expectation of sameness for blacks.
  3. Start A Family Movie Club.  Select movies that are age-appropriate and have each person write down three things they see in the movie that reinforce the myth of black inferiority.
  4. Draw a Family Tree that Tracks Your Family’s Beliefs and Patterns about Skin Color.  Ask each family member, from oldest to youngest, to identify the spoken and unspoken skin color beliefs he or she experiences in the family.  Ask about skin color beliefs from outside that affect family members, and what each person thinks the family could do to stop promoting the “less than/better than” mentality that is often present with skin color assignment.
  5. Replace Negative Thinking.  Ask yourself what you believe in your heart of hearts that you’ll never be able to achieve because you’re a black man or woman, and then write yourself a positive affirmation for achieving it.  For example, if you believe you won’t find love and happiness, write, “I radiate love and happiness.”  Affirmations are positive declarative statements about your desired situation that you repeat daily in order to make them real in your mind and possible.
  6. Celebrate “Appreciation Day.”  Make every day an appreciation day.  For all the lack of appreciation we have endured and continue to endure because we’re black, we should at least learn to appreciate ourselves and to express appreciation to our intimate partners.  Every day, say to yourself, “I appreciate myself for [specify],” and say to your partner, “I appreciate you for [specify].”
  7. It’s Time to Change the Focus in Our Community (and in the wider world) from Black Inferiority to White Superiority.  Think about the past week.  What did you hear, read or say that reinforced the idea that blacks are the problem rather than white supremacy being the root cause of our problems?  How did it make you feel?  If you could respond to it, what would you say?
  8. Make a Decision.  Decide not to accept black inferiority as a fact of black life.  You can break bad habits (engaging in class battles is a bad habit!).