Tuning into a personal reflection of heritage, conditioning, and real change.
I came across a social media posting of an expression piece depicting moulds of grimaced looking men and women, some with their heads hanging low, some in shackles.
February, Black History Month, is the month I used to feel a degree of shame about as a child and even well into my adult years. I didn’t like having to revisit, to face, the stories and images of the atrocities endured by humans at the hands of fellow humans. Truly, I didn’t want to identify with those before me, as someone who could be relegated to such inhumane treatment because of the colour of my skin. I would feel as though I was being reminded of my difference. I didn't feel good about it.
I would succumb to the oppressive conditioning.
My difference somehow meant I was a lesser being…?
After reading the words accompanying this post, shared by Bishop Wesley G. Smith, something slowly shifted within me. I began reading with that familiar sense of shame, averting my gaze from the image. It’s too much to bare. I felt a familiar sense of anger for this injustice to have continued for so long. By the end of it, I felt an unfamiliar wave of … honour and privilege wash over me as I looked from the text and back to the image. This time, I was looking deeper into the image, apologetically, celebrating my genetic difference.
They were there to show me why I am here.
I can no longer feed this story with shame, embarrassment, anger or resentment. As a result of our ancestors persevering through these unfathomable hardships, we must know and honour that we come from the same clay mould, and that we must carry this perseverance in our nature. This is our DNA.
“Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves” – Qur’an13:11
Knowing this, how can we stand to grow, to rise up, to change the story if we continue to feed this oppressive conditioning and colonizing mentality as a people? As a human race?
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind”
Time will tell.