We all love a good performance. We spend millions of dollars a year on subscription services and concerts and countless hours on social media watching people perform for our entertainment. And while I have nothing against performances, I do have something against healing spaces becoming performances.
Healing spaces, especially those geared toward Black people, have become more about who has the best logo, best website, and coolest t-shirts rather than who is invested in the healing and uplift of the community. It is what constantly allows majority white leadership boards to decide what's best for Black people and forces Black healers to believe that centering only Black people and our needs is wrong.
And before anyone blows a gasket, I am not against multiculturalism or mixed culture efforts to uplift Black people, BUT I am avidly against organizations who only center Black people for trauma porn. To constantly drain Black bodies for emotional stories of trauma and triumph but never create space for them on leadership boards or space for them to become workers and partners is performative. It means that the mission to "heal Black people" is predicated on their labor first, and that is not a sustainable healing model. It is white supremacy.
Spaces that are supposedly dedicated to the healing of Black people have a model in which Black people can be a part of that space even if they choose not to share their traumas. They should be in leadership, a part of decision making, the faces of the organization, and more. Secondly, it should not only be palatable for Black people. It should be single mothers, elders, folks with different abilities, formerly incarcerated folks, and more. Blackness is multifaceted, and it truly is a slap in the face to see only a monolith of Blackness in many of these healing spaces.
We should become very weary of healing spaces marketed as "for Black, by Black" but only have Black people at the lower levels of the organizational structure if they are present.
I want us to dream of a world where our healing is communal. It is for us, and that cannot happen until we stop trying to obtain grants, status, and partnerships OVER the actual work of healing. We owe it to the generations before the ones coming after us to GET IT RIGHT and us.
If we are not all healing, we are not participating in healing. We are participating in a performance that will end when it runs out of actors and actresses. Healing is life, and if we are not healing, we are dying.
So let's choose to live.