Black Is a Beautiful Color

By Mutima Imani

This is the strangest Black History month article you might ever read. I am not going to name any African-American Ancestors or Elders or public figures whose contributions built, helped grow, and maintained the greatness of the United States of America. The Black History Heroes and Sheroes are too numerous to account for and can be found in every aspect of life. 

What I wanted to talk about in this article is how to get to the paradigm shift in consciousness that allows you to see the contributions of a group of human beings who called ourselves Black. I want to talk about the fear of blackness. I want to talk about the negativity that's associated with the word black, the color black. And the centuries of the unconscious and conscious negative messages that judge, hate, and cause the mistreatment of black people. “If Americans were not so terrified of their private selves, they would never have needed to invent and could never have become so dependent on what they still call ‘the Black/Negro problem,’” wrote James Baldwin.

This article is about decolonizing our minds to understand that, as President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren noted, Black History is American History. After all, it is 2020 and it's time for a collective healing to clear the historical shame and the pain of colonization. It's time to realize we have all been colonized and conditioned to fear blackness, to think of it as evil and dirty.

In order to get the benefits of this article, I suggest that you get a piece of paper and a pen or get your journal out. I'm going to ask you to write down your answers to a couple of questions. This is your opportunity to be honest with yourself. To allow yourself to see the ways that you've been colonized and programmed to think of black as a negative concept. 

I caution you to be gentle with yourself as you admit to yourself that you haven't thought this issue through. We live in a cultural pollutant society where collective unconscious and conscious negative thoughts about blackness have been handed down to us. They are embedded in our education, perpetuated by social media, the movies we watch, the books and newspapers we read, and the news channels we listen to. 

For Black History Month, let us face our part in holding the socially constructed idea of race that has kept black people on the bottom rung of the ladder. Frances Cress Welsing, an Afro-centric psychiatrist, says that all over the world people know that "If you're White you're all right, if you're Yellow you're mellow, if you're Brown stick around, and if you're Black get back!”

Before we get started, let's set up a philosophical framework for having an authentic dialogue about blackness as it relates to race relationships. 

Here is the framework:

1. If you notice any feelings of blame, shame, and guilt, please take a deep breath and breathe through them. By breathing through them you're allowing yourself to keep thinking to stay in the dialogue. These emotions will hijack your ability to be honest with yourself... keep processing.

2. Give yourself permission to feel safe enough to face the fear that comes up when looking at blackness. Actually say to yourself "I am safe." I am safe in my own mind to explore what I have been taught to think about blackness and black people.

Okay, here are the first questions:

Are you ready to write down the first thought that comes into your mind — not the politically correct answers, but the very first thought that comes into your mind? Remember to be honest with yourself.

To begin, finish these sentences:

Black men are ______________________________ 
Black Women are ___________________________
Black Boys are______________________________
Black Girls are______________________________

Take a breath and notice how it feels to witness the ingrained messages about black people.

Where did you get these messages? Remember, these answers weren’t originated by you. 

What are the images that come up for you when you allow yourself to think of Blackness. Darth Vader, depression, death, evil, the black hole. Lets get over our fear of the color black, a phobia known as “Melanophobia."

Don’t be afraid of Blackness. 

Black is Beautiful.

Close your eyes and see that it’s there for you. Waiting for you to sit with it and experience its wisdom. Blackness is the soil in which seeds are planted to feed and nourish us.

My work in the world has been on healing the Heart of Humanity one heart at a time as a visionary social justice minister and a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for over 35 years.

My work is the continuation of the Heroes and Sheroes of Black History. 

My intention is to use forgiveness to grow the love needed to heal the trauma of the legacy of slavery and white fragility. 

Here is a poem I wrote to release the burden of the chains of slavery


Releasing the Burden of the Chains

I forgive you, America, my brother who has fallen in sin out of grace
I refused to bear my egg to seed your ugly ways,
to sanction your tactics and methods. your plans for mass destruction.
I forgive “you,” White Power,
for feeding off my breast, sucking my milk,
I helped make you what you are,
And now I say to you no more…
I refused to give birth to the conditions we live in,
all the pain of this Culture of Violence.
And I bring the good news.
I forgive you… now get off my back…
I am releasing the burdens of the chains.
I forgive you, America for all of your racial wounds…
for the horrors of slavery.
I release the terror of the chains... the fear of the torture…
the agony, the anger, and the pain.
As I look back to witness bodies floating,
eyes being poked out,
my people hanging from trees,
the cries of those being beaten,
backs bleeding,
babies dying,
mothers crying,
dignity being denied.
I forgive you for all that you have done and are doing.
My intentions and prayers stop you in your tracks,
exposing your contradictions and mine.
I am free, I am free, we are free.
Wake up, America, Your power is fading,
I have released the burdens of the chains.
I hold a new vision, one that includes everyone,
freed from the illusions of democracy,
healed from the pain of the past.

I forgive you and I take back my power.

I want to hear how you experienced this Black History article. You are welcome to email me here. Please add “Black Month Response” on the subject line.

Mutima Imani is a Restorative Justice Peace Ambassador and a Work That Reconnects facilitator who believes in the Great Turning, Reparation, and the intersectionality of social and environmental justice issues. 

She works to heal the heart of humanity by providing 21st-century tools for personal and professional development and transformation. She is a global diversity specialist who understands and inspires people to think locally while planning globally. 

Highly skilled at bringing diverse groups together to resolve conflicts, Mutima conducts Civic Leadership training and Restorative Justice Circles. She is available to facilitate retreats and workshops, and for personal and professional coaching sessions. 

She has a master's degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Phenomenology. Mutima is passionate about how all things work together and what humans can learn from the natural world.

Click here to visit Mutima’s website.

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This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 4: Black History Month