book review: my grandmother's hands16 Aug 2019
What are the main ideas?
- white supremacy could more accurately be called white-body supremacy. it’s got less to do with supremacy of white skin and more to do with supremacy of bodies that are considered white. this could be seen as semenatic but is quite helpful.
- white-body supremacy lives in our BODIES; it’s in our blood, dna, flesh, and the pre-cognitive parts of our brains (aka the lizard brain).
- as such, trainings that focus on the mind as the site from which to undo white-body supremacy will never be enough.
- undoing white-body supremacy is first and foremost a somatic endeavor. the cognitive/thinking parts will flow second (because the lizard brain, the part tied to our vegus nerve, is both faster than cognition AND the vegus nerve can override cognition).
- clean pain is when you know that a difficult thing needs to be done, you know what that thing is, and you do it because healing/growth are on the other side. dirty pain is all the subsequent pain when clean pain is avoided.
- healing is painful.
- a settled body accepts attempts at healing (clean pain). an unsettled body rejects attempts at healing (and therefore creates dirty pain).
- settling your body is not the same as healing, but you will improve your capacity to heal when you can settle your body.
- the trauma of american slavery is rooted in the trauma of european bodies through the middle ages. whipping and hangings started in europe because they were brought to the u.s. the people who brought slaves to the u.s. need to heal their ancestral trauma in order for folks on this soil to move forward.
If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be?
anti-racism work is somatic before anything else. we need to create opportunities for people’s actual bodies to learn how to have non-traumatic responses to bodies that they have lizard brain reactions to. those reactions that are based in trauma, are not helpful because they are knee-jerk and not intentional or conscious.
How would I describe the book to a friend?
this is a theoretical guide book and instruction manual for how to actually undo white(-body) supremacy.
reminder: book review structure
words / writing / post-processing
362w / 12min / 8min