In the time of global pandemics, I think it’s appropriate to talk about another sickness that lives in hosts all over our country: Fear. In the brilliant words of Niecy Nash: Stop calling the cops on black people for no goddamn reason. (Also known as non-emergency situations). Cops: stop using lethal force on black people for non-emergency situations. Self-appointed vigilantes: mind your own goddamn business. Everyone: stop stealing black culture without respecting its history, community members and their lives. Finally, stop blaming crimes on innocent/ imaginary black people. Mind you, this chain of commands is endless.. those are just issues at the top of today’s agenda.
Every single day someone is unnecessarily killed/ persecuted as a product of our white fear.
White fear manifests in a variety of behaviors, many of them at the cost of black lives, black freedom. White fear is a learned behavior, it echoes the past, and is upheld by dominant culture. (Look at our President! Comparing media criticism to a lynching is pure ignorance.) Similarly, white privilege is something white people are born into in our society, a product of our sordid history. Accepting it is a humbling step in the way of progress. Unfortunately, many white people are unaware of their privilege and willfully deny it. I BEG everyone to please dig deep inside and examine our innate biases and advantages. We must dismantle these harmful behaviors to make room for a better future. Depending on how “blind” you are, you may need supplementary information about systemic racism in the form of reading material and research!
Now what does henna have to do with my white privilege? Well...A LOT! Henna likely originated thousands of years ago somewhere in Africa or the fertile crescent. So, I’m stepping into a space that I need to respect and acknowledge rich history and vastly different cultures that are not my own. I have a responsibility to raise up the voices of those who do not enjoy the same privileges I was born with, here in the United States, in this time.
Henna is a healing and connecting plant that I love to use to facilitate interactions with other cultures, provide support and bestow blessings. My experience doing henna the past 10 years has opened me up to have incredibly difficult and healing discussions that need to be had in order to bridge cultural disparities. My goal in using this plant is to spread love, joy and acceptance. Part of that is speaking up about social justice and renouncing white fear. I cannot love this art form without loving and advocating for the people & cultures that historically use henna. (I am leaving out many cultures (South Asian, Arabic, Jewish, etc) that henna holds significance in, for the sake of this discussion).