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Anti-Blackness as a Belief

I am currently reading All About Love by bell hooks. In the book it’s noted that “definitions are vital starting points for the imagination. What we cannot imagine cannot come into being.” I love making emphasis of definitions and how they interact with identities and experiences throughout my work. Acknowledging these interactions help to guide us to understanding at a deeper level than a quick read.

Oxford definition of a belief

A belief is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. It can also be the trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

Anti-Blackness refers to actions or behaviors that minimize, marginalize or devalue the full participation of Black people in life. Anti-Blackness can take many forms and can be taken part of by anyone regardless of race which has been written on several times by Dr. Janice Gassam Asare (She/Her). I recently saw someone state that “White Supremacy is the biggest cult of all.” Every cult has a set of beliefs.

A clipping of Popolo, Meauli, Uliuli Addressing Anti-Blackness in First & Second Gen Samoan Americans in Sacramento

I want to begin to imagine anti-Blackness as a belief because the neuroscience behind beliefs align with my experiences. Beliefs are developed as we receive stimuli as trusted information and store it into memory. These perceptions are generalized and established into belief. Beliefs are involved in the moral judgment of a person. Beliefs assist in decision-making.

I once believed in anti-Blackness and was sure that it was vital to living a “fulfilling life”, the only way to become “successful” and that not believing or partaking in it would lead me to a life not worth being proud of. None of that is true.

It is really difficult to restructure one’s belief system and even more difficult should they continue to receive stimuli affirming the already stored belief. As I continue to imagine, I note some of the intentionality needed to hold on to a belief. I want to imagine differently, so maybe I’ll find more definitions for more starting points.

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