*This post is meant as a celebration of black culture. If there is any inadvertently offensive or false material, this author will gladly engage in discussion and edit the post as necessary
It’s been almost a month since the tragic death of George Floyd that has sparked a nation, nay, world-wide movement for *true* equality. In the three and a half weeks, there have been massive protests, an explosive influx of information and advocacy on social media, and steep revelations of the work that still needs to be accomplished.
My own personal journey towards advocacy has been filled with several conversations with black people I know in my own life as well as consuming a vast amount of information that I have found through social media channels. It has been extremely eye-opening to hear some of the stories, both viral and personal, of the prejudice and out-right hatred that is directed towards some of the citizens of our country for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than a different skin color.
While sifting through this information and trying to absorb the utter heartbreaking reality that is every day normality in Black America, I have also come to appreciate (and honestly, be a bit jealous of) their culture on a deeper level.
Reason #1: They are the ultimate hype men. I saw a Tik Tok video where user @barrr_none was lightheartedly discussing why black people are better than white people, and one of the things he pointed out was how much they hype each other up when one of their friends does something cool. I’ve witnessed this in real life, especially on the dance floor. There is no jealousy, no trying to sabotage each other, just a genuine, out-loud appreciation for each other’s talents.
I think this is a really underappreciated aspect of their culture. Do you know how good it feels to have other people show you love just for being you and showing off what you got? You feel like you can do anything. Imagine a world where EVERYONE gave as much energy to positivity and talent as our black neighbors give out! It would profoundly move everything in a massively encouraging direction.
Reason #2: They speak their minds. Being able to say what you mean and stand firmly in your truth is an asset that I feel that I personally lack at times. While I am able to state my own conclusions in an environment where I feel supported and safe, I more often than not sit on my opinion when I feel like it could cause conflict or when I might be outnumbered.
I feel that, for most people who are not in that culture, it can be very intimidating and therefore viewed as “bad” when we see black people, especially black women, so willingly throw their voices into the fray and not be swayed by the majority present. However, I think that this spirit of SOLIDITY in one’s own mind is really valuable–if more of us had this trait, perhaps there would be less bystanders and more superheros taking on the moral disparities of the world.
Reason #3: They stand in solidarity. I saw another Tik Tok video (I might be spending too much time on there…) where this mixed girl was saying how most people of color, whenever they see another person of color, acknowledge the other minority in some way, whether it be a head nod, a greeting, a fist bump, or whatever. It doesn’t matter if it’s a total stranger; they always make time to make their brothers or sisters feel acknowledged.
This is powerful, but also thought-provoking. White people don’t feel the need to do this because we are not the minority. We have never felt out of place in our own home, so we don’t feel the need to reach out and reassure others that yes, they are seen. We don’t feel the need to acknowledge someone simply for existing. We don’t even think about it.
But I think that this is a really cool aspect of black culture that is completely under the radar. Imagine if we took the time to acknowledge the people we passed just because. Just because they are human. Just because they are in the same space as us. Just because we can.
I personally feel like we’ve been sleeping on the amazing lessons black culture can teach us for way too long. They are so full of love. So full of life. So full of ZEST. If you hang around those who embody black culture, you can’t help but be drawn in. There is a magnetism that surrounds those who embody these positive aspects of black culture that cannot be denied.
I am so thankful to live in a world where there is so much diversity and difference to celebrate and learn from! Can you just envision a world where we celebrate the positivity in every culture and apply it in some small way to our own life? Humanity would truly be unstoppable.
If the past month has taught us anything, it should be to truly appreciate life in ALL forms and all of its gifts and blessings. I don’t know of any other culture who embodies this sentiment more than people of color. I am awed by their resilience and commitment to joy even in the face of discrimination and outright hatred towards their people. Let us each make sure to apply these lessons to our own life, and take time each day to spread joy, happiness, and our full support to those who are still oppressed in any way, be it big or small.