I mean can we really talk about Blackness in the Americas without talking about whiteness? The profound assaults of whiteness. Continuous assaults, unrelenting assaults, subtle assaults, embedded assaults. We have been assaulted with white norms of beauty and desire. We are assaulted with a pervasive, persistent, ingrained message that white is right, that white is nice, that white is redemption. Even when we've done some Black power work these notions still seep in. We bleach our skin with skin cream. We (openly) oppress our hair. We (secretly) hate our color. We shape our own internal norms of beauty and desirability on foreign aesthetics, the sensibilities of invaders and stealers, avoiding Black looks, Black beauty.
Black decolonization is hard work. It is an unlearning, a project of everyday study, observation, and reflection, a learning how to be horrified at what has happened to us, a recognition that our grief, our loss is deep, fundamental. What other people got stolen from their ancestral lands, from millenia of culture, connection, belonging to be brought to a place where we have continually lived among our oppressors? Either we live among them or we live with the specter of their cosmology and ontology impressed upon us. We work with them. We see them. They're everywhere. And we only have mere glimpses of another world, another way.
What is a liberated Black cosmology, ontology? What ways of knowing can we access, create, recreate? What ways of seeing, hearing, being, longing can we claim as ours, here as we are in the United States, in Latin America, in the Caribbean? Where is this path of exile leading us?