This collection of writing, guided reflections and historical perspective on race in America is a must read. It is a must read because it helps clarify the real fear that white people carry toward people of color. Resmaa Menakem’s primary point revolves around what he identifies as “white body supremacy”. Coming from a background of counseling, community work (he coaches police officers) and somatic awareness he makes a compelling argument about how racism is not just in the mind but the body. I immediately wrote to my son’s 11th grade teacher to see if she includes My Grandmother’s Hands in her course work on African American studies. I think it is a must for high school kids, teachers and anyone interested in the healing arts.
You don’t have to do yoga to know that you should not “hold your breath”. Yet in order to make it through a topsy turvy time it is common for people to do just this. When we say “holding your breath” we do not simply mean not inhaling. Of course, people rarely “hold their breath” for without breath there is no life and by way of a long held breath, you might end up passed out on the carpet! It is more common for people to constrict their blood vessels, clench their nerves or tighten their sphincters in order to get by.