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My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts by Resmaa Menakem
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“In today’s America, we tend to think of healing as something binary: either we’re broken or we’re healed from that brokenness. But that’s not how healing operates, and it’s almost never how human growth works. More often, healing and growth take place on a continuum, with innumerable points between utter brokenness and total health.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Years as a healer and trauma therapist have taught me that trauma isn’t destiny. The body, not the thinking brain, is where we experience most of our pain, pleasure, and joy, and where we process most of what happens to us. It is also where we do most of our healing, including our emotional and psychological healing. And it is where we experience resilience and a sense of flow.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Recent studies and discoveries increasingly point out that we heal primarily in and through the body, not just through the rational brain. We can all create more room, and more opportunities for growth, in our nervous systems. But we do this primarily through what our bodies experience and do—not through what we think or realize or cognitively figure out.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“All of this suggests that one of the best things each of us can do—not only for ourselves, but also for our children and grandchildren—is to metabolize our pain and heal our trauma. When we heal and make more room for growth in our nervous systems, we have a better chance of spreading our emotional health to our descendants, via healthy DNA expression. In contrast, when we don’t address our trauma, we may pass it on to future generations, along with some of our fear, constriction, and dirty pain.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“A key factor in the perpetuation of white-body supremacy is many people’s refusal to experience clean pain around the myth of race. Instead, usually out of fear, they choose the dirty pain of silence and avoidance and, invariably, prolong the pain.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“The answer to why so many of us have difficulties is because our ancestors spent centuries here under unrelentingly brutal conditions. Generation after generation, our bodies stored trauma and intense survival energy, and passed these on to our children and grandchildren. Most of us also passed down resilience and love, of course. But, as we saw with my grandmother—and as we see with so many other human beings—resilience and love aren’t sufficient to completely heal all trauma. Often, at least some of the trauma continues”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“There’s a way out of this mess, and it requires each of us to begin with our own body. You and your body are important parts of the solution. You will not just read this book; you will experience it in your body. Your body—all of our bodies—are where changing the status quo must begin.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“trauma is also a wordless story our body tells itself about what is safe and what is a threat.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“especially want to draw white Americans’ attention to this. White fragility is a lie, a dodge, a myth, and a form of denial. White Americans can create culture that confronts and dismantles white-body supremacy. Any suggestion that they are unable to rise to this challenge is a lie. White Americans are anything but helpless or fragile; they are (of course) precisely as capable as other human beings. But they need to refuse to dodge the responsibility of confronting white-body supremacy—or the responsibility of growing up.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“In today’s America, we tend to think of healing as something binary: either we’re broken or we’re healed from that brokenness. But that’s not how healing operates, and it’s almost never how human growth works. More often, healing and growth take place on a continuum, with innumerable points between utter brokenness and total health. If this book moves you even a step or two in the direction of healing, it will make an important difference.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“We will not end white-body supremacy -- or any form of human evil --by trying to tear it to pieces. Instead, we can offer people better ways to belong and better things to belong to.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
“We will not end white-body supremacy - or any form of human evil - by trying to tear it to pieces. Instead, we can offer people better ways to belong and better things to belong to.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
“Trauma is not a flaw or a weakness. It is a highly effective tool of safety and survival. Trauma is also not an event. Trauma is the body’s protective response to an event—or a series of events—that it perceives as potentially dangerous.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“The body, not the thinking brain, is where we experience most of our pain, pleasure, and joy, and where we process most of what happens to us. It is also where we do most of our healing, including our emotional and psychological healing. And it is where we experience resilience and a sense of flow.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Rock the Boat: How to Use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationship (Hazelden, 2015),”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“We will not end white-body supremacy- or any other form of human evil- by trying to tear it to peaces. Instead, we can offer people better ways to belong, and better things to belong to. Instead of belonging to a race, we can belong to a culture. Each of us can also build our own capacity for genuine belonging.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
“I heard myself shout, “God damn. Those dirty motherfuckas. Watch. They’re going to get away with shooting that baby. Fuck them.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Change culture and you change lives. You can also change the course of history”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
“Ideally, America will grow up and out of white-body supremacy; Americans will begin healing their long-held trauma around race; and whiteness will begin to evolve from race to culture, and then to community.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Ideally, America will grow up and out of white-body supremacy; Americans will begin healing their long-held trauma around race; and whiteness will begin to evolve from race to culture, and then to community. The other possibility is that white-body supremacy will continue to be reinforced as the dominant structured form of energy in American culture, in much the same way Aryan supremacy dominated German culture in the 1930s and early 1940s.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“The deadliest manifestation of white fragility is its reflexive confusion of fear with danger and comfort with safety. When a white body feels frightened by the presence of a Black one—whether or not an actual threat exists—it may lash out at the Black body in what it senses as necessary self-protection. Often this is a fight, flee, or freeze response triggered by the activation of the ancient trauma that began as white-on-white violence in Europe centuries ago.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Brent Staples wrote a brilliant essay on this topic called “Just Walk On By: Black Men and Public Space.”50 For years, as Staples walked down city sidewalks and white bodies approached and noticed him, he watched those bodies stiffen, constrict, reposition purses, cross the street, and sometimes run away to avoid him. Eventually Staples developed a strategy of whistling Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as white people walked near him. This quickly and effectively soothed white bodies. On hearing a Vivaldi melody, they would routinely relax; some people would even start whistling the melody with him.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“56​If this astonishes you, that astonishment is itself a reflection of white-skin privilege. From a self-preservation viewpoint, Aledda’s plea may have been wise, since no Florida police officer has been convicted in state court for an on-duty shooting since 1989—and that sole conviction was overturned on appeal, and the police officer acquitted by a higher court.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“​Of course, other aspects of standard police training may be overtly and deliberately racist. For instance, in target practice, police usually shoot at standard outlines of human faces and bodies. Instead, North Miami officers were trained to shoot at actual mug shots of African American men. A year and a half before North Miami officer Aledda shot Kinsey, this practice was reported by a sergeant of the Florida National Guard, who arrived at the shooting range to discover the bullet-riddled image of her brother’s face being used as a target. Another example: a Baltimore Police Department’s shift commander created a template for making trespassing arrests with the suspect description “black male” already filled in.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“​In 2012, George Zimmerman left his home to follow and accost his neighbor, Trayvon Martin, who was walking through their gated community in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, who brought a gun to the encounter, shot and killed Martin because, as he said in his trial, he feared for his life. Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury. In 2015, less than a mile from my home, four white men wearing ski masks appeared at a peaceful event protesting the recent killing of Jamar Clark by a white policeman. At least one of the four men, Allen Scarsella, carried a gun, which he allegedly described in a text message as “specially designed by Browning to kill brown people.” Protestors, most of whom were African American, noticed the four men in masks, surrounded them, and asked why they were there. They also demanded that the men remove their masks. Scarsella then drew his gun and shot five protestors. At his trial, Scarsella’s public defender explained that Scarsella fired the shots because he was “scared out of his mind.” These and other similar incidents raise some questions. First, under what circumstances is it legitimate to deliberately precipitate a conflict, shoot one or more people, and be considered guiltless because you were scared? Second, if “I feared for my life” or “I was scared out of my mind” becomes a legitimate defense, then can anyone who fears dark skin guiltlessly shoot any Black body that comes near? What about any Black body he or she seeks out, accosts, and shoots? Does your reflexive, lizard-brain fear of my dark body trump my right to exist? A Minnesota jury provided one answer to these questions in February of 2017: It found Scarsella guilty on all counts. He was given a fifteen-year prison sentence. A different Minnesota jury provided the opposite answer four months later: it found Jeronimo Yanez not guilty.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“2013: 729–41. 28”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“A disdain for history sets us adrift, and makes us victims of ignorance and denial. History lives in and through our bodies right now, and in every moment.”
Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts