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Self-care tips in a white supremacist world

4 Major Tips for Self-Care When You’re Black in a White Supremacist World

It’s hard to not see it: White supremacy is everywhere.

In a place where people think that antiblackness is a thing, where non-black people of color are also complicit and people are constantly sharing videos of Black bodies being harmed, it’s hard to be drained the fuck out.

Especially during recent events, more and more of us are becoming frustrated and having to face trauma that has been building up for us. We’ve been neglecting our self-care and continuing to educate even when we shouldn’t be the ones to do it. I want to affirm that Black people should be making time to heal and to practice self-care. And you don’t even need money to do it.

Here are some tips for making sure you’re doing the best self-care that you possibly can in a world that continues to screw us over.

1. Turn off social media.

Social media is a great way to do community outreach and to keep up with news,  but can also be triggering. From seeing autoplay videos of Black bodies being shot down by police officers who have no regard for these bodies, to the comments that support #alllivesmatter. Saying that you’re overwhelmed can be a massive understatement.

It can be tough to give it up, but it is extremely necessary for self-care. I have the biggest issue with this. When some of the activism you do is based on a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, it can be difficult. It’s even worse when you use that to connect with your closest loved ones. However, reaching out to your loved ones and explaining the your reasons for taking a break can ease the guilt.

And the best part? You can always come back to it. You don’t need to take a permanent hiatus if you don’t want to. You can get off social media for one day or one month and then come back. Make sure, if you want to keep in touch, to exchange emails and phone numbers.  

2. Write down a list of things that you like to live for.

With trauma comes mental illness. For a lot of Black folks, we come with mental illness, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. This means that for some of us, suicidal tendencies are bound to happen.

And when you become even more on edge because of what’s being shown on social media and on other forms of media like the newspapers or television, you tend to question your life. A lot. You question how much meaning there is when you are fighting every day to survive and thrive. You sometimes try to write down a list of places you might go to, but realize that it requires money and that anti-blackness is global.  You start questioning the meaning of life, specifically yours.

Related: “We Were Never Meant to Survive”: On Considering Suicide in a World Designed to Kill Us

This is when this list comes in. You write down things that you want to live for in this white supremacist world. A lot of times, we might claim not to have anything to exist for, it’s mental illness that forces us to believe that. I’ve been in that place myself. It might be a difficult exercise, but it can be helpful with easing suicidal feelings and affirming your place in the world. Even if that list only has one thing, sometimes it’s important to hold on to that when you’re a bit too stubborn to die.

3. Build a support system. 

In these times, we can feel alone.

Especially in a world where we constantly feel like someone is against us. However, we can also think about how we can do things like community care for one another.

One of the things that is important to do is to think about people that you can talk to about your feelings whenever you’re feeling exhausted and bogged down by the world. You can think about the type of healing that you want to do and research healing spaces that would fit your emotional needs.

If you are constantly in crisis mode, think about someone who would have your safety in mind if you were to be suicidal or at risk of harming yourself. Because police officers don’t know how to react to mental health-related issues (especially with Black and indigenous folks), it is important that you know someone(s) who will NOT call the cops and put your life in even more risk. Because it is your support system, it is important to discuss certain protocols with people who have the privilege of help providing you with care.

The support system is here to support and comfort you when you can’t do it alone. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings, or to express when you need help.

4. In the end, self-care is up to you.

Self-care can be crying to Frank Ocean in the dark or smoking a blunt. Self-care can be roasting cartoon characters. Self-care can be turning off your laptop for four seconds.

However, it is important to remember that you deserve to do it. And that despite this white supremacist world, you do matter.







Mickey Valentine is an activist of Jamaican descent born and raised in the Bronx, NY and currently lives in Somerville, MA. Some things (besides angry) that can describe them : a polyamorous, nonbinary, queer disabled femme who promotes the importance of honesty and vulnerability. They’re down to talk about animation, youth development, kink, gentrification, disability justice and reproductive justice-related things.

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