Award-nominated writer, Guilaine Kinouani has written a powerful book that addresses the psychology of race and how to overcome racial trauma using self-care.
Over the last 15 years, psychologist Guilaine Kinouani’s research, writing and workshops have focused on how racism affects both physical and mental health. Living through trauma in the digital era has led to a greater need for guidance and mental health support within Black communities, as we seek innovative ways to protect our collective wellbeing.
Through her new book, Living While Black, Guilaine devises tried and tested psychological strategies to help protect Black people from the harmful effects of verbal, physical and structural racism and, to mitigate the impact of whiteness on them. The book is also a vital resource for those who support Black people and allies who wish to understand the impact of racism and how they can help.
In the exclusive extract from Living While Black below, Guilaine Kinouani shares a powerful message about why it’s time for Black people to harness our power to ensure we can truly thrive while being Black.
“We are not powerless. And Black lives do matter. Our stories matter. Powerful Black people have always been feared. Especially when they draw from ancestral wisdom and memory and their hunger for justice and for freedom. The world depends on us internalising powerlessness and so we may come to fear our own power and thus fear ourselves.
This fear of power is something each of us must confront. And like most of the experiences in the book, it does not sit in isolation from socio-historical contexts. But the fear of our own power and the transformational potential it offers can stand in the way of our liberation, of us centring our needs and acting in a way that sustains us and resists racism. This is the reason so many of us deny ourselves our creativity and why so many of us leave our gifts unwrapped. We make the decision – conscious or otherwise – not to materialise our potential because of this deep-seated fear.
But we sit at crossroads many times in our lives. Perhaps even many moments in the day. The direction we take at these junctions is up to us. I hope Living While Black has provided enough material, tools and reflections to help some of us to take a different direction or at least to be mindful of our steps. We do have the power to make different choices even as we remain constrained within the violent structures of anti-Blackness. The freedom to choose direction is power. Where do we go from here? The familiar road? The one that guarantees a degree of safety because of familiarity . . . or do we choose the unknown? Do we take the way of uncertainty, trusting the path laid by our ancestors? Trusting our intuition and our body? We deserve to be free. And we deserve to thrive. It is time to connect with our power.”
Published by Ebury Press, £12.99