Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Things are beautiful...

"Things are beautiful if you love then" -Jean Anouilh (collage by Lani textures by FlyPaper
susanna suchak said this collage reminded her of the Sweet Honey in the Rock song, "No Mirrors in My Nana's House," which comes as no surprise to me, since Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell, author of the song, is one of my greatest inspirations!  Her ideas are very helpful in working in a multicultural art room and in a multicultural world, in countering racism and internalized racism, and in helping us move in the general direction of "learning to love us more every day".

Ysaye Barnwell tells two related stories about her song, “No mirrors in my Nana’s house.” She had a friend who lived with her grandmother. There were no mirrors in her grandmother’s house. "How did you know how you looked in the morning," Ysaye asked. Her friend told her, "I looked into my Nana's eyes and I knew I look just fine, the beauty that I saw in everything was in her eyes. I never knew from her that my skin was too black, or my nose was too flat, or that my clothes didn't fit." The second story was about a distraught child who went to her grandmother after being teased in the school yard. “Someone called me such and such” the little girl said. The grandmother responded, “If you want to know who you are you look into my eyes.” Ysaye suggests we should get our perceptions of ourselves from people who love us, by looking into their eyes, by listening to them describe us.

I would take that a step further and suggest that we get our perceptions from our internalized Nana's, from that kindly part of the self that can comfort and reflect back to us that we are really alright just the way we are.

If there's a part of you that can smile at this song, there's a part of you that can be your internalized Nana.  

For more on racism, internalized racism, and colonialism, please see this video on "Lateral Violence"!!!


Anonymous said...

An internatlized Nana would have to be like the one in the song. My internalized Nana would be my "Aunt" Lexie who owned the boarding house my mum and I lived in from infancy till nearly 7 years of age. We all need to know that we are just right and that there is beauty in the world. Which is sometimes hard to grasp as an adult in such a politicized and dehumanizing environment ... we need to distance ourselves from that and stay focused on truth and beauty...with capital letters. Your blog and art always helps to do that. Thanks

Lani Gerity said...

Thank YOU susanna!!!