This is a picture of me looking out through the point of no return at Cape Coast Castle in Ghana back in 2011. I love this picture. It reminds me of the strength of my ancestors. I am the evidence of their sacrifice and perseverance. I wish more young people knew this. I think having that knowledge and pride would counter the self-destructive and negative coping mechanisms of many people, both young and old.
I was in Ghana earlier this year. And,, I miss it. Honestly, its hard to articulate why, but if I'm truly honest with myself, most of it has to do with the freedom and less stress I feel when I find myself in the majority. I'm sure there are research studies on this.. However, today I will not put on my academic research hat. I don't want this space to be for that. Re-launching this space is for the other side of me, dedicated to healing the personal and by necessity, the political. However, if no one has researched the temporary transference of power and privilege for Black Americans when in the majority, someone should. I liken it to my time as an undergraduate at a historically black and all women's college. I remember thinking that for the first time in my life, having grown up in a predominantly White college town and in a suburban area where my family integrated the neighborhood in the early 1980s; I was viewed as simply me, Jameta Barlow. Not my race, not my gender...I was being viewed for my humanity. And that is perhaps why I love Ghana. Ghana was the first time, other than at my alma mater, Spelman College, where I experienced my humanity. And, yes, its a beautiful thang. As a panAfricanist, its a wonderful case study with the Black American-African connections in their her/histories. I miss Ghana because my human essence is not valued as much in my beloved country of birth. I'm reminded of James Baldwin's quote on living as an ex-pat: "I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
Perhaps I will always carry with me this duality, being both Black and woman, Black and American, Black and human. The full representation of who I am encompasses so much more. My intersectional experiences aren't limited by how America and the rest of the world see me. I'm re-launching this space because I'm in a place personally and professionally, where its important for me to share this part of my intersectional experiences. These experiences are both personal and political.