I got soul & I am super bad!
Lately, my listening of James Brown really has me appreciating me for me. James Brown tells us, "I want to stand back and kiss myself." I say, go right ahead and do that because if you don't love yourself, how then do you share your greatness with this world?
As People of Color, this society forces us to engage in self-hate because the marketing tactics that white folks use frame us as deficit. I experienced moments when I questioned myself and my intelligence because their research tells me that Chicana/os are not good at school. They tell me I will not succeed, and that I only made it to UC Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford because of affirmative action. Constantly, I had to fight the anxiety I felt when I spoke in class in front of white people because I felt judged. My silence came from fear because they told me I was not worthy. For a time I believed it. But with time and confidence, I told them that ain't no white person going to tell me who to be, how to be and how far I will go. I DETERMINE MY JOURNEY! Did I face institutional white supremacy--I SURE DID!
My students often ask me how I became so confident and successful as an academic and a Mujer. I tell them it was not easy, it took time and above all else it took for me to decolonize my mind, body soul and spirit. It took me tapping into my inner Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Dolores Huerta and my greatest influence--My Mama! Now, I have no issues telling you and white people, that, "I got soul," "I am super bad," and yes, I will go right ahead and stand back and kiss myself."
This is why with my son, every evening at bed time and every morning we awake, we speak loudly our mantra, mother and son telling the world--"Yo soy Fuerte!...Yo soy Bella/o!...Yo soy Guapo!...Yo soy Maravilloso!" I have my son repeat these magical phrases in English and Spanish to show him that we are double proud because we are multi-dimensional souls living in a world that wants to confine our identities.
So today, tell yourself loud and proud: I got soul and I am super bad!