What Mama Couldn't Tell Us about Love : Healing the Emotional Legacy of Racism by Celebrating Our Light
"Mama," writes Brenda Richardson, "you taught me how a black woman could survive and prevail in this world...but because you never learned yourself, you couldn't tell me how to make love work...I don't mean any disrespect, Mama, but...now I have children of my own. And in a loud revolutionary voice, I declare to the universe: the pain stops here."
Clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade and coauthor Brenda Richardson ask their African American sisters to consider this question: "What lessons about love and intimacy were passed down from your foremothers to you?" In this provocative rethinking of the African American woman's experience, the authors suggest that African American women share an emotional legacy that began when their ancestors were dragged in chains to the "New" World and continued as their descendants suffered through the violence and humiliation of the Jim Crow period and later racism. Indeed, they argue, the long shadow cast by these historical events impacts romantic practice, lives can be transformed once there is a true understanding of the power of inherited beliefs.
What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love shows how important it is to grieve and make peace with this brutal history. As you will see in this remarkable uplifting book, it is possible to use the positive messages inherent in the African American experience to create a better life. Learn from the "Sisters Spirits"--well-known African Americans whose stories enliven these pages--as you move toward emotional freedom. Listen to the words of the spirituals interspersed in the text, enhance the coping skills and strengths your forebears harnessed to help them survive and prevail, and believe that emotional emancipation is your birthright.
Mama may not have told you all this in so many words--but there is no doubt that she would want to see you take these last steps toward freedom and abundant love.
Based on their belief that "descendants of people stolen from sub-Saharan Africa" have a unique ancestral history that affects their intimate relationships, journalist Richardson and psychologist Wade (the coauthors of Love Lessons) have written a guide to emotional, romantic and sexual success aimed at the African-American Everywoman. Drawing on anecdotal material and occasionally the experiences of fictional characters in the work of Toni Morrison, the authors devote the bulk of the book to exploring specific "anti-intimacy beliefs" that they claim are rooted in slavery (e.g., "My body is not my own"; "no matter what I do, it won't make a difference"; "I'm not good enough to be loved"), and outlining "life-enhancing beliefs" ("God loves me"; "I can make something from nothing") that can be superimposed in their place. They also provide meditations for clearing the bodily energy centers known as chakras, instructions for constructing an emotional genealogy, role-playing exercises and other familiar techniques for working through negative attitudes and emotions. Though skeptics may not be convinced by the vaguely worded yet impossibly exact statistics that Richardson and Wade use to bolster their thesis ("90 percent of our beliefs and behaviors arise from the subconscious"), and their premise is bound to stir debate, their recommendations, especially for handling anger and depression, are on-target. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 02, 2000
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