Resmaa Menakem MSW, LICSW, S.E.P. has appeared on both The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. He has served as director of counseling services for the Tubman Family Alliance; as behavioral health director for African American Family Services in Minneapolis; and as a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department. As a Community Care Counselor, he managed the wellness and counseling services for civilians on fifty-three US military bases in Afghanistan.
Resmaa currently teaches workshops on Cultural Somatics for audiences of African Americans, European Americans, and police officers. He is also a therapist in private practice in Minneapolis.
Stop trying to address white supremacy through dialog. Don’t expect to change the world by teaching tolerance. Forget about changing attitudes. They all miss the mark.
Racism is not only about the head. It’s also about the body. The body is where we live. It’s where we fear, hope, and react; where we constrict and relax; and where we fight, flee, or freeze.
In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates exposed the ongoing destruction of the Black body in America. That destruction will continue until Americans learn to feel the inherited trauma of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies.
This trauma doesn’t just affect African American bodies. White American bodies suffer their own historical trauma as well. So do the bodies of our police. We all need to recognize this trauma, metabolize it, work through it, and grow up out of it. Only in this way will we at last heal our bodies, our families, and the social body of our nation.
The process differs for African-American, European American, and police bodies. But all of us need to heal our racialized trauma—and, with the right guidance, all of us can.