Where do we learn self loathing?

I’ve become very aware of how mainstream media has shaped my biases. Having grown up on a steady drip of western media feed, I’ve only now started to unravel its deep rooted and especially gnarly roots.

The supremacy of whiteness/western-ness in programming which reinforced over and again that what is normal, intelligent, powerful and ‘beautiful’, is everything other than my black female self was very intentional and effective. A pernicious Neo-colonialist and patriarchy-serving effort to standardize and maintain an absolute hierarchy which didn’t favor me.

Dont get me wrong, I know I’m gorgeous and talented. However, it’s been a process getting here because when only one kind of person is shown to represent leadership, or beauty or love, you start to accept the lie that there is only one good standard. Since I hardly ever fit the bill, cue the self loathing.

So naturally, I’m perplexed about the subliminal (and overt) messaging fed to my children through books, TV, their peers and even family, about all sorts of things including race, gender/gender roles, body image, etcetera. My kids love to read, but I’ve struggled to find sturdy, toddler friendly books with Nigeria representative content, or even anything that shows adequate and consistent amounts of diversity and representation!!

Local publishing houses like Cassava Republic, Kachifo Limited, Okada books, are doing fantastic work. However, the narrative that our children encounter is still overwhelmingly western and not about them. So the onus is on us to intentionally give them stories that center things about them. I want my children to see themselves in the protagonist as they read, not Elsa!! This way, they have a better chance to learn self love. and self worth from a tender age.
Photocredit: Dirtbin designs: Ras Daniel Heartman (1942-1990)

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