In the courting stages of my relationship with my wife years ago, we came across this book called The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. For a quick primer, check out this video below:
The premise is for you to really show up to love your partner, you have to understand not only how you receive love, but also, how they receive love. For example, quality time is my top love language so that means I love when my wife and I are able to share uninterrupted time together. We don’t even have to be doing something, just being in the presence of my boo fills me up. I know that words of affirmation is big for her and I try to ensure that I’m providing that for her on a daily basis that goes beyond the “oh you look good”. The caveat is we had issues very early on because we were missing each other by not properly showing love in the way that we both needed. I thought acts of service was the way to her heart: filling up her gas tank, cleaning the house, washing the dishes. I thought I was killing it when in reality, I was missing the mark. All nice things, but not exactly what she wanted. It’s like when you tell your mom you want Jordans, and she brings back Team Jordans instead! So I had to change how I showed up to love my wife. I had to love her in a way that honors her.
Now, you’re probably thinking how does this topic connect to America right now? The United States and Black people have had a tumultuous relationship for more than 400 years. There’s a lot more taking than giving by the U.S. when it comes to Black people and we’re witnessing another critical juncture in our storied history together.
For the last two months or so, there’s been an uprising from the people. Specifically, Black people, who are tired from the injustices/lynchings of Black bodies. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. George Floyd. This is not a new phenomena. Here’s just a few more names that you may not have heard of:
Just drops in an endless bucket of anti-Blackness curated by state-sanctioned violence. You’ve heard calls to defund the police, abolish policing, arrest and charge officers/vigilantes for their wrongdoing. ARREST THE OFFICERS WHO MURDERED BREONNA TAYLOR. The requests are simple. Nothing too crazy to someone who believes in equity and justice. Yet… We’re not exactly getting that. Instead of justice, we’ve received the following:
Mike Henry (a yt man) stepped down from his role playing the voice of Cleveland on The Cleveland Show to give other Black voice actors a chance…AFTER almost 20 years of voicing the character.
More than 10 U.S. cities unveiled a BLACK LIVES MATTER street mural over the last few weeks following the mural in Washington, DC.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and many other streaming services added categories that highlighted Black film/television shows to honor “Black Lives Matter”.
NASCAR is banning the Confederate flag from all of its sporting events.
Corporations and universities released countless statements in support of Black lives and condemning acts of violence against communities of color.
A few well-known yt celebrities shared how they “take responsibility” for not speaking up against racism and how they will no longer allow an unchecked moment.
These are all great symbolic words of affirmation, which some Black people might like, but NOT all. Remember, context matters! Black people are not monoliths. There are some who love these symbolic messages, there are others who would love to have reparations (nothing wrong with sending a few coins through cashapp), and many more who want changes in policy and laws.
Stop with the bullshit and take action to stop the continued assault on Black bodies (environmental, physical, emotional, and psychological). You want to really show that you love us? Listen to what we’re asking for and do it. There are many Americans who express how this country is the best at solving problems, yet the issues of anti-Blackness and loving Black people seems to be the most elusive problems after 400+ years. If only the U.S. would take 5 Love Languages quiz and tighten up. Similar to how I took the quiz because I decided to love my wife better, the only way this would work is if America makes the decision that it wants to love Black people better.