How many discussions have ended with “this is such an important conversation”, yet no real conversation was had? Scrolling on social media I see posts about these “important conversations”, Clubhouse rooms dealing with difficult topics and tweets telling us about convos “for another day”, but what I often don’t see is a duty of care. After these discussions have been had and the mics are off, the trauma has been brought to the surface – but where does it go? What purpose do these discussions serve? And most importantly, how can we facilitate community healing in a more productive way?
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon the angle) my mother raised me to have shame, and because of this shame I feel I will never be as brave as some people I’ve seen online. People have opened their hearts and poured their trauma out onto the net, so often in hopes of letting people know they’re not alone in their situation. Like a domino effect this can quickly ignite a spark in others to also bare their pain. Harmful experiences with colourism, fatphobia, violence and abuse (to name a few) are shared globally; social media has given marginalised people spaces to connect.
But there’s an undeniable danger in forging those connections solely on trauma. Blackness, for example, is far from a monolith, and in trying to locate that which bonds us together under this (white)manmade identity, it’s easy to look at our collective struggles. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and storytelling can be a great way of facilitating community healing as long as the intention is indeed healing. There can be no room for advocates of the devil or those who are “just asking” within these spaces.