Rx for Racial Healing
By Dr. Gail Christopher
I define Rx Racial Healing as the individual, collective and societal process of replacing the now consciously and unconsciously embedded belief in a false taxonomy and hierarchy of human value with a heartfelt awareness, appreciation, and belief in the sacred interconnectedness of humanity. It is the process of learning that we are one expansive human family. This is a journey from factionalization to wholeness; from division and separateness to unity.
The idea of healing racism is not new. It emerged in the 20th Century. There are now centers and Institutes for the healing of racism in many states and cities across America. What distinguishes Rx Racial Healing from the various approaches to the healing of racism is the focus; the subject matter. In Rx Racial Healing our subject is healing. The modifier is racism. Healing means to make free from injury, fear and disease; to make sound or whole. My emphasis on healing reflects my understanding that our capacity to heal and to be whole as individuals and collectively as a society has been and continues to be hampered, indeed thwarted, by racism. We should never underestimate the power of human beliefs. The belief in a hierarchy of human value is as core to America as is our asserted belief in democracy. Changing, eradicating this belief is our work in the 21st Century. Neither the Civil War, nor the Civil Rights movement addressed this fundamental driving belief system. Both attempted to address the consequences of the belief – enslavement and the discriminatory polices and systems that were created. However, America has yet to eradicate the belief itself; the fallacy and absurd idea that human variation in superficial physical characteristics is a basis for assigning personhood and value, as well as freedom, citizenship, and access to opportunity. Our failure to create this vital consciousness change makes us vulnerable as individuals and as a society. Our enemies exploit that national vulnerability. Our bodies are weakened by the exposure to the stress that is created by the belief and its consequences.
The pathways through which the resulting stress can interfere with our healing and wholeness are beginning to be understood and elucidated within health, genomic, biological, psychological, social and political science. In my forthcoming book, Rx Racial Healing: A Handbook: Answers to Your Questions, I explore some of this science and offer guidance in the practice of racial healing.
This blog was originally published in the fall 2018 newsletter of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. Dr. Christopher, formerly vice president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is the founder of the Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature.