James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

61: Our Feelings Are Vaild

There is an Uprising in Baltimore. I use the term Uprising (an act of resilience or rebellion) because the term riot has wrongfully co-opted by the media. I will also be capitalizing Uprising because in this case, it deserve the same importance as a proper noun.

This Uprising has brought the best of people, showing the world our worth. Not just the lives of black men ~ but black women lives, black queer lives, black immigrant lives, black differently abled lives, black incarcerated lives ~ all black lives. If talking about blackness is upsetting you, even better. Here’s a link to unsubscribe. This is my dispatch, and I talk about more than technology, art, and design. I’m black and my feelings are valid.

This Uprising has also brought the worst of people, and no I’m not talking about a few broken windows of property that is insured and can be replaced. I’m talking about the hidden forms of racial tension, the thinly veiled online commentary calling participants “thugs”, swirling realizations of friends that have shared meals with you invalidating your existence as an inconvenience. In a rash swoop, I eliminated my social media existence in need of fresh air.

I felt lower than low, my confidence weighed down with the slap in the face of being Black in America. My shoulders unknowingly slumped, my appetite vanished, and I cried three times in public, drowning my thoughts in 9 cups of coffee at the cafe next to my studio.

The weight of the world made me forget my importance, until I came across a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, This Week in Blackness. The founder went to Baltimore and reported on the Uprising and recorded an episode of the current state of affairs, Episode #685Behind the images portrayed in the media, there were workshops on the ground for black Americans that were focused completely on mental health and taking moments for self-care. 

At one moment, a statement that stopped my heart was: “remember that your feelings are valid”.

Repeating that mantra in my mind caused a flipping of hopelessness to raising my head up high in the face of adversity. When someone immediately dismisses your feelings and opinions as radical, remember that your feelings are valid and they come from a true place.

While I did revive some of my social media presence, others permanently wasted on the digital airwaves. As I slowly begin to strip away the cruft from my life, light began to show with my opinions growing stronger and solid. No one that devalues a part of my identity is a friend to me.

What did I find interesting this week?

While I found a multitude of interesting articles, your homework for this week is to read the linked pieces in the letter above. When you are done, donate to this fundraiser to help those arrested during the Uprising to have proper legal representation.

P.S. If you are one that does not identify with the African diaspora, make sure to signal boost the voices of those that do before you speak up yourself. Sometimes the best thing to do as an an ally is to be quiet.

James T. Green