Weusi Anxiety: The Stress of Trying to Be "Black Enough"
On the road to becoming a more psychologically and emotionally healthy African (Black) community, there are many obstacles and pitfalls.
One of the most significant hindrances to healthy development is a condition that many Black folks experience, Weusi Anxiety. Weusi is a Kiswahili word that means “Black”. Psychologically, Weusi Anxiety refers to a complex set of subconscious beliefs and behaviors we experience as we struggle with internal conflicts between aspiring to fit into the role of the “Ideal Militant Black” and the values and customs of European-Western culture we have internalized from generations of oppression by White colonizers.
The internal conflict results in mixture of destructive thoughts and feelings about ourselves. As many African (Black) men and women who are growing in consciousness of the oppressive society in which we live, we find ourselves constantly experiencing feelings of hate and rage against everything associated with the White race. However, at the same time we start to think that everything White is evil, we also start to feel ashamed of ourselves and guilty when we are not able to live a life totally void of Western influences because we work with White people, live in White neighborhoods, shop at White grocery stores, etc. This creates an Black person that is mentally exhausted by continually worrying and failing to reach a goal that is practically impossible for most of us.
This constant self-evaluation and comparing ourselves to some impossible ideal results in frightening periods of anxiety characterized by:
Preoccupation with rejection of her old ideas, values and behaviors that they associate with their old “unconscious, “Negro” personality while romanticizing and oversimplifying their new ideal self;
Difficulty maintaining emotional control over their anger towards white people while having a limited sense of positivity, joy, and self-love for their Black identity; and
Low self-esteem because, in comparison to one’s ideal self, their life is seen as vain, useless, and sometimes repulsive.
This constant worry, frustration, and self-doubt can have long-term and profound negative effects physiologically, sychologically, socially, and spiritually. Since our homeland, Africa, was first invaded by Western and Eastern colonizers, we have battled against oppression and captivity. Although our history is full of stories of military, political, and economic conquests, many of us who have spent decades fighting relentlessly for Black liberation, without experiencing the kind of victories about which we dream. We can feel frustrated by the lack of progress overthrowing the stranglehold of White Supremacy. After years of experiencing daily onslaughts of racial violence and never knowing the joy of what it feels like to be free; vacillating between rage, guilt, and self-doubt, a Black person may choose one of three possible options for her future:
Disappointment and Rejection; Because they cannot reconcile their internal struggle between their romanticized ideal self and being a normal, everything person full of weaknesses and contradictions, they give up all hope in a revolution; abandoning all
values and principles, sinking into hopelessness and negativity, perhaps ultimately believing that White people are superior and Black people are inferior; or
Continuation and Fixation; They are overwhelmed by the exhilaration that comes from feeling hate and rage against White people and find meaning and purpose in their lives by fixating on promoting theories, organizations, and relationships that constructs an entire worldview to support and maintain their belief in White people as evil and inhuman. At the same time, they find pleasure in feeling powerful in the idea of Black supremacy; or
Internalization; They achieve a feeling of inner security and are more satisfied with themselves. However, “Black is beautiful” and “Black lives matter” becomes ends in themselves, rather than sources of motivation for self-improvement and building a
nation free of system oppression. Intellectualization and scholarship is enough. He or she becomes the “nice” Black person and “a credit to our race”.
So, from Weusi Anxiety, a person might: 1) give up and become a “Negro”; 2) stay stuck in self-destructive rage and guilt; or 3) become a mentally and emotionally balanced Black person that works productively for herself and her community.
However, unless an African (Black) person is able to embrace an African-centered spirituality that reflects our civilizations before our institutions were destroyed by colonization and imperialism, we will continue to be frustrated in our identity and mental health. Healing from the conflicts of Weusi Anxiety, low self-esteem, and identifying with a history of bondage requires mentally manifesting the world we want. True psychological liberation means visualizing a world and a system that doesn’t imitate Western supremacist values and frameworks but instead points to turning away from the conventional belief systems that keeps
Black people trapped between their rage against White supremacy and failing to succeed in a society that is designed to deny our humanity.
For a deeper look at Race-Based Traumatic Stress and Weusi Anxiety, check out my online
classes in the SHOCK Metaphysics Virtual Kemetic Wisdom School. (Click Here)
And check the following books....