via Emory

When I was a child, neg­a­tive talk about being black was so com­mon in media and soci­ety that I even­tu­al­ly became desen­si­tized to it — I fig­ured, “It is what it is,” and doubt­ed attempts to pub­li­cize black beau­ty and empow­er­ment, think­ing it was up to the indi­vid­u­al to move past or get over the­se neg­a­tive per­cep­tions. For­tu­nate to no longer feel that way, I was excit­ed to see Emory Uni­ver­si­ty offer­ing a course in “The Pow­er of Black Self-Love” as part of their  Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Explo­ration and Schol­ar­ship (IDEAS) pro­gram.

The course was cre­at­ed by Dian­ne Stew­art and Don­na Troka, adjunct assis­tant pro­fes­sor in Emory’s Insti­tute for the Lib­er­al Arts (ILA) and asso­ciate direc­tor for the Cen­ter for Fac­ul­ty Devel­op­ment and Excel­lence (CFDE), explor­ing top­ics such as the influ­ence of “Black Twit­ter” over the past decade, the impact of social media on the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, and phe­nom­e­non of “Black Girl Mag­ic.” They decid­ed to co-teach the course after hear­ing their stu­dents’ expe­ri­ences in their cours­es — Stewart’s “Black Love” and Troka’s “Resist­ing Racism.”

via Emory

Troka recalls the dis­cus­sions in class:

“The­se are some amaz­ing­ly sharp stu­dents who have engaged in dif­fi­cult — and some­times vul­ner­a­ble — con­ver­sa­tions,” says Troka. “Many have had to learn to nego­ti­ate envi­ron­ments that were some­times overt­ly, some­times covert­ly again­st them, and are now think­ing about it the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, cul­tur­al­ly and per­son­al­ly.”

McK­ay­la Williams, a stu­dent in the course, con­sid­ered the “polic­ing of black­ness and the black expe­ri­ence,” as one of the great­est obsta­cles of self-love from both with­in and out­side of the black com­mu­ni­ty, the took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to inter­view stu­dents about their expe­ri­ences and thoughts on what it means to be black and what they loved about it.

In the age of social media I find this is to be extreme­ly impor­tant, as it’s so easy to dis­miss anoth­er or lack empa­thy for some­one with­out the same expe­ri­ence or opin­ion as the pop­u­lar mass­es. Group­think is often the norm on the­se chan­nels, and a dif­fer­ing per­spec­tive can get one eas­i­ly “dragged.”

To share the infor­ma­tion intro­duced in the class and their final projects, pre­sen­ta­tions have been post­ed to Emory’s schol­ar­blog web­site, and include sev­er­al inter­vie­wee gal­leries, a Black Girl Mag­ic gallery, Music of the Black Lives Mat­ter Move­ment (fea­tur­ing Kendrick Lamar and Bey­on­cé), and more.

via Emory
via Emory

Pre­sen­ta­tion high­lights are also on dis­play out­side the CFDE office, locat­ed on the sec­ond floor of the Robert W. Woodruff Library — the same floor as the library’s main entrance. I would have loved to observe some of the­se class­es.

What do you think of the course, BGLH read­ers?


Elle is the edi­tor and cre­ative direc­tor of the YouTube chan­nel and blog, Quest for the Per­fect Curl at Her chan­nel focus­es on nat­u­ral hair, beau­ty, and fit­ness. She loves prod­ucts that smell like dessert, yoga, and glit­ter. Fol­low her @qftpc.

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3 Comments on "Here’s What’s Covered in Emory University’s “The Power of Black Self Love” Course"

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La Bandita

To the poster below — Black men think fem­i­nism is again­st them and out to destroy their man­hood. That puts Black wom­en in Black male dom­i­nat­ed spaces fight­ing men. Black men should fight White men, peri­od. That’s being Black male iden­ti­fied. In 2017 if any­one spits in the direc­tion of a Black girl or wom­an Black wom­en should be there. The true is we’re the only ones that can real­ly take care of each oth­er.

Im only down for ladies and babies.


Black fem­i­nism has taught/still teach­es black wom­en that they aren’t mules and should put them­selves in the posi­tion to have options in life. That is the major threat to their man­hood, they no longer will have a foot stool.
Total­ly agree! I’m not down for fight­ing for a man who (in this patri­archy that we live in) should be fight­ing for his wom­en and chil­dren.

I find it so inter­est­ing when black wom­en are quick to pro­pose that polic­ing is the first threat to black self love. When­ev­er I hear a black wom­an say that it sends off an alarm in my head that she is strong­ly black male iden­ti­fied. If we are hon­est, one of the first bar­ri­ers to black self-love for black WOMEN is black men and the ide­olo­gies of the black com­mu­ni­ty that black wom­en aren’t valu­able. I deeply hope that in 2017 black wom­en with all of our black girl mag­ic, will not stop on the fringes of the truth but… Read more »