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

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

  1. 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 be willing to explore even deeper. The truth is that many of us first learn to hate ourselves from the people who look like us. We are too quick to blame white people for something that we continue to perpetuate within our communities. If white people created racisim, and colorism is racism’s cousin, then black folks are the culprits for keeping that alive. If we want to talk about black self-love we have to be honest that black women are judged, rejected, neglected by our own men and community at large for being US and for even attempting to be sovereign. BLACK WOMEN have to be in charge of our own personal PR and reclaim our identities, and change how we are personified in the mainstream. If we are unwilling to look at ourselves as BLACK and WOMAN and not JUST as black then we are not ready for black women to really love themselves. Let’s GET REAL honest in 2017. WE ARE both and it’s time that black women stand in their womanhood even if it challenges black men.

  2. 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.

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