Still living like mental slaves
There is a long history to this phrase, but the concept received perhaps its most popular expression in Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” The lyrics below were in fact taken from a speech by Marcus Garvey, whose Black Star shipping line was taken by the Kewli and Def as the name of their rap duo.
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.”
The also goes back to The Bluest Eye. In the novel, black children lose their ability to think for themselves after they encounter white culture and the things they are supposed to think. For instance, Claudia originally hates Shirley Temple and white baby dolls because she cannot connect with them, but she grows to love them and blue eyes when she realizes they are “beautiful” and she is not. She is practically brain washed by these overarching opinions that she constantly encounters. She loses the joy in her own “funkiness” and dirtiness to be clean and controlled like all of the white children.
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