Grieving While Black: An Antiracist Take on Oppression and Sorrow
“Grieving While Black expands the notion of grief beyond its quick association with death to examine all of the spiritual and psychological tolls of racism and sexism. By drawing on her experiences as a birth doula and chaplain, Breeshia Wade complicates grief itself by exploring different forms of loss while also imagining a path toward healing. A bracing, illuminating read.” —BRIT BENNETT, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Vanishing Half and The Mothers
“… Grieving While Black tackles grief through the lens of race and racism. At its core is the understanding that grief is intrinsically tied to racial identity and systems of discrimination.” — Metro.co.uk
by Breeshia Wade
Typically, when we reference grief work in relation to anti-Blackness, people think about the grief experienced by those oppressed by white supremacy. But Breeshia Wade encourages those who are not Black to consider how their own unexplored grief amplifies the suffering of Black people.
Most of us understand grief as sorrow experienced after a loss—the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a change in life circumstance. Breeshia Wade approaches grief as something that is bigger than what’s already happened to us—as something that is connected to what we fear, what we love, and what we aspire toward. Drawing on stories from her own life as a Black woman and from the people she has midwifed through the end of life, she connects sorrow not only to specific incidents but also to the ongoing trauma that is part and parcel of systemic oppression.
Wade reimagines our relationship to power, accountability, and boundaries and points to the long-term work we must all do in order to address systemic trauma perpetuated within our interpersonal relationships. Each of us has a moral obligation to attend to our own grief so that we can responsibly engage with others. Wade elucidates grief in every aspect of our lives, providing a map back to ourselves and allowing the reader to heal their innate wholeness.
Paperback | 192 pages | North Atlantic Books | 2021
Breeshia Wade holds a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago. She completed Upaya Zen Center’s 2-year Buddhist Chaplaincy program.
Wade served as a hospice and palliative care end-of life caregiver in LA County. Over the past 5 years, Wade has supported people through grief and transitions as a birth doula and a lay ordained Buddhist chaplain working in jails, on the MotherBaby Units of hospitals, and in people’s homes. Wade uses her practice as an end-of-life caregiver to encourage those who are not facing illness, death, or dying to be open to what grief can teach them about relationship, life, failure, sex, and desire, conflict, and accountability.
In stock (can be backordered)