The Influence of Inherited Racism

by Dana Mariani-Lada

People can be in situations, not actively chosen by the individual, where they learn racist behaviors and attitudes. It is my belief that, regardless of where or how we learn about racism, we each have responsibility for identification, acknowledgement and dismantling it. Inherited racism is the term that I use (actually, I think I’m coining it with this post). My definition is informed by my own lenses, my experiences. It is the idea that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race that is consciously or subconsciously transferred from an authority figure to an individual at early stages of life through adulthood. The individual, who receives prejudiced and/or discriminatory communication from an authority figure may, and often, believes these attitudes are appropriate. It is important for individual growth and development to identify what attitudes have permeated your upbringing and make an effort to identify, evaluate, and...

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God Willing and The Creek Don’t Rise

Photo Credit: Shelah Marie


Late last Friday afternoon, I joined a Zoom call. Several DJA team members were there as was a client in Detroit. In all, three Black women, similar in age, were present. The obligatory, “How are you doing?” started the conversation. Our client pausedwe’ve developed wonderful rapportaverted her eyes, and said “You know, God willing and the creek don’t rise.” All three Black women in the meeting burst into familiar laughter. We were in a space in which we fully belonged, able to experience and share a mutual sense of exhaustion in a way that reinforced sisterhood and support. I haven’t stopped smiling since. 

The saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” has been around for a long time, but it was likely popularized in Johnny Nash’s song “If the Lord’s Willing.” Most folks I know attribute it to our Big Mamas. Wikipedia describes it as an...

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