I experienced so many emotions while reading this book that span from painful and sad to inspired and hopeful. I'm grateful for the unconventional perspective and flat out realness that D Watkins gave us in 'We Speak For Ourselves'
I believe everyone has their own coping mechanisms to the pain that Black people in particular, experience in urban communities. Mine is to numb myself. Yes, I consider myself to be "aware" and sensitive to the things happening in society , but to some degree over the years, I have created a blockage of protection. I have conditioned myself to believe that this is the most supportive way to protect me from the overwhelming pain that would result if I fully acknowledge the conditions that people are faced with on a daily basis. Reading 'We Speak For Ourselves' has, in a way, forced me to acknowledge that numbing me only helps one person and actually, adds to the problem.
Two chapters helped this happen for me and those were Chapter 13 'Be The Person You Needed Growing Up" and Chapter 15 " Don't make it Out Make It Better." I think the titles speak for themselves in regards to the messages they were focused on and because of that I felt vulnerable to all of the emotions D addressed in the book. The emotional roller coaster wasn't necessarily fun but the result left me feeling connected, enlightened, and intentionally sensitive to things I was refusing to acknowledge before.
Ultimately, I agree. We absolutely speak for ourselves but D's words in the pages of this book undoubtedly raised the volume on some voices that I had tuned out for a while and grateful is the best way to describe my emotions for that.