Teen Vogue published an article last week alleging sleep is indicative of systemic racism.
Now some activists are calling for “rest reparations” in the form of sabbaticals and time off from work and other strenuous activities.
What are the details?
The article, titled, “Black Power Naps is Addressing Systemic Racism in Sleep,” reveals the Black Power Naps initiative, which alleges that African Americans typically have shorter life spans when compared to their white peers.
Black Power Naps — created by writers Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa — insists that black lives are shorter than white lives because blacks experience “generational fatigue” simply on the grounds that they are African American.
The magazine describes Black Power Naps as an “artistic initiative with components including physical installations, zines, an opera, and more.”
Writers Acosta and Sosa revealed that they experienced an epiphany: They were always tired, and realized that it was because they were impacted by “hundreds of years of sleep deprivation” that was due to systemic racism.
“[They] were tired, but it wasn’t just any old fatigue,” the article read. “Yes, they experienced a lack of sleep, but they were specifically experiencing a generational fatigue familiar to black people and people of color.”
The realization prompted them to demand reparations through breaks and time off from work through the initiative.
“[Black Power Naps] is also a recognition of the hundreds of years of sleep deprivation that black people and people of color have experienced as a result of systemic racism, a way to push back against the false stereotype that black people are lazy, and an investigation of the inequitable distribution of rest,” the article added.
So what do Acosta and Sosa have to say about this?
Acosta told the magazine that black people and people of color inherited sleep deprivation through years of slavery and control.
“We’re dealing with an inheritance of sleep deprivation,” she complained. “Sleep deprivation was a … deliberate tactic of slave owners to basically make the mind feeble. That same tactic has only evolved.”
She also insisted that it is imperative that black people and people of color be allowed to dream properly.
“The dream space is a crucial space to make sense of your reality and properly process the violence that may be happening,” he said. “When we’re not getting the sleep we need, it is another front line — the place where we sleep.”
Sosa insisted that generations of slavery have made it imperative for black people and people of color to rest as much as they can in the following generations.
“Slavery is a regime of stealing and extraction: stolen wages, stolen life, stolen land, but stolen time was one of the main things. We need time. We need time off; we need time out,” she said. “Our ancestors never got to take a month off for holidays; they never got to take a sabbatical; they never got to take a nap. When you piled all of those together, you see the reparations that need to happen are monetary, but they’re also time and space.”
Sosa pointed out that it’s also unfair that black people and people of color have to go out amid a global pandemic to demand such rest reparations, which makes them suffer from exhaustion even further.
“We are having to go out in the streets during a pandemic, expending our energy in really huge amounts in order to ask for reparations and rest and energy,” Sosa reasoned. “It is a …. double-edged sword to navigate as an activist or organizer. You are putting your body on the line to reclaim it. That creates a lot of burnout. We have people who are 20, 21, they are burnt out. They need time off. They need to not only sleep, but to know their people are going to be OK, to know they’re going to be OK, to know they can take a break.”
(H/T: The Daily Wire)