Living and Learning While Black: Navigating White Supremacy


  • Valandra University of Arkansas


resilience, strategic learning, unlearning, white supremacy, whiteness


Anti-Black racism shaped my life experiences in many ways. The pervasiveness of Whiteness and White supremacy in the United States required me to learn and unlearn specific lessons—some critical to my survival and others that hindered my ability to thrive fully—leaving me with an insatiable longing for freedom. This narrative describes some of the pivotal moments in my journey of living and learning under the yoke of White supremacy. I examine the coping mechanisms and unlearning necessary to combat racial battle fatigue and strike a healthy balance of social activism and self-care. I use critical race theory to focus salient experiences of racism and counter-narratives that support my life process. While I recognize that people of all ethnicities can perpetuate anti-Black racism, my narrative is centered on living in relation to White people and White systems of domination.

Author Biography

Valandra, University of Arkansas

School of Social Work and African & African American Studies

Assistant Professor and Program Director of African & African American Studies




How to Cite

Valandra. (2022). Living and Learning While Black: Navigating White Supremacy. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 28(2), 28–43. Retrieved from



Black Racial Injustice: Personal Reflections to Change Strategies