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My Grandmother's Hands

Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
Narrated by: Cary Hite
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. In this groundbreaking work, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of body-centered psychology. He argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn't just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans - our police.

My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.

  • Paves the way for a new, body-centered understanding of white supremacy - how it is literally in our blood and our nervous system
  • Offers a step-by-step solution - a healing process- in addition to incisive social commentary

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, is a therapist with decades of experience currently in private practice in Minneapolis, MN, specializing in trauma, body-centered psychotherapy, and violence prevention. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. Menakem has studied with best-selling authors Dr. David Schnarch (Passionate Marriage) and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score). He also trained at Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.

©2017 Resmaa Menakem (P)2017 Central Recovery Press

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Generous and groundbreaking work!

I loved what I learned in this book so much that I listened to it a second time in order to let it sink in and integrate deeper. I commend Resmaa for writing a book about racialized trauma that is titrated enough to be accessible to white bodied readers. It is not Black folks job to soothe or educate who’re people; this book is a gift that is groundbreaking in helping white folks heal and grow around issues of racialized trauma and discomfort.

Amazing work. I am recommending this book far and wide.

1 person found this helpful

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Settled bodies focused minds

Fascinating review of trauma and in particular, racialized trauma. I love his focus on the nervous system and how this works through our bodies. Very thorough and detailed. Many great practises and examples of actions. I highly recommend this book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet S.
  • 2020-06-16

Total lack of anything between black and white

I assume this book is revealing and mind-blowing to someone who is not me. But as someone who is neither Black nor White, the book feels like it is repeatedly telling me that I could not possibly be in the audience.

This is a real pity because I am fully in agreement with the premise of needing to address intergenerational trauma. I was also interested in learning about the history of both White Americans and Black Americans. Tne problem is that this book repeatedly addresses only Black, White, and on occasion biracial readers. It presents these as the only options for an emotional reaction to the book. "If you are White you might react thusly, and if you are Black you might react thusly" is a formula used again and again throughout the first handful of chapters, and I could not get past it. I understand the author's desire to stick to a limited scope, but it repeats, echoes, and rams in a persistent cultural narrative that other races do not exist. My family and friends are Native American, Latino, Jewish, and Asian-American, and the existence of the latter three is never even mentioned.

Here's some things to think about: Jewish people in America could not access white privilege until World War II, and even now their status as "White" is highly conditional on whether they can convincingly present as culturally inoffensive. Asian-Americans were filed into nonwhite as the "Yellow Peril", until brutally strict immigration laws that only let in highly skilled people flipped them to Model Minority status less than fifty years ago. Let's not even get into the decades of famine and failing states that made Central American peoples vulnerable to Spanish conquistadors.

In conclusion, there are layers of complexity that the book doesn't even acknowledge the existence of. And the constant reminders that the reader must be either Black or White are alienating to me.

15 people found this helpful

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  • VeganTurtle77
  • 2020-03-06

I wish this was required reading for all Americans

This book is exactly what the US needs. As our culture becomes more and more polarized and hostilities rise, its clear that Americans are falling back on age-old practices of fear and disconnection that leave none of us better off. Almost as soon as I began reading this book, I realized this is the book I have been waiting to read ever since I first became aware of trauma, epigenetics and how it all lives in our bodies. Having read The Body Keeps The Score, by the man who mentored this author, and It Didn't Start with You, I still felt something was missing. This book is the missing peice.
One of my favorite aspects of this book that is also very different from most books about trauma is that it provides readers with practical strategies to begin healing ourselves, and to share this healing with our families, friends, communities and even strangers! It doesn't just drop a heavy message with nowhere to go. And as a therapist, this author admits the limitations of talk therapy for healing trauma which is something not talked about enough.
Since reading this book I have been telling everyone I know about it. My partner, my family, I even sent a hard copy to my parents! I bought the hard copy myself, to have the practices easily accessible.
The narrator was wonderful and handled the material with grace and skill. I already know I'll be listening to this book again.

9 people found this helpful

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  • AK
  • 2019-05-11

Powerful piece for unraveling white supremacy .

This is a powerful contribution to the unraveling white supremacy. The author provides tools for healing, which is truly needed today.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rurik McKaiser
  • 2019-04-10

One of THEE best books I have ever read!

This book NOT for the faint hearted. If you are open to healing your Soul then read this book. If you live living an unconscious life of pain an hurt and wish to break the cycle of intergenerational pain and harm, then book is for you.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-04-13

urgent and important

this book will, if humans survive their self inflicted crisis, become one of the cornerstones of our healing -- looking back we will wonder how this basic information, about how human mammals cope and cover up their trauma, about how to restore the body after trauma, was so out of reach of the common people for so long.
no more! this book brings what we need to know now.

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  • edward fisher
  • 2020-07-06

Powerful healing

As a daughter, sister, mother, friend, colleague, educator and Trauma Informed Trainer, I recommend “My Grandmothers’ Hands” to all. I listened to it on walks and practiced the exercises. Resmaa’s words made my “soul nerve” (Vagus V) resonate through each one of my organs and lifted my soul. So much to be done and yet so much hope. Throughout the book the reader/ listener will go through a spectrum of emotions, sometimes screaming out loud, and yet by the end of the book he/she/them will feel these incredible feelings of strength and healing because of the hope that can be sensed through the pain. Thank you Resmaa.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-10

meh

I wish the analysis went further. it appears to coddle white people and cops. doesn't include imperialism or colonialism despite its obvious connection to white body supremacy . a humble beginning. co ops a lot of relaxation practices from Asia with little to no awareness or lip service of such appropriation.

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  • jk
  • 2020-06-21

Exceptional resource.

This book is an exceptional resource for anyone wanting to understand systemic racism and what to do about it. There are so many levels on which we need to address reconciliation and reparation to Black Americans. this book addresses many of them and provides many ways and levels to begin to repair.

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  • Sharon D. Brown
  • 2020-06-06

A must read for everyone for this world to heal.

My Grandmother's Hands is a must read for everyone. It breaks down the historical context of brutality not only in this country but in this world. You begin to see each person with compassion. This book provides hands on tools and practices for body awareness and healing. It also offers guidance on opportunities for growth as individuals and collectively as a community. Read and listen to the audio. The audio activates all your senses. I highly recommend My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem.

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  • Benjamin Schick
  • 2020-05-13

Essential healing, read & re-read!

This incredible book offers years and years, dare I say generations of healing. It is essential for white bodies who are working to heal their own trauma, and to heal the trauma and wounding of racialized injustice in the world, especially in the United States. It is essential for police bodies and offers the kind of culture change that will actually make a difference, culture change that can be structural change both within and without. As a white person, I cannot say whether this is essential for black bodies, but I imagine it is. As a culture change “expert” and somatically trained consultant, I want to give this book as homework to every executive, manager, director, teacher, and administrator that I work with. Deep deep gratitude to Resmaa Menakem, and to all of the influences, colleagues, peers and ancestors who contributed to his ability to create such a masterpiece. I share this account with my family, and it is listed under my partner’s name, so I respectfully and humbly sign my own name here to acknowledge this comment - Amy MacClain

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jean-Charles B.
  • 2020-06-05

Excellent book about healing racism

Racism, where it comes from, how it lodges in the body and how to heal it - if these are questions you’re interested in, then this is the go-to book. You will learn about yourself, whether white or black or in between including police. This book has been eye opening for me, and I have read very widely on the topic.