We Honor Our Ancestors When We Remember Them Laughing

Black laughter is more than medicine. It’s an important weapon in our spiritual warfare toolkit. Our ancestors laughed in the face of anti-Blackness, whooping and hollering as a form of resistance. And so should we.

We Honor Our Ancestors When We Remember Them Laughing
Via Unsplash

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” – Proverbs 14:13. We’ve all heard the phrase “laugh to keep from crying.” But what about laughing as resistance? 

During slavery, laughter kept morale up, so much so that some plantations even tried to ban laughter among enslaved people. But our ancestors found a workaround.

When with laughter, they’d stick their heads into barrels to muffle them. Even this image makes us laugh.

Laughter remains a reliable form of resistance. We rely on community, whether in person or virtual, to keep roaring with laughter and our spirits high. 

Black social media uses humor to make political commentary. It’s common to see responses to funny memes like, “Omg we’re so unserious.” We know we’re really saying, “I love how we don’t take anti-Blackness seriously.”

Anti-Blackness fears not being taken seriously; this is why it polices our humor, recognizing our laughter as a weapon of spiritual warfare.

Spirituality is often portrayed as serious, but many spiritualists work humor into their faith practices. Does your faith hold space for laughter? 

How does our laughter contribute to the liberated futures we’re building?

Like our ancestors, we can unapologetically laugh with our whole bodies and commit to finding opportunities to laugh, even when our fight for liberation gets tough.

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