• Richard Easson

Reparations...for Sleep? Compliments of the Black Power Naps Initiative

On July 10th, an "Identity Editor" for the magazine Teen Vogue published an article entitled "Black Power Naps Is Addressing Systemic Racism in Sleep." The article alleges that poor sleep among blacks is a symptom of systemic racism.

The creators of the Black Power Naps initiative, Fannie Sosa and Navild Acosta, insist that African Americans typically have shorter life spans than caucasians on the grounds that they're African American and are experiencing what they call "generational fatigue."

Sosa and Navild deduced that they're always tired because of generations of sleep deprivation due to systemic racism. Their proposed remedy? Reparations through more break time and vacations from work.

In the article Sosa insisted that "We're dealing with an inheritance of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation was a...deliberate tactic of slave owners to basically make the mind feeble. That same tactic has only evolved."

Sosa continued “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. 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 pile all of those together, you see the reparations that need to happen are monetary, but they're also time and space.”

In the midst of the pandemic, Sosa pointed out that it is even more exhausting to have to go out and demand the need for rest reparations.

“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. 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 not only to 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.”