Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza sat down for an interview with Blavity last week where she spoke about impostor syndrome, an idea she discussed in her latest book. 

The author of the recently released The Purpose of Power: How to Build Movements for the 21st Century said impostor syndrome especially affects Black women and they must be willing to discuss the issue. 

"Impostor syndrome is a symptom of a larger phenomenon where Black women, especially queer Black women, seem to belong nowhere," Garza writes in her book. "Impostor syndrome for this Black girl is a literal feeling of inauthenticity, that I do not belong here…My impostor syndrome is incurable by affirmations in the mirror, because as soon as I step away, this world reminds that I have no business here." 

When asked about how Black women can overcome the syndrome, she told Blavity that the first point of action is to talk about it. 

"One of the reasons that I brought that into the book is because I think everyone who experiences that feels like it’s just them," Garza said. "That’s what the syndrome is about. It’s like you start to feel like you don’t have a contribution to make, that you’re faking the funk."

"On some level, I want us to understand how we perpetuate that in our relationships but also how our silence around it keeps it intact," the activist shared. "So the first thing is to talk about it."

She goes on to say that Black women leaders are celebrated in "symbol, not in practice" and that Black women can have unhealthy expectations of one another. 

"In that chapter, I think I talk about the ways in which we both celebrate Black women as Black women. But then also there's a way in which we have expectations of each other that are not beneficial for each other," Garza continued.

"We also have to be mindful of the ways in which we internalize practices that have been designed to leave us out and leave us behind," the Black Futures Lab founder added. 

Psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes coined impostor syndrome in 1978, describing it as "an internal experience of intellectual phoniness that appears to be particularly prevalent and intense among a select sample of high-achieving women."

Journalist Jolie A. Doggett wrote a column for HuffPost last year to discuss her own struggles with impostor syndrome.

"To put it simply, impostor syndrome is the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, that you’re a fake on the verge of being found out," she wrote. "It’s the feeling that you don’t belong here, wherever 'here' is for you: the office, your friend group, the classroom or the boardroom."

Garza emphasized the significance of building a community which can help Black women become resilient together.

"There’s nothing more that I love than making sure other Black women get ahead, making sure other Black women get opportunities, making sure the things that I have access to — that I’m spreading the wealth,"  the activist said. "So that’s another way for us to try and address that level of impostor syndrome." 

With a pivotal election on the horizon and Black communities continuing to face oppression, Garza described the current times as a crossroad and delivered a warning to people who may be feeling indifferent while living under a racist system.

"We could really go in either direction right now and that means that we need everybody’s support and everybody to chip in," she said. "Part of how these processes are able to function is because we turn away from them, because we dislike them so much that we say 'well that can go ahead and function without me.'" 

With a desensitized mindset, Garza said we're thus leaving "everything on the table for somebody else to eat."

"We should be organizing outside, but we should also be using these various platforms to advance our agenda and also to create change," the Black Lives Matter co-founder said. "There’s not one way to create change, but we have to be able to utilize all the different ways."