TOO MUCH: TRAUMA-911
2020 has been a challenging, enlightening and year that started with so much promise. Remember 2020 vision? Too Much: Trauma 911 explores the feeling of many Black people. For far too long, Black men and women have been disproportionately killed at the hands of those charged with serving and protecting. For many, many years all it took was the word of a Caucasian person to maliciously malign a Black person out of spite, jealousy or any other reason and the results would be the end of that person’s life.
All one must do is look at the records of “Post Slavery” lynching’s, beatings, theft of property, limb, and life to see that Black people were never to sit at the table of equality. Historically and even today, the deck has been stacked and we as a people have systematically and institutionally been considered to have a methodology, culture, style, belief system, self-image or even worship that was ours. Living in the shadow of inferiority, considered as imposters trying to do life, marriage, parenting, financial management, healthcare, mental and emotional wellbeing the right way. However ,never truly living up to the standard.
Being Black in America is a double-edged sword, on one side our creativity, skill, craftsmanship, musicality, and ingenuity. On the other side we live with the ingrained belief that we will never truly be enough, we will always be considered inferior, imposters, wannabe’s to the American Dream and yes, that our lives, hopes and contributions ultimately don’t really matter.
Too much for too long is my protest. No matter who you are or what your ethnicity may be. You surely can relate to feeling inferior, as if you don’t belong and the deep pain of never truly feeling that you matter. In your pain you try every avenue you can think of to communicate your distress and the expectations you have of the ones who grant access. Despite your efforts you remain peering through the door, unable to gain access into the coveted room or better yet a seat at the table with full privileges.
Along with that long-standing pain we as a people have adapted, children learn at an early age how to walk, talk and act while Black. Lessons in DWB, Driving While Black are commonplace in homes, yes that talk once reserved for our sons is now given to our daughters. The goal for our children regardless of their age is to make it back home.
Too much, too many deaths in one month, too much one to many blatant threats of the Caucasian woman threatening to evoke age old distress signals, “ I feel threatened there is a Black man whose presence makes me feel unsafe.”
For our Caucasian citizens we ask that you see the brutal effects of institutionalized racism, leftovers of the Jim Crow era, disparities in health, education and mental health services and the criminal justice system.
Similar to gaslighting, Black people are told they are too sensitive, angry, anti-social and that they are the problem. If you want to be a part of the solution, begin to see and acknowledge the effects of a living in a land of duality, no longer tell yourselves, “ I didn’t have anything to do with slavery, those people need to apply themselves “,or other rationale.
We wake up every day desiring to live the “American Dream” and be the best versions of ourselves. I am not suggesting that you become color blind. Instead I am asking you to bemindfully present and intentional in respecting and regarding our room and our table. As a clinician we are trained to respect and regard our clients’ right to self-determination, agency, strengths and goals.
As a citizen of these United States that has been a right constantly fought for on a regular basis. The events of the last month were a sobering reminder that the silence, complicit comments and continuation of the belief system that people of color, Black people are inferior and have no effects of generational, institutional and systemic racism reinforced daily.
The prevalence of adverse childhood experiences, nationally, by state, and by race/ethnicity. Vanessa Sacks, MPP, and David Murphey, PhD February 2018
The Hate You Give
Water Dancer- Author Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Bluest Eye- Author Tony Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God- Author Zora Neale Hurston
Podcast: Too Much: Trauma-911