Johan was only four years old when I became concerned about him growing up into a big black man in America!
In 2014, I was having lunch with a diverse group of colleagues discussing the Ferguson riots that stemmed from the shooting death of Michael Brown.
One of my colleagues, a white woman, was upset because her rational husband made the decision to cancel their vacation in St. Charles because he didn't want to take his gun. She exclaimed, in reference to the riots, "this is gonna make cops not wanna be cops!" I replied, "at least they have a choice, my son can't choose not to grow up into a black man in America!" She left the table!
What we're currently experiencing is collective trauma! Generation after generation, century after century, decade after dec...you get the picture! WE, as in black people, African Americans, or whatever we currently identify as (because keep in mind, our identity, culture, and traditions were literally looted) have been psychologically affected by adverse community experiences!
Collectively, we've encountered adverse experiences, in our communities as children, as adults, and essentially before breathing due to generational traumas that cause predispositions to the effects of socioeconomic injustice, structural violence, systematic racism, lopsided access to quality education, unfair healthcare treatment, and so on!
These adverse experiences prevent our success or development; they're harmful and unfavorable! Literally, that's the definition of adverse! We talk about trauma, mental health, and how important it is to heal and deal with those issues, but quite frankly, that's just become a thing!
So imagine, being traumatized! Time after time, generation after generation without appropriate interventions and resources to resolve the root of the problem; the same issues rise back up! Continuously uncovered but the blanket gets thrown back on the mess!
Trauma is the EMOTIONAL RESPONSE to distressing or disturbing events and without the appropriate prevention and supports, the effects may cause the same, or even worse, angst and disorder!
The effects of trauma include irritability, anger, intense fear, stress, headaches, depression, and may worsen existing mental, emotional and/or physical conditions; this is just some of the responses to trauma! Which in turn explains the current responses in Minneapolis and other cities across the nation!
Our trauma is sensationalized in the media, which triggers and incites more trauma; all a part of the systematic initiative to oppress and control! We literally watch people get murdered and abused! CAN. YOU. SAY. TRAUMA! I have not watched, nor do I want to watch, the murder of #GeorgeFloyd because I know what my emotional responses would look like and I don't have the capacity right now!
Children are MISDIAGNOSED and ERRONEOUSLY LABELED because of their responses to trauma! They're viewed as defiant, violent, and the symptoms are pacified with medication; but the trauma remains, looking for the next opportunity to demonstrate its influence! Sound familiar?
In dealing with trauma, of any kind, it's important to address the entrenched, embedded, and deeply-rooted cause, not just the manifestation of the effects!