I have a few posts that are in draft status. Today I am straying away from them for a moment to address the here and now. No cool pictures. Nothing fancy. Not today. Here goes…
In my March 24 post I discussed elements of self-care to assist with navigating the pandemic and doing away with media that one may deem to be disturbing. To save you a bit of time here is what was written.
“Media – Media is a tool that serves a multitude of purposes – both positive and negative. It is acceptable to take a break from news and social media outlets as the constant stream of information can be emotionally disturbing. Set time limits for watching news outlets and be sure to get information from reputable sources. Take it upon yourself to modify social media settings to hide triggering words, posts and videos. You can also choose to refrain from engaging in threads that bring about distress and angst.”Maziwa Tribe
It is a common occurrence to view looped footage displaying the killing of humans, specifically Black people, throughout various forms of media. We received the memo that navigating public spaces while Black is a matter of life or death long before social media was invented. Simply leaving home can be worrisome for many Black people because we have seen unfavorable outcomes play out too many times. A walk in the park can take a turn for the worse. Recall the Central Park Five and most recently Christian Cooper and his interaction with Amy Cooper (no relation). How about others – there are many – that did not make it home safely? Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd come to mind. One can be in their home; or in bed, and have a similar fate. Botham Jean, Brionna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson have this in common. Many of us carry these experiences with us simply because we exist and have no other choice. Additional complexity is added with having to explain these events in a language that our children can understand. Having a conversation with our Black boys because they “fit the description” is must-have conversation that no parent looks forward to. Georgina Dukes explains it in depth here.
“Being Black is America should not be a death sentence.”Jacob Frey – Mayor of Minneapolis, MN
A death sentence is by no means an over exaggeration – it is reality. So much needs to be unpacked. Where do I start? Do I begin with dissecting the United States and its history of oppression? How about the hypersexualization of Black bodies, racial profiling and cultural conditioning resulting in the belief that Black people are inferior? What about racial bias which makes Black people appear to be threatening? Add in the criminal justice system and the over-policing of Black people and Black communities. Let’s not forget about stereotypes that Black people are larger in stature which leads to the belief that we are more threatening than others with a similar stature. Do I begin by unpacking institutionalized racism and privilege? I honestly do not have the mental capacity to go there today because I am tired. This is exhausting.
“Racial trauma, or race-based trauma, consists of the mental health symptoms a person experiences as a result of racism or discrimination, which has often been compared to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”Culture and Mental Health Disparities Lab (CMHD)
The psychological turmoil doesn’t just disappear with every new hashtag that is created. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines PTSD as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” NIMH lists that living through dangerous events, seeing a dead body, and feelings of helplessness or extreme fear as factors that increases the risk of developing PTSD. It makes sense that one may develop PTSD after watching death via various media outlets on a regular basis. I strongly urge connecting with a mental health professional if you believe that your mental health has been impacted by recent (or past) events.
Self-care is an area that is within ones control. It can equate to shutting the television off and taking a break from social media platforms. You do not owe it to yourself to watch videos that are psychologically damaging. It may also be helpful to refrain from sharing such videos. I have given myself permission to partake in the above forms of self-care for my overall sanity and well-being. I value my health, therefore, it no longer serves me well to engage in dialogue where I must explain why humans that look like me deserve to live. I refuse to do it and I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
My three year old is sitting next to me as I put the finishing touches on this post. She is content with her milkies and has no idea about the harsh reality of the world in which we live. In her world, infant wipes – we buy them in bulk – are the solution for cleaning up minor spills and everything else that is wrong. If only it were that easy, little one. If only… I need to have a conversation with her but I am saving it for a later date.
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love & Breastmilk
The Maziwa Tribe blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from Maziwa Tribe’s blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this blog is intended for general consumer understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your family doctor or other medical professional to obtain medical advice.