I just feel like…it’s time for my people to evolve (when it comes to certain things).
DISCLAIMER: Dear (insert any other race than black rightcheer), this is in NO way a green light for you to insert your opinion on black people and their traditions/beliefs. Like Dro told Molly, “Don’t worry about what me and my wife do!” Also, if you don’t get that reference, it is just further proof that you can sit this one out. Feel free to read and enjoy, but this one isn’t meant for you. Peace and blessings.
Be honest…growing up in a black household or community, how many times have you heard the words “We’re black, we don’t do that”, “Uh uh that’s white people stuff”, “Girl…stop, you’re black.” Most times, I’m not going to lie, it is plain hilarious, because we’re usually referring to something like cooking with pets in the kitchen, or going to bed with your hair wet and/or unwrapped. I actually just laughed while typing that.
Other times, when we’re not talking about something so trivial, the phrases are used to speak on more serious topics such as mental health, religion, or the methods in which we raise our children. Historically, most, NOT ALL, but most black people in black communities have adopted certain traditions when it comes to these topics.
You don’t go to a psychiatrist because you aren’t “crazy”, that’s just the devil creeping in and trying to use you. You don’t take anti-depressants because you’re not depressed, you’re just sad. Instead of doing all that foolishness, we go speak to our pastor (who better be Christian because we don’t believe in all that other crazy stuff), who in turn encourages us to pray these feelings away. And if our kids come to us with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, or sadness, we dismiss them because we aren’t raising weak children. Anxiety? Chile spell anxiety. Get over it. We’re strong, our children are strong, our family unit is strong. We survived slavery for God’s sake, we got this.
Let me start off by saying I honestly believe that black people are the strongest, most resilient, and most adaptive people on this planet, not up for debate. With that being said, even the strongest people need a break or they will burn out without a doubt. If this doesn’t apply to you, you’re perfect, super strong, and never get tired, girl (or boy) WERK. But still pay attention because your kids may deal with this. I’ve seen it in the news far too often these days, and in my current line of work unfortunately I see this in person as well. It never gets easier to see or hear. According to the Washington Post in a study conducted between 2001-2015 at a children’s hospital in Ohio, the rate of suicides for black children aged 5 to 12 exceeded that of white children of the same age. The rates for black children are basically double that of white children. 5 years old. Someone’s baby. Now even though suicide amongst children THAT young is rare, the fact that it’s happening at all is alarming.
Sometimes I discuss current events with my grandmother, a 70-something sweet lady who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
I will hurt anybody behind this lady. She was one of the first black students to integrate McNeese State University in the 60’s and frankly, she’s seen a lot in her lifetime. But anytime the discussion leads to death, suicide, or black people taking their own lives, before you can get the full sentence out she’s saying “Oh no baby they didn’t kill themselves, someone killed them.” I don’t blame her, she has probably seen so many staged suicides that were in fact murders growing up in south Louisiana, I can’t even begin to imagine.
But sometimes, unfortunately black people DO take their own lives for their own reasons. Whether it’s our babies, our adolescents, our teens, our adults, our middle aged kings and queens, and even our senior kings and queens, it’s happening. It’s high time that we stop ignoring what is taking place right in our faces and begin to digest and do something about this trend. I understand society can be seen as soft, and you don’t have to be a pushover by any means, but give people a break sometimes. Life is real out here for everybody, and just because you yourself have never experienced or understand half of the perils your peers have, isn’t an excuse to dismiss or invalidate them. Or perhaps you have experienced a lot, keep in mind that we are all individuals and process things differently.
Be kind, be considerate. Check on somebody you care about today. Hell, have a talk with yourself in the mirror like Issa and make sure you’re good. We don’t want to turn around and lose a friend, loved one, or even ourselves, because we were too ignorant to realize what was going on.
What are your thoughts?