The Life Of A Dangerous Black Girl-Lie #2: It Doesn’t Take All That!

The world loves to tell Black women and girls what they can and cannot do! It loves to define Black women and girls for what they believe they should be. I am not a should-be Black girl. I am not a should-be Black woman! I own all that I have gone through, all I have done, and I want all that I dream of being!

I own me on a level I couldn’t dream of before! I suppose inching towards 40 which has settled me in a way that I didn’t think I would reach yet. Yet, in the intersection of aging, motherhood and adulthood, I find myself confronting the need to hold my own space. There is a need to protect that space, and every footstep that goes into owning that. The lie that I break daily is that I “do too much” or “it doesn’t take all that.” But, it does! It does take all that–it takes every bit of THAT which makes me Black and woman and walking through the world!

There is a different level of moxie, chutzpah and bravado to be a Black girl in a world that either wants to be you, erase you or kill you! It take every bit of your THAT to walk through the world and not be overtaken by it! What is THAT you ask? THAT can be a myriad of things, but here are the three things that I have deduced THAT is: Voice. Style. Presence.

Voice. There is a power, a magic, that Black women have. There is a natural authority and sway we have. When we open our mouths at certain points, God will come out! And in that space, from that place of authority, people who don’t want to see or hear Black women–silence us. We get removed from rooms. We get ‘rescheduled.’ We get delegated. We get told that we ‘too loud.’ We are ‘too aggressive’. And then those accusations are met with rebuttal? Oh, then we are called ‘bitches’. As if that will make the roar soften because you call me a name! No. I’m too told to be stopped by that.

Style. The poet Nikki Giovanni talks about how divine this thing called style that Black folk have. The poet herself even said, “If the Black woman wasn’t born, she would have to be invented.” There is a power in this! There is something to Black women, whom bear Black girls who, too, will become Black women have that is indicative of self-expression. In a world which is bent toward erasure of anything it considers and aberration, Black women still are noticed–we can’t help but to be noticed! From hair, our nails, make up and shoes–to how will pull ourselves together for dinners, weddings or a night out–Black women have shaped, reinvented, and owned style from the first time we discovered color. This was before chattel slavery, dear ones.

Presence. I have been a tall girl my entire life. In quoting my aunt about the state of my body, she says it this way: “All you had all your life was legs and ass!” That’s a direct quote. Now, I stand 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and about 200 lbs. With the right outfit and shoes I am over 6 feet tall–you notice when I walk in a room. My mother tells me that a lady always has presence about her. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s until I realized what that meant. Presence is owning your life, experiences and all that your body is–stretch marks, muffin top, eyeglasses–whatever. The world doesn’t know what to do with a woman they are supposed to be ignore (let’s not forget we aren’t to be lusted after!), and it wants to erase! What do you do with a woman that you can’t help but see?

So yes, dear ones, it takes all of THAT. This life takes you owning your space. Amplifying your voice. It takes knowing who you are, and having your life not be defined by what other people can look or conceptualize you as! You make the boxes and draw outside of them!

Never let the world which can only take you in sips demand you give them a chaser! No! You have every right to be in this world–so be in it. Be. In. It.

In Remembering John Lewis

I as well as the rest of the nation, are reeling from the loss of Congressman John Lewis. And after doing so, I feel now that I can put words to my mourning. I can put feeling behind action. I can begin to unpack the loss, so that hope can be repacked. So, over the course of the next three days (starting Monday, August 10th), I have made a three-part elegy for him.

Part 1: In Remembering Lions

Part 2: Crossing Muddy Waters

Part 3: This Bridge Called His Back

It is my hope in celebrating his life so publicly on this platform, all that follow after this thing called ‘good trouble’, will be reminded of the legacy laid before–which is now both map, light and path. The reward for a hero is rest.

To that, I say rest easy, John.

In Memoriam Of The Charleston 9

It has been 5 years since Dylan Roof walked in the Mother Emmanuel and killed 9 people at a prayer meeting. I remember watching this on national news, and my heart breaking. BREAKING in my chest. At the time, my [then] husband and I were pastoring in Ferguson, Missouri–trying to figure out how to be married, clergy, activists and sane a year after Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered not even 10 minutes from our apartment. 

What Dylan Roof did was evil. The absolute level of evil is for God discern when he closes his eyes for the last time. As for me and mine, my [then] husband and I kept pastoring. We kept serving, kept loving the community we were in, and trying to do what God told us. In 5 years time, what I have seen is two fold: people running away from anything Jesus-related, or they are clinging to it. 

The folk whom are running from it, say they have abandoned it because it is a ‘White man’s religion.’ Forgetting that Jesus isn’t White, the Gospel went to Africa before it went to Rome, and the ‘fishers of men’ didn’t speak English at a native language. I say all that to say this. The White Evangelical Church has a lot to explain. A whole lot! Once more, it has taken the death of a man who was innocent to have dramatic, world-wide effect. You have to understand, as a woman of faith, the housecleaning that is happening in the faith community is overdue! It is overdue! Do you know how hard it is to preach this gospel with the assertion that most people believe that Christ is a ‘white man’s savior’? Let’s not even get into what it means to be a woman doing this work! 

In the light of this resistance–this once in a generation resistance–it seems fitting that this memoriam would be commemorated! However, the best thing about this? The White Evangelical church is having to deal with these chickens coming home to roost, dens of foxes in henhouse, and packs of wolves in sheep’s clothing. What reassures me that a reckoning has come is when WHITE pastors are confronting racism in their respective denominations. 

One of those pastors is Pastor Judah Smith of ChurchHome-Seattle. On a June 4th Zoom live, he said these two things: “We have colluded with the culture.” Meaning, there is still a thread of racism (real, palpable RACISM) that is going through the church. But the quote that struck me was this: “We have preached America as if–at times–its is scripture.” I see no lie present in this. None! The church, the one founded by Jesus Christ was NEVER supposed to collude with a culture. It was never supposed to align with one race of people! It was never designed to be a place where all people were not welcome! The fact Dylan Roof did this, killing the pastor of this church, only to have his body taken to internment under a Confederate flag? Insult isn’t even the word. In commemorating this tragic event, it is right that the church–a entity of change, hope, protection and security, begin to examine just how much of Christ is in the church. 

I mean, it was founded by a Middle Eastern man, whom didn’t speak English and was a refugee whose non-English speaking parents teenage parents fled their home to prevent his murder, only to be murdered by this state in front of his mother for being a threat to power—maybe, the legacy of this moment is the change it would bring. Rather, that is bringing. Octavia Butler said it this way, “All that you touch is change, all that you touch changes you. God is change.”

Change has now come.

Blackness Versus COVID-19

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay home if you can. -JBHarris

Kip Diggs, a Nashville marketing consultant, takes a selfie in a homemade mask. He purposefully chose pastel colors that would not be perceived as threatening when he went grocery shopping with his wife over the weekend.
This young man is from Nashville, and his a marketing consultant. While shopping with his WIFE at Wal-Mart, he was put out. See the article here [photo courtesy of the Washington Post and the article’s subject].

The Orange Idiot is ignoring the problem of the shortages of masks, ventilators and gloves. He has stopped federal funding for testing of COVID-19 as of Friday, April 10–Good Friday of all days. The reports this week have said Black folk have being dying (read that again: dying) at disproportionate rate than any other group. With the shortage of masks, the CDC is recommending people go out with masks or something on your face.

Yeah, fam. About that.

I’m a Black woman in America. Criminality is too linked to Blackness for me not have an appropriate face covering. I am actually purchasing masks for my family through a seamstress friend of mine. I am a health care professional, so I need one. Badly.

With that said, this week, I read of two instances of young Black men being put out of Wal-Mart. One in Wood River, IL. One in Nashville, TN. In the second case written by The Washington Post, he had a bandannas on his face. In Wood River, they were only wearing the appropriate medical mask. Why did the young man have a bandanna on his face? Why did fam in Wood River have a mask on? They wore something on their faces to protect them from getting sick.

Video shows black men being escorted out of Walmart for wearing masks
Fam in Wood River were put out of Wal-Mart for just being Black and in masks. During a pandemic. Followed by an officer outside the store, inside the store, and then told to leave. What part of the game is this?

The rage I have towards this situation is beyond words. In the time where everybody is scared, everybody is panicking, and everyone else seems to be out for their four and no more–Black folk still need to possess the same hyper vigilance that got us through escaping slavery! So now, if I just run outside–in a pandemic mind you!–with my hair wrapped up and a bandanna on I might be put outta Wal-Mart?! Or somewhere else? For trying to take care of my family like anybody else? But it is with this same energy that 53% of White women voted for this man. That same energy of ‘just believe the White man will fix it’ that made some Black men vote for him. It’s this same energy that had the Evangelical church get behind him–even now.

There is a crazy surrounding this pandemic that you can only find in dystopian novels. There is a level of ignorance being pushed as gospel which makes me rely more on my faith than I ever have before. Where I find myself remembering my duty to provide care in my day job, as well as protect everyone I love once I leave work. In that love, it equips. It allows me to see the hidden things and remind people what is actually happening! The fact there is a mask shortage, in a pandemic, and the President if lying about it, let’s me remind those who think this is a hoax–it isn’t.

For every few people whom are recovering, there are still people dying. There are still so many Black folk dying in major cities–one of them is Chicago! Hours from the city of Wood River!

Find masks, fam.

Don’t let this pandemic become an excuse to become a hashtag. People are prone to stupid behavior in crazy situations! I need you all to understand the wisdom W.E.B. DuBois still rings–we still have ‘dual consciousness.’ There are things we as a people ‘just can’t do’ because of the ramifications which will come after! It’s not about respectability politics, right now. This is about being aware of who you are, where you are, and how to maneuver in the space we are all now in together. It’s going to take more than hand-washing, soap and bleach wipes to help this.

How To Successfully Survive A Jordan Peele Movie

Oh, my dearest ones! I have heard today the remake of ‘Candyman’ will be, is being pushed back till September, I thought I would do something a little lighthearted. You’ll thank me later, I promise. -JBHarris

What's Jordan Peele's new movie? Everything to expect in 2020
He’s brilliant. So very brilliant.

Let me preface by saying this: I am a fan of Jordan Haveworth Peele. I have been since I saw his President Obama sketched on Key & Peele on Comedy Central. I knew that he wrote for the show, but when I actually saw what he did for Get Out? I was a complete fan. Not just a fan, but a complete fan.

Note: The difference between being a fan of someone and a complete fan of someone is this. A fan is someone who likes a person, a thing or a concept and just that thing. A complete fan is someone that likes that thing/person; its cousin; their friends; the pie recipes; hash tags and follow everything associated on social media! I am a complete fan of Jordan Peele. Complete!

In this time of being self-quarantined/sheltering in place, this a perfect time to catch up on all the glorious genius of Jordan Peele and his funhouse of imagination known as Monkey Paw Productions. But, beware! Don’t be caught out there. A Jordan Peele/Peele-affiliated movie an experience. With any great, beautiful or dangerous adventure–you need a team to go with you! So, as I am here to help, let me tell you how to successfully survive a Jordan Peele movie.

1.) Go as a team. Preparing for a Jordan Peele movie/ Peele-affiliated movie requires the Buddy System. Don’t debate me on this. The Culture demands you have the Buddy System. You do not need to see a Jordan Peele/Peele-affiliated movie alone! This is for your own good! You need a group of people (at least 3!) to go with you. These are you EST (Emotional Support Team). A Peele movie/Peele-affiliated movie is ‘liable to have anything in it! You need a team, mane. You need a team.

2.) Emote in the correct parts. When I saw ‘Get Out‘, I was on the couch with my husband. From the onset of the scary music, I was invested. I wanted Chris to be okay, I thought Rose was trying too hard, and I KNEW something was wrong with Georgianna–horribly wrong! But with all that said, because Jordan can be so emotionally investing, it is a good thing to know when you need to be scared, and when you need to look at your EST–making sure you aren’t the only one that sees such a crazy thing happening alone! The laughs are help, trust they do, but you still need the EST.

3.) The Jump Scare. Bruh! I have never been the fan of ‘the jump scare’ because I had older cousins that made sport of doing that to me. And—I still hate them for that! With that said, Peele movies/Peele-affiliated movies have these–but they are so out the frame of where you really expect them (like Pluto in Get Out? Remember him! Bruh!)! Or where you think one will be–there isn’t!

Jordan Peele enjoys messing with your head.

Peele-affliated movies mess with your head.

See Step 1: Get your EST.

4.) The Easter Eggs. One of the reasons I am a complete fan of Jordan Peele, and everything he is involved with is because he makes his audience think (Pin: This is why writers need to be readers first!) and because he makes them think, you have to pay attention to what is said/not said/whispered. You have to watch everything! I am still picking apart Get Out and Us! There are still themes that I saw in these movies–even months later!–that I can see in pop culture and other literature. One of them being this mention of the Sunken Place was described is hinted at in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Don’t believe me? Read it!

5.) The Decompression Comedown. Oh, the dreaded comedown. When my husband and I finished watching Us, I was blown away! He doubled over in his seat, probably to catch is mind as it was blown from the seat in his skull! And what did we do when we got to the car? Talked! We talked about the ending (no spoilers!), we talked about the themes, we talked about Pluto (bruh! There is a dissertation in JUST their interactions), we talked about the scripture referenced (Jeremiah 11:11). We broke it down, talking for a couple hours! These types of movies inspire conversation, thinking, analysis and the compulsion to see the movie again.

The EST helps you unpack your head–because the Peele/Peele-affiliated movie-going experience will definitely be thought-provoking. Or should be! But I’m a nerd with fashion sense. I’m biased. And a complete fan.

I urge you to become one as well.

So, with Candyman being pushed back for release come September 2020, remember what I told you. And stay out the mirror! The year 2020 is not playing with any of us…no one needs to at that dude to anything.

The Launch Into The Deep: YouTube

In my TS Madison voice: “IS IT ON?!”

So…I did it. I started a YouTube Channel! It is the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done. On this channel will be all the dope things you all love me for! The newest thing I saved only for YouTube is:

This is where I expound on an idea for about 10 minutes–just things that are on my mind, come across my desk or may just bother me in general. The One Minute Words which are on my professional Instagram will be there as well! There will even be a mentorship videos as well!

I am stoked. I am excited. There are already videos up! Follow and join the tribe. I even have cool name for the people that follow me: Oracles.

The Good, The Bad & Kobe Bryant

If you think this is going to be a sensational drag, it isn’t. -JBHarris

Image result for kobe bryant

Kobe Bryant is dead. The Black Mamba is dead. Vanessa Bryant’s husband is dead.

I, as a woman of a certain age, can only began to imagine the grief that is associated with this loss of this man. I tried to stay away from this reflection, I truly did. Yet, I feel at this point, I must weigh in. The push to weigh in came from the attacks waged at Gayle King–from Snopp Dogg of all people. Now, I could segway into how hip-hop with the help of some artists have popularized misogyny to such a point that it perpetuates rape culture, but I’ll stay on topic.

What I have seen in the world since the loss of Kobe Bryant is the freedom for Black men to emote, to grieve and be vulnerable. I mean, it feels like my brother died! I saw Kobe go from this hotshot player to this athlete statesman! It was beautiful to see. And in that did he have his own struggles, yes.

Let me say this here and now. Buckle up.

Rape is a crime. Rape is about power and control. Rape is crime that is often underreported. Rape is a crime that allows a woman to feel as if her body is not hers, and her personhood reduced to the pleasure her body parts give. Rape is not a genderless crime:  the majority of victims are women. Rape is a crime that is insidious, affecting all portions of the victims life as it relates to intimacy and consensual sex. Victims are often not believed, which goes to the  This where I also must remind you, dear reader, of three things:

Rape is often unreported/under-reported.

Rape committed on a date, is still rape.

Rape is a trauma.

Also:  #MeToo. With that said, let me say this.

The circumstances surrounding what people believe Kobe Bryant did, or what the believe he didn’t do will always be subject to debate. There are those who are glad ‘A rapist who was a good basketball player is dead’ (this was said by the Uppity Negress Podcast), and there are those that do not believe Kobe did anything to this girl. Let me also say this, and this is all I will say about it:

I have been a woman for some time. I know women lie. I know women lie about being raped. I know that there are those same conniving women whom get pregnant on purpose to keep a man. I have known men that get into situations they are warned about and lie to cover them up, or lie to get out of them. For me, the whole incident is sketchy (read:  her nasty underwear). But the fact Kobe owned up to what he did, the circumstances that lead up to this incident. For that, I am proud of him.

But for Gayle King to be this attacked over asking a question? Asking a question of woman in a similar profession as the deceased? Hold on, fam. Pump your brakes. Nothing she did, or said, warranted death threats!

 

Image result for gayle king IG snoop dogg

I am rarely in a position to be speechless.  The fact Snoop called Gayle King, a journalist and a Black woman, a bitch for asking a question? That’s outrageous. I know everyone is mourning, everyone is mad, everyone wants answers–but the job of a journalist is to ask the uncomfortable. Now, did I think her asking the question about this rape accusation (because he wasn’t convicted), so soon after him dying was in poor taste? Yes. However, this level of misogyny is toxic!

Gayle King does not deserve death threats because she asked a question.

Kobe Bryant’s death does not exempt his life from scrutiny.

I suppose it is the gift of celebrity which society tries to make one immune to any outside criticism. Fame can be the worst kind of insulator that way–it can make one impervious to reality; there’s always someone to augment your reality! But herein lies the problem:  Black women are should not be charged to hold legacies without analysis or critique. Black women should not, do not have to decide between the exercise independent thought and insulation of what is deemed acceptable by the Black collective. Black women do not OWE the world anything. For all we have endured, the world OWE us. Back up off Gayle. Now.

The Matter Of Michael Vick

MikeVick

 

You all know I have no love lost with the NFL. None at all. However, before Kap and his activism, my love for this game cooled with the treatment of Michael Dwayne Vick.

I liked Mike Vick. I really liked Mike Vick! He was the reason I watched the Atlanta Falcons (whom have been garbage ever since, don’t debate me about this!). He was young, gifted and Black. I was still, am still, mystified that he was caught up by a dogfight at his house.

At his house.

His career gone, endorsements gone, and as he rebuilds–is rebuilding his life–he gets offered to be an honorary captain at the 2020 ProBowl. I thought this was incredible. I truly do. I was amazed, yes AMAZED, at a petition being circulated on-line with 200,000 signatures to stop him from being an honorary captain.

Because he was convicted of animal cruelty–and went to jail. Over a decade ago.

My head began to spin. But once my head and body were in the same orbit again, I thought about a conversation had in my English 3720 class this semester. This conversation was about the book Beloved, by Toni Morrison; how Blackness is only given (or seems to be given humanity) when it relates to anything criminal.

In the case of Mike Vick, this argument proves true! This man did not hit a woman, didn’t drop positive for any PED’s, didn’t beat a child–his people were at his house and were fighting dogs! Country? Yes. Illegal? Yes. An irrevocable evil? No. Not at all. Why does he have to live under this stigma of being a felon, when no other NFL player has been held to such a standard!

NONE.

Image result for michael vick politics

Was it wrong what he did? I think it was dumb, and in poor taste. He should have known better! But this shouldn’t mar him from being adjacent to a sport once played. These 200,000 people can find something else to do. However, there was something devious about this ‘protesting.’ I believe the writerMartin Mandela Morrow says it best:

“Now, Michael Vick isn’t owed forgiveness. What happened was wrong. But what he is owed is the ability to move on from his past- something which a lot of white America doesn’t allow of so many Black men. It’s why prison reform is the way it is. It’s a cyclical conditioning of believing if a Black male does something bad at any point in their life, there is no way for them to rectify the damage done.”

The correlation of Black and criminality is paramount in the lives of Black people. It is the reason Black folk are followed in stores, get harsher prison sentences and are denied any resources upon release from any sentence! Michael Vick did a stupid, illegal thing. Do I think he needs to pay for it the rest of his natural life? No. The same energy given to Brock Turner for his ‘twenty minutes of action’ for raping a girl (and got 6 months in jail!), and altering her sense of self and life forever–the world can use towards Black men.

But it won’t. Why? As long as the juggernaut of white supremacy is allowed to go along unchallenged, structural racism, systematic racism will allowed to perpetuated the ideology which says to be Black is to be criminal. Seeing they (read:  us) are criminal, this strips personhood and the option of redemption from Black people. This again allows this toxic thinking which allows Black people to be seen as less than human–needing White Saviors; needing to be punished as human chattel; needing to be guiding by the Great White Father.

Nall, that ain’t it.

Michael Vick should still be playing football. He should be allowed to play the game he loved. He should be a QB option on Madden. He should be given the option to change and succeed. But, as long as we remain a nation content on celebrating capitalism; mass incarcerations; anything Antebellum or Neo-Confederate; MAGA worshipping; prizes television above critical thinking; voted an internet troll for president, it won’t happen.

The ProBowl still wants him thought, ignoring the protests of the indigant All (Dogs’) Lives Matter people. Don’t make it about the dogs–they have laws to protect them. It’s the Black people certain laws don’t seem to be applied.

 

He Never Was A ‘Tiger’

 

Image result for tiger woods medal of freedom

I remember when Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods really became a household name. I remember during my high school years just how cool it was to know there was dude that was Black, golfing! GOLFING! And was like, GOOD at it!

I remember the Masters Wins. I remember the ESPN interviews. I remember when he didn’t call himself Black, but Cablasian. I remember when ‘Fuzzy’ Zeller said he hoped he didn’t bring fried chicken and collard greens to the Master’s Dinner.

Catch that.

I remember how my Dad would make off-hand comments about Tiger, and him not wanting to admit that he was Black. I remember how that irked him. I remember how he never really would say that he was Black. I remember that troubled me, but I couldn’t identify how. It was as if Tiger thought he could transcend race because he played a game better than a bunch of old White men that lust after their exotic maids.

As much that is said about Jackie Robinson, you must give him this. No matter where Jack went, according to accounts and his widow Rachel (now in her 90’s), he was Black. And unapologetic. He was Black in Cairo, Georgia. In California at UCLA. In the Negro Leagues as a Kansas City Monarch. He was Black in Montreal in the MLB minor league for the Brooklyn. He was Black as #42 (2B) in Ebbets Field. He never had the gumption, or the option, to deny any part of him that was Black. Or Black and male. His college education, speaking ability, military record, speed in cleats didn’t diminish the fact he was Black.

So, why did Tiger think this wouldn’t happen with him? How did game change–for him? What really made him think these stodgy, old White men would change–for him? We know that some White athletes disassociate themselves from the plight of their non-White teammates:  see Tom ‘Eptiome Of Mediocre White Male aside from my former brother-in-law Rob Bilbruck’ Brady. He is on record, with a MAGA hat in his locker said this (taken from The Intelligencer in December 2015):

“I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time. It’s actually not something that I really even enjoy. It’s way off my radar.”

Now, to be fair, I have linked the article for you to see the entire exchange. But, I find it interesting that he wouldn’t go to visit President Obama after a Super Bowl win. However, got mad at his predominately Black teammates when they didn’t want to visit the White House to see Orange Thanos.  Then, he wanted to invoke the responsibility of his teammates to go.

Herein lies the disconnect.

My problem with Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods, whom is the son of a Black man, is you do not get to disconnect your Blackness from your social awareness. Your Blackness is your social awareness! I can take–nay, expect!–stupid, vapid comments from athletes who are better suited to be QB’s on the latest version of Madden! I can handle that, because his privilege is an insulator–impervious to logic.

The fact that Tiger Woods, went to the White House to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from a man that  is misogynist, clearly xenophobic, and a sympathizer to a/the white supremacist cause?

That let me know that he has no longer decided to rent a room in the Sunken Place. He bought property! Funny thing, though.  This same award that was given to heroes and artists, is now given to him. I can only see as a a noose he can wear and show off to people. Sometimes, it be your own people, man.

I said what I said.

[images from fox8.com and nymag.com]

From The Facebook Mental Health Help Desk

 

 There was a post that came across my Facebook timeline that said the following:

 

 

 

 

When I saw this, my heart sank.  All I could think about was my own childhood, and when I was telling people as a 10-year-old girl that I was depressed, no one believed me. I thought about the increased number of little Black children that are ending their lives. Yet, everything on this post was something that I had either heard or heard second hand be said when it relates to the feelings and emotions of Black children.

Black children are consistently told their pain, their trauma, their emotional well being doesn’t matter. That is is trivial. Ergo, they are trivial. They are not taken seriously even in the face of evidence to the contrary!

Look, I get it. I had parents that worked all the time to take care me and my siblings. I had a grandmother, whom was sometimes less than warm, and aunts that worked because they had families too. Everyone is so busy trying to make it and survive you don’t have time to see what may be going on around you! Previous generations didn’t have the luxury of calling their anxiety ‘depression’. They didn’t have the luxury of admitting their minds were playing tricks on them, and the world had gotten so dark that suicide became an option.

Live. Work. Take care of kids.

“If they ain’t dying, starving, dirty or bleeding to death, they’ll be alright.”

With the rate of suicide among African-American children on the rise, posts like this–even in jest–make me wince. They make me uncomfortable because it peels back layers of Black culture we don’t discuss–and use humor to cover up. I remember hearing things like, “Only white people get depression!”

Pause.

No. We get depression too, but we don’t get the luxury of a diagnosis. The goal of a diagnosis is to point a clinician in the  right direction in order to help their patients. That means medication if need be or the most blasphemous term to Black folks:  therapy. We don’t get the justice a diagnosis grants. We, especially Black women, are told to keep going. We get told little Black boys only get to be tough or happy.

Black people are not allowed to be totally human. If we are allowed to embrace all of ourselves, even the broken parts, perhaps these generational traumas can heal. Instead of  being things to laugh about on social media, and whispered about at funeral repasses.

 

 

 

 

[image from comicartfans.com–Lucy is a creation of Charles M. Schultz, creator of Peanuts]