Desensitized But Not Broken

I read an article in The Atlanta Black Star that discussed how the shootings of black men are psychologically affecting the black community. Clinical psychologist and Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville, Monnica Williams, stated within the article “that these graphic images, coupled with lived experiences of racism, can lead to severe mental health issues and PTSD-like trauma.” The article also discussed how these images are perpetuating the dehumanization of black people due to the lack of censorship and their popularity because these videos are being shared all over the internet without any qualms; which is relative to the picnic, lynching events that took place in our country’s history.

This trend, unfortunately, continued with the recent killings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about these stories was, “here we go again.” And that’s sad. I’ve become so numb to this that I expect the next shooting to happen, and I still don’t know how to help my community cope with the previous ones. So in the midst of me trying to refocus my anger towards making substantial changes, I thought about the black men in my circle: my father, brother, uncles, boys from college, fraternity brothers, mentors, and even some everyday associates. We’re still here. After all of the unjustifiable acts of pain inflicted on the black community, we’re still here. And this led me to question why the media is so hell-bent on desensitizing black pain, especially pain towards black men. Is it because folks think that we can take it?

A recent study from the University of Virginia attributed this towards racial bias when a team of white medical students were asked about the various beliefs behind the biological differences between blacks and whites; blacks’ nerve endings are less sensitive than whites’; blacks’ blood coagulates more quickly than whites’; blacks’ skin is thicker than whites’.

So, they do think that we can take it.

We are a resilient group of people, folks, but we’re still people. That pain, we feel it; whether we voice it out of anger, tears, or don’t voice it at all. We still feel it. I’ve already discussed the tropes of black men in media, so it’s no surprised that we’re desensitized as just another body. Most people genuinely feel that we’re just a group of dumb niggas and savages anyway. But I know different.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

(Sources)

Kenney, T. (2016, September 22). Frequent Exposure to Shootings of Black People Can Cause PTSD-Like Trauma, Research Says. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/09/22/frequent-exposure-shootings-black-people-can-cause-ptsd-like-trauma-research-says/

Samarrai, F. (2016, April 04). STUDY LINKS DISPARITIES IN PAIN MANAGEMENT TO RACIAL BIAS. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from https://news.virginia.edu/content/study-links-disparities-pain-management-racial-bias

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