Staying strong means knowing when to re-evaluate how we’re doing and act accordingly.
In times where police keep killing black Americans like we’re nothing more than animals, it can be easy to forget that were are just humans. And we need to take care of our mental and emotion health, which can sometimes become difficult when dealing with these tragic events. Here are 7 ways in which we can take care of ourselves as black Americans in this country when these events happen.
- Find your outlet. This should be a fellow black person who is aware of the reality of police brutality. Being allowed to vent with no filter in a space where you feel safe, heard, and validating is super important in these times. Dealing with shock and grief is easier when with another person. And don’t forget to return the favor.
- Share your anger, distraught, and frustration. Sometimes it’s not enough to just tell one person. If you feel so inclined, take to your social media and bring up the commentary in social settings. There’s nothing worse than wanting to scream and feeling as if you can’t.
- Don’t feel obligated to talk to non-black “allies” who are non-believers. If they are unwilling to see the inherent and systematic problem of police brutality and how it connects to race, then they are trolls and nothing more. They are also not allies. You’ll realize that a lot of people say they’re allies when all they really think is color doesn’t exist. A person who believes that color does not exist cannot be an ally to black people, point black period. Also, non-black allies do not have a right to hear your thoughts on the subject. You are not required to always engage in traumatic conversations with people who call themselves allies. Remember, for them, this is a cause; for us, this is life or death.
- Only watch the videos if you really want. You don’t need to watch the video footage to be informed on what happened. News articles will suffice. Don’t feel pressured to watch the videos. I repeat: DO NOT feel pressured to watch the videos.
- Your honest feelings are more important than non-black people’s levels of discomfort. Angry? Scream. Rant. disgusted with White Supremacy and white privilege? Let ’em know. White America wants us to watch the way we express our emotions because our anger makes them uncomfortable. Their level of comfort and how damn tight they hold on to it is part of the damn problem. The oppressed are always told to hold their tongue. This is like a bully punching you in the face at recess everyday and the teacher telling you not to retaliate because it’ll make the situation worse. You betta punch that sucka back!
- Document your pain but also your happy moments. I purchased a 5-year journal a year ago, where I write a few sentences about my day, and it has room for me to quickly journal my life for five years. I write the good and the bad down in brief synopsis in that journal. It’s called “The Happiness Project,” which means I should really only be marking the good things but I jot down both. I would suggest a journal like this or even a journal where you write full length entries as a way of release in times like these. Journaling allows us to hone in on specific parts of our day and articulate and organize our feelings on paper.
- Find and follow websites that share good black news as well as bad. When all you see is us getting killed in the street, it’s easy to associate being black and black people with only trauma and hardship, and that’s not healthy at all. A few good ones are Blavity, Black Girl with Long Hair, and HuffPost Black Voices. (And if you know of any other ones, please please please share them in the comments section below! I’d love to check them out!)
At the end of the day, we have a long road to fully unmasking the deep roots of racial injustice and police brutality in this country. We must have healthy habits to keep us strong along this journey.
If you have any other suggestions about how you as a black American keep mentally and emotionally healthy during these times, please share them in the Comments section below!
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Don’t forget to check back next week for another article!