Black Minds Matter
Black Minds Matter
National polls showed that 88% of Black Americans experience racism in the US and 87% considers racism as a “serious problem”. This situation could invoke feelings of escape or liberation.
By Common Society Issues
The world is in a state of unrest as current events shed light to the recurring injustice in our society. People from all over the world raise protests against violence and discrimination. Various groups debate on which lives matter. But wait, that is not the issue here, is it? Standing up for the #BlackLivesMatter movement does not mean one does not value the lives of others. Human life, regardless of which race, color, gender, or religion you belong to, is valuable. What the #BLM movement is asking for people to not lose sight of the current problem- a problem that has been going on for decades. It urges everyone to take action by demanding a transformative change in the system, before the fire dies out and the issue gets swept under the rug once again.
What is the root of racial discrimination, the heart of this movement? People believe that this stems from the slavery in the United States hundreds of years ago. The timeline of slavery in America began as early as 1619, when 20 Africans were referred to as “servants” as they arrived in the British colony of Virginia, and ended in 1865 after the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln. A little more time was needed to completely stop all forms of slavery until the official end with the passing of the 13th Amendment, post Civil War. Despite slavery ending hundreds of years ago, the descendants of the Black Americans still feel the residue of hostility and prejudice to this day.
Coincidentally, Black Americans are not the only race who has been suffering from discrimation because of the way they were born. The Asian population have also had their share of unjust treatment because of their race. In recent events, a business run by an Asian suffered property damage from the protests in Minneapolis. However, the only act they could do was call the insurance company for help. They shared that they consider themselves the voiceless and the powerless in the midst of the fight. “Blacks are under the protection of ‘political correctness’, but Asians here are protected by nothing.” They claim to have their own set of rules to follow so that they could survive in a land where they are seen as foreigners or outsiders.
After centuries of co-existing, why can’t racial discrimination be completely eliminated from our society? Part of the reason may come from anecdotes of slavery being passed down from generation to generation. These stories may have a huge influence on kids as they grow up. The families’ or the school’s approach on recounting history to the young, can affect their view of the world, and the values and principles they will grow to live by.
Maybe, the connection and loyalty to familial ties are so strong that there remains residual resentment from ancestral disputes. Or, another reason may be due to people getting used to the current system that it has become normal to just go and live with it. People of color try to live their daily lives as normally as they could, but the physical and emotional scars that racism leaves within them cannot be erased.
“People need to be aware that inequality can have deleterious effects on health outcomes. . .” This is what Tim Kohler, a professor of archaeology and anthropology at Washington State University, shared.”
His team studied 63 archaeological sites and found proof of economic inequality even in the lost civilizations. It showed patterns that mirror what our society has now. Those in the position of privilege, beget more wealth and power, while those who are not, need to strive twice as hard. And even then, the reward usually does not match up to the effort they have put in.
Tim Kohler further shared that unequal societies tend to have poorer health, while societies with less discrimination tend to have longer life expectancies. This would make sense if you think about the effort and the stress people of color have to deal with on a daily basis. The working industry is one aspect that we can look at. This industry is already competitive enough, without the added burden of discrimination weighing on their backs.
But research from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) showed that a person’s race is the third most commonly discriminated against factor in the workplace. Anxiety.org shared various forms of racism; ranging from verbal slurs, physical assault, isolation, and denial of provisions and/or opportunities.
Microaggression is another act that assumes a person is guilty of wrongdoing just because of their race. This can also include the lack of representation in essential positions, and invalidation of the severity of racism in society.
National polls showed that 88% of Black Americans experience racism in the US and 87% considers racism as a “serious problem”. This situation could invoke feelings of escape or liberation. Kohler supported this by stating that eliminating inequality can be extremely difficult and usually ends up in a revolution or state collapse, which is what we are seeing right now.
About 1 in 4 Black Americans experience anxiety disorder at one point. The most common is social anxiety disorder, followed by generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Despite this, it was reported that they rarely seek or continue mental health treatment.
To expound, anxiety is usually brought about by one or a combination of the following factors.
Loss of Control
One of the basic lessons parents usually teach their children is that if you do good, then you will be rewarded. And if you do something bad, you will be punished. This is classical conditioning, that teaches them to behave as parents expect them to. However, individuals who suffer from racism have technically done nothing wrong, and yet they receive repetitive and unpredictable attacks. It is a horrible feeling of complete helplessness to be punished for something you know you did not do. This is a feeling that they experience everytime they find themselves on the end of racial discrimination.
Negative Self Image
People of color are constantly reminded, not without condescension, that they look different. Other people’s words and actions may or may not be intended, but even to a child, these responses will surely give an individual a pretty bad self image. This society has a very specific standard of beauty, and the people who do not “qualify” usually do not get a special treatment that the others have. Especially when they appear to be more skilled in other areas, but are purposefully rejected or not acknowledged since they don’t fit the “standard”.
Invalidation of Feelings
In relation to feelings of inferiority that developed in time, some people eventually get used to not asserting for themselves. Sometimes, they end up reflecting falsely, “If all of them think it, then maybe it is true.” “If they say I’m not good enough, then maybe I am not.” “If they say it’s not a big deal, then maybe I was just overreacting.”
The accumulation of these negative feelings are what eventually pushes them towards the edge of anxiety. As a society that is being shaken up by calls for change, what can we do?