Since it’s black history month and we’re talking about all the great things we as Black/African Americans did for this country. It seems to bother me a lot that no one, not one person uses this month to talk about our shortcomings. I understand that it’s to focus on our achievement of the past, but what about the future? Better yet the present? The thing is we always talk about the past, we only focus on the past. Should we forget? No, should we move forward? Yes. But how exactly? Well, let’s start with the one thing that has been plaguing our community for decades. Mental Health.
Now, if you’re Black/African American tell me if this sounds oddly familiar:
“Mental Health is just a tool created by white people to keep us down.”
“Stop being weak and pathetic and be a man about it.”
“You always mad when someone says something to you, that’s why no one wants to be around you.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the first and second one. I rarely hear the third one anymore, but I heard it none the less. We as a community need to stop thinking that we’re immune to mental diseases because clearly, we’re not. Those that do are the reason why so many of us keep it hidden from our friends and families and isolate ourselves to fight this battle alone. No one and I mean no one shouldn’t have to fight mental health alone, but for us as blacks, it comes to that every day.
Being called weak and pathetic, and occasionally a whiny bitch. A lot of us, especially black men, will fight back tears or just go away in private and let it all out; then come back and tell our friends and families that everything is good. Which for those that don’t know is practically code for EVERYTHING IS NOT GOOD, but no one is hearing me right now.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear from other people like me, especially those younger than me, that just wants to quit and give up on life. They are told the same advice that I was given. Get out of the house and meet new people, workout, take a walk. Again, all great advice, but what happens when the depression becomes too much. Meeting new people, working out, or taking a walk won’t be enough.
We deal with racism, colorism, and sexism on every front. For those that don’t know what colorism is, imagine a black person calling another black person ‘Uncle Tom,’ ‘Sell-out,’ or another one of my favorites ‘Coon.’ Imagine someone with my skin color playing by the rules of this society and trying to do well for the next generation. Just to wake up every day and fight, and fight, and fight. Until the fight is out of them.
That’s what happened to me. No longer can I say something on social media without being accused of doing something that I’m not. Or getting into debates to be called stupid and closed-minded, because I understood a position better than others. Now, usually, I’ll just post a quote or two every now and again. Sometimes little funny things here and there. But sometimes I’m quiet, so quiet, I feel like I’m invisible…almost.
I just want to say to anyone reading this. Especially the Black/African Americans out there. We must stop thinking we’re immune to this and we’re not. There should be no debate on this and yet there is one. Black history month is an important month to all of us living in this county, but what happens when our history just simply stops?