Suffering From Police Shootings and the Pile-On That Makes It Worse

From Yes! Magazine:

Following several nationally publicized police killings of unarmed Black Americans in the United States, Eva L., a fitness instructor who identifies as Black, started to experience what she describes as “immense paranoia.” She would often call in sick, because she feared risking an encounter with police upon leaving her house. She also started to second-guess her and her husband’s decision to have children.

“Seeing Black bodies murdered and physical/emotional violence online and on the news” was a trauma she could no longer bear, Eva says. “I was terrified of bringing a child into the world we live in and experience as Black people. I thought not having kids was a truer sign of love than risk them being harmed by this world.”

A recent study sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania—released just before the anniversaries of the deaths of Eric Garner (2014), Michael Brown (2014), John Crawford (2014), and Philando Castile (2016)—found that there could be millions like Eva, for whom these killings have been a mental health trigger. 

Research included data from the Mapping Police Violence Project database for police killings between 2013 and 2016 and information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of over 103,000 Black Americans. The results indicate that police killings of unarmed Black Americans are having a population-level impact on the mental health of Black Americans.

According to researchers, the incidents may contribute to 1.7 additional poor mental health days per person every year, or 55 million more poor mental health days every year among Black Americans across the United States. That means the mental health burden for African Americans caused by police killings of unarmed Black victims is nearly as great as the mental health burden associated with diabetes. African Americans have some of the highest rates of the disease, which contributes annually to 75 million days of poor mental health among them.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

I can concur that just hearing about an unarmed black person murdered by police does bring emotional stress and paranoia even though, thankfully, it hasn’t happened in my town. The news reminds me that no matter what, we’re still under the gaze of suspicion no matter how innocent or harmless we are and that it could happen to any black person, including myself. What’s even more stressful is dealing with argumentative deniers who prefer that we focus our energy on an issue they think is more vital, “black-on-black crime”.

XPraetorius, the self-proclaimed conservative blogger and all-around douche accused me of being an accomplice to black-on-black crime. I never said this, but that comment was painful in so many ways, and I told him that. But proving that he lacks character, he not only told me that it wasn’t hurtful, but I was in control of my feelings. Therefore, feeling hurt was my problem and that he is in no way responsible.

 

Granted, the subject wasn’t so much about police violence. It was actually about the Charleston Church Shooting a few years ago. Though, he condemned the terrorist Dylann Roof, XPraetorius believed it was still insignificant compared to black people killing each other by numbers alone. The massacre wasn’t enough to prove of the lethal doses of racism dealt against black people by whites, including police.

Instead, according to XPraetorius, us killing each other is a more important issue, and those who refuse to acknowledge that is part of the problem.

Of course, I defended myself and black people stating that we’re aware of both issues and are doing what we can with them. Instead of listening like a mature adult, he criticized, saying that we’re not doing a good job, repeatedly called me at accomplice and, as expected, tried to make me feel as low as possible.

That’s how XPraetorius argues.

XPraetorius tries to drive this point home along with the “racism isn’t a major issue for black people” line harder when he touched on the very subject of police brutality in a half-ass attempt to “educate” me. He responded to an article by David French of the National Review, a “news” site for conservatives who believe they’re intellectual sophisticates. He copied and pasted points he felt was notable, including the following:

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Again, it implies that quantity must be taken into account and that black men, though law-abiding as French says, are more likely to commit crimes. (See the contradiction?) So, it should reason that encounters with police will likely end up violent or fatal, and that really hasn’t happened as much as people say it is. Basically, French believes that black men are their own reason why they’re getting killed by cops. Note how he doesn’t mention the factor of how many of them pose no threat or that black women are not even mentioned. Yet, French disagrees that the killings of unarmed black people show any hint of racial bias because well, it’s a big country.

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It’s by no stretch that the general society doesn’t really care about the welfare of black people, and that our suffering has been reduced to a “black problem” that we somehow brought on themselves. Even worse is the justification that follows that excuses such treatment, and that nothing we say will make them understand our points of view no matter how much we suffer from this and other ills.

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5 thoughts on “Suffering From Police Shootings and the Pile-On That Makes It Worse

  1. I’m still thinking about Botham James death…assasinated by Amber Guyger..physically,mentally,spiritually and verbally. I just knew when the cops asked for a search warrant to search HIS pad,they were going to find some way to smear his good name by tying him to a drug,in which I believe was planted by DPD. It’s not unsual. It happened in Baltimore where two cops was caught attempting to do it.

    Oddly,I no longer get mad at these scenarios.It has gotten to a point where as Black folks..like potentially troubled kids..were all at risk to be wronged by a rogue cop or two. It’s becoming predictable.I was talking with a friend of mine.Its getting to a point where if you’re Black,you will be guaranteed to be smeared regardless of how clean or checkered your record is. Just like S.Lee Merritt said in the 26 years that Botham has been on this earth ,he has never has a criminal record until the police ” investigated” his apartment. Media let us know that yet they didn’t talk about his prominent family background .They tried to hype up Amber’ s White supremacist brother in law .

    I admit,I didn’t read the article ..and won’t. Whether it’s true or not, I think about how many White supremacists are reading this saying ” Yeah were getting those n’ s really good ” .That is exactly what they want ..to get so stressed out that were going now down to them..not!

    Don’t get me wrong, I do get disgusted, saddened,angry…like with the case with Botham Jean and other Black folk that have died to police violence before him but,I’ve decided to pick myself up and not let the devil beat me. That’s is what they want from Black/ POC. It may not be easy but I don’t want them to steal my joy from me.

    1. I feel you.

      You noticed how I don’t write about police killings of black people for the same reasons. It’s like writing the same article over and over again, and it’s honestly draining my spirit. It’s the same story on repeat, and it drives me insane that people will still deny that this is a problem. It’s baffling how people can be incredibly unfeeling about this, but some people are like that, and that’s why it continues.

      1. Yep.

        Whether it’s true or not,when it comes to Black life, the publications will not bring out the good about them.

        I was thinking about this mental health article about Black folks and police violence. Like I said,I didn’t read it because,I just see it as another method of bringing my spirits ( which I’ve gained strength and overcame such negativity) down..being falsely reminded being Black is terrible. Even if there are Black publications doing this,they too,shouldn’t fall for this. I’ve known people who you wouldn’t believe been through h–l and back..never giving up on their lives.Those are the people I do my best to be like. There will be times that I may feel down but I don’t want incidence like this to knock me out.

        Another reason why I choose not to read it is that police brutality have been going on for decades. There have been people in my family that has been through this issue. I guess I have had seen family and friends discuss this so much until its no longer an oddity to you. It’s not that your being indifferent to the crisis but it is what it is..a part of Black/ POC life . Were all at risk and though you can never feel good about the treatment..at least it won’t be a surprise to you.

  2. I never, never, argue with white people about racism. They ain’t never been right!

    NEVER!!!

    Since Black people were first brought here, not a single white person has ever been right or concurred about what was happening to us at the time it was happening. White people have always professed ignorance of whatever we happened to be protesting about at the time, and blamed us for whatever happened to us at that time. There are White people alive right now who had no idea what MLK was marching about at Selma, who claim to love him now, only so that they can appear to have been on the right side of the story of race in America.

    White people have only ever been able to admit to racism in hindsight. White people in the sixties admitted slavery was horrible, and white people today are willing to admit Jim Crow was wrong. In fifty years they’ll be claiming they knew police brutality was wrong, and all without mentioning a single word of the part they played in gaslighting Black people about the trauma of it.

    I’m done arguing about my loved experience with white people. I just say so right up front, that if they want to debate, they getting blocked. I don’t need the trauma of being a Black woman along with the trauma of trying to convince the willfully ignorant that my trauma even happened.

    I will not argue about how my life is lived, with anyone, that includes people I love, let alone strangers on the internet . I just won’t do it!

    I’m gonna ask, plead really, for reasons of self care, that you don’t either. Dealing with the willfully delusional (which is how I think of such people) is a sure fire way to land yourself in an insane asylum, or at least on blood pressure medication.

    There’s a saying, I forget by who, that however you think you would have behaved during any major historical event , you need only look to the behavior you’re displaying right now to find out.

  3. I concur with LKEKE, that is why i suggested Reni Eddo -Lodge’s book Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race. It’s insightful about how whites refuse to acknowledge the issue of race. Eddo- Lodge is a black British woman, racism is just as prevalent in Great Britain as it is in the United States.

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