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.
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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:
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.
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.