There’s a throbbing ache in my heart today.
It is documented that victims of trauma and/or grief express their reactions differently. There are some who become numb to avoid the overwhelming tide of emotions, while others react with anger, despair, sadness, disappointment, shock, even a mental breakdown. The trauma that is endured by the black community spans across centuries, the only difference being that with social media, we have quicker and unfiltered public access to it.
Recently, there has been a surge of filmed instances of police brutality, malicious and threatening contact of the authorities, and accusing innocent black men and women of crimes they did not commit. With every new case, my heart grew heavier and more weary. The injustice is suffocating, not far at all from the methods used to mercilessly kill these victims, and victims of the past. It was just something about the case of George Floyd that sent me into a state of mourning I have never been through. It could have just been the straw on the camel’s back, but it brought me to my knees inquiring to God, “when will they stop killing us?” My heart is heavy, my eyes are hazy with tears, my chest feels constricted, and my mind is racing. I grieve for the families and loved ones of the men and women who were taken too soon at the hands of white supremacy. I grieve for the collective community who is forced to suck it up and move on as if one of their brothers/sisters weren’t just killed horrendously. I mourn for the progress of our people and for the strength that is admired, but comes from the will to survive against odds that come from a system whose basis is prejudiced and evil.
I not only grieve but I worry. I worry for my black loved ones in the US, especially the black men in my life such as my husband and friends. The men who are not just black, but unapologetically so; the ones who are keen to their rights. The ones whose joy and success is a threat to this unjust system. I think of my future children, and the conversation of their blackness that I was not ever prepared to give. It is different growing up black in a country that is predominantly black, such as in the Caribbean. There is this freedom that the black community here has never felt since the first black slave stepped foot on this land. You don’t have to teach them survival tactics for encounters between white and black. The conversation of race and colour is one of knowledge, of pride, and of the past; that even the subject of slavery is one that would engender rage, but the assurance still lies that it is a thing of the past, or at least something that is over there and not here. Even within my own family, the topic of race hardly came up, and when it did, it was always one of equality and love. Here, there is an ongoing conversation of racism: warped over the years, but its prevalence and potency remain the same.
I am writing this to not only give myself the space to express how I feel, but also to give those who feel the same the affirmation that you are not alone. It is completely natural to mourn someone you do not personally know. It is completely okay to be enraged by what is going on — being angry is not a sin. [In my opinion, I’d think it strange if you weren’t the least bit upset.] It is also okay if because of this, you take a break from social media, from work, from chores, etc. This is a sorrowful time for ALL OF US, inside and outside the black community. These men and women were human beings. I can’t believe I have to even say that. No one is deserving of such a death, REGARDLESS of the absence or presence of an offense.
Point. Blank. Period.
Black men, you are loved. Black women, you are loved. Black men, you are missed. Black women, you are missed. Rest in Peace to all the victims and condolences to their families. Prayers for all the people, who in one way or another, suffer from racism here and abroad.