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Old 05-14-2019, 06:57 PM
monstro is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,982
There's only a stone's throw from "Men shouldn't cry" to "Men don't need to get help for their personal problems, and least not real men."

I hate to keep talking about black people, but I'm gonna do it again because I think it could be helpful. Many black people have internalized a message that we have to strong all the time. We don't "get" nervous breakdowns; that's white people mess. You have some shit you're going through? Work it out at church. Pray on it hard enough and the shit will be healed. But going to a therapist is what white people with too much time and money on their hands do. That's not what "real" black people do.

It's a toxic message for obvious reasons.

When the Sandra Bland story first broke, I talked to my mother about it because it was really upsetting for me. More upsetting than any other police brutality case. My mother was confident that Sandra had been killed by that police officer (or someone at the jail). But I told her straight-up that I thought Sandra probably did kill herself because I could see myself doing the same if I had been in her shoes.

You woulda thought that I had blasphemed, the way my mother reacted to that. "WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU KILL YOURSELF! DON'T YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T BE WEAK LIKE THAT! DON'T YOU KNOW THAT'S WHAT THE RACISTS WANT YOU TO DO! YOU HAVE TO BE STRONGER THAN THAT, GIRL!"

I wanted to hang up the phone. The conversation reminded me how "weird" I felt the first time I told my parents I was in therapy to get help with my depression. I felt like a failure for revealing my inability to be above the fray all the time. My parents didn't say so, but I could almost read their minds: "She's been hanging around white people too long."