Let’s Talk About the Violence

January 3, 2014

So, as descendants of terror (slavery) many of us still engage in behaviors that are understandable in terms of having been traumatized.  We continue to reconstruct the terror in many of our communities.  Psychoanalysts would call this reenacting, which is a common, understandable response to being traumatized.  It is a way for the traumatized individual to gain mastery or control of a situation where there was a feeling of powerlessness.  Unfortunately, the methods used to reenact the trauma are usually unhealthy and cyclical, resulting in nothing but further trauma for the individual and the community.  An unfortunate example of this for us is the violence plaguing too many of our communities.  However, the core issues go ignored generation after generation.  Trenton, NJ has hit a new record for deaths by violence.  Are we going to let this continue?

There is a failure I think for most people to acknowledge that the he behavior comes form somewhere.  It’s not just that the perpetuators are just bad people. They are often behaving like victims of trauma.  What’s the answer?  Empower them in other ways. Let them find their strengths  through the family and through the community.  No matter your feelings on the church, it offers a place for just that in many of our communities. There are often programs in and outside of churches that amazing people start that are empowering and strengthening for our children and we need to seek them out.  If we give up on them or blame them or continue to lock them up like animals or “stop and frisk” them like second class citizens, we will have the same problems.  These tactics haven’t worked.  They will not ever work.  They further destroy any real sense of strength or power, that people who are productive in communities need.

I attended a meeting with a group of mental health practitioners last month.  The meeting was spearheaded by a group of Black Psychiatrists.  It wasn’t just a boring presentation as too many of these meetings tend to be.  It was a group of mental health professionals trying to move toward healing in our communities.  I must say that up until that point I was very disappointed in the Black Mental Health practitioners.  I’m sure the desire for community action was there for so many but there was no movement toward organizing.  I will do my part to try to make sure it doesn’t stop with a meeting.

Here is some info on what to do if you are stopped and frisked:  http://www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/stop-and-frisk-practices

ONE example a program supportive of youngsters: http://teemgateway.rutgers.edu/


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