“If we had access to mental health care that was actually affordable, useful, and tailored to the melanated experience in America then perhaps there would be no need to self medicate so much.”
Black people, particular in America, still suffer from the psychological collateral damage of 400+ years of ‘making America great’. It is the Black Man, being the prime target for the system of white supremacy, that seems to suffer the most.
There has never been a period in time where the masses of black people in America received mental health care to deal with the generational trauma brought on by colonialism: slavery, racism, rape, oppression, and violence.
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing claimed that the black man has suffered more because he is the prime target for the system of white supremacy. This is not to say black women have or had it easy because that would be a lie. It’s just that the black man was and is feared the most because in his loins is a weapon of genetic annihilation. In other words, the black man’s penis can cause the complete genetic extinction of the descendants of the caucasus cave dwellers whom we now call ‘white people’. Of course black women have this capacity but typically it is the man initiating sex, not the other way around. With that being said, the black man is the number one enemy of the caucasian collective because his genetic presence inspires the fear of genetic annihilation.
What does this have to do with self medicating? I’ll tell you.
Being a “target” is no laughing matter. It can drive you crazy or kill you.
Black men have a harder time breaking through in this society than any other demographic. We are required to tone down our masculine presence to satisfy the weak nature of our oppressors and the society they manage. We are required to find “peace of mind” in the most inhumane circumstances and situations without a drop of empathy or humanity from the world. We are required to stand idle and accept our oppression or be ostracized (sometimes murdered) and labeled an extremist or even a terrorist for standing up for ourselves. We are filled with the unfulfilled ambitions of our ancestors with no avenue or opportunity to realize those ambitions.
Inside the soul of every black man who exists under the tyranny of the system of white supremacy is a bomb waiting to explode. It literally feels like we are walking, talking nuclear bombs. This type of pressure doesn’t make diamonds, it makes black holes.
All this to say, black men need mental health care in a bad way. Most of us will never get the type of psychological healing we need so we compensate with drugs and other mind altering substances to reduce the pressure.
Many of us may not have the type of health coverage to pay for mental health care. Why pay $500 for an hour visit to a psychologist when you could spend $50 on weed and alcohol that will at least help you forget about your problems for a few days?
The ones of us that do have the appropriate health coverage probably don’t want to express our deepest pains and sorrows to some strange white person with a clipboard and glasses. I know that all mental health specialists are not white, but that is the perception. Dr. Welsing whom I quoted earlier was a black psychologist, but other than her I can count on one hand how many black psychologist I’ve heard of.
So day after day we push on. Hiding our pain and suffering behind grams, liters, and bottles.
If we had access to mental health care that was actually affordable, useful, and tailored to the melanated experience in America then perhaps there would be no need to self medicate so much.
Cover Photo: Ryan McGuire of Bells Design