Boyz in the Hood (Black PTSD)

 Black man sits in his vehicle, his sweat bullets trickle, officer’s metal bullets whistle, and black man is left deceased.  The officer is released and black man’s family begins to mourn their loved one torn from their ménage . Officers ill-conceived frustration turned into an altercation versus a deescalation through the exchange of conversation. They screen black man’s former mug shot as a form of dehumanization, as humiliation  though there is no correlation. What else would you expect from this nation? This state. This land where the perception of a black man is out of his own hands-The same ones that were up when officers bullets rang. When the angels sang, and when black man entered the gates of heaven. Left this earth and his worth was written in newspapers, in eulogies, in an abundance of black families, in poems like these. Black man sits in his vehicle, reading on his phone the story of another black man who made it not out of his vehicle.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) isn’t a military owned disease. It isn’t the property of the United States Navy.  PTSD doesn’t only affect veterans. In fact, Research by the U.S Center for Disease Control Prevention found more Inner-city Children suffer from PTSD than soldiers returning from War (Vice.com)  It Affects Black kids who grow up in what is considered the “hood”. It affects Black women who watch their men be gunned down by police officers. It affects black people who experience racism. It affects Black people. “Racial microaggressions are subtle, yet pervasive acts of racism… The unpredictable and anxiety-provoking nature of the events, which may be dismissed by others, can lead to victims feeling as if they are “going crazy.” Chronic fear of these experiences may lead to constant vigilance or even paranoia, which over time may result in traumatization or contribute to PTSD when a more stressful event occurs later (Carter, 2007). (Psycholgytoday.com). Microaggressions can including anything from “Wow. You speak surprisingly well” (as if it is impossible for a Black person to be literate) to a range of other notions.

Besides the fear of microaggressions, an abundance of crime in low-income Black households can lead to PTSD in African Americans. Vice, an online Magazine, published an article and video on Gang violence in L.A. stating in it that “There’s an epidemic of PTSD in American cities, and it has nothing to do with the wars being fought abroad. Homegrown violence and a sense of impunity in America’s urban war zones are leaving thousands of teenagers with severe psychological trauma that stunts their emotional and cognitive development.” and reporting that “up to 40% of Urban poor in America are dealing with PTSD.” Some think that the cure to crime and violence in these neighborhoods would be prison. However, until our prison system focuses on Rehabilitation instead of punishment, that isn’t the case. The key to curing crime, one of the top causes of PTSD in poor Black communities, is the eradication of poverty because as explained by Psychology Today, “Social scientists and public officials have long identified poverty as a “root cause” of crime “.  Now, I have piece after piece on this site about how to deter crime (scroll on the blog tab), so I will let you all continue without going on a rampage. But, the point is this, government policies have created a system of racism, which then created an abundance of poverty among African Americans, then leading to crime and disenfranchisement, creating high numbers of PTSD in Black communities. PTSD is not a white owned Disease. It is not property of the United States Military. PTSD happens to Black bodies, but the media will not give it attention when it happens to us. I always tend to go back to this, but Black Psychologists matter. Black Sociologists matter. Black Reporters matter. Black Lives Matter, and Black PTSD matters. Let’s begin to talk about it.

Resources:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3b7pzb/ptsd-from-gang-violence-in-la

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inside-the-criminal-mind/201412/crime-causes-poverty

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