The unlawful killing or harassment of unarmed black men, women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals is nothing new. It’s been happening since the very beginning of this country’s history, it continues to happen today, and it will indefinitely continue to occur.
This is not open for debate, minimization, or poor comparisons. Racism is best learned about from the source. Not from a white person, not from a statistic, not from an analogy, a YouTube video, and certainly not from politicians.
If you’re still unsure about this reality, read any history book, or just ask any black or POC in your life and they will have a grocery list of experiences to share.
Maybe it’s the time they were wrongfully put in handcuffs just because their skin color ‘fit the description.’
Maybe it’s the time neighbors called the police on them for walking into their own house, because how could a black person be successful enough to live in this neighborhood?
Maybe it’s the time the waiter refused to let them eat at the restaurant because despite being all dressed up, it was assumed ‘they couldn’t afford it.’
Or maybe it’s being called the n-word over and over by classmates, strangers, and people of authority.
The list goes on…
But what does racism and the rise of social media mean for the average black person?
It means that on any given day, in addition to in-person traumatization, social media feeds are being flooded with the next the next murder, the next hashtag, the next injustice.
And more often than not, it is accompanied by a very explicit video to depict it all.
Yep. So, if it’s not you in the video, it’s watching awful things happen to someone who looks just like you or just like someone you know very well.
Awareness is important to foster empathy, understanding, and change. That is a fact. But at what point does social media go too far?
Trauma is an ugly thing. Some days you can feel alright and then, out of nowhere, the slightest memory, sound, sight, story sends you spiraling into a dark abyss of negative emotions you can’t seem to crawl out of.
And you can bet your bottom dollar, an explicit video of another unarmed black man being brutally killed for all the world to see is enough to make anyone spiral.
On better days, it fuels passion for change and equality.
On better days, it brings people closer together than ever, united for a common cause.
On better days, it inspires young people across the globe to change unfair policies and laws.
But on others, it’s just exhausting. Plain and simple. No explanation needed.
So, what can you do to help?
For anyone reading this… please, for the love of all things good, place a warning before sharing explicit videos.
It is not about being overly sensitive, it is about being utterly traumatized.
Yes, you may want to help. Yes, you may want to spread awareness about injustice. And that is a great thing.
But in doing so, don’t forget to keep in mind the very people you are trying to help, and how they may be feeling.
You’ve had a hard week. You’ve been battling depression. You’ve just recently lost your job and are knee-deep in the hunt for a new one, but haven’t had any luck just yet. It’s discouraging and you’re down in the dumps. You’re still grieving the loss of your grandma who was your world. It takes all of your might to get up and say, ‘You know what, I can do hard things today.’ So, you take the world by the horns and give it your all.
And then suddenly, without warning, you stumble upon a video of yet another black man being slaughtered. Then again. And AGAIN. And in no time, you’re right back into the abyss.
This is very common. And it’s recurring. And it’s tiring.
Black people, or any other minority group, deserve to decide when they see their own people being killed. It should not be forced upon them, without warning.
So, please. Continue to spread awareness, continue to be an ally, continue to try to understand the experiences of those different than you with an open mind and open ears. But do not do it at the expense of black mental health.
This is not a sensitive thing. It’s a kindness thing. And it starts with you.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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