Racisms Disease and Healing Deferred in America
Like many of you I know a family member or friend who is suffering from or has died from cancer. Many of you also know of someone who is suffering from or has died from racism in America. Both are deadly, both are merciless and kill any and all without closure. Some succumb quickly to its grip others perish slowly over time. The parallels and differences that both hold, and possible solutions are the basis of this blog.
The deadly toll of victims is huge and the search for an answer remains unfinished. For those of us living with any level of connection to the casualties it is natural to be sensitive and ready to treat the killing, unfortunately that is where much likeness’ end.
Categorically speaking a few dissimilarities are physical health v. social health, STEM v. Public Policy, unknown cause v. man-made, etc. A few similarities are both attack anyone, it arrives in a variety of forms and both are medically and emotionally traumatic. Denial of being afflicted with either disease is counterproductive to a cure. A mindful approach and emotionally positive attitude are a good start to being realistic about what troubles you or someone important in your life.
My uncle was a doctor, my aunt was a nurse and my cousin, a medical researcher, I’m none of those things. I am an education consultant, a historian and a specialist in African American heritage, culture and history; this includes racism. My relationship with cancer is through the lives of others, my relationship with racism is intimate, an issue that is as old as all members of my family. My observations of healing from cancer has shown much hope for its victims, especially with America’s medical research and support to one day conquer this deadly disease. Based on Americas public by-in, my observations of healing from racism are less optimistic, I remain positive yet pragmatic with my countries current support to one day disarm its centuries old grip on America.
How to heal from this societal cancer is the question that requires a better response. The loss or ruination of black lives in America hinders all witnesses. Healing from the millions of black Africans kidnapped into slavery in the Americas by Portugal, England, Spain, France, Germany and others six centuries ago and its traumatic residue today. Or the healing from a life gone of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white racist Chicago police officer.
I recommend doing what I try to do. Engaging unapologetically and honestly with ourselves as black descendants of slavery; I’m doing this with Native Americans, I’m moving this sharing with immigrants of color, then white immigrants and ending with white Americans who choose to not acknowledge their European roots. Healing racism is a slow process that works through the heart to help the brain embrace one’s sickness. As American literature legend Mark Twain pointed out "Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves free but set the white man free also".
To emancipate from our relationship is with racism takes confession, honesty and recognizing where trauma lives in your personal world. Healing from this disease will show all of us the beauty behind the pain we must endure to become free.