Physical Manifestations of Racism-Induced Stress
Start writing a post
Politics

Saving Black Lives: Black Women and the Fight Against Terror

I had to change my mourning into a movement, my pain into purpose.
– Gwen Carr

208
Saving Black Lives: Black Women and the Fight Against Terror
https://zh.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Memorial_to_Michael_Brown.jpg

This article was written on Trayvon Martin's 24th birthday. To his family, you are all in our hearts. To Sybrina Fulton, you changed my life. I will continue to fight.

I had to change my mourning into a movement, my pain into purpose
- Gwen Carr

Anti-Black violence is pervasive and results in, not only the actual death of Black people but also soul murder and a slow deterioration that is often felt by the Black women that love them. Mourning is turned into movements as Black women are forced to bury their loved ones as American media demonizes them. Pain is turned into purpose when Black women fight to protect the memory of the people they have lost. Sorrow kills. Racism kills.

I chose to live, number one. I chose to move to my next chapter because if my son had died and I had died also, and I was just walking around the Earth not doing anything, then I would be dead too... I was reluctant to, you know, even speak. Even to be the voice of my son, you know, which seems like that's the natural thing to do, is to speak for Trayvon, who's not here, but I didn't want to. I just felt so weak and hopeless and helpless… God really had to work on me to strengthen me to get me to speak up for other people. To speak up for my son. To speak up for myself.
- Sybrina Fulton

Moving forward after losing a child is difficult for any parent. But America's role in perpetuating Black death and the sheer improbability of justice compounds the loss to dangerous degrees. In "Sorrow as Artifact: Radical Black Mothering in Times of Terror", Dr. Christen Smith observed that Black women adopt a "mothering" framework through language that stresses care-taking, collective healing/sorrow, and fear for the Black people of today and children of tomorrow. This mothering (social and biological) creates a unique relationship between Black women and the fight against violence and terror.

"You're taking on the burdens of every Black person and making them your own. You're brave for doing that and I love you for doing that but you need to take some time for yourself."
-Timothy Nelson

As a Black woman, I take on burdens of my brothers and sisters to the point of having extreme anxiety and panic attacks. I did not choose activism. Organizing and caring (things one would consider activism) are my methods of survival, but are also the very things killing me.

Research shows that, for Black students, higher levels of political activism may exacerbate experiences of microaggressions and relate to more stress and anxiety compared with Black students who are less politically involved. When I think about the physical manifestations of stress and pain associated with activism, I think about Eric and Erica Garner.

Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today. Why would you...? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn't do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] selling cigarettes. I'm minding my business, officer, I'm minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. — Eric Garner

On July 17, 2014, at approximately 3:30 p.m.,Eric Garner was approached by a plain clothes police officer, Justin Damico, in front of a beauty supply store at 202 Bay Street in Tompkinsville, Staten Island. This was not the first time he had been harassed by police officers. Eric Garner had just broken up a fight, which may have caught the attention of the nearby police. The NYPD claimed that officers had previously targeted Garner for selling untaxed, individual cigarettes in the area. Using a deadly chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo murdered Garner as he yelled "I can't breathe."

At 24 years old, Erica Garner became a fighter. Erica's death at 27 years old was more than a heart attack; it was a heartbreak caused the immense pain and trauma of losing her father. She, like many Black activists, fought state sanctioned anti-Black violence and was killed by its lethal physical manifestations.

Erica Garner's death came a year after the death of Venida Browder, mother of Kalief, who killed himself after being held on Rikers Island for three years for a crime he did not commit. Erica was quoted as saying "[Venida Browder] died of a broken heart. She had heart problems because she kept on fighting for her son. Like, I'm struggling right now, with the stress and everything, 'cause this thing, it beats you down. The system beats you down until you can't win. ... I felt the same pain that my father felt on that day when he was screaming, 'I can't breathe.'"

We are fighting for our lives within a society that is built on our corpse. Black women internalize their fight physically as they witness the death of victims that resemble their own children, or, in the cases described above, witness direct violence enacted on their families. I urge everyone to think about the way that racism manifests physically as attacks on heart and soul. Black Lives Matter.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
beer on the beach

Summer is hot and humid, and it's almost like summer was made specifically to drink the refreshing, cold, crisp wonderful, delicious, nutritious nectar of the gods. Which is none other than beer; wonderful cold beer. With summer playing peek-a-boo around the corner while we finish up this semester, it's time to discuss the only important part of summer. And if you haven't already guessed, it's beer. There are few things I take more seriously than my beer, in order are: sports... and beer. Here are my favorite summer brews:

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

7 Reasons SoCal Rocks!

75 degrees and sunny, plus, no humidity. I mean do I really need to say more?

1508
woman in black and white long sleeve shirt carrying girl in red jacket in Venice beach
Photo by Jeff Hopper on Unsplash

SoCal summers are the best summers by far, and honestly, no argument is needed. But, if you aren't sure why SoCal summers are the best, here are 7 reasons why!

Keep Reading...Show less
Entertainment

25 Lyrics for Selfie Captions

Because let's be honest, we all use lyrics.

53801
woman takes a selfie for social media
Pixabay

Sometimes you can't think of the perfect caption for your Instagram post. I love using lyrics as my captions because there's so many great lines in songs that just seem to fit in the moment. Here are some lyrics that could work for your selfie or pictures of you with your friends!

Keep Reading...Show less
Entertainment

Bruce Springsteen's Top 7 Lyrics

Everything Bruce says in his classic rock songs.

20258
bruce springsteen album cover born in the usa

Anyone who was born and raised in New Jersey (or anywhere really) knows of Bruce Springsteen, whether or not they like him is a whole other situation. I hope that his hundreds of classic rock songs and famous high energy performances, even in his sixties he can put on better concerts than people half his age, are at least recognizable to people of all ages. Love him or hate him (I identify with the former) you have to admit that some of his songs and interviews have inspirational quotes and lyrics.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

New England Summers Are The BEST Summers

Why you should spend your next summer in New England.

5249
Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

You cannot beat the beach. Believe it or not (which many people may not), New England has a long and beautiful coastline. Most of my high school summers were spent sitting on the Wall at Hampton Beach, getting sunburnt and eating Acai bowls from The Secret Spot. The Wall was the place to be both during the day and at night. We begin our days there with a KB's bagel and coffee, and end them with pizza and ice cream. It’s not a New England summer without that 4 p.m. text from someone, “Who wants to meet at the Wall tonight?” Nighttime is for Tripoli’s Pizza, the sound of waves, and wishes on shooting stars. Wednesday nights are especially important, as those are the nights that Hampton Beach sets off the weekly firework display.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments