After listening to Meek’s interview on The Breakfast Club, I had a better understanding of his situation and was happy to hear that he is working with the governor of Pennsylvania to make changes to the criminal justice system. I touched on the trauma he spoke about in his interview on my Instagram but now I want to expound upon on it. If we type in Google, it defines it “as a deep distressing or disturbing experience” or “emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical injury, physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis. That is a brief description and one way to define it very simple.
Meek’s whole interview along with my wandering thoughts leads me to think about how people of color in America have experienced trauma for centuries:
Slavery. Jim Crow. The Civil Rights Movement. The crack epidemic. Police brutality. Mass incarceration. Homicide. Poverty.
It also leads me to believe that we as a people have experienced generational trauma, passed down from generation to generation It’s comprised of the little nuances, sayings, thought patterns we get from family. Here is a prime example: “We don’t trust the police.” Why? Because police brutality, death, harassment, profiling. Which we have seen in the past, and continue to see until this day.
The understanding of trauma is new to society. New research has been able to define it and treat it in an effective manner. Initial thoughts were that veterans were the only ones that experienced trauma, then domestic violence survivors, now it has expanded to just about any traumatic event, great! So why have people of color never been examined under the same microscope, especially those of us whom live in impoverished areas.
We know the negative effects of poverty, whether it be violence, drugs, homelessness, lack of food, or proper nutrition. Meek Mill highlighted these constructs throughout his interview, along with fear of being robbed, witnessing multiple people being killed, drug use and more. It makes you wonder that if data supports the above issues than why we are feared so much and why we are not handled with delicate hands considering everything we have faced and continue to face.
I know the answer why, but it is frustrating.
Society paints a picture of black people that is negative in nature. There are non-POC that either want to help or have no clue hell we as black people are clueless, since it’s normalized. The homes become affected, because the parent that was once there is now gone. If this environment is impoverished this can be traumatic for children. A consistent figure, is now gone only to be seen over a couple times in the year, along with the environmental stressors. So then the child acts out, behaviors escalate. Again, a child who has yet to understand what has happened and still understanding how to properly regulate emotions, and hormones (our prefrontal cortex, which regulates this, is not fully formed until 25+).
We try therapy, in-home counseling and medications but never really addressed the trauma (person-centered) to that child. If you read the beginning of the article, we define trauma as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, now who is to say that isn’t a trauma for children? If goes unchecked it can look a lot like Meek Mill’s situation feeding into the revolving cycle, where a fatherless child fail victim to the same environmental cycle that his father, and possibly father’s father did as well. This is all too familiar.
It’s a lot to unpack I know, I just want us to be more aware of our traumatic symptoms and our Mental Health. Salute to Meek for shedding light on dark place in the black community, but America as well.