Tag Archives: Trauma

Dealing with Trauma in amerikka

I took a much needed break from organizing for a few days. The excuse was that I was moving, and while that was actually the case, the truth is that the police violence has had a much greater toll on me than I would have liked to admit. 
I didn’t realize how wound up I was until I was walking down the street to the store and discovered that I could neither keep my eyes nor my head still as I scanned every car and every face for an impending threat. I was doing this subconsciously. When I finally realized I was suffering from trauma was when two little Chiwawa sized dogs barked at me and I damn near jumped out of my skin. Heart racing, palms sweating, head throbbing, and ready to fight whatever was coming.
I have this emotional valve that allows me to shut down my emotions in moments of crises to focus on the tasks at hand. It can be a doubled-edged sword at times because sometimes when people are looking for an emotional response I may be pragmatic and practical, even logical and seemingly heartless when confronting and addressing an issue. Nonetheless, there always comes a point after the threat has subsided that when it is safe my emotions surface. When the ancle-biters had me fearing for my life was that moment.
Being a Black man in amerikkka, even with the light-skinned privilege I have, is a constantly traumatic experience. In addition to that because I fight for the justice and respect our Peoples deserve, I am often a very visible ‘target’ of those who would suppress and repress. The police attack on innocent, peaceably assembled political dissenters in Phoenix, Arizona on August 22, 2017 was not the first time I have been in a situation of violent state repression. Standing Rock was not an isolated event. These are well-honed strategies of the repressive regime under which we struggle to assert our right to exist. The tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bombs are not far removed from the fire hoses and attack dogs that Bull Conner unleashed on people in Birmingham in 1963. The state unleashed fire hoses on the people at Standing Rock in below freezing temperatures the night before I arrived, less than a year ago; ain’t nothing changed.
With the emergence of the alt-right and a resurgence of the kkk, it is not only the police we have to worry about–who we can easily identify–but also general citizen looking people who believe they have been sent on a holy mission to exterminate us. So, it makes sense that I am scanning every car and face to analyze who and where a threat may emerge at any given time. It is people like this, in collusion with the state, who have banished, stolen, incarcerated, or killed many of our people who have been outspoken against the oppression we suffer. However, although it makes sense, it does not dismiss the fact that living like this, in constant fear, is traumatic and it takes it’s toll. 
There is nothing that can justify terrorism like this!
My normal response is to exist in a constant state of rage. I am often told that this is unhealthy. I agree. What happened was that as a result of my constant state of tightened awareness and protection, that I put up walls to shield from those I loved most. I could not separate the defensiveness required to survive the state and the fascist from being part of my family. Unknown to me, this trait was generalized to everyone and I reacted to everyone as if they were out to harm or kill me. They weren’t. However, the psychological trauma I was suffering would not make that distinction for me; in survival mode it was occurring subconsciously.
After an emotionally draining fight with my partner and the Chiwawa fiasco I knew a moment of deep reflection wad needed. It was during this time that I got clarity about what was going on inside of me and why. Then, I communes with my ancestors on multiple occasions asking for guidance and to be led. While I sorted through my possessions getting rid of what was no longer needed or necessary, as I scrubbed the gunk from my old apartment, as I hauled all the things from my old residence to the new, and as I have constructed my new place of peace; the same has been happening within my soul.
The struggle we are in is not only physical, but also, and perhaps more so, spiritual. The physical stress takes a toll on my spiritual integrity. Not that I didn’t know, but this experience reaffirms the vitally necessity of continued spiritual health and well-being especially, while I am in a constant struggle against injustice and those who seek to eradicate our people.
Not everyone is my enemy. Those who are not my enemy should not be treated as such. To do so is vastly inconsistent with the world we are working to create. When I recognize that I am undoing the work I have been doing it is my responsibility to pull back and to get regrounded. To be certain, I am still dealing with the trauma of being Black in amerikkka and the response to my being vocal and active against our oppression. There is much work to be done to overcome the harm that has been done to me. However, the last thing I want to do is to revisit the harms laid upon me upon others. Thus, breaking the cycle of oppression is necessary.  This can only be achieved on a spiritual plain and with those who love us. 
Bad energy can become trapped within us and become stagnant and festering, like water that has been choked from flowing. Hatred, fear, and anger are emotions that we all must feel in amerikkka at times, but they are not things that we must hold onto. When we do it shuts us out from the sunlight of the spirit and blocks us from the love those around us have to share. 
I did not want to acknowledge that I was terrified, and so, I held onto it. I had a rage inside of me that I thought would protect me and all it did was lead me to hurt those whom I care the most about. I had to feel those emotions and let them go so that I could have room for the love that truly fuels my actions and nourishes my soul.


“Fuck the Police” by Renaissance (Lyrics)


They not bout the people
Don’t suffer like we do
Servin the master class
They Asses be see-through
Their answers be lethal
Though they don’t need to
Just shoot as they please
Be death without redo…

Got no reason to trust them
They commin to bust in
And don’t give a fuck
I’m professin or hustlin
Want us dead or in prison
Keep us in division
With surgical precision
They’ve made all their incisions
They come from slave patrols
And protect the capital
Of capitalism
And it’s all about control
Work to keep us at odds
& To keep us all poor
So when we’re workin for scraps
We won’t be askin for more
Union bustin for sure
They broke up the Black Panthers
propped up the Jim Crow
used dogs and fire hoses
red lines and bulldozers
paid snitches to roll us
plea bargains been sold us
gang units built and ensnare
Vietnam Vets to street warfare
they’ve been against our people
since before cobblestone roads
but they’re the closest thing to
government most of us will ever know

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think

People wanna separate
Police from the state
and from corporations
Who function with no restraints
from politicians, prisons,
borders, immigration,
And imperialism
like each one is distinct
But the nature of a system’s
that they’re all interlinked
And they depend on each other
to keep everything succinct
which means the people are controlled
their code for this is order
labor producing products
The opposition’s slaughtered
F.B.I., C.I.A.,
N.S.A., they got us
Panopticon, they spot us
They spy’n us the hardest
Regardless, of the fact, that,
We are the people
we push the envelope
We scratch the needle
the essence of the state
is to guard itself from change
beyond whatever liberty
It supposedly claims
and this is why on the police
They don’t have any reigns
they can kill us daily
And not be put in chains

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think

They be posted on the block
And there ain’t nothin to stop
The intimidation brought
The terrorism wrought
Cuz they backed by the state
And can never be wrong
Lest the people see the trait
Swarm the state in a throng
Like Ferguson, Missouri
In the streets for 90 days
But didn’t get attention
Until it was set ablaze
Don’t want to face the truth
Try to slip through the noose
Don’t RESPECT us lack ruth
Shoot our people kill our youth

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice
Sandra Bland, Charlene Lyles,
Castile, Valdez, Boyd, Williams
Gray, Taylor, Garner, Hollins

It’s a God Damned shame
That I can rhyme their names
Killed so many of us
Hard to be more enraged
But we must remember them
Those taken by the system
In prison, enslavement, killed by police men
Body cams ain’t do shit
They just turn the fuckers off
In the streets fightin riot cops
Where’s my molotov
The institution
Police unions need to cease
Ain’t here for you and me
So, fuck the police

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think


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