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  • Dr. Rashanta Bledman

Thoughts from Dr. B: I'm a Black woman and I'm terrified...

Last week, I found myself reacting to a colleague, after experiencing some microinvalidation.  I yelled "You will NEVER know what it is like to be Black!"  Even this statement couldn't adequately express the pain that I carry.  And I don't even know what words would.  I sat shaking and crying and feeling the unfairness and the heaviness of what I and my fellow Black folx have to manage daily. I sat there feeling misunderstood, confused, and hollow.  The tears dripping down my face would have been poetic, if it wasn't so incredibly sad.  It is exhausting af.  

Many of us know the racial trauma of waking up to the news telling you that yet another person who looks like you has been gunned down.  I thought it was just that we aren't safe in the streets...but it seems that we are also not safe in our homes.  Throughout the week, I sit across from Black parents sharing their tears as we worry about the safety of their children.  I commiserate with Black women as we struggle with how to express our assertiveness for fear of being labeled "angry."  Anger is not an emotion afforded to Black women.  I worry for Black men, because they seem to be facing extinction. I cry for our Black trans people who are being murdered.   We are not safe.  But maybe we never were.  

So much of our being is policed: our hair, our bodies, our features, our voices, our language, our culture, our color, the essence of our very existence.

I'm tired, though.  Tired of being made to feel that my Black life doesn't matter.  Or told I'm overreacting.  Or that I am always bringing up race.  Or being asked why I am angry.  OF COURSE, I am angry (aren't YOU!?), but I am also TERRIFIED.  And I am terrified because I don't feel safe.  And I don't think people who look like me are safe.  Maslow's hierarchy indicates that safety and security are basic human needs.  How can we even focus on anything else in life if we do not feel safe? I have no answers.  Do you? - Dr. B.

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