The Emotional Toll of Fighting Racism

According to the APS, American Psychological Association, discrimination is a public health issue. According to the 2015 Stress in America Survey, people who say they have faced discrimination rate their stress levels higher, on average than those who say they have not experienced discrimination.

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Chronic stress is the number one symptom when suffering racism and discrimination. Chronic stress can lead to a large variety of physical and mental health problems. Indeed, perceived discrimination has been linked to health issues including:

  • Anxiety
  • depression
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • substance abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Family and relationship interference/issues.
  • Financial and economical stress due to an inability to get promoted due to race.

Reading the stories of struggles among thousands of profound civil rights fighters, never had I once considered the massive emotional toll the fight against racism on the mind, body and soul.

I am currently in a battle and I spend nights up tossing and turning with anxiety. I get frequent headaches from built up frustration of having to wait out the legal process of proving I am being devalued due to the color of my skin. A common story stained in the fabric of America, will it ever end?

One thing I know is I must stay in the fight. I refuse to continue to be a runner. Running from one job to the next due to discrimination, moving from one neighborhood to the next to try to get my daughter into a decent school in a white neighborhood because improving schools in black neighborhoods appears to be out of the question. The only sub par solution is to bus our children to schools outside our neighborhoods because our schools lack, just like we do!

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Our communities is our problem as if it’s not a part of America, as it’s a third world country. How is it that we pay taxes to a government hell bent on passing off investing in our communities as if we are not citizens?

Police brutality is an American problem, black poverty is a systemic, American problem, the violence in Chicago is an American problem fueled by poor education, high unemployment among black men being denied opportunities and systematic poverty riddled in every layer of politics and social class in America. Their is no black problems, there are only American problems so when are we going to demand they fix what they originally broken? The time is now.

Living in a state that is ranked #2 for the highest wage gap between blacks and whites is enough stress to keep most people who look like me up all night stressing about the rising cost of living and the plummeting wages. If not that it’s those long conversations over the phone listening to my family and friends vent about how they are underemployed.

According to their analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation data, in 2011 the typical white household had $111,146 in wealth, compared to $7,113 for blacks and $8,348 for Latinos.  –Washington Post

Their college degree is not an asset, it’s a bill that creeps up every month they are forced to pay, but the degree does not change the fact that despite our education we are still underpaid. How is it that the average black woman with a college degree gets paid less than the average white person with a high school diploma.

What did I go to school for? To collect debt? I am still seen as inferior, unqualified and not having enough experience. If it’s not that I lack soft skills, which are social skills. How is that? I guess it’s always something when you’re under the thumb of a racist, narcissistic regime.

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The insidious, passive aggressive regime. The smile in your face but make sure you don’t move up in this place management. The cult of supremacy is raining down on me and I have no shelter from the storm. Hell, I don’t even want a shelter from the storm. I want to stay in trenches and ride this shit out like the loyal Floridians who stayed in Miami despite Hurricane Irma’s imminent destruction.

I refuse to keep running for the sake of my daughter, it’s time to fight! For the sake of descendant of slaves still unpaid for the services forcefully rendered from our ancestors. This looming wealth gap and what I have to deal with daily at work. The covert orchestrators in the back round at work making sure I don’t get nowhere fast.

Fighting takes it toll. Now I know the fear, anxiety and depression that comes with standing up to racism. The mental fatigue, the physical draining, the emotional distance from my family and friends.

They know I’m fighting a war the majority denies even exist. My people are like isolated soldiers fighting a war guerrilla style were we don’t even have the education or resources to come together and assemble a strategic defense against the economic crisis that we are drowning in.

By Janell Hihi Copyright@2017

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