Tuesday, December 14, 2010

15. Unity in Stress and Death

Toward Unity of North American Africans

15. Unity in Stress and Death

In stress and death, all classes of North American Africans are united, with the upper classes suffering more stress, perhaps, because they must be concerned with keeping the little they have. We have seen black millionaires suffer the same discrimination faced by blacks when they are watched while shopping. Black nurses come to us with horror stories of job discrimination. A black professor recently told how her colleagues suffer high blood pressure. An aide to a state senator reached a settlement for sexual harassment. Her boss had been relentless in pursuit of her tail, causing her great stress and discomfort.

Do we need to find out if our President is under stress? For sure, the boyz and girls in the hood are stressed to the point of using violence as a tension reliever, to say nothing of staying medicated on street drugs to keep from blowing a fuse. When street drugs are not available, prescription drugs will work. Our poor children suffer stress from possible homicide and/or suicide. Many of them are in trauma and grief from losing so many of their peers to violence and prison.

Elders who make it to sixty and seventy years old must often travel solo because so many of their friends have departed, including their mates. Many marriages were stress filled from the greater society. Again, the need for medication from illegal and/or legal drugs, few can afford therapy and even if they could, there are few mental health workers to serve them, especially with holistic African healing certification as opposed to useless European psychotherapy for black minds.

All classes escape to religiosity until church politics drive them from the Lord's house, especially when it's all about the preacher and his needs, leaving little mention of the Lord. Even the New Thought Spiritual Centers are degenerating into dens of iniquity under the guise of prosperity consciousness and unbridled sexuality.

Of course our diet is an ever present danger to our health, for it is designed to rush us to the doctor, although all classes have such fears of the medical profession that even those well healed blacks often do not take advantage of their health insurance. We knew a professional woman who only went to the dentist because he was her friend. She never bothered to see the doctor, supposedly because he wasn't her friend and she had fears of medical treatment.

In short, all blacks live in a hostile environment. A man escaped the ghetto to live in the Oakland hills, but when he thought he heard a burglar and called the police, they treated him as though he was the burglar, so traumatizing him that he left his wife in the house in the hills and returned to stay in the ghetto.

We suspect the stress of the hostile environment is the reason we lost several black women professors at the University of California, June Jordan, Barbara Christian, Veve Clark, Sherley A. Williams. Sherley long complained of her hostile work environment at UC San Diego. Dr. William H. Grier had his son inform me that indeed what killed Sherley was the hostile environment, not cancer and asthma.

Riding on the bus through the ghetto, there are usually conversations on three topics: who's sick, who died and who's in prison or just got out. The brothers go to prison so often that a girlfriend was heard saying, "He lives in prison, that's his home. When he's out here he's on vacation!"

Women are under great stress with so many of their mates incarcerated. With the economy in meltdown, men and women are getting desperate with each passing day, plotting criminal activity with no real thought and planning, thus they are quickly apprehended and join the line to the department of corrections where they suddenly become a valuable commodity, worth fifty to sixty thousand dollars per inmate per year.

Imagine the stress of jail and prison, with overcrowding, sexual abuse, gang violence, lack of privacy, loneliness, loss of human dignity. The only advantage is that black men and women now have the chance to think, study and write for the first time in their lives. But upon their release there is little opportunity to stay straight since they now have a record and often lack any formal education and skills since many had dropped out of school in boredom with the white supremacy curriculum and hostile, overworked and exhausted teachers who themselves rarely receive a salary worth their time and education.

The hostile environment is intensified by the slave catchers, otherwise known as police. They are an ever present danger to all classes who may be stopped for driving, walking, talking, or thinking while black. They are in constant danger of failing the tone test: when stopped the person can be killed, arrested or released based on the tone of his voice.

The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is testament the police, when it comes to blacks, do not discriminate. We just learned of a man who won a lawsuit against a hotel in Washington, DC because he took refuge in a hotel during a storm but because of his dress the hotel called the police to throw him out. The police gave him a choice, either go to a shelter or go to jail, he chose a shelter.

There is thus nothing post in the traumatic stress syndrome we suffer, it is ever present on a daily basis until the last rites are administered, though even in the coffin stress can reach us. Gang youth came to a funeral and shot into the corpse to make sure the deceased was truly dead. At another funeral there was a shooting inside the church causing a poor church mother to go home where she suffered a heart attack. An estranged church going wife was shot dead by her stressed husband in the church parking lot with the Bible in her hand.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at 39 years old, the medical report said his body had the stress of a 60 year old man.

And so it is, we live under intense pressure, all of us, no matter what class, unless we are determined to enter the no stress zone where we are not moved by things of this world that are pure illusion and mainly of little importance now or in the future. Most certainly, we are not to worry about things of the past.
--Marvin X

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