– Written by Bryann Guyton –
Dear Black People,
Why aren’t we holding each other accountable? What is with the void of discussing matters that could pull your fellow brother or sister out of the trenches? What is it exactly that we should be talking about anyway?
This article is solely for the progression of the black community. It is not to say that we are behind or incompetent in any of my propositions, but just to encourage all of us to talk more freely on matters that could contribute to our social and economical progression.
While many deviations still exist, we can all agree that things have broadly advanced for Black people in the United States of America. We really should attribute a lot of our current success to the true pioneers that made this possible like Fredrick Douglas, Dorothy Height, Martin Luther King Jr., Diane Nash, and Muhammad Ali. I say that to suggest, yes, we have came a long way as a community from where we once were, but is America as “post-racial” as it claims to be? The real question is, what can we do about it?
We should talk about it! In order for us as a black people to advance, we must assemble a strong foundation compromised of strategy and enlightenment. So why aren’t we holding each other accountable? What is with the void of discussing matters that could pull your fellow brother or sister out of the trenches? What is it exactly that we should be talking about anyway? I think the three things that go without discussion among black people are emotional intelligence, financial literacy, and mental health.
Let’s talk about emotional intelligence, also referred to as “EQ”. What is emotional intelligence? According to Psychology Today, Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to manage and to regulate one’s emotions and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person. The capacity to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving.
Now, Dear Black People let’s talk about the lack of emotional intelligence in our community. Have you ever reflected back on a time when you were a child experiencing any type of emotion, there was never really an explanation? It was almost always a “you ain’t no punk,” “wipe those tears,” “you’re a tough girl/guy, right?” Then every time we are actually experiencing any sense of anything, we are almost shameful. Do you see how relevant and still existent that is today? We aren’t really sensitive to our own emotions or what triggers those emotions within us.
By the time we are adults, our pride and sense of self seems to be one of the top five things we battle. Having empathy is almost surreal because we are preconditioned to be “tough” and this dates back long ago to our ancestors. The ability to understand and share feelings with each other is such a rarity because very few of us were brought up to do so which leads me to my next point of discussion.
Mental Health: According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among African Americans include: Major depression, Anxiety, Suicide, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHDD). Without mental health, there is no way one can be healthy. In the Black community, a lot of us don’t really comprehend what a mental health condition is and our best way of dealing with it is not at all. The pride, lack of knowledge, and void to talk about it leads a lot of people to believe that metal health disorders are a form of personal weakness. There is such a shame and stigma associated with these conditions, but if we know how largely this impacts our community, why aren’t we talking about it?
Some Black people experiencing mental disorders also seem to question their sense of faith. Religion is one of the greatest sources of strength and support for the black community, but studies show many will rely on that faith although consulting with a healthcare professional may be necessary. In some instances, your mental disorder will not be resolved in the church and that is okay. It is important that the black community gets on one accord with making others who might suffer or show symptoms of mental health issues, comfortable with seeking professional help.
Now, let’s talk about financial literacy. The ability to understand money, how it works, how to manage, earn, or make it. To understand investments and contributions is to understand financial literacy. Understanding capital, credit, and banking moral has been a struggle for many members of the black community. It has been a struggle for multiple ethnic groups just because financial literacy is not at all touched in the educational curriculum, but more pronounced for the black community. From taxes, loans, interest on those loans, mortgages, credit, checking and more; we are just not as knowledgeable as we should be and we have known this for a while. So, again, why aren’t we talking about it? We have made great strides becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, and other exceptional professions. But, a great barrier for our demographic is money management. We are not all that enlightened on when to start saving money, how much to save, and sometimes not very conscious of our spending habits. Being a recent college graduate, I am still learning a lot about financial literacy myself. Financial freedom is a form of empowerment in America if not thee form. How can you help? If you are enlightened about financial literacy, don’t be afraid to give a few tips. Hold each other accountable. Offer a course at your local schools or in a financial literacy firm in your area. Regardless, talk about it!
In the future, I remain hopeful that we as black people will create an open dialogue on the strides we can continue to take to progress our entire demographic. We need more leaders and optimism in our culture to make this happen. I know some of us our skeptical of the criticism, but take it with a grain of salt and realize we can do a lot more together, than we can alone, if we just TALK ABOUT IT! Share your comments below.
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